At 80, biologist Matthews still stalks the threatened landscapes

Jim Matthews, botanist, treks the woods at Reedy Creek Nature Preserve with herbarium curator Catherine Luckenbaugh. Jim Matthews, a retired UNC Charlotte biology professor, is a botanist whose mission is to collect and catalog the plants of the 15-county region of the North Carolina Piedmont, preserving a record of what we have, before it’s lost to development.

What birds tell us about Mecklenburg’s environment

This loggerhead shrike, nesting near the Regal Starlight movie theater in northeast Mecklenburg County, was one of the last of its species in the county. The bird and its mate are no longer there. Photo: Tom Sanders 2011 A mostly volunteer team of “citizen scientists” is helping Mecklenburg County track which bird species are reappearing, or disappearing as development changes the local habitat. An interview with naturalist Don Seriff.

From food scraps to new business venture

Bins at collection point for Crown Town Compost. Photo: Mary Newsom Three environmentally minded Charlotte entrepreneurs contemplated food waste and instead of seeing a stinky mess, they sniffed out potential for a new business focused on sustainability. Enter Crown Town Compost.

Curiosity, coincidence led to rediscovery of Gaston magnolia

Bigleaf magnolia in bloom in Myers Park. Photo: Mary Newsom Aided by some surprising coincidences, a curious and determined librarian located the Gaston County site where a famous French botanist first recorded the bigleaf magnolia tree.

Ever wondered ... are there secret creeks in uptown Charlotte?

Map of creeks uptown, from 1877 and today. Map: Garrett Nelson Mecklenburg’s 3,000 miles of creeks run through every part of the county, including uptown Charlotte. But many of uptown’s small creeks are hidden from view. An 1877 map offers clues to finding where those creeks once ran.

Beauty and beasts: Where are Charlotte cankerworms worst?

Behind the beauty of spring in Charlotte lie thousands of cankerworms, devouring leaves and defoliating trees. Photo: Mary Newsom Charlotte has fought leaf-devouring cankerworms for 25 years. New maps show where  this year's infestations are worst. Helping with the fight this year is a worm-hungry beetle. 

Jackson: Sprawling cities, towns may be killing us

Mecklenburg subdivision, 2005 photo, Nancy Pierce Public health expert Richard Jackson thinks it’s time to stop blaming individuals for the U.S. obesity problem. The problem, he says, is more systemic, including the auto-centric design of daily life and easy access to high-sugar and high-fat food.

Exhibit, films, creek-side walks planned for 'City of Creeks'

Tree-lined banks of Irwin Creek. Photo: Nancy Pierce A series of events is planned, as part of the KEEPING WATCH on WATER: City of Creeks collaborative project. 

How much do you know about Charlotte's creeks? Take our quiz

Little Sugar Creek south of Sharon Road West. Photo: Nancy Pierce To whet your appetite for next week’s series of "City of Creeks" articles at PlanCharlotte, test your knowledge of the creeks of Mecklenburg County with a short quiz. 

'City of Creeks' debuts March 27, launches KEEPING WATCH second year

Seen from the air, Little Sugar Creek emerges from under a concrete culvert near North Tryon Street and Sugar Creek Road. Photo: Nancy Pierce The KEEPING WATCH initiative enters year two with KEEPING WATCH on WATER: City of Creeks. The project includes articles at PlanCharlotte.org and an exhibition opening Friday, March 27.