A Different Perspective on the Early March Forests at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge

March 7, 2021, I once again visited the bottomland forests on the eastern end of Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge. I’ve begun to focus my attention during my wanderings more and more on the forest canopy, the photosynthesis engines of our incredible terrestrial ecosystems. I’ve discovered that my iPhone’s “selfie function” serves a purpose far more […]

HGH Road

A New (for me) Tree Growth Phenomenon

I’ll begin this Post with the teaser photograph immediately below, offering it without explanatory text, which you’ll see after the A First Time Encounter heading.   A forester, I’ve long found fascination in tree form… whether the veneer-quality cherrybark oak below left, or the distorted, burly Bigfoot oak below right. I’ve included these photos in […]

HGH Road

Adding a New Dimension to my Tree Appreciation

I’ve observed since my undergraduate forestry education that trees grow taller on richer sites, a fact that doesn’t require a bachelors degree to confirm. The central Appalachian forests where I worked undergraduate summers clearly evidenced the correlation. Forests on lower concave slopes facing the northeast quadrant (i.e. cove sites) performed best, with white and red […]

Joe Wheeler SP

Reflections on Natural Disasters

  Reflections on Natural Disasters   Today’s instant global news connects us with calamities from Asian tsunamis to California and Australian wildfires to calving Antarctic mega-glaciers to seething volcanoes to European floods to a variety of weather extremes (hurricanes, tornadoes, avalanches, ice storms, severe thunderstorms, tidal surges, and drought). We anthropocentric humans dub such events […]

Jolly B Road

On Wilderness and Wildness

Prompted by my Nature-ramblings and wanderings, I muse with this Post on the distinctions and commonalities among the terms wildness, wilderness, and Wilderness, about which Nature itself cares little. Wildness, wilderness, and Wilderness Merrian-Webster online defines wilderness as: a tract or region uncultivated and uninhabited by human beings; an area essentially undisturbed by human activity […]

Eagle Award

My Alabama State Parks 2021 Eagle Award

I’ve published more than 250 Great Blue Heron Posts over the past five years, ranging widely from observations in my own backyard to our western USA National Parks to visiting three National Parks in Kazakhstan in 2019. I’ve stayed true to the theme of Nature-Inspired Life and Living, and remain steadfast to my retirement Mission: […]

Reflections on My Maturing Love Affair with Nature

Nature-Infatuation The Weather Channel (TWC) prompted today’s Blog Post, having recently introduced a new tag line, imploring viewers to Get Into… The Out There! The Channel launched Sunday, May 2, 1982. I was then soon-to-celebrate my 31st birthday. I recall as a kid watching Channel 7, WMAL out of Washington D.C. The first on air […]

HGH Road

A Magnificent Cherrybark Oak on the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge

I revisited the bottomland hardwood forests on the eastern end of Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge (near Huntsville, Alabama) January 29, 2021. I wandered this time through a stand I had not previously entered. I characterize this stand as two-aged, a 70-90 year-old matrix punctuated with much older individuals, perhaps 120-plus years. I stood in amazement […]

A 20-minute Video: Reflections on Tree Height

February 25, 2021, I led a 20-minute Facebook Live Nature walk at Hays Nature Preserve in Hampton Cove, a suburb on the southeast side of Huntsville, Alabama. I conduct similar walks monthly on behalf of the Residences at Wellpoint, a new, Nature-oriented assisted living community currently in the latter stages of construction. The Preserve is […]

Early February Spectacular Frosty Morning Sky at the Goldsmith-Schiffman Wildlife Sanctuary

February 6, 2021, I met a small group of fellow Nature enthusiasts at Huntsville, Alabama’s Goldsmith-Schiffman Wildlife Sanctuary (G-SWS). Marian Moore-Lewis, author of Southern Sanctuary (a 12-month journey through the seasons at G-SWS), led my colleagues and me through the Sanctuary. This was their first visit to this exquisite wildness right in our backyard. I […]

Helen Keller

Complementing History with Natural Settings

Dec 17 & 21 25 photos Human history and natural history have intersected across the 13,000-years since the first Native Americans arrived here in northern Alabama. Over a five-day period (December 17-21, 2020), I visited three recent (past 100 years) historic locations in our area: Burritt Museum (Huntsville, AL), Jesse Owens Museum (Oakville, AL), and […]

HGH Road

Indian Marker Trees: Separating Folklore from Fact

January 22, 2021, I revisited the bottomland hardwood forests on the eastern end of the nearby Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge. I bushwhack this area at least monthly, especially during the dormant season, when understory vegetation is leafless, briars are easier to avoid, mushrooms are more visible, sweating must be earned, and redbugs, ticks, and biting […]