Environment/Conservation

The Rapp for Nov. 20

On a late fall-early winter hike in Shenandoah National Park.

A sing-along and a music concert to benefit the Food Pantry, RLEP’s annual gathering, seasonal changes at Shenandoah National Park and Amissville winery festivities are in this week’s The Rapp column.
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Editorial: That time of year

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Nov. 13
By Roger Piantadosi/Rappahannock News

This year’s spectacular fall foliage brought great beauty, but also great noise pollution, as leaf blowers are taken up to manage the fallen leaves.
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Wild Ideas: In the news: good guide, bad bug

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Nov. 13
Despite its beauty, the Asian spotted lanterfly, sighted in Pennsylvania this fall, could follow in the footsteps of the brown marmorated stink bug.

News recently arrived in Pam Owen’s email inbox of a new shrub and vine identification guide from the Virginia Department of Forestry and a report of yet another threatening bug invading Pennsylvania.
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Leaving a happier planet

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Nov. 6
By Roger Piantadosi/Rappahannock News

Money does grow on trees — along with health and high spirits. Don’t lose yours as autumn dwindles.
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Editorial: We want to believe

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Nov. 6
By Bas Lammers via Wikimedia Commons

Screeches and screams reportedly heard rolling across the hills and vales of Rappahannock were not wails of disappointment from residents whose favored candidates did not win on Tuesday. But could it really have been, as someone said, a mountain lion?
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Wild Ideas: This autumn’s gold-medal foliage

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Nov. 6
In the fall, sassafras leaves can stay green or turn yellow or red, depending on the amount of light that hits the leaves.

With wind and rain now rapidly stripping the leaves from deciduous trees, time is running out to enjoy this autumn's spectacular fall color. Pam Owen explores how and why leaves change color this time of year.
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Letter: Bullets: Get the lead out

With hunters getting ready to hit Rappahannock’s fields and forests in pursuit of deer, I wanted to encourage everyone to consider replacing their lead bullets with copper ones. Getting the lead out of gasoline and paint are universally considered milestone achievements with clear, demonstrable benefits for human health and the environment. Yet we have...
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This little light of ours

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Oct. 23
Photo by Kaye Kohler

As the autumn daylight wanes, nature and the human body ordinarily adjust themselves for winter. But increasingly, we’re setting the world aglow 24/7 with all-night lighting. Liza Field takes a look at research illuminating a few of the fiscal, environmental and healthcare costs of that new light bill.
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When a farm turns factory, what’s a town to do?

A Pennsylvania law designed to protect farms from nuisance complaints has also allowed concentrated animal feeding operations — factory farms — to escape local land use controls, writes Tim Rowland.
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Photos: Life on the hill

Photo by Roger Piantadosi

Unwise pipeline calls for people power

The proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline across Virginia is unwise. It endangers national forests and private properties, writes Robert Whitescarver, and illustrates the power of corporations, and the need for reform.
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These neighbors are a different kind of wild

Photo by Christopher Bruno via Wikimedia Commons

Most people hate coyotes, but not Jim Minick. He loves them, their wildness most of all. And, like it or not, they’re not going anywhere — despite everyone’s best efforts.
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Governor endorses Dominion pipeline

Flickr user rickz (www.flickr.com/photos/rickz/); licensed via Creative Commons

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe this week endorsed the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, an up to $5 billion, 550-mile proposal to build a natural gas pipeline through West Virginia to North Carolina.
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Bill Walton joins NPCF board

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Harris Hollow resident Bill Walton is one of the newest members of the Northern Piedmont Community Foundation’s board of directors, continuing his trend of positively impacting Rappahannock.
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Five ways, and funding, for forest owners to attract quail

Bobwhite quail populations have plummeted in recent years due to loss of appropriate habitat. Now, forest landowners who want to create good habitat have a new source of funds to support them.
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Leaving Candyland

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Aug. 7

Humans are attracted to sweetness–not just in food, but in media fare. The urge to avoid bitter realities and sweets that comfort makes us vulnerable to plenty of sticky disinformation, writes Liza Field, in this examination of bees, pesticides and PR.
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Photos: Flowing funds to teens

Photo by Richard Gill

Deeper fractures

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July 10

Are we cracked in the head? The proliferation of natural gas exports–and the wake of increased U.S. fracking–expose deep fault lines in the land, U.S. communities and plain old logic. Liza Field suggests a look beneath those fissures for deeper solutions.
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Pipeline resources

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July 8
Flickr user rickz (www.flickr.com/photos/rickz/); licensed via Creative Commons

A resource guide for information and opinion on natural gas pipelines.
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Letter: RCCA joins the Krebser Fund

After months of study, legal inquiry and deliberation, the Rappahannock County Conservation Alliance Board (RCCA), has decided to close its doors and combine with the Krebser Fund for Rappahannock County Conservation. Many county residents and supporters may have wondered, “What has happened to RCCA?” Our most noticeable absence from community life in the last...
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Approved: uncertain budget, drier golf course

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Facing a full agenda and a not-so-full courthouse, the Rappahannock County Board of Supervisors met Monday (June 2) for about two hours in the afternoon and less than an hour in the evening, during which the board passed its $21.99 million budget, among other matters.
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Time to RSVP to Mother Earth’s invitation

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May 29

It’s time to remember our manners and RSVP to nature’s invitation — letting it know we’ll be showing up to help undo our own damage, writes Liza Field.
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Gas pipeline could pass through Rappahannock

Courtesy of Spectra Energy

A 427-mile natural-gas pipeline from Pennsylvania to North Carolina proposed by Spectra Energy would pass through eastern Rappahannock County, according to a map released this week by the Houston-based pipeline and distribution-system company.
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Fracking: Too close to home

Debut Rappahannock novelist Larry “Bud” Meyer speaks May 9 at the library.

Larry "Bud" Meyer, RAAC's featured speaker at the library this Friday at 8, notes that news of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is starting to come awfully close to home.
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Help available for septic fixes

Residents in several areas of the district are eligible for reimbursement of half the expense of maintaining, repairing or replacing on-lot septic systems.
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Photo: WCDS’ enviro-team

Courtesy photo

Photo: Blue Team clean-up

Photo by E. Raymond Boc

Shocking developments at Avon Hall pond

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April 24
VDGIF biologists Mike Isel (back) and John Odenkirk surge low levels of electricty into the Avon Hall pond, netting the stunned fish that float to the surface.

Fifteen years ago, the dock leading into the middle of Avon Hall pond in Washington was lined with children dangling fingers into the water in hopes of snagging one of the thousands of sunfish just beneath the surface. Now, the town and select local environmental organizations are working to revive the pond.
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Editorial: Earth Day reflections

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April 24
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From a distance, they looked like gigantic Easter eggs. Oval and colored bright orange, these “eggs” dotted the shoulders of a short section of South Poes Road, at intervals of every 100 feet or so. But as the distance decreased, their true identity became clear: Trash bags!
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Better policies will grow better stream-side buffers

Wooded buffers along stream banks are a most effective way to reduce polluted agricultural runoff. Robert Whitescarver, a retired NRCS district conservationist, says if we want to grow more of them, we need to reform conservation policy. Whitescarver writes from the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, where he consults on conservation issues.
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Breathing with relief

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April 10

Getting out for a breath of fresh air is a springtime joy. It’s the very symbol of aliveness and freedom, writes Liza Field. So it surprised her to hear the EPA’s latest clean air rules described as “tyranny” and clouded by misinformation. This commentary looks at some big-money sources, along with some rarely-noticed payoffs...
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Editorial: When money talks . . .

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March 20
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Even here in Rappahannock County we recognize the truth in the notion that “we all live downstream.” Which makes the Farm Bureau’s ongoing war against the EPA’s ”pollution diet” all the more disquieting.
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Getting big or getting out

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March 13

It’s time for diet season around the U.S., in a big way. Two-thirds of our population is now overweight and leaving a heavier footprint. While we’ve been gaining, the biosphere has been losing. This growing imbalance, Liza Field suggests, we could reverse, from a lose-lose to a win for both human and planetary health.
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Letter: In gratitude to Bob Dennis

I could never be as eloquent as your editorial was regarding Bob Dennis, but would like to add a few memories about how he helped me and my family connect with the wonder that is Rappahannock. We were introduced to Bob and Barb by his aunt, Hope Dennis Anderson, a neighbor and friend in...
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Coast to coast, water supplies stressed

When it comes to water, one thing flows to another and seemingly disconnected issues – a chemical spill here, a drought there – may be more connected than we realize. John Messeder writes from south-central Pennsylvania.
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CSWCD director recognized

Sperryville resident and Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District director Monira Rifaat was recognized at the Virginia Association of Conservation Districts’ annual meeting last month.
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Gone/green

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Jan. 16

Europe is converting coal-burning power plants to burn wood pellets, leading to the cutting of U.S. east coast hardwood forests, an unintended consequence of what was supposed to be a good green idea.
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Cliff Miller, farm profiled by Bay Journal

Cliff Miller III on his farm.

Sperryville farmer Cliff Miller III is the subject of an in-depth profile worth checking out on the Bay Journal website last week.
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Our alienation from hibernation

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Dec. 12, 2013
Ice in Gid Brown Hollow after this week's storm.

During these short days of winter, all of nature slows and rests. Why don’t we, wonders Liza Field, a teacher, writer, and philosopher who writes from Virginia. If we did, it would be good for us, and our world, she says.
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Conservation District recognizes landowners

From left: Rappahannock County supervisor Chris Parrish, CSWCD director and Bay-Friendly Farm Award winner Monira Rifaat, Conservationist of the Year award recipients Richard and Jeannie McNear and supervisor Mike Biniek.

Among the winners at the Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District’s (CSWCD) annual Conservation Awards dinner in Culpeper last month were three Rappahannock County farmers: Richard and Jeannie McNear, Monira Rifaat, and Bruce and Susan Jones.
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