A look at the natural world around us.

University of Mary Washington

As Virginia considers allowing drilling for oil off its coast, scientists at the University of Mary Washington are doing basic research that could prove valuable in the event of a spill.  Sandy Hausman reports on what they hope to learn after two weeks of trolling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico.

For most people, an ocean cruise is vacation. 

For Charlie Sharpless, two weeks on the Gulf of Mexico was work.  

Blaze A Trail

Nov 24, 2015

Have you ever dreamed of blazing your own trail?  Then the New River Valley Trail Crew is looking for you.  They’re a collection of volunteers who help build and maintain area hiking trails from small, local paths to the great Appalachian Trail, which runs through the region.


October was the sixth month in a row of the warmest temperatures ever recorded.  That's according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  And El Nino is not fully to blame. Greenhouse gas emissions are a big part of the problem.  Researchers at Virginia Tech and Sweet Briar College are working on ways to remove more of it from the air.

Here's how Thomas O'Halloran explains the difference between weather and climate: "The weather tells you what you need to wear today and climate tells you what should be in your closet."

Creative Commons

The European Commission recently recommended approval for continued use of the most widely used pesticide in the world.  It concluded Glyphosate; the main ingredient in “Round Up,” poses no unacceptable risk to human health, animals or the environment – but not everyone is convinced of the pesticide’s long-term safety.

(Richard Webster / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.)

In 1967, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service created the first endangered species list, the Eastern Shore's Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel was there among better known species like the bald eagle and Florida manatee.

A combination of clear-cutting of old growth forests and hunting contributed to its near extinction. Today, the Service officially removed the squirrel from its federally protected designation.