Pete Souza will discuss The Way I See It, a documentary showing on MSNBC on October 16, about his eight years photographing Barack Obama. A  conversation with Souza and former deputy secretary of labor Chris will be available through virginiafilmfestival.org for a limited time beginning October 21. Image courtesy of VAFF.

Souza’s shade: Documentary recalls a world not so long ago

Four years ago, former White House chief photographer Pete Souza wouldn’t have imagined he’d be the subject of a documentary and an Instagram superstar. “We hadn’t elected Donald Trump four years ago,” reminds Souza in a phone interview. Three years and 10 months ago, that had changed. Souza began posting photos of former President Barack […]

“Even on scarred land, the trees are growing with a ferocity that gives me hope.”

The long season of trees

My children have a library book right now that tells us trees appeared in the middle Devonian Period, over 350 million years ago. The drawings of these early specimens look strange to my eye, not as graceful as the trees out my window, but the proto-trees—Lepidosigillaria and Eospermatopteris—were doing important work. “Deeper roots and more […]

Anti-pipeline activists in western Virginia are monitoring construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. PC: Mountain Valley Watch

In brief: Pipeline protests, tiger trouble, and more

Pipeline pushback In June, environmental activists celebrated as Dominion Energy canceled the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which would have carried natural gas from West Virginia to North Carolina, passing through central Virginia. A little further west, however, the fight continues, as construction on the Mountain Valley Pipeline inches along. Last week, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission […]

The Van Yahres Tree Company treats ash trees at Monticello to guard against the invasive emerald ash borer. Credit: Van Yahres Tree Company

Ash disaster: Local ash trees face their own pandemic

As if COVID-19 weren’t enough, central Virginia is fighting another plague, only this one—the emerald ash borer—threatens our trees. The beetle may look like a tiny jewel— it’s a bright metallic green, small enough to sit on a penny— but it’s been scything down local ash trees like a malevolent Paul Bunyan.  “No ash tree […]

This cartoon, first published in 1812 in the Boston Gazette, shows Massachusetts legislator Elbridge Gerry’s district drawn in the shape of a salamander—a “gerry-mander.” We’ve been using the term ever since.

Party lines: A close look at the controversial gerrymandering amendment that could define a decade of Virginia politics

“As early as the middle of the seventeenth century, the government of Virginia was a government of the tobacco planters, by the tobacco planters, and for the tobacco planters. Restrictions on the suffrage and distribution of representative seats secured their political dominance,” writes historian Brent Tarter in his 2019 book Gerrymanders. Four hundred years later, […]