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out hollyThis region has been furnishing the eastern United States with quantities of various evergreen materials (trees, running ground cedar, mistletoe, galax, and so on) for well over a century. Of these, one of the most interesting is American holly. In many ways, the plant’s dark green leaves and scarlet berries signify the season almost as much as the Christmas tree itself.

Monarchs to Mexico

natcornMonarch butterflies, like orange autumn leaves filling the skies, have been winging it to Mexico for the last month or so. Peak migration for the mountains of Western North Carolina is from mid- to late September through early to mid-October. 

Flame on!

out natcornColor is starting to spill down the mountainsides once again. I recently received an email from a reader asking about the different fall colors and directions for some good viewing so I thought I would pull that information together from some past columns for a little refresher.

out natcornI’ve been on the Blue Ridge Parkway the last couple of weekends and have made it a point to stop at Wolf Mountain Overlook (Milepost 424) to check out the Grass of Parnassus, I believe to be Parnassia asarifolia.

Get out and say goodbye

out natcornAt last! I finally had a birding outing planned last Saturday – the first one since April when I helped lead a trip for the Wildflower Pilgrimage. But, the primary guiding force of my life happens to be Murphy’s Law.

Girls got game

out natcornThe Lake Junaluska Girls Junior Golf Association enjoyed a special play day and celebration Saturday, Aug. 9. LJGJGA members and their parents enjoyed a fun family nine-hole play day followed by a cookout at the Lake Junaluska Pro Shop/Clubhouse to honor recipients of the Laura Constance Golf Scholarship.

out natcornAs the USDA Forest Service’s revision plan for the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests continues to be discussed — the new plan will guide the management of the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests for the next 15 years — I wonder how many people give thought to what “forest” means to them.

On the Isle again

out natcornThanks to the generosity of dear friends, my family gets to vacation on Isle of Palms every summer. If you follow the “Naturalist’s Corner” regularly, you’ve seen accounts of these expeditions — maybe about “pluff mud,” “gourd heads,” “sister island,” etc. Every year it’s a wonderful trip, and this year was no different. Four-and-a-half days flew by in the blink of an eye. There were tried-and-true adventures, new adventures and one mild curiosity. 

out natcornThe next USDA Forest Service public meeting regarding the National Forest Plan Revision will be held from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on July 10 at the Crowne Plaza Resort in downtown Asheville. The new plan will guide the management of the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests for the next 15 years. 

out natcornThanks to the generosity of a friend, my family and I spent a long weekend on Fontana Lake. The small “fishing” cabin near Prince’s Boat Dock is not the Ritz but it has all the comforts of home and a lot more character than the Ritz. 

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