Erika Howsare

The USA National Phenology Network enlists citizen scientists to help gather information about climate change through the observation of plants budding, blooming, 
and dropping seeds, and the connections to insect and animal migration patterns.

In their own backyards

“Phenology” might not be a word you use in everyday conversation, but it’s one of the keys to tracking climate change. The term refers to the study of timing in the natural world—the dates when plants flower, leaves emerge, seeds drop, and animals migrate. The USA National Phenology Network is building a stable of citizen […]

The new Heyward Community Forest, near Ragged Mountain, is full of beautiful spots to explore. Photo: Steven Barling

The city’s newest wilderness: Right outside town, community forest will offer a wild escape

Just a quick drive from the most urban sections of Charlottesville is a unique wild environment—acres of boulder forests, sunny woodlands where blueberries grow, and a creek with architectural ruins along its banks. It’s all part of a 144-acre property called the Heyward Community Forest, snugged against the Ragged Mountain Reservoir. The city acquired the […]

Cat Thrasher transformed the front yard of her Kellytown home into a large urban garden, where she says she’s been “trying ‘square-foot gardening’ in the form of planting some things very close together.” Photo: John Robinson

How does your garden grow?

Outdoor options may be limited this summer, but gardening is definitely having a moment. Whether you’re a veteran dirt-lover or a total beginner, there’s never been a better time to dive in and cultivate some earth (or even a window box) near your home. Here are some ideas to spur you along. Dig in: Tips […]

Photo: Jen Fariello

Off the radar: Don’t forget these five wedding rentals

Renting items for your wedding? You’ve probably already researched and budgeted for the obvious things—chairs, glassware—but there are other items that a lot of couples tend to forget. Meredith Jackson, from Charlottesville’s rental company Festive Fare, clued us in about some of those lesser-known rental needs. You know about the linens, but don’t forget the […]

Store managre Don Cochrane and lontime employee (and resident skateboard expert) Duane Brown say customized service from real athletes has kept Freestyle competitive. / Photo: Amy and Jackson Smith

Riding it out: Freestyle survives 36 years of change

Remember all those specialty shops that went belly-up when the internet came along? Freestyle wasn’t one of them. Founded in 1983, the local sporting goods store is way older than online shopping—and it’s managed to stay relevant through lots of industry changes. “We want customers for life,” says store manager Don Cochrane. That’s meant operating […]

Local entrepreneurs gain access to mentorships, networking, financing, and general business knowledge resources with the help of the Community Investment Collaboratives, says CIC president Stephen Davis. / Photo: Sanjay Suchak

A leg up: The CIC helps entrepreneurs get the right start

Since 2012, locals wanting to start their own businesses have been turning to the Community Investment Collaborative for support. The CIC runs a training program to help folks develop their business ideas—its 16-week Entrepreneur Workshop has graduated more than 300 people so far. It also offers financing, mentorship, and co-working space. We chatted with Stephen […]

Deer crossing

Deer crossing

There are more than 50,000 deer-vehicle collisions in Virginia each year. One local scientist has a low-cost solution.    May 3, 2013. It’s 7:50 in the morning. A 51-year-old man driving an SUV west on I-64 collides with a deer. The man is unhurt; police notify VDOT that they’ll need to remove the carcass. October […]