Short Rows

Hellbender salamander

Title: A "Canary" Called Hellbender

Of the 35 salamander species that populate Kentucky, one of the most impressive has to be the two-foot long eastern hellbender. It lives its entire life in water and breathes through its skin. Unfortunately, if oxygen can pass through, toxins can too, so this largest of Kentucky’s salamanders relies on clean streams. But silt and chemical runoff from poor timber and mining practices are taking their toll, and the eastern hellbender is declining in its habitat. Why should we care? Salamanders could be the “canary in the mine," said Steven Price, assistant professor of stream and riparian ecology in Forestry. “If water isn’t clean enough for a salamander, it probably isn’t clean enough for us.”

Read more about Kentucky salamanders.

road sign image

A Road By Any Other Name

In recognition of the educational and conservation efforts taking place at UK's Robinson Forest, as well as its benefits to the people of Eastern Kentucky, the Breathitt County Fiscal Court voted to give State Highway 476 the honorary name of Robinson Forest Highway. The forest, which is managed by the college, is made up of seven tracts totaling 14,800 acres–one of the largest research and educational forests in the eastern United States.

Read more about Robinson Forest.

image of fruits and vegetables

Consumers Who Know

They consume fresh veggies and fruit daily. They have an above average knowledge of nutrition. They're mostly female. That is a pretty good picture of patrons of farmers markets drawn from a survey conducted by Kelly Webber and Tammy Stephenson of Dietetics and Human Nutrition. When compared to Kentucky adults in general, farmers market patrons are more likely to consume the daily recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables.

Read the full study.

image of hellebore flower

title: Lovely, but Toxic

There are stirrings in the garden, even in deepest winter. The hellebore, a perennial, can be counted on to be an early riser, often showing its pale-colored flowers during the Christian season of Lent, which can be quite early. Hence its common name, Lenten Rose. Its delicate pale green or creamy pink single flowers belie its toughness–and something else. Horticulture specialist Rick Durham said its Latin name Helleborus means “food that injures.” Every part of the plant is poisonous.

Read more about hellebores and other flowers for Kentucky gardens.

Image of a horse

Title: Give Rain the Brushoff

It’s not unusual for spring to spring an excess of rain on us. And whereas April showers can bring May flowers, horses that receive a continual soaking can suffer from a multitude of skin problems including rain rot, dew poisoning, and other fungal diseases. Equine extension professor Fernanda Camargo said simple grooming can help prevent such problems. Brushing allows air to penetrate the coat and dry the skin.

Read more about caring for horses in the rainy season.