We are living in a time of
rapid change. Travel is
quick and easy, and we are
exchanging flora and
fauna with other parts of
the world at a rapid pace.
Many of our most
common plants and
animals were brought
here by humans from
other parts of the world
– dandelions, English ivy,
starlings, house sparrows, and Japanese beetles are established
members of our flora and fauna. Other recently introduced species
include the brown marmorated stink bug, house centipede,  zebra
mussel, and snakehead fish. Some introduced species have caused
drastic changes to our environment, such as the chestnut blight and
Dutch elm disease, which virtually wiped out the American chestnut
and the American elm trees.  It is likely that we will be seeing more
drastic changes as we continue to introduce new species, alter the
landscape, introduce chemical fertilizers and pesticides into the
environment, and change the climate.

Many years ago I was told a story that has stuck in my mind. The story
went something like this:

"400 years ago the Eastern part of North America, where we live now,
was a huge, unbroken forest. A squirrel could travel from the Atlantic
Ocean to the Mississippi River by jumping from tree to tree without
ever touching the ground.

The trunks of the trees were huge, often 6 feet in diameter. And the
trunks were far enough apart that a horse cart could
be driven between them. Among the trees there were Black Bear,
White-tail Deer, and packs of Timber Wolves. Mountain Lions, Bobcat,
and Timber Rattlesnakes roamed the forest.

For the most part the trees grew undisturbed,and over thousands of
years, the plants, the birds, the insects, and all the other life had
settled into a comfortable relatively unchanging equilibrium."

That equilibrium has been disrupted, and we are now living in a
dynamic ecosystem. You never know what you will encounter next in
the wilds of the Baltimore-Washington corridor. A bee from England, a
bird from Asia, a fish from Africa?

The Baltimore-Washington, DC area has been my home for over 40
years. I have been exploring and studying the natural history of the
area for as long, and carrying a camera around while exploring has
been my favorite pastime since I was a teenager. This website is my
way of sharing some of the things I have seen and learned along the
way. I hope you enjoy your visit.

-- Getting Outdoors - Places to hike or observe nature and wildlife in
the Baltimore-Washington D.C. area.

Plants and Man - native plants and their historical and modern roles
in the lives of man.
-- Edible Wild Plants
-- Herbology - medical uses, historical and modern
1897 HERBAL by W. T. FERNIE, M.D.
-- Other uses for wild plants

Animals of the Washington, D.C.-Baltimore area

-- Plants of the Washington, D.C.-Baltimore area

-- Gardening for wildlife and organic gardening

-- Issues in conservation and health
-- pesticides, herbicides, chemical waste, etcetera
-- land use - construction and development
-- Genetic Modification (GM crops)

Cool Links

-- Some Field Trips in the Southern States

-- Some Biology of Wildlife

-- Contact me

-- About this site

-- Recommended Reading and Bibliography

--------------- Plants and Plant Identification

--------------- Animals

--------------- Herbs and Ethnobotany

--------------- Hiking and Wildlife Watching
This site is maintained by me in my spare time. Please let me know what you
find particularly useful and what you would like to see expanded. If you saw
an interesting critter I would love to hear about it.
Contact me

Backyard Wildlife

Many of us who live in suburban
areas have interesting wildlife
living in our backyards. But
much of the wildlife activity
occurs at night under the cover
of darkness while we are fast
asleep. One way we can catch a
glimpse of the hidden activity is
through the use of Trial Cams.
Trail Cams with motion sensors
and infrared flash have become
relatively inexpensive and can
be purchased at sporting goods
stores or online retailers.

I set up a camera in my yard and
have been getting some
interesting pictures of foxes,
deer, rabbits, squirrels and
sometimes birds. Other animals
that can be captured on film by
Trail Cams include raccoons,
opossums, skunks, coyote,
beavers, and muskrats. Many of
these cameras have video
capability and can record the
activities of animals with minimal
disturbance as they hunt and
feed, play, and raise families.
The Online Natural History Museum
All use of this work shall reference www.metro-naturalist.com. All use of this
work shall be non-commercial.
Wikipedia tells us that “Natural history is the research and study of
organisms including plants or animals in their environment, leaning
more towards observational than experimental methods of study.”

So, what does this really mean, how does a person study natural
history? Natural history is a very broad area of study. It includes not
only the observational study of living organisms, but also geology,
geography, astronomy, climatology, and meteorology.  Just about
any -ology you can think of could be included in the realm of natural

As a naturalist, a person who studies natural history, my interest is
in all living things - plants, animals, fungi, bacteria – the habitats
they live in, the interactions between species (including
interactions with humans), the interactions between members of
the same species, and the influences of geology, climate, weather,
and astronomy on the lives of organisms. Paleontology and the
study of evolution give us insight into how the world around us
came to be what it is today and also fall under the umbrella of
natural history.

As this museum develops I will touch on all these aspects of Natural
History, with an emphasis on the Baltimore-Washington corridor,
exploring the past and examining the present.
White-tailed Deer in yard
Red Fox
Red Fox checks out the trail cam - backyard
Red Fox
Eastern Cottontail Rabbit - in yard