Jonna McKone


Twelve-year-old Mannie Thames knows a lot of kids with BB guns. He says kids have them for safety and because they're cool.

"Sometimes people get bullied a lot, and they want to have something to protect their self," Thames says. "And sometimes people think it's cool, they want to shoot people for fun."

He explains this in between bites of snacks at the after-school center, Penn North Kids Safe Zone, in West Baltimore.

Replica guns that shoot BBs and other projectiles are popular with kids. But in some settings, they pose a special danger.


In recent years, as the National Park Service has faced deep funding cuts and a stagnant number of visitors, the country's demographic changes have made its problems more pronounced.

Most visitors to National Parks are white, and increasingly, they're also older.  For instance,  Virginia’s  Shenandoah National Park is one of the nation’s most visited and accessible parks, yet recent research out of the University of Idaho indicates that 92% of visitors in 2011 were white.  

Coal Mine Reclamation

Oct 16, 2013

For more than a century, coal companies here in Virginia have been transforming wooded hillsides -- strip mining more than a million acres of land in Central Appalachia.

They're required to restore those sites, but environmentalists aren't always happy with the results, and area residents find no economic use for the land. Now, however, there's something new happening on old mining sites.

For more information:

Green Forests Work

American Chestnut Foundation