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The whole NCnatural site is a beautiful one. Wildflowers, The Blue Ridge Parkway, NC Festivals and Events, and everything is addressed here. A labor of love, definitely.

The National Botany Information Infrastructure is a resource of resources run by a government agency, the NBII (Actually a federation of partners, headed up by the already net-savvy USGS). It is a great place to start to look for botanical information online and references tons of educational and organizational websites who's aim is to supply information to the internet, and keep the data side strong.


Nature Close to Home: Signs, Season, and Stories. This is a collection of thoughts and observations by the naturalist only known as 'Jim'. His journal entries are more like poems and his stories are moments of touching softly the world of his beautiful meadows and mountains of Colorado. Jim loves the spirit of the west, and, appropriately his voice is rhythmic and sparse and perhaps a bit distant in its ruggedness. Almost a "Mullein Award" winner.

The Sonoran Desert Naturalist Homepage is a great collection of nature observing and personal expansion by desert-lover Michael J. Plagens. He organizes his journal entries into various subjects where they can be explored collectively, something i should learn to do. Interspersed are photos and links to photos. Where he doesn't take the pictures himself he gives proper credit and a link to wash it down. He has helpful hints to bring nature home to you and you to nature, all in his own direct style. A very friendly place to visit and think, especially if you love the Southwest desert and its spirit. A definite MULLEIN AWARD winning site!


The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service maintains quite an extensive database of plants, and this is a link to it's query system. It contains current information and usually a few pictures of each plant along with state distributions.

Hasn't been updated in a while, but Stein's virtual herbararium. Kenneth Stein has pictures of many of the same plants taken in SW Virginia and WV to help get a better view. Not a lot of information, but some pretty and instructive pictures.

Grandfather Mountain, NC is a habitat- and species-rich environment that also is a private park. They have some nice wildflower and historic exhibits at this site.

The Brooklyn Metropolitan Plant Encyclopedia is an interesting plant-guide that includes discussions of various aspects of plants. Makes you wanna go visit the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, too.

The State Botanical Garden of Georgia, has some wonderful stuff.

The American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta is a place to locate websites of your favorite gardens that might need a local visit or support from you.

If you're up on your biological terms and want to investigate the different families of plants, the Cornell Universities Families of Flowering Plants, is a must-see. However, if you're unsure whether a plant is anomocytic, or anisocytic, or paracytic it might just be gobbledygook, especially if the whole idea of urticating hairs frightens you. They do have some very good drawings of various plants.


While the work that the North Carolina State University's Horticulture department has done is geared for landscaping and in fact is called Urban Tree Identification, it is worthwhile to use to get to know trees, starting with the ones in your back yard. Good pictures and information on habitat needs and general characteristics.


One of the coolest and most fun fungal website is Tom Volk's Fungi, which is helped along by the Department of Biology and Microbiology at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Tom is verbose about the darling little things and even includes letters and questions about them, a fungus of the month area, and lots of information about his favorite, the incredible edible morel. He even has a special "Life cycle of the Morel" and various pieces of information that relates to eating various mushrooms. He has a gopher site that has pictures of every form imaginable... ok, well MANY forms. He also hosts the Mycological Society of America webpage.

George Barron's fungal website is good too. He, like myself, has little interest in consuming the sex-parts of fungi, but loves to photograph them. Some very good information and even better pictures.


Similar in tone to this site, only for birds, is The Nest Box, a carefully crafted site of backyard and field birding, nesting, gardening for birds and butterflies, travelogues, and photo galleries. Very nicely done by Arlene Ripley, whose love, i suspect is bluebirds and for those reasons wages a territorial war against the invasive 'house sparrow'. She even entertains questions about anything to do with birds.

The National Audubon Society has designated the Highlands Plateau as an IBA (Important Bird Area) and features Olive-sided Flycatcher, Canada Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, and others. The area is particularly significant for Peregrine Falcons, Blackburnian Warblers, Golden-crowned Kinglets, Red-breasted Nuthatches, Least Flycatchers, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, and Brown Creepers, among many others. The Highlands Plateau Audibon Society has their own webpage on this server.


The self-proclaimed Arachnological Hub of the World Wide Web, is a path to thoughtful and some tedious spider sites across the web run by the University of Antwerp, Belgium. They have arachnid information sorted by Order, which includes the scorpions, the mites and ticks and whatnot. These are very organized links. I'm not sure how often the pages are checked, but i didn't run across any broken links. Includes commercial links as well as people's homepages and thesis and treatises on these fascinating creatures. This really does seem to be a great arachnid resource for browsing and doing reports and just plain learning. It is personally maintained specialty sites such as these that i hope, for the future, will make the internet a real information resource and let Yahoo and other search engines concentrate on commercial sites on a 'for profit' basis.

Randy Emmitt's great photography site showcases his love for the 'bugs' of the world. He has other nature shots, but a complete list of all 94 species Butterflies of North Carolina, is not to be missed (He doesn't have pictures of them all, but MANY of them). He graciously provides information about them, plus info on where he took the picture. Sort of like a butterfly version of what i'm trying to do with the plant id. Obstensibly, he's out to sell some of his pictures, but he puts them up on the web and gives you a reason for them. Plus, they are crystal sharp and load fairly quickly. He also provides tips on scanning that's both technical and enlightening.


The trails of Macon county are detailed by length on the Macon County Webpage, has quite a few listed and have good directions.



The Pisgah Inn is an inn (and the only gas station for many miles) along the Blue Ridge Parkway between Asheville and Waynesville. Next to Pisgah Mountain it has a restaurant and is a fine place to stay, though i never have. Just heard nice things. Open April - October

The Blue Ride Parkway is a great place for viewing wildflowers, and Roanoke.com has some of those flowers marked by mileposts along its route. Great for going to find exactly what you want to see when. Helpful map of the parkway, too, with places to see, eat, gas up and stay.

Other Blue Ridge Parkway sites:


I don't advertise here, but i really do like Campmor's hiking stuff. They offer the name brands like Kelty, Eureka, North Face, Jansport etc. along with all kinza gizmos and outdoorsy stuff. I've bought from them consistently, waiting for the products i want to become last years models and buying them on sale. Tell 'em zen sent ya!

Rent-A-Naturalist. Actually, they don't call it that, but that's what they do and it's sort of an interesting concept. It's for people who don't just want to get out in the heart of Vermont, but to be able to learn to observe and soak in what's around them. Soft versions of hiking, picknicing, canoeing and winter snow-shoeing with naturalist Elizabeth Cooper. If you're in Vermont and want to soak up Vermont nature, try them.

MISC (I forget how to spell it, and because it's last doesn't mean it's least!)

Tom Brown Jr. is one of my personal heroes. He has an approach to nature that is connected, forgiving of man, and wise. He has a truly deep understanding that has helped me in many ways. He offers classes in Tracking, nature appreciation, survival and related things at his farm in upstate NJ. Worth checking out if you're serious. His website keeps track of what classes are available and gives detailed course descriptions. If you aren't up for a week-long immersion in nature, then at the very least check out his Field Guides. If you're a suburbanite, start with his Tom Brown's Field Guide - The Forgotten Wilderness. If that doesn't get you appreciating the nature of your own backyard, then you just don't have it in ya.