Emily Cook

Travel | Human Interest | Nature

United States




AAA Traveler Worldwise
Uncovering the Beauty of Belize

Beyond Belize's breathtaking scenery, why this Central American country is an oasis for ecotourism.

Northern Virginia Magazine
Fresh Oysters - Northern Virginia Has Them Year-Round

It was once common practice for foodies to only consume fresh oysters during months containing the letter “r”— September through April. But with increased oyster farming and more vigilant harvesting practices, oyster lovers can now enjoy them all year long.

Northern Virginia Magazine
St. Patrick's Day Dinner Options You Might Not Know About in NoVA

Dinner on St. Patrick’s Day can be a green beer in a cramped bar, or it can be a culinary experience. Here are some creative options, from elegant to barbecue. Some of these Northern Virginia restaurants will require reservations or tickets for their special March 17 meals.

Posh Seven Magazine
Château Élan | Escape to The French Countryside in North Atlanta

Who doesn't dream of jet-setting to Europe for a long, luxurious weekend getaway? Yet, for most of us that's just a fantasy, given the cost and time involved. But what if a resort with all the charm and ambiance of the French countryside - as well as a hefty pinch of southern charm - were just a short hop from the DMV?

Ashburn Magazine
Southwest Virginia trail is one of the state's top attractions

Patrick McKinney and Kevin Bednarz are long-time pals who take an autumn hiking trip each year with their families. But a few years ago, they added a new element - a bike trip. So Patrick, Kevin and their gang headed to southwestern Virginia and the iconic Virginia Creeper Trail, a 34-mile-long bike ride that - unbelievably - is largely downhill.

Blog Post
The Ins and Outs (..and ins and outs) of Greece

Planning a trip to Greece can be somewhat overwhelming to say the least. There are somewhere between 166 and 227 inhabited Greek islands - this number varies from site to site - and then, of course, there is Athens and the Peloponnese peninsula. So how do you narrow it down?


Posh Seven Magazine
MOMCATIONS: A Welcome Trend for Today's Busy Moms

Moms have a lot on their plates. Not to say that dads don't, too, but moms are typically the primary caregivers, problem solvers, friendship counselors, and uber drivers, and many times have part- or fulltime jobs to boot. This is why difficult as it can be to pull themselves away at times, moms occasionally need...

Posh Seven Magazine
A Loudoun Teacher Helps Her Student by Paying it Forward

Fifteen-year-old Loudoun County student Lexie Ruff is no stranger to adversity. Having been born with multiple health issues that ultimately damaged her kidneys, she has lived most of her young life undergoing 2-, or 3-a-day dialysis sessions and spending much of her time in and out of hospitals.

Posh Seven Magazine
Does Loudoun 's Water Get a Passing Grade?

Water is the essence of life. We depend upon clean, fresh, pollutant-free water to survive. Being on or near the water is also a great source of recreation and relaxation. But how safe is our water here in Loudoun County?

Posh Seven Magazine
Children's Science Center Plants Roots in Loudoun County

The Children's Science Center began as just a spark of an idea in 2004 with the dream of bringing a museum focused on experiential learning to Northern Virginia. Well, with the support of a small village, and under the executive leadership of one determined, self-professed science nerd, that dream has grown into so much more - and its future home will be right here in Loudoun County.

Ashburn Magazine
Local parks organization drives change nationwide

A WALK IN THE PARK By Emily Cook Like nearly everyone else, Broadlands residents David and Nadya Boal have had their lives turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic. Changes at work. Social distancing. The whole shebang.


Northern Virginia Magazine
Moles and Voles: Friends or Foes

These little critters are not a huge problem in NoVA, but if they are causing problems, you need to find out what’s attracting them.

The Habitat Herald
Winter Hiking

Volume 24 Issue 1, Winter 2019 by Emily Cook When the temperatures begin to drop and the summer clothes get packed away, most people tuck outdoor activities right into that storage box with them. Thinking it’s too cold, too windy, or that winter hiking may not be as rewarding as a hike through the fall color or spring greenery, many people snuggle up, hunker down and put their hiking plans on hiatus.

The Habitat Herald
Ectotherms in Winter: How Do Reptiles and Amphibians Survive

Volume 24 Issue 4, Fall 2019 by Emily B. Cook The challenge winter represents for most animals is not insignificant. They are, however, quite well-equipped and able to navigate potentially sub-freezing temperatures and brutally harsh weather. This is especially true for reptiles and amphibians, which are ectothermic, and not only lack a thick fur coat or downy feathers to insulate their bodies, but must draw from their external environment and adapt to maintain an adequate body temperature....

The Habitat Herald
American Bittern

Vol. 21 Issue 1, Spring 2016 By Emily Cook Reclusive and highly skilled in the art of camouflage, it is a true gift to see an American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus) while out walking the marshes of Loudoun County. A member of the heron family, the bittern is a bird of medium, stocky build with an impressive length of between 23-34 inches for both males and females. Despite this substantial size, their marked brown and buff vertical striping along the neck and their characteristic stance ...

The Habitat Herald
Wading Birds of Loudoun County

Vol. 21 Issue 2, Summer 2016 By Emily B. Cook When out for an early morning walk, there is nothing quite like the sense of serenity and peace that results from observing a wading bird gliding gracefully along the shoreline of a pond. It is often mesmerizing to watch as the bird places each foot with such intention and precision, seemingly in slow motion, and suspends itself in

The Habitat Herald
Wild Turkeys

Vol. 20 Issue 4, Winter 2015 By Emily Cook It’s hard to believe that the now common Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) was once endangered. Today, it’s not uncommon to see a single bird, or even an entire flock– also known as a rafter, gobble, or gang among other things – when out on a morning hike in the woods or unexpectedly strutting along the roadside on your morning commute. Wild Turkeys sometimes make the news when one frequents a local coffee shop, fast food restaurant or becomes...

The Habitat Herald
The Great Blue Heron

Vol. 19 Issue 2, Summer 2014 By Emily B. Cook In the back of our neighborhood we are incredibly lucky to have access to the Potomac Heritage Trail, part of which runs through deep, marshy wetlands flanked on one side by a shallow pond and on the other, the Potomac River. One of my favorite things to do on cool summer mornings is take an early morning hike to the river while the mist still rests on the pond and the sky is a pale lavender.

The Habitat Herald
Butterfly Bush - Friend or Foe

Vol. 18 Issue 2, Summer 2013 by Emily Cook The butterfly bush, Buddleia davidii, is a staple, and often the centerpiece, of many local area gardens. Known for its ability to grow in almost intolerable conditions and still produce vibrant, fragrant, cone-shaped blossoms, this plant is a real workhorse and truly lives up to its name — it attracts butterflies, hundreds upon hundreds of them...

The Habitat Herald
Turkey Vultures - Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy

Vol. 18 Issue 3, Fall 2013 By Emily Cook The sight of a Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) is a common occurrence here in Loudoun County. We see them soar gracefully overhead, the untrained eye often mistaking them for hawks or eagles, their 5 to 6 foot wingspan making them appear regal and dignified as they ...

The Habitat Herald
Feeding Wildlife Naturally

Vol. 18 Issue 4, Winter 2013 By Emily Cook We spend considerable time trying to deer-proof our yards, purchasing plants that are considered “inedible” only to have them grazed through like a cheap buffet. We net our berry bushes and fence off our gardens in an attempt to save a small fraction of the harvest for ourselves. Perhaps this is not the right approach? Perhaps we should find ways to provide something for the wildlife whose nightly rounds take them on a gastronomical stroll through...

The Habitat Herald
The Impact of Pesticides on Bee Populations

Vol. 17 Issue 2, Summer 2012 By Emily B. Cook ee populations have been taking a nosedive in recent years. While many believe that a number of factors including habitat destruction, parasites, and disease have contributed to what is commonly referred to as Colony Collapse Disorder, ...

The Habitat Herald
Wood Frog

Vol. 17 Issue 4, Winter 2012 by Emily Cook If you have ever taken an early spring walk through the woods, perhaps you’ve been fortunate enough to hear the melodious serenade of the Wood Frog chorus. Once temperatures remain consistently above forty degrees, male Wood Frogs (Rana sylvatica) emerge from the leafy forest floor to nearby vernal ponds or wetland areas to attract females for mating.

The Habitat Herald
A Snowflake by Any Other Name

Vol. 16 Issue 4, Winter 2011 By Emily Cook Flocons de neige. Schneeflocken. Fiocchi di neve. Snøfnugg. They go by many different names. In English we refer to them as snowflakes, but they sound equally magical in any language. People from all cultures and all corners of the world are drawn to their windows to watch the flakes flutter and swirl their way towards the earth, ...

The Habitat Herald

Vol. 16 Issue 1, Spring 2011 By Emily Cook The most exciting part of any zoo visit for our family is the trip to the otter habitat. We watch for what seems like hours as they slip and slide, roll and tumble around their enclosure to the delight of those lucky enough to see the show. It’s almost as though they know we’re watching, making sure to provide unending comedic antics and a heavy dose of cuteness for their audience.

The Habitat Herald
Indoor Cats - Keeping Cats and Wildlife Safe

Vol. 15 Issue 2, Summer 2010 By Emily Cook Anyone who has ever owned a cat can tell you that with ownership often comes some form of guilt as we watch our feline companions stare longingly out the living room window or bat at birds that stop for a respite on the window sill.

The Habitat Herald

Vol. 15 Issue 3, Fall 2010 By Emily Cook When many of us hear the word pawpaw, we begin to hum “The Bare Necessities” from Jungle Book and can almost picture Baloo the Bear waxing poetic about picking “a pear of the big pawpaw.” From the lyrics, it is pretty clear he’s singing about a favored fruit, but few people really know much about the fascinating pawpaw tree or the delicious fruit it produces.

The Habitat Herald
Northern Ringneck Snake

Vol. 14 Issue 3, Fall 2009 By Emily Cook Can a snake be considered “cute” or even beautiful? Some people may not think so, but there is a little gem known as the Northern Ringneck Snake (Diadophis punctatus edwardsii) that might cause even the most snake-fearing individuals to reconsider.