Turning Over a New Leaf

Hi Friends! Are you noticing the grass turning green again? Here in my neck of the woods, in central Pennsylvania, the fields and hillsides are growing greener by the day–and it’s a welcome sight to my winter-weary eyes.

In fact, I spent the first full day of spring (March 21) outdoors in nature, doing some reporting for my next climate change story (photo above). There was a babbling brook, tall trees under a blue sky, and signs of spring–even a jumping, splashing brook trout. It felt good to be outside.

And that’s what nature can do for us: It simply makes us feel good. Studies show that being outdoors in nature, surrounded by the color green, triggers a multitude of health benefits including reduced stress.

Several weeks ago, it gave me great joy during a winter weekend, to plan out my backyard garden, order and receive my garden seeds. They are seeds of hope. This weekend, I’ll start my tomato plants including a new-to-me, heirloom variety yellow Italian plum. Warmer days are ahead and that gives me great joy.

In the meantime, I’m thankful to be surrounded by lots of leafy green plants in my home office and just about every other room of my house too. There is something comforting, similar to companionship, about plants. Green growth, especially during the cold winter months, truly makes me happy.

That being said, if you’re a plant lover like me, I hope you enjoy my latest story for Susquehanna Style, about a small business that’s putting down strong roots: “Peace, Love, Joy–and Plants.”

I’m not a fan of winter weather, but I spent the past winter feeling guilty about it. That’s because this past winter wasn’t very winter-like, thanks in great part to the effects of climate change. In my second climate change story, in a year-long series for TheBurg, I went in search of Pennsylvania’s biggest weather-related risk under our changing climate. Learn more, in “A Change in the Weather.”

And in an exciting development, WITF and StateImpact Pennsylvania will be republishing the entire series, giving these important stories even more visibility. Here is the story, on their platform, where you can check out additional state-related climate change stories.

The implications of climate change, as well as the innovative strategies addressing our changing climate, aren’t just big global and national stories–they’re happening on local levels too. I discovered how different industries and leaders within Gettysburg and Adams County are responding to climate change, in this feature story for Celebrate Gettysburg.

Also for Celebrate Gettysburg:

Get a sneak peek at Gettysburg’s newest, state-of-the-art $11 million museum, “Gettysburg Beyond the Battle.” Ultimately, what are the Adams County Historical Society’s goals for the new 25,000-square-foot facility?

“I think history is a powerful tool to foster empathy,” says Andrew Dalton, executive director. “We can learn from the past, and it can help us have a better future. History is a fundamental element of education—without it, we become isolated—it shows us how we’re part of a community together.”

A lot of people describe coffee as a lifesaver (I certainly do!). But at Deja’ Brew Coffee & Bakery in New Oxford, it’s not only the magic of coffee, but heavenly baked goods that share in that lifesaving role. That’s because Deja’ Brew is one of the few local or regional bakeries that offers gluten-free treats, which means they have an entire second kitchen and bakery case devoted to gluten-free goodies. Check out my small business story, “Coffeehouse at the Crossroads.”

Being a freelance journalist has its ups and downs. This month, I’m celebrating several of the upsides: March marks my 15th year as a freelancer (yay!)–something I never envisioned. March also marks my three-year anniversary as host/producer of TheBurg Podcast! You can check out the milestone March episode, here. And I have to say… it’s quite funny that both of these milestones hit during the month of March, which is probably my least favorite month of the year. Despite the irony, I feel very blessed to have created a full-time freelance career and to have opportunities to continue growing through the journalism profession.

Time to turn over a new leaf. Enjoy these early days of spring growth!

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