ENVIRONMENT

Apr 23, 2014
Charlotte-Mecklenburg is making strides in recycling and reducing waste, yet residents still send more trash to landfills than the U.S. average. Why is recycling lagging here? One answer might be that it's mostly voluntary. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Apr 23, 2014
The painted turtle is one of the most common and widespread species of turtle across the North American continent, found nearly everywhere in North Carolina. Though they are common, painted turtles have many characteristics that make them unusual. (Photo: Jeffery Beane)
Apr 23, 2014
What can and can't be recycled can be confusing. Here is a list of what can't go into your recycling bin and why. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Apr 10, 2014
Asian ladybugs were imported to address agricultural concerns. Like kudzu, they have gotten out of control. (Photo: Andreas Trepte, www.photo-natur.de)
Apr 03, 2014
The LandTrust for Central North Carolina and staff from the North Carolina Museum of Sciences will host the second annual Uwharrie Naturalist Weekend on May 10 and 11, 2014. (Photo: Crystal Cockman)
Mar 27, 2014
Plaza Midwood, Eastover, Cherry, Myers Park, Dilworth, Wilmore and Wesley Heights are connected by miles of tree-lined sidewalks. Raptors see this landscape as an “uber-forest.”  (Photo: Carolina Raptor Center)
Mar 20, 2014
Although bear sightings in the Piedmont are not uncommon, they are usually just transient bears. Black bears are gradually expanding their habitat into the Piedmont region, however, and their range now extends over 60 percent of North Carolina. (Photo: LandTrust for Central North Carolina)
Mar 13, 2014
Casual, recreational gold panning can be a fun pastime – it gets us outdoors and connects us with an aspect of our history – but anything beyond the gentle and occasional use of a pan and shovel can have devastating consequences for our creeks and rivers. (Photo: Marla Coulthard)
Mar 12, 2014
Instead of waiting for paved greenways, Mecklenburg County is building some natural-surface "dirtways." The first, in the Steele Creek area, opened last month and cost about $5,000. (Photo: Steele Creek Residents Association)
Mar 05, 2014
Thanks to more than 15 years of conservation work, the Uwharrie Recreational Trail trail can now be hiked in its 40-mile entirety. The second annual "thru hike" of the trail will be this May. Do you have your backpacking basics assembled? Here's my list of necessities. (Photo: Crystal Cockman)
Mar 05, 2014
The UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, in partnership with the UNC Charlotte College of Arts + Architecture, has launched KEEPING WATCH, a three-year initiative designed to bring a higher profile to, and engage the public in, issues about the natural environment. This year's focus is plastics and recycling. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Mar 04, 2014
The City of Charlotte is starting to phase in LED streetlights, as an energy-saving move that will also lower the area's carbon footprint. (Photo: Department of Energy)
Feb 20, 2014
Is there anything more diverting for a Southerner than a couple of inches of snow? The mere suggestion of the slightest chance of a flurry whips us into a frenzy. Photo: Ruth Ann Grissom
Feb 12, 2014
I’m not immune to the charms of a dozen roses on Valentine’s Day – or any day for that matter.  However, not all varieties of roses require intensive chemical treatments – or have to travel from the other side of the world. (Photo: Ruth Ann Grissom)
Feb 06, 2014
Charlotte's carbon footprint is dwarfed by other metro centers like Washington and Atlanta, but within the Charlotte region some areas produce much more carbon than others. Interactive maps from UC Berkeley now let you see the differences by ZIP code. (Graphic: UC Berkeley CoolClimate Network)
Feb 06, 2014
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh has an area where you can watch scientists at work behind glass. They also have a couple of glass displays housing much smaller workers – dermestid beetles. These beetles have a job to do for the museum, too.
Feb 05, 2014
In 2006, solar farms in North Carolina were few and far between. Last year, the state added more solar power capacity, about 400 megawatts, than any state except California. But now solar developers are facing something other fast-growing businesses have: Some pushback from neighbors who worry about their property values. (Photo: U.S. Department of Energy)
Jan 30, 2014
Davidson College Professor Mark Stanback proved brown-headed nuthatches can flourish in unexpected places as long as they’re provided adequate nesting sites. Audubon North Carolina is leading an effort to reverse their declining numbers by providing homes for these charming birds. (Photo: Dick Daniels)
Jan 23, 2014
Biologist David George Haskell’s book "Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature," will open your eyes to the abundance of life around us in the forests. Haskell’s observations, insights and academic explorations will inspire you to get a hand lens and explore the tiny wonders of the natural world. (Photo: Ruth Ann Grissom)
Dec 10, 2013
The UNC Charlotte Urban Institute's online publication, PlanCharlotte.org, has been awarded a $5,000 grant from the Arts & Science Council for its "City of Creeks" project. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Dec 05, 2013
You've raked all those leaves into a pile, what now? With a little more or your time and effort, those leaves can pay big dividends. Homemade compost and mulch are priceless additions to your garden, providing winter protection, retaining moisture and amending the soil. (Photo: Ruth Ann Grissom)
Nov 25, 2013
As the Dec. 31 end of a 30-year-old N.C. land preservation tax credit nears, regional land trusts scurry to finish preservation projects from donors hoping to use the credit before they lose it. (Photo: Catawba Lands Conservancy)
Nov 14, 2013
A new, 4-mile extension of the Uwharrie National Recreation Trail, along with a new trailhead, will be dedicated Dec. 8. The trailhead will be named in honor of Joe Moffitt, the founder and visionary behind the creation of the trail.  (Images courtesy Crystal Cockman)
Nov 10, 2013
Gardeners, ranchers, hunters and birders – get reacquainted with some of our native grasses. Photo: Ruth Ann Grissom
Nov 07, 2013
Almost 70 percent of Mecklenburg County residents surveyed during the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute's Annual Survey said they think there’s solid evidence the Earth has warmed in recent decades. An even larger majority said it’s a somewhat or very serious problem. (Photo: Takver, via flickr.com)
Oct 24, 2013
Many people believe early European settlers found an unbroken canopy of trees sheltering the N.C. Piedmont. However, says author Reed Noss, a few generations ago grasslands were abundant across the South. Today they’re rare. Article includes photo gallery of preserved grasslands. (Photo: Laura Fogo)
Oct 23, 2013
Today (Oct. 24) is the last chance for members of the public in Mecklenburg County to add their voices to a series of workshops that are part of a Charlotte-region-wide effort to chart a future for ourselves. Commentary. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Oct 17, 2013
The UNC Charlotte Urban Institute’s online publication, PlanCharlotte.org, has won a $12,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to boost a project that will look at Charlotte’s creeks.
Oct 17, 2013
A moth that looks and acts like a hummingbird? It’s true. And if you are lucky, you may see one in the Carolinas. (Photo: John Flannery)
Oct 16, 2013
After nearly three decades of hoping for a new park, the Reid Park neighborhood in west Charlotte may be on its way to getting one designed, not by the county, but a student. (Image: Dylan McKnight)
Oct 10, 2013
After months of steady – and sometimes excessive – rain, we’ve recently seen a more typical pattern of precipitation. It’s been a banner year for plants that flourish in soggy conditions. (Photo: Ruth Ann Grissom)
Oct 03, 2013
While European honey bees are vital to many crops, it’s native bees such as sweat bees, bumble bees and miner bees that get the job done for our wildflowers. They’re also better at pollinating native fruits and vegetables. (Photo: Sam Droege, CCby 2.0)
Sep 16, 2013
Mecklenburg County is considering ordinance changes that could require residents to recycle plastics, aluminum cans, yard waste and paper. (Photo: Mary Newsom)
Sep 16, 2013
Charlotte-area residents will have an additional opportunity to voice their opinion on the region’s growth. A fourth Mecklenburg County workshop will be held Oct. 24 at Freedom Park as part of the  “CONNECT Our Future” planning program. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Sep 04, 2013
The solar-powered Urban Eden home took UNC Charlotte students two years to design and build, and now it's ready for a trip to California for the 2013 Solar Decathlon contest. The 800-square-foot home features a geopolymer façade made of recycled fly ash from coal-burning, a capillary system in its walls and a vertical garden. (Photo by Wade Bruton)
Sep 02, 2013
Organizers are hopeful for a strong turnout for Saturday's annual creek clean-up, Big Sweep. Already 500 people have registered; last year 300 volunteers took part and pulled 10,000 pounds of trash from streams in the county. To register, click here. (Photo: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services.)
Aug 21, 2013
What kinds of wild animals are in the woods, and what are they up to? The Smithsonian Institution and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences have set up cameras to find out. (Photo: N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences)
Aug 15, 2013
The right combination of protective hedges, sun-absorbing walls and a southern exposure can turn a corner of your yard into a tropical microclimate ­– especially in a rain-soaked year like this one. (Photo: Ruth Ann Grissom)
Aug 08, 2013
Thru-hiking means going the complete distance on a long-distance trail. Thanks to the efforts of several organizations, all 40 miles of the Uwharrie Trail can now be “thru-hiked.” (Photo: Crystal Cockman)
Jun 27, 2013
The Rocky River is home to some interesting critters you don’t see in other parts of the central N.C. Piedmont. One distinctive species is the Gulf Coast spiny softshell turtle. (Photo: J.D. Bricken)  
Jun 12, 2013
Have you been seeing more turtles than usual on your morning commute lately? If you’ve been driving this spring on rural highways in North Carolina, you might have detected a surge in turtle activity, especially snapping turtles. (Photo: Karen Winstrom)
Jun 05, 2013
Years ago, a friend in Uwharrie showed me a crooked tree on his family’s property. Its trunk was bent at two right angles, creating a horizontal span about 4 feet off the ground. Some believe these trees are a legacy of the American Indian presence in our region. (Photo: John Mabry)
May 22, 2013
The discovery of a new species conjures images of explorers in pith helmets hacking through remote regions of the Amazon and stumbling across something outlandish. The reality is generally much less dramatic. (Photo: David Blevins)
May 15, 2013
Have you ever wondered what you might see if you spent a whole weekend outside just looking? How about if you could also bring a few expert field biologists and naturalists with you? (Photo: Courtesy of the LandTrust for Central North Carolina)
May 01, 2013
A friend of mine recently rescued a snake from the parking lot where he works, and released it back into the woods. He sent me a picture asking for help identifying it. The coloration threw me off a bit, so I had to ask an expert. (Photo: Crystal Cockman)
Apr 25, 2013
In 1963, the General Assembly boldly proclaimed the official state tree of North Carolina would be – drum roll, please – the pine. The legislature missed the opportunity to herald an unsung hero that occurs in every region of our state – the noble shortleaf pine. (Photo: Ruth Ann Grissom)
Mar 20, 2013
The LandTrust for Central North Carolina and staff from the North Carolina Museum of Sciences are hosting the Uwharrie Naturalist Weekend on May 4 and 5 – a first of its kind in the area. (Photo: Ruth Ann Grissom)
Feb 20, 2013
Defining environmental art is about as difficult as defining art itself. It’s a catch-all term encompassing different types of art-environment fusion. Writer Melissa Currie tries to sort out the different types of art that, together, make up environmental art in this article.  ...
Feb 18, 2013
Brightwalk is unique among Charlotte’s new developments, and not just for its size and location –1,000 homes on 98 acres 2 miles from uptown. What also sets Brightwalk apart is that it will make environmental art a central part of the neighborhood. (Don’t know what environmental art is? We have an article and photos that explain it.)
Feb 12, 2013
The recent wet weather and warmer temperatures must have been a cue for the upland chorus frogs that their breeding season has arrived, as they were calling loudly from the small stream at my apartment complex. (Photo: Jeff Beane)