Inside this Issue

August /September 2016

The Fungus Among Us

Photographer Robert Llewellyn
Photographer Robert Llewellyn captures Mushrooms and Toadstools In a Different Light

Shenandoah National Park supports over 400 species of fungi. Mushroom development in the park tends to be favored by the moist conditions of Spring and late Fall, but careful observation at any time of year will reveal a wide diversity of fungus on dead wood, leaf litter, and numerous other places within the park. Mushrooms are saprophytic, or decomposing, organisms that thrive by breaking down organic matter. Mushrooms and other fungi are critical components of the forest ecosystem because they facilitate the release of nutrients from dead organisms, allowing them to be recycled into new living material.













albemarle moment


“Impossible is just a word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”

Muhammad Ali (1942–2016)


Muhammad Ali at Central Place on the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville, June 1990

Photo by Bill Emory www.billemory.co



Rita Dove
“Just think of me as a shrewd fairy godmother or a wily genie.”

Former U.S. Poet Laureate and Commonwealth Professor of English at The University of Virginia delivered the commencement address to the 2016 UVA Arts & Sciences graduates.


Rita Dove Commencement Address University of Virginia • May 21, 2016
by Anne E. Bromley, Office of University Communications • Photograph by Eduardo Montes-Bradley

Today there’s sunshine in my soul,” read one graduate’s mortarboard.

Although umbrellas and rain ponchos were as ubiquitous Saturday, May 21 as University of Virginia graduates decked out in caps and gowns, the cool, misty morning did not dampen their enthusiasm and that of their families and friends. In addition to the main event for Final Exercises, all departmental and program ceremonies were held outside despite the cloudy weather.

During this UVA graduation ceremony, devoted to the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, 2,950 degrees were conferred: 2,576 bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees; 213 master of arts, of arts in physics education, of fine arts, of public health and of science degrees; and 161 doctoral degrees. The oldest and largest of UVA’s 11 schools, Arts & Sciences comprises some 50 undergraduate majors and more than two dozen graduate programs.

On Sunday, May 22, the graduates of the University’s other 10 schools and the Data Science Institute received their degrees.

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove, Commonwealth Professor of English at UVA, gave the commencement address to the Arts & Sciences graduates, eliciting loud applause when she said, “Despite the weather, this is a glorious morning. Congratulations!”



Shakespeare by the Book: The University of Virginia Library presents an exhibition commemorating William Shakespeare with Folger Shakespeare Library’s First Folio Images Courtesy Of The Albert And Shirley Small Special Collections Library at The University of Virginia


The University of Virginia Library presents Shakespeare by the Book: Four Centuries of Printing, Editing, and Publishing, an exhibition commemorating William Shakespeare’s legacy in the four hundredth year since his death, with over 100 items drawn mostly from the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library. The exhibition will be on display through December.

Few literary works have been preserved, transformed, or reinvented in print as often as the plays of William Shakespeare. Shakespeare by the Book takes visitors on a journey from the editions of Shakespeare that first appeared after his death through those from the twenty-first century. From the First Folio to YOLO Juliet, this exhibition shows how shifting assumptions, expectations, aesthetics, and needs have determined what it means to print Shakespeare “by the book.” The exhibit includes bibliographical research, photos of celebrated stage performers, and miniaturized volumes, including modern artists’ books. Miniature books are displayed along with gorgeously illustrated editions of Shakespeare’s plays.



Summer Music Festivals in Virginia


Virginia’s music scene boasts a variety of different genres: bluegrass, country, gospel, R&B, rock and roll, jazz and folk, and more. The Commonwealth hosts a variety of Festivals that showcase its rich musical culture. Whether you are in the mood to enjoy a full classical orchestra while sipping a local Virginia vintage, have a picnic while joining in an impromptu fiddle jam session, or want to enjoy a craft brew while listening to some classic rock, options abound this season.

One way to experience music in Virginia is to explore The Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. This Trail encompasses almost 300 miles of spectacular natural landscape, through 19 counties, four cities and 54 towns. This trail explores Virginia’s deep roots bluegrass and country music. Learn more at www.virginia.org.














By Gracie Chandler
Photography by Robert Llewellyn


Whether it’s a green tree frog stuck to your kitchen window on a warm, rainy summer night or the novelty of catching a big bullfrog while camping, frogs and toads are symbolic of summer in Virginia, as well as our ecosystem. It is important to acknowledge Virginia’s 27 species of frogs (and toads) and the concern over their decline. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has been working in partnership with the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program (NAAMP), Virginia Living Museum, and citizen biologists to monitor trends in frog populations across the Commonwealth.



“Two Blind Brothers,” One Bold Vision
University of Virginia grads Bradford and Bryan Manning have launched a company with a charitable aim: curing the disease that is robbing them of their sight.
by Caroline Newman


Each shirt in University of Virginia graduates Bradford and Bryan Manning’s new clothing line features a small metal tag imprinted with a series of raised dots—braille for “brother.”

That small detail neatly captures the mission behind the Mannings’ newly launched clothing company, Two Blind Brothers. All proceeds from the company go directly to blindness research, funding testing for new gene and stem cell therapies that could slow or even reverse vision loss.

The cause is very personal for Bradford and Bryan, who were each diagnosed with Stargardt disease in early elementary school. The degenerative eye disease, which affects about one in 10,000 people in the US, gradually erodes patients’ central vision, leaving them with an ever-expanding blind spot. By the time the brothers, who grew up in Charlottesville, attended UVA, they were operating with precious little central eyesight.



Slices of Life
The Meeting of Minds
By Mary Morony


Mary Morony’s ‘Slices of Life’ series will take you through thought-provoking experiences and life lessons along with the Mackey family,using humor and whimsy. Her stories will leave you inspired, nostalgic and entertained. www.MaryMorony.com

Why was he here? His dead father may have liked his long-time psychotherapist, but that didn’t exactly hold water with his son, considering their relationship. Joe pushed open the office door and Dr. Jacob Berke emerged from his inner office and greeted him. “Joe, it is so good to see you again.”

Joe murmured hello and offered his hand as he tried to wrap his head around the fact that this splendid looking man was not the decrepit doctor he imagined. Berke enveloped Joe’s extended hand in a warm two-handed embrace. “I was delighted to hear from you this morning and even more so to meet your charming daughter.” He laughed shaking his head, “I remember clearly meeting your father over 20 years ago. He was my very first patient. Please, make yourself comfortable and please, call me Jacob.”

“As you know from our conversation this morning, I’m dealing with some difficult things,” Joe explained. He had gotten a phone call at his office in Charlottesville two days before from his eldest daughter, Stuart. Stuart wasn’t exactly an angel to begin with, but she had recently fallen into some very bad habits that consequently nearly ended her life. Hospitalizing her had frightened Joe. “I need some help with my daughter. When I saw her this morning, I was unable to control my temper.”



Last Laugh
The Impossible Dream

By Louise B. Parsley


Other than the recurring night terror I have about a final on a novel I haven’t read for an English Lit class I rarely attended, my schools days are history. It’s sad that I don’t know much about a science book, the French I took or what a slide rule is for but, as an empty nester, I have no idea when school even starts anymore. With no carpools to forget, alarm clocks to smash or infernal bread crusts to whack off, the Supremes could have declared school unconstitutional for all I know.

Although, the young mom draped in kids, Lululemon yoga pants and perfect make-up throwing a 5-star fit in the checkout line at Target was a bit of a TIP OFF. Thrusting a three-page list of school supplies into the cashier’s face, she cried, “What do you mean you don’t have insulated Tiffins or Bento boxes?!”

The 168-year-old cashier-in-training began to sweat as the woman continued her rant. “Do you carry any products that do not involve child-labor sweat shops and toxins? I’m e-mailing corporate.”

I would’ve tried to calm her, but I left my Epi pen at home. Having no clue what Netflix series Tiffin and Bento starred in, I wouldn’t have been much help. Besides, maybe she was speaking in tongues. Or maybe her restorative flow yoga class had been canceled. Clearly not happy, she collapsed in tears, then turned to me, “What am I going to do?”

“Um, Amazon Prime?” I said.

“Everything is on backorder.”









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