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Today's Features

  • By John Nelson

    Plant Columnist

     

    Poison ivy isn’t “evil.” (Neither are spiders or hurricanes.)

    Some plants do cause problems, of course. Poison ivy is a “problem” plant for humans, in that it causes lots of people to break out in allergic reactions, sometimes severely. And yet poison ivy is, in fact, a widespread native species, providing wildlife food for a variety of critters. It is a common component of many natural ecosystems and has been here in our landscapes a lot longer than we humans have.

  • I’m a pet foodie. I’m also a people foodie but my real passion lies with pet food. I’m constantly scouring journals and news outlets for any pet food news. Recently the Institute of Food Technologists(IFT) released a list of nine top pet food trends, particularly dog and cat foods. I thought I’d share their findings and give my opinion on each observation.

  •  Humans are very good at coming up with mental images of what various objects around them ought to look like. It is a basic way of bringing order into the chaotic world in which we live. For instance, when you think of the word “flower,” you generally have a reasonably well-defined notion of what a typical flower looks like: sepals, petals, stamens and pistils, even if you don’t know all the parts like a botanist. This week, we have a plant that offers us something that looks like a flower … or is it?

  • Cape Fear Audubon has been promoting a concept of creating a bird-friendly habitat.

    Now a continuing education course, Creating a Sustainable Natural Habitat for Landscaping, is being offered at the Leland Campus of Brunswick Community College, 2050 Enterprise Dr NE in Leland.   The course will be offered from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday evenings, starting Aug. 19 and ending Sept. 25. Some field trips will be scheduled on Saturdays.  The course covers the same basic concepts of the bird-friendly habitat.

  • The Imitations got their start back in the summer of 1995.

    Three friends — Mike Merritt, Mike Miller and George “Buster” Hobbs — were just having fun and showing off their musical skills.

    Within months, they added a fourth member, George Willetts.

    Tony Creech joined the group, adding expertise on soundboard.

    Many shows later, The Imitations have entertained thousands and recorded three CDs — “Back to Carolina,” “Starrin’ ” and “For Real.”

  • Sand hands will be getting creative Labor Day weekend when the Ocean Isle Beach family sand sculpture contest gets under way.

    The annual competition is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 30, behind the community center at 44 E. First St. in Ocean Isle Beach.

    Rules and applications are available at the Museum of Coastal Carolina at Ocean Isle Beach or by emailing Pam Batchelor at pbatchelor123@gmail.com.

    Participants can also register on the beach the day of the contest. 

  •  By John Nelson

    Our mystery plant may not be familiar to you, because it is fairly uncommon. You will surely know the family to which it belongs, however: the philodendron family.

  • Southport Oak Island Animal Rescue is taking entries for its pet calendar contest.

    The contest is open to any pet — dog, cat rabbie, snake, pig, goat, etc. — and is not limited to the Southport/Oak Island area.

    Rules and entry forms can be printed off at the SOAR website at www.soar-nc.org under the events tab.

    Anyone owning a business who would like to advertise in the calendar can buy a business-card-size ad for $10.

  • It launched six years ago to bring a little music and harmony to the Brunswick County Courthouse.

  •  By John Nelson

    If you’re a flatlander like me, it might be quite a while between your time at home and your visits to the beautiful Alleghany Mountains of West Virginia. I am, in fact, a big fan of eastern West Virginia, a fantastic place in the summer for natural history, and more especially, botany. I fell in love with the dark forests of this part of the country several years ago, led there my inveterate fellow-botanist and banjo champion, Bernie Cyrus.