By Christina Santee
Photos by Angelina Bellebuono
Cohabitation is something we as human beings have grown accustomed to in our 2.2 million years in existence. Sharing the planet with millions of varying flora and fauna species is something we’re familiar with, but exactly how well do we understand them?
Sure, we’re unfazed when we find ourselves face-to-face with a squirrel, rabbit or deer on occasion, but unless you’re a walking encyclopedia, chances are the information you know about them is only what remember from 7th grade biology.
Cindy Wiemann, Madison animal control, receives numerous calls throughout the day ranging from complaints over unwanted visitors, to locals reporting what they would assume are invasive species.
Her advice to unknowing Madisonians is simple: Leave them alone. Leave them ALL alone.
“In general you should just leave wild animals alone,” Wiemann said. It’s best just to avoid any interaction with local species. Even if they seem abandoned, injured or in need of human assistance, it’s best to walk away and allow nature to take its course.
As stated on their Web site, AWARE is, “committed to the preservation and restoration of Wildlife and its habitat trough education and wildlife rehabilitation.” They are a smart resource when it comes to educating yourself on the do’s and don’ts of various species.
In Wiemann’s 12 years she’s seen it all, but in her business it’s best to expect the unexpected. The responsibilities of working in the animal control business can definitely be strenuous at times.
Printed in the May 5, 2011 edition
Clear Cut Controversy: DNR responds to storm of protest over clear cutting at Hard Labor Creek State ParkSubmitted by editor on Mon, 04/18/2011 - 18:28.
By Judy A. Maxwell | Photos by Angelina Bellebuono
When a tornado ripped through Hard Labor Creek State Park last November, residents along the park’s boundaries knew some cleanup would be in order.
More than 250 trees in the public park were felled by the Nov. 30 storm as well as trees and buildings on nearby private property.
The cleanup, however, which got under way last month has startled and dismayed park neighbors who did not expect to see large swaths of forest clear-cut to the ground. The residents say they were unaware of such aggressive action and have collectively protested the clear-cutting. In response, the state Department of Natural Resources has decided to hold off on some of the activity until the issues can be addressed. And officials say they regret not letting the public know more about what to expect.
Last month, park neighbors Tommy and Judy Breedlove heard the noise of tree cutters deep in the woods and figured the storm cleanup was under way. They have lived in Rutledge for more than 35 years and were familiar with such activity.
Tommy Breedlove went out of town for a couple days, during which time Judy called him and in a distraught voice said, “You should see what they’ve done to the forest.” Breedlove returned home to a completely leveled landscape. Where loblolly pines and maples once shaded the loamy ground were now acres and acres of stumps, logs and forest debris on muddy red clay. Almost on the floor herself, Judy Breedlove was grieving the sudden loss of forest and way of life. Also wounded are her memories of growing up next to Hard Labor Creek.
Written by Jamie Miles | Photographed by Dennis McDaniel
A local family invests in the future by harnessing the sun's power.
In Ashley and Weyman Hunt's bustling kitchen, a bulletin board displays a patchwork of their young sons' tempera paintings and a Georgia Power bill heralding a $7 credit. This is Weyman's prize, appropriately featured among his children's masterpieces. The reason for this unheard-of power bill lies in a clearing just outside the family room window: a series of photovoltaic panels converting sunlight to electricity.
The Hunts are local pioneers on the frontier of renewable energy. Utilizing two proven ways to harness the sun's power, they produce thermal solar-heated water and photovoltaic energy. While the terms may sound high tech, they translate into hot baths for three busy boys, unlimited loads of muddy socks made clean, and enough electricity to power a home full of 21st century gadgets and toys. Judging by this traditional family's lifestyle, green energy may soon become mainstream.
By James Faucett l Art by Angelina Bellebuono
Years ago, the late Rutledge farmer Walter Bonny Shepherd made a prediction – that his son would see yields of more than three bales of cotton per acre.
Mark Shepherd didn’t see how it could get better than the two-and-a-half the family saw in 1982.
"But it did," he said last month.
This season, some of his fields have reached that milestone in what is turning out to be a boom year for cotton.
According to the USDA, 8 million bales have been ginned in the U.S. this season through November 1, compared to 2.3 million for the same period last year. In Georgia, 806,000 have been ginned, versus 209,000 last year.
The USDA projects that the U.S. will produce 18.4 million bales for 2010, versus 12.2 million last year. Georgia is expected to produce 2.2 million bales, compared to 1.9 million for 2009.
And prices are at historic levels.
This fall, cotton futures have reached about $1.50 for a pound, according to Don Shurley, a cotton economist with the University of Georgia. Cotton closed Nov. 15 at just under $1.40.
And it appeared to have hit an all-time high of $1.5723 in intra-day trading on Nov. 10, according to Lee Underwood of the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), though the price ultimately closed lower for the day.
“These are the highest prices since we started keeping records,” Shurley said, adding that they go back to 1876.
Richey Seaton of the Georgia Cotton Commission said the high prices are essentially due to a low inventory.
In years past, he said, there had been heavy cotton stocks in other parts of the world, though not quite as much in the U.S., which had reduced its cotton acreage overall by around 40 percent.
By Ramsey Nix
photos by angelina bellebuono
Tewksbury Farms in Buckhead got mobbed last Sunday. A group of approximately 50 landless farmers, mostly from Atlanta, descended on Tate Tewksbury’s fields, wielding shovels, hammers and drills. By the time they left, his corn was harvested, the weeds pulled, and two brand new greenhouses stood on fallow ground.
A group called Crop Mob Atlanta organized the event, which could best be described as a good old-fashioned barn raising. In exchange for a locally grown meal and entertainment, this loosely connected group of “wannabe farmers” donated time and toil to help build “an interconnected agrarian community.”
Tewksbury welcomed the crew of volunteers at 9 a.m. on Sunday morning, telling them, “For three years I’ve been trying to get these greenhouses up.”
After signing waivers and organizing in three different groups, the volunteers quickly got to work. Some mulched a field with hay and picked bushels of corn, and others built the framework for two 2,000-square-foot greenhouses.
Hovering over an instruction manual open on a sawhorse, several leaders emerged. They called out directions and delivered appropriate tools to worker bees eager to follow their lead. Two volunteers held heavy poles in place while one pounded the ends with a sledgehammer until they were able to slide one end into another. Pole by pole, they lifted the heavy framework and secured it in place.
Three young women chatted together while digging foundation trenches. Nadia Behizadeh, 31, pushed her long hair behind her ear and looked up from the hole she was digging to explain her motivation. “It’s a nice escape. You make connections with people who make your food. I’d rather know my farmer,” she said.