Diane Hope

A walk in the woods doesn’t usually happen in a landscape of starkly beautiful desert mesas dotted with narrow-leafed yucca and rabbitbrush.

The Fort Valley Art Barn, located just north of the Pioneer Museum on Highway 180 in Flagstaff, has had a long and varied life. Originally constructed in the late 1880s to house cattle, hay and farm equipment, by the 1960s it had fallen into disrepair.

In the global carbon economy, forests act like leafy savings accounts. They take carbon dioxide from the air during photosynthesis, convert it into biomass, and deposit it for years or even centuries in wood and soil.

Bears Ears Coalition

Among the most prominent landmarks of southern Utah are the Bear’s Ears—a pair of buttes south of the Dark Canyon Wilderness that are visible for many miles. They’re known to Navajo people as the birthplace of the celebrated “Headman” Manuelito, who was known for resisting federal efforts to forcibly remove Navajos from the region.


It's a good thing most inhabitants of the Colorado Plateau don't turn to the same strategy in dealing with a tough climate as tiger salamanders do. When they're so inclined, these big amphibians sometimes react to food shortages by eating each other.

When most of us hear the word “cattle” we think of an animal that came to the Southwest in the late 1800s. But one breed arrived here long before most other settlers.

National Park Service

If asked what's impressive about the Grand Canyon, most visitors probably won't mention a water pipeline. But one of this national park's great engineering feats is the Trans-Canyon Pipeline, which carries half a million gallons of water every day from Roaring Springs down Bright Angel Canyon, past Phantom Ranch and across Silver Bridge.

Earth Notes: Climb On!

Jan 14, 2015
National Park Service

  “The most weird, wonderful, magical place on earth” is how author Edward Abbey described the colorful wilderness of gorges, mesas, and buttes that is Canyonlands National Park, one of the last relatively undisturbed parts of the Colorado Plateau. That landscape also represents a special place of emotional healing and rejuvenation for returned combat veteran Michael Cummings. Haunted by traumatic memories after two tours of duty in Iraq, Cummings was struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, survivor’s guilt, alcohol abuse and thoughts of suicide.

The historical photo collection at Northern Arizona University’s Cline Library will be a key tool in answering a very modern question over the coming months. Dating back to the late 1800s, the images will be used like a visual time machine to reveal the effects of changing climate – and land management – on northern Arizona’s plant communities.

Principal investigator Professor Tom Whitham says that comparing historical and contemporary photos will allow us to literally see how vegetation has changed over time.


It’s unusual for the southwestern states to be affected by hurricanes. Most years, predominant wind patterns in the Eastern Pacific Ocean steer storms away from the region. But about once every five years – like this year – the ocean winds change direction.

And those shifting winds steer hurricanes closer to northwestern Mexico, making them more likely to head northwards and track across the southwestern U.S.