Author Archives: tedmanzer

About tedmanzer

I grew up in Old Town Maine and got a B.S. at the University of Maine in Plant Sciences/ minor in Botany. From there I moved to West Virginia and earned a M.S. in Agronomy at WVU. I also met my wife there. She grew up in rural WV as the daughter of tenant farmers who raised cattle and hogs. Their lifestyle at times was one of subsistence and I learned a lot from them. I've always been a foraging buff, but combining my formal botanical knowledge with their practical 'Foxfire-type' background opened up my eyes a little more. I now teach agriculture to high school students at Northeastern High School in Elizabeth City, NC. My wife teaches with me and we make a great team. I also write a weekly nature/foraging column for the local paper (dailyadvance.com). I also have written several Christian nature/adventure novels that I plan to publish eventually. One is a five book family saga I call the 'Forgotten Virtues' series. In the first book, Never Alone, a young boy comes of age after his father dies in a plane crash, and he has to make it alone. Never Alone is now available in paperback, Kindle and Nook. The second book, Strange Courage, takes Carl from his High School graduation to his recovery from a nasty divorce. The third book, Second Chances, takes Carl from his ex-wife's death and the custody of his son to his heroic death at age 59. The fourth book, Promises Kept, depicts how his grandchildren react and adjust to his death. In the final book, Grandfather's Way, his youngest and most timid granddaughter emerges from the shadow of her overachieving family and accomplishes more in four months than most do in a lifetime. I use many foraging references with a lot of the plants I profile in these articles in those books.

Bald eagles, ospreys have contrasting styles as predators


Not long after I wrote a column on ospreys, I spotted a pair of mature bald eagles on Northeastern’s campus. I’ve never seen any at school before, but I see them occasionally around Elizabeth city and in surrounding counties. Bald … Continue reading

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Ospreys might be the greatest of all fishermen


I wish I had more time to spend on and around the water. I love to watch the ospreys patrol the skies in search of fish. Some people call them sea-eagles or sea-hawks. In many places, ospreys can only be … Continue reading

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Oyster mushrooms are a common fungus on deciduous trees


A friend of mine brought in a mushroom sample recently for me to identify. I smiled when I saw it. When I was a teenager, it was one of my favorites to collect. My dad and I usually found it … Continue reading

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Grape Holly is a shrub with winter appeal


Recently, someone asked me about shrubs that were showy in winter. Obviously, camellias fit that bill as do winterberry holly and a few others. Mahonia, often known as grape holly, is an underused adaptable shrub that also has winter attributes. … Continue reading

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Sweetfern is a spicy northern cousin


I was trimming a wax myrtle the other day when I caught a whiff of its sweet fragrance. It reminded me of my many treks through the Maine wild landscape. Walking through waist-high patches of sweetfern gave my clothes an … Continue reading

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Bushy bluestem is a native prairie grass


This time of year, along the highway in full sun we see a tan upright grass with thick feathery tops. When other vegetation is growing, we rarely notice it. Until seed heads develop, this grass is easily ignored. It’s called … Continue reading

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Christmas and Thanksgiving Cacti can be confusing.


These flat-leaved plants with pretty and normally red flowers are everywhere during the holiday season. Most folks see one and call it a Christmas cactus. Actually, many are Thanksgiving cacti. The true Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncata) usually blooms earlier and … Continue reading

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