As my mother and I pulled up at the Jones Nature Preserve in Rappahannock, a brilliant bird dipped through the air—a rich tropical blue on delicate wings. They came in this week, Bruce Jones told me, the indigo buntings. He had led a bird walk over the weekend, and they saw 15 to 20 of these migrants, which flourish in the shrubby areas between his meadows and his woods.
When Rap Owings and his family learned about VDOT’s plan for the bridge near their farm in Banco, on Route 231 west of Madison, they were concerned. VDOT was planning to take out the existing bridge and rebuild it nearly twice as wide. Plus, they were going to straighten the road for two thirds of a mile, widen the right of way, take out trees and dynamite a rock outcropping.
VDOT gave plans for the Charlottesville Western Bypass an F. So why spend half a billion dollars on it?
That's the question that PEC posed to Charlottesville and Albemarle residents though ads in local papers and a mailing that we sent to 15,000 homes — part of our full-on campaign to stop this wasteful bypass from moving forward ahead of better alternatives.
Three children romped down the trail, shouting in unison, "We found the Osage Orange! We found the Osage Orange!" The softball-sized fruit, with its bright green, wrinkled shell was the last thing they needed to complete a 26-item scavenger hunt on the Chapman-DeMary Trail in Purcellville — having already discovered hackberry, wild grape, a small island in the creek, a bug on the ground, a good hiding place, and the rest.
What fears are separating children from nature? What happens when they reconnect?
When children first arrive at Rappahannock Nature Camp, they are afraid of bugs, the camp director, Lyt Wood, told me.
But, on the day I visited this summer, he opened up a hive of 30,000 honeybees while the children craned to see. The kids had brought long clothes and hats to camp for the occasion. They pulled netting over the rims of their hats and sealed their clothes at the wrists and ankles with blue tape. Wood doused the hive with smoke, then drew out frames that were packed with vibrating, crawling, humming bees.
When Brian Higgins joined PEC’s staff as our first full-time field officer for Culpeper and Greene, this summer, he had to hit the ground running in Greene County. For one thing, the county is considering a rezoning for a development of nearly 1,200 units—a single project that could increase the county’s population by 20%.