Natural World

Discovering Jacques Cousteau

Naval officer, inventor, explorer, environmentalist, filmmaker, writer, and international media sensation—Jacques-Yves Cousteau's life was the stuff of legends. He was born in June of 1910. In our modern era of environmental concerns and done-nothing celebs, it's time to revisit the life and work of an extraordinary man.

Childhood among the Rich

I Thought YOU Packed the Water Bottles

Due to the stupidity revealed in this story, our names have been changed to protect our identities. My husband, Ed, will henceforth be referred to as "Herb," and I will be "Sally." Herb and I are experienced hikers. We've read A Walk in the Woods.

365 Days of Astronomy

The 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast is a project that will publish one podcast per day, for all 365 days of 2009. The podcast episodes are written, recorded and produced by people around the world.

Join the Volksmarch

"A volksmarch is a non-competitive 6 mile (10 kilometer) walk. It's not a pledge walk, it's not a race, it is a fun activity you do with a club, with your family, with your pet, or all by yourself. "
--American Volkssport Association

Shells: Jewels from the Sea

Shells litter the beaches of every continent on our planet. They are durable enough to be used as building material, but they are so compelling that societies have featured their motifs in religion, art, and architecture. Many varieties of shellfish have the additional virtue of being delicious!

Chiggers and Blisters and Bears, Oh, My! Get Ready for Summer Camp

Once upon a time, families might take an entire month or more to go on low-key vacations to the countryside or the beach. The idea of spending a long while way from the hot stagnation of a city's summer heat in the mountains and woods had a lot of appeal to those who could afford it. Another choice might have been sending the kids off to Grandma and Grandpa's farm. Today, with our modern, air-conditioned homes and the grandparents likely still working or possibly retired to a Florida condo, kids who are inexperienced in the sweet art of enjoying themselves in the outdoors sometimes need a special place where they can go and have fun in a low-tech, high-energy way. We call this carefully crafted extracurricular activity summer camp.

Fredericksburg Monster(s): One or More?

In July, 1872 it was reported an enormous serpent, supposed to be a python, anaconda or boa constrictor, escaped from a traveling menagerie. Its body was said to be the thickness of a lamp post, and it had been seen in the meadow below the papermill (today's water treatment plant). It had also been seen in the trees overhanging the water at Beck's Island, and "we may soon expect to hear of the disappearance of the boys who go bathing" there.

Beginning in Bird Watching

If you enjoy any outdoor activity—hiking, boating, or just strolling downtown—why not add bird watching to your itinerary? Our area has an abundance of birds. The Rappahannock draws migrating waterfowl, and our woods, tree-lined streets, and backyards provide more safe havens for these amazing creatures. Read on to get started.