Balsam Mountain Preserve will present “Leaf it to the Trees,” a program to acquaint the casual observer with trees in winter from noon until 2 p.m. Saturday, March 21, at 81 Preserve Road, Sylva. The program is free, but donations are appreciated. A trail walk from the nature center to the b…

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Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Hard times. We heard our older generation talk about “hard times,” but I do not think we really understood. Maybe we still don’t fully, but I think we understand a little more than we did.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will open the statewide wild turkey season April 11 through May 9, preceded by a youth-only turkey season from April 4 -10.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

The natural world is full of impressive predators. Our gardens are the hunting grounds of aggressively efficient mantids, dragonflies and wasps, each with their own unique methods of securing a meal.

Last month we discussed the coming of spring and the importance of scouting our pastures and hayfields for buttercup. Along with that, this month, we will discuss grass tetany and what producers need to know going into the spring.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Balsam Mountain Preserve will present “Leaf it to the Trees,” a program to acquaint the casual observer with trees in winter from noon until 2 p.m. Saturday, March 21, at 81 Preserve Road, Sylva. The program is free, but donations are appreciated. A trail walk from the nature center to the b…

An interesting thing about the location of the Cooperative Extension Office is that we share space with the Department of Motor Vehicles and see all kinds of people from around the county.

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

The U.S. Forest Service is planning 16 prescribed burns, including seven in Jackson County, in the Nantahala Ranger District in the coming months to reduce the risk of wildfires. The low- to medium-intensity burns also create healthier, more diverse and more resilient forests that can better…

The U.S. Forest Service is currently revising the master plan for the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests. All of the national forest land in Jackson County is part of the Nantahala Ranger District. The proposed plan and draft environmental impact statement is available online at…

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission voted at its business meeting last Thursday to adopt rules related to wildlife management, fisheries, game lands and law enforcement for the 2020-21 seasons.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will close approximately 1,000 miles of Hatchery Supported Trout Waters to fishing one-half hour after sunset on Saturday and reopen them at 7 a.m. on April 4.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Insects are capable of supremely impressive tasks accomplished through the dogged pursuit of hard work. Conservative estimates of the economic value of insects in the United States alone are over $50 billion a year through the pollination, recycling of nutrients, and pest control that these …

Brannen Basham, Sylva Herald weekly nature writer and contributor to Smoky Mountain Living Magazine, has published a compilation of 60 different nature-based topics in “A Guide to the Wonderful World Around Us: Notes on Nature.”

Pollution is one of many problems plaguing the environment today. When living in a semi-rural community like Sylva, one would think that pollution would not be as prevalent. Unfortunately, even rural communities are not safe from the effects of pollution.

Greening of pastures and hayfields will be here before we know it and a sure sign of spring each year is the identifiable yellow flower of buttercup. Although some may enjoy the sight of these pretty yellow flowers, most livestock producers know that they are not enjoyable for livestock to eat.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park rangers are recruiting volunteers to adopt a monitoring plot in areas throughout the park. In an effort to track nature’s calendar, or phenology, volunteers will collect information as part of an important research project tracking seasonal biological data…

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Bullying. Unfortunately this is not a new topic. This subject is uncomfortable to discuss and even harder to prevent, because of the nature of human interaction. People use power and control to get what they want every day. When people cannot get what they need or want in appropriate ways, t…

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

It doesn’t matter where you’re going, you’re getting there using a road. This isn’t a recent development; humans have been hitting roads since before ancient Sumerians started paving their city streets more than 5,000 years ago.

More than 25 volunteers turned out Saturday, Jan. 25, to clean up Scotts Creek. Teams from the Western Carolina University Center for Community Engagement, WCU Fly Fishing Club, the Tuckaseigee Chapter of Trout Unlimited and individuals bagged and dragged tires, computer monitors and other d…

Great Smoky Mountains National Park welcomed a record 12,547,743 visitors in 2019, which is 1,126,540 more visitors than in 2018. The park’s three primary entrances near Cherokee and Gatlinburg and Townsend in Tennessee all had increased use, accounting for about two-thirds of the total park…

Carolina Farm Credit has announced they are now accepting grant applications for the Corporate Mission Fund program. This is the sixth year that grants will be awarded from the earnings of the fund.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

You’ve seen algae, the (mostly) green stuff on the surface of lakes, streams, oceans and other bodies of water. To simplify things, in this article I am including every water-dwelling, photosynthesizing microorganism into the algal umbrella.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Our area is facing a looming stormwater crisis. Large tracts of developed land mixed with erratic rainfall lead to situations where local utilities are overwhelmed by the influx of stormwater runoff. This is only going to get worse as the area is further developed.

As March quickly approaches, the urge to be outdoors pruning, preparing and planting in and around our garden and landscape areas comes instinctively to most individuals as temperatures reach Hi-Low (F) averages between 59.2-31.9 degrees and precipitation around 3.19 inches.

North Carolinians can help conserve North Carolina’s wildlife with a voluntary contribution to the Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Fund, found on line 30 of the North Carolina state income tax form.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

The Small Business Center at Southwestern Community College and the Center for Environmental Farming Systems are offering the free seminar “How to Make Money on the Farm” from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1, at the Qualla Fire Station.

As of 2019, Swain County 4-H Livestock Club was in its second year. With 15 members, the Tangled Feet Stompers also has new youth members as well. With 4-H ages ranging from 5 to 19, there is constant need for clubs and groups to recruit new members or they will eventually dwindle and cease …

Soil testing is a quick and accurate method to determine the relative acidity of the soil (pH) and the level of several essential nutrients (phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, sulfur, manganese, copper, and zinc) needed. The test results will aid in plant selection, soil prep…

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

If you look at the sky outside right now, chances are you’ll see a cloud. On a normal day over half of the planet is covered in clouds. These masses of water vapor operate at a wide range of altitudes, and take on a variety of types depending on their location and height.

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Southwestern Community College’s Small Business Center is offering a free seminar to help those interested in growing vegetables, fruits, other crops and livestock learn how to turn their ideas into sustainable businesses.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Evergreen plants have been used throughout human history to enliven spaces during the cold, dreary and often green-free winter. This time of year, Americans are constantly reminded of the holiday spirit as they pass festively decorated trees in stores, businesses and even most living rooms.

What are some of your favorite holiday activities? Could it be singing Christmas songs such as “O Holy Night,” “Little Snowflake,”The First Noel” or “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer?”

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue designated farmers in three North Carolina counties, including Jackson, as primary natural disaster areas. Those who suffered losses due to recent drought may be eligible for U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency emergency loans.

Butterflies are far more complex than their carefree fluttering nature usually lets on. Although the butterflies in your area all appear similar and act in the same general fashion, scientists are discovering subtle clues that set each butterfly species apart from the others. In fact, the bu…