Plan on making a summer getaway to the mountains? Or in need of a perfect gift? Randy Johnson’s Grandfather Mountain: The History and Guide to an Appalachian Icon can help with both! Grandfather Mountain highlights the natural beauty and history of one of North Carolina’s best known landmarks. Continue Reading Grandfather Mountain: The History and Guide to an Appalachian Icon
It’s Free Book Friday!! Enter to win a copy of Lessons from the Sand by Charles O. Pilkey and Orrin H. Pilkey via Goodreads. Each easy-to-follow activity is presented in full color with dozens of whimsical and informational illustrations that will engage and guide readers through the experiments. Great for taking along on your next beach vacation! The giveaway ends on Friday, July 15, so get your entry in now! Continue Reading Free Book Friday! Lessons from the Sand by Charles & Orrin Pilkey
Heading to the North Carolina beach next week? David Blevins will be there too with North Carolina’s Barrier Islands: Wonders of Sand, Sea, and Sky! Stop by for an inspiring presentation on David’s writing journey and how he captures the wonder of the islands. Continue Reading David Blevins on tour with North Carolina’s Barrier Islands
Happy Summer! In honor of the summer solstice, we’re posting our suggestions for your summer reading list. If you’re planning a fun tropical vacation or just heading to your neighborhood pool, UNC Press has your perfect summer read. Pick up a fun guidebook or new biography, and don’t forget about our 40% sale! Continue Reading UNC Press Summer Reading List
Father’s Day is a week away! Still looking for the perfect gift? Look no further than the UNC Press Father’s Day gift guide. We’ve compiled our best suggestions to match any dad’s interests. Continue Reading Father’s Day Gift Guide
It’s easy to stand on a beach and watch waves moving sand around, but we tend to forget it’s the wind that makes the waves. In that sense, wind is the fundamental cause of major changes on a beach. Continue Reading Excerpt: Sea Breeze activity from Lessons from the Sand
Recently, my parents and I went to the Outer Banks for the weekend. Unfortunately, the red flags were out so my mom wouldn’t let me go into the water. Fortunately, we had a copy of LESSONS FROM THE SAND with us, and we made our own fun out of the water. Continue Reading Lessons from the Sand: A Budding Naturalist Explores
In the movie In the Heart of the Sea, based upon Nathaniel Philbrick’s best-selling book of the same title, an enraged sperm whale twice rams the whale ship Essex. In a matter of minutes, the Essex starts sinking and capsizes on its port side, leaving its crew stranded on the vast Pacific in three small and under-provisioned whale boats.
But about ten years before the sinking of the Essex in 1820, an even more cunning and fearsome whale received widespread notoriety throughout the whaling community and even among the general public. Continue Reading Stan Ulanski: Sperm Whales: Demons of the Sea?
Q: Who is the primary audience for this book?
Charles Pilkey: The book is intended for families with kids up to middle school age. We hope parents will do the activities together with their children.
Orrin Pilkey: We also think that the activities herein are a goldmine for high school students doing science projects. The activities could give older kids a start, and they can follow up and proceed into the wild blue yonder as far as their imagination will carry them. Continue Reading Interview: Charles O. Pilkey and Orrin H. Pilkey on Lessons from the Sand
As I researched and studied the myriad organisms that swim in and fly over the California Current for my book on this unique ecosystem, none caught my attention more than Pacific sea turtles—living dinosaurs of the ocean. Theirs is an old story—one of long journeys and nesting rituals performed over the eons. The tale below chronicles the journey and trials of a determined sea turtle. Continue Reading Stan Ulanski: Wanderers of the Pacific Ocean: Sea Turtles
I looked up in time to see a flying fish sailing past at eye level, 15 feet above the water. Turning to Captain Harry Baum, I asked whether any had ever landed in this boat. While he was telling me that in 26 years of fishing in the Gulf Stream, that had never happened, an 11-inch-long flying fish crash-landed on the deck below. I rushed down, secured my prize, and hurried back to the bridge to ask Captain Baum if his boat had ever been struck by lightning. What I thought was the best one-liner of the day was not appreciated. The captain proceeded to recount the times his boat had been struck, how insurance companies refused to insure electrical navigational equipment, and how, when . . . well, you get the idea.
During the warm months, flying fish are commonly seen in the Gulf Stream off North Carolina. So at times when there is not much going on aboard ship, and when other creatures of the open sea are scarce, I watch fish fly. Continue Reading Excerpt: Gulf Stream Chronicles, by David S. Lee
One of my favorite waterfall hikes in the southern Appalachians is the Rainbow Falls Trail in western North Carolina, just south of Lake Toxaway. Beginning in Gorges State Park, the 4-mile (round-trip) trail soon enters Pisgah National Forest, where it follows the Horsepasture River (a designated Wild and Scenic River) along the Blue Ridge Escarpment. Four waterfalls occur along this stretch of the river, including Rainbow Falls, a near-vertical cascade about 125 feet high with a large plunge pool at the base. Few waterfalls in the southern Appalachians are as spectacular (and powerful) as this one. Continue Reading Timothy P. Spira: Hiking Rainbow Falls Trail
Yosemite National Park made the evening news on Wednesday, January 14, 2015. American rock climbers Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson reached the top of El Capitan by ascending Yosemite’s Dawn Wall. The climbers’ years of preparation, 19-day free-climb, and personal stories riveted television audiences nationwide. News programs also gave audiences a rare treat: panoramic views of the park’s natural beauty that included cascading waterfalls, granite formations, and snow-dusted trees.
Yet Yosemite almost did not become a national park. Continue Reading Adam Wesley Dean on the Creation of Yosemite
Waterfalls are constantly changing. A rapid surge in stream flow following a heavy rain can turn a modest waterfall into a raging torrent of water. Dry periods can transform a waterfall into a trickle of water (much to the disappointment of waterfall enthusiasts). A slight breeze can elicit a shimmering spray, and if the light is right, a colorful rainbow. If passing clouds obscure the sun, the brightly reflective waterfall changes to softer hues, and the rainbow vanishes into thin air. Continue Reading Timothy P. Spira: The Lure of Waterfalls
Controversy rages over fire policy in Linville Gorge, which was the first designated Federal Wilderness in the East with the passage of the Wilderness Act in 1964. Currently, the policy is to suppress any fires that threaten manmade structures, but to allow lower-intensity lightning-strike fires to burn. The latest management plan proposes prescribed burns in the Gorge to promote pines and rare plants and to reduce fuel loads. Homeowners in the Gingercake Acres development, perched on the eastern rim of the Gorge, understandably worry about risk to their homes. Advocacy organizations like Save the Linville Gorge Wilderness argue that fire destroys the wild character of the landscape. Skeptics scoff that the Forest Service maintains only an illusion of control over something as unpredictable and powerful as fire. Continue Reading Stephanie B. Jeffries: Free the Phoenix: Fire and Rebirth in Linville Gorge
I think most of us are “destination-oriented”—focused on the trail’s end, the scenic vista, the waterfall. Many of our hikes have points of interest such as these, because we love them too. By using our book, you can become a “journey” person as well, someone who sees something new and exciting around each bend in the trail. We want you to start seeing the forest intimately, instead of a background of green noise. Continue Reading Interview: Steph Jeffries and Tom Wentworth on Hiking Appalachian Forests
As a member of the intellectual elite in the Virginia colony, how did William Byrd II understand weather, the seasons, and their effects on the land? Continue Reading Kevin Joel Berland: William Byrd II, Archiving Colonial Virginia’s Natural History
Our State strongly recommends a trip out to the beloved Outer Banks where you can visit the barrier islands and, “In Corolla and Shackleford Banks, you can see North Carolina’s most famous horses.” Continue Reading North Carolina Icons: Barrier Islands and Wild Horses
Our State explains the best way to appreciate the pioneer’s of aviation: “Stand at the base of the Wright Brothers Memorial in Kitty Hawk, right where it all began.” Then, just a few miles to the south you can visit Jockey’s Ridge State Park, home to the East Coast’s tallest active sand dune, where Our State recommends, “Want to be a daredevil? Try hang-gliding. Rather keep your feet in the sand? Fly a kite. Continue Reading North Carolina Icons: Wright Brothers and Jockey’s Ridge
In an interview with North Carolina Bookwatch host D. G. Martin, Riggs talks about the richness of resources and the comparatively pristine state of North Carolina’s coastline and barrier islands. Continue Reading Video: Stanley Riggs on NC Bookwatch