From the Editor: February 2024

Gina Malone, Editor

February is always for the birds—literally. It’s National Bird-Feeding Month when our backyard feeders invite bright flashes of wings and bursts of song to brighten winter days. We’re giving our beautiful avian friends and those who advocate for them a few mentions in this issue. Emma’s Conservation piece explores the annual Great Backyard Bird Count and how counts by citizen scientists all over the world help ornithologists see how bird species are faring. I’ve participated for the last three years. There’s nothing like bundling up for the cold, gathering pen and paper, and waiting for our backyard regulars—and the occasional surprise visitor. It has been a wonderful learning experience—researching the birds I spot and learning their distinguishing characteristics. If, like me, you’re still a learner, Casey First’s monthly column, A Bird’s Note, with Stephanie Sipp’s lovely illustrations, is a great place to go for information. Birding can be a solitary pleasure or one shared with others. The Feminist Bird Club of Asheville is one of many birding groups in WNC, and one that celebrates inclusiveness. Finally, we’re so fortunate to have people like LaShanda Brown to show us all—especially our young nature lovers—how exhilarating and mindful birding and bonding with nature can be.

There’s always plenty going on in our part of the world, even in winter. Why not while away a cold afternoon visiting some warm studios during Second Saturday, for instance, or visiting the Omni Grove Park Inn for the National Arts & Crafts Conference? The Asheville Celtic Fest boasts an exciting roster of indoor and outdoor events.

Don’t forget to take a leap! Think of it: the last time we had Leap Day was just before the COVID closures. We’ve come a long way since then, so, whether you see a concert or visit an exhibition or just take some time to relax and breathe, spend your extra 24 hours in a way that brings you joy. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.”

Gina Malone can be reached at

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