Category: Citizen Science
Long-polluted Blacks Run is making a comeback. Ducks and fish love it. Now a new program can spur residents to help
Earlier this year, Wes Runion, Harrisonburg’s environmental specialist, was taking a sample of water from Blacks Run off of Pleasant Valley Road when he had a surprise encounter.
On Wednesday evening, several dozen gathered downtown to get into the weeds of the city’s latest push to go green. It’s an effort that will be guided by an Environmental Action Plan (EAP), a sustainability roadmap being developed by city staff along with the city’s appointed Environmental Performance Standards Advisory Committee (EPSAC).
From exploring Medieval chain mail to detecting illicit vaping, local high school students showcase their research and hard work
The projects cover a wide swath of topics: a patent-pending tool to analyze DNA, a device aimed at addressing a modern twist on “smoking in the boys’ room,” and a comparison of the strength of historic patterns of chain mail.
Story and photos by Holly Marcus, contributor For insects, animals and humans, it’s the first sign of changing seasons––spring flowers bursting through winter’s drab landscape. Maybe you have noticed the bright yellow daffodils dotting flowerbeds downtown or the little clumps of purple crocus popping up seemingly overnight? Jan Sievers Mahon, the director of JMU’s Edith …
Bundled in a heavy coat, a woman sits in a picnic shelter at Hillandale Park. Five large, healthy cats dine on plates of cat food scattered around her. She and several other caretakers come twice a day to feed these “homeless” cats, as she calls them. She doesn’t want to be identified; she’s been hassled over the years for doing this.
After Bridgeforth Stadium, it’s possibly the most recognizable landmark for those driving through Harrisonburg on Interstate 81. The 120-foot wind turbine is perched on a ridge on the east side of the highway, its spinning, 33-foot blades propelled by the invisible breeze. What can’t be seen from the road is the force behind that specific turbine – a renewable energy advocacy organization that calls Harrisonburg home.
“Sometimes the forecast is a big bust, like the horrible snow we got in December,” Urbanowicz recalled. “There was a 15-inch difference in the snow totals within forty miles. That’s the humbling part of being a meteorologist. You’re still trying to predict the future.”
Snowy Owls, flamingos — you never know what kind of birds you might encounter in the Shenandoah Valley. However, on the eve of the annual Rockingham County Christmas Bird Count, a group of eagle-eyed bird watchers have a pretty good idea of which ones have been through the area — for now.