This weekend, Charlottesville celebrates a surprising birthday and is inviting the public to a party.
Even for residents of nearby Charlottesville, the Blue Ridge Swim Club may be a surprise – a one-of-a-kind place where cicadas, tree frogs and birds provide a natural soundtrack.
At the end of an unpaved, single lane off Owensville Road in Ivy, you park in the grass and follow a winding path down a hill, through a forest of old growth trees to a fresh water pool the length of a football field.
I could hear Tony tearing up the trail from Squirrel Creek toward our campsite in the middle of a blueberry patch in remote Avery County, North Carolina. All the forest creatures could hear him, too.
Tony was anything but subtle when he’d caught a fish and he wanted every thrush, every gray squirrel, every white-tail deer, every groundhog and—most of all—me to know he’d hooked a penny-bright, native, feisty rainbow trout.
It’s spring, and that means business for the Wildlife Center of Virginia, where hundreds of animals – many of them babies -- are brought for treatment of injuries or illness. This year veterinarians are caring for a record number of bear cubs, the public is invited to watch.
On a sunny afternoon in May, a small, light brown bear climbs around her cage – trying to find a way out. She was confiscated from someone who tried to keep her as a pet, and Amanda Nicholson, director of outreach for the center, says this baby is not native to these parts.
As the 17-year cicadas emerge from the ground, millions of birds will be feasting – and a few people plan to join the party. They're harvesting, cooking and eating these insects which experts say are high in protein, and low in fat and cholesterol. Clever cooks have even incorporated cicadas into tacos and pizza, sushi, chili and chocolate chip cookies.
Experts say that due to the prolific use of pesticides it is not recommended to eat any bug without knowing its origins are safe.