Oak Mountain

Late March 2021 Tornado Damage at Oak Mountain State Park

My March 23, 2021 Great Blue Heron Blog Post reflected on natural disasters: http://stevejonesgbh.com/2021/03/23/reflections-on-natural-disasters/ Here’s a brief excerpt: From the perspective of managers and recreationists at Joe Wheeler State Park (Rogersville, AL), the December 2019 tornado that destroyed the campground amounted to a natural disaster. Nature “handles” such disasters in stride. In fact, such storms […]

Oak Mountain

Oak Mountain State Park April Wildflowers

I enjoyed three half-day hikes at Oak Mountain State Park April 14-16, 2021. This is the third Post from those hiking excursions. The other two are: Fifty Shades of Green — http://stevejonesgbh.com/2021/04/27/fifty-shades-of-april-green-at-oak-mountain-state-park/ Important State Park System Announcement — http://stevejonesgbh.com/2021/05/04/governor-kay-iveys-exciting-april-2021-state-park-system-announcement-at-oak-mountain-state-park/ This Post catalogs the variety of spring ephemerals and woody plants in flower that I encountered […]

Horse Barn

Early Spring in West-Central Pennsylvania

March 27, 2021 we visited our son and his family in Butler County, Pennsylvania. While there we traveled with them to a lovely rolling hills horse farm and stables where our two granddaughters help care for and ride two horses. I could not resist wandering across the property, exploring early spring pastures and woodlots, and […]

Oak Mountain

Governor Kay Ivey’s Exciting April 2021 State Park System Announcement at Oak Mountain State Park

I retired full time to Madison, AL January 2018, following 12 years (1973-1985) practicing forestry with a Fortune 500 paper and allied forest products manufacturing company and 33 years serving nine universities. I recall saying during the heart of my career that I just could not imagine ever retiring. I admit to some serious adjustment […]

Oak Mountain

Fifty Shades of April Green at Oak Mountain State Park

Nature’s Beauty, Magic, Wonder, and Awe are Regionally Relative Only reluctantly did I decide to include this open source autumn-glory image of a sugar maple forest along an unidentified New England lake. Hesitant because its unmatched beauty argues somewhat against the entire premise of my Post — that here in north Alabama, our spring forests’  […]

Monte Sano

Tall Trees in Monte Sano State Park’s Cathedral Forest

Thirty-Four-inch Yellow Poplar I’m continuing to explore our north Alabama forests and their sylvan residents from the ground up with my newly acquired instruments for measuring tree heights. March 12, 2021, I led Jerry Weisenfeld, Alabama State Parks Advertising and Marketing Manager, along the Arthur Wells Memorial and Sinks Trails at Monte Sano State Park […]

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: […]