Hello Philadelphia! Most of you do not know who I am, well let me introduce myself, I am a freelance writer, outdoor specialist, and Geographer making my way across America on a motorcycle.

The Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion has been gracious enough to give me a platform on their website. This blog will be a daily (I hope) post about a scientific fact, Geographic oddity, or unique arthropod I stumble upon on my travels.

My travel route began in Vermont – Killington to be exact – high in the Green Mountains. The Green Mountains are part of the larger Appalachian Mountain range, stretching from Georgia to Maine. Vermont has some of the largest wilderness areas east of the Mississippi River and the air and water quality is some of the cleanest in the world. The Greens are also very old geologically, in fact, the entire Appalachian Mountain range is 480 million years old! Smoothed by dozens of ice ages, weather, floods, fire, and most recently, people, the mountains resemble gentle waves in the ocean, seemingly stretching on forever.

The Appalachian Mountains and Vermont in particular, have experienced a remarkable reforestation in the last 100 years. There are more trees in Vermont than before European Settlers made landfall. The seemingly impenetrable forests of the East are all relatively young and it is going to take another 100 years before we see large stands of Old Growth forest return.

Many people don’t realize it but the forests of Northern New England are symbolic of nature’s ability to heal itself, 100 years ago most of the land was clear-cut and used for pasture. Seeing such a remarkable landscape bounce back gives me hope for the future of America. If we can learn from the mistakes of our past, I am confident we as a people can conserve and sustainably use our natural resources so they do not disappear.

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Joel Salvino is an outdoor writer and photographer, helping to teach others about the natural beauty all around us, documenting the ecosystem we find ourselves in.

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