Rose Houk

Land Lines

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Earth Notes
4:00 am
Wed April 11, 2012

Earth Notes: What’s a Tree Worth?

Trees grace our sidewalks, house birds, feed squirrels, and furnish wood for everything from campfires to fences. And the oxygen plants emit allows us to live on Earth in the first place. But now tree huggers have a new way to assess the benefits our leafy companions provide.

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Earth Notes
4:00 am
Wed March 28, 2012

Earth Notes: Working, Worldwide, on Organic Farms

In spring farmers and gardeners feel that irresistible pull to get their hands in the dirt.

If you share that urge, a program exists to satisfy it almost anywhere you go. It’s called Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, or “WWOOF” for short, and it links willing hands with farms that host volunteer workers.

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Land Lines
4:00 am
Thu March 15, 2012

Land Lines: Montezuma Well

Montezuma Well
Michael Collier

Montezuma Well is easy to find down in the Verde Valley–it’s located right at the intersection of geology and biology.  The blue-green pool–120 yards wide, cupped in a perfectly round sinkhole–is startling in the middle of a mesquite desert.

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Earth Notes
5:00 am
Wed March 7, 2012

Earth Notes: Blackbrush

What can a small, inconspicuous shrub tell us about climate change in the Southwest? That’s the question researchers are asking about blackbrush.

Most people don’t take a second glance at this compact, slow-growing shrub bristling with spiny, gray-black branches. Yet it grows across several million acres in the Mojave Desert and up onto the Colorado Plateau, sometimes in nearly pure stands. You can see extensive swaths in Arches and Canyonlands, and over the Tonto Plateau in Grand Canyon.

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Earth Notes
5:00 am
Wed February 22, 2012

Earth Notes: Eddie McKee

Ranger Naturalist Edwin McKee with pygmy nuthatch, circa 1929.
NPS photo by Ensor. Grand Canyon National Park #5988.

The Grand Canyon has always attracted people who fall deeply in love with the landscape and its lessons. One of those who made the place his life’s work was Edwin Dinwiddie McKee.

Born in Washington, D.C. in 1906, McKee was influenced by his scoutmaster Francois Matthes, an early Grand Canyon mapmaker. A summer paleontology internship at the canyon was all it took to ignite young Eddie’s life-long love affair with geology.

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Land Lines
5:00 am
Thu February 16, 2012

Land Lines--A Navajo Fossil

Navajo Fossil
Michael Collier

Here’s some of that grey rock, it’s coming down the channel – your first clue. It’s all about discovery …..

Twenty-five years ago, I parked near Black Mesa, up in northeast Arizona.  On no particular schedule and with no real destination, I just started walking--because I knew I would discover something.  I wandered up an unnamed canyon with walls of sheer Navajo Sandstone.

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Earth Notes
12:01 am
Wed January 25, 2012

Earth Notes: The CCC and the Colorado Plateau

Camp of the Civilian Conservation Corps at Pipe Spring National Monument, Arizona. 1935
NPS Photo

In the depths of the Great Depression, the nation’s unemployment stood at 25 percent. With people hungry and desperate for jobs, President Franklin Roosevelt signed a law in March 1933 creating the Civilian Conservation Corps. The CCC gave jobs to single men 18 to 25 years old, with most of their thirty-dollar-a-month paychecks returned to their families.

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Land Lines
12:40 am
Wed January 18, 2012

Smoky Mountain--The Kaiparowits Plateau

It's almost like you're looking into the nostrils of hell.
Michael Collier and Rose Houk

Don't try the Kelly Grade in a rainstorm. When this steep stretch of the Smoky Mountain Road is wet, its mud surface is impossibly slick. Stay in granny gear, keep a tight grip on the wheel, and hope that nobody else is coming the other way. There's no guardrail and that cliff next to your tires drops hundreds of feet straight down.  The shale gives way to sandstone when the road straightens out on top of the Kaiparowits Plateau.

 

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Land Lines
2:00 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Land Lines: El Capitan Doesn't Quite Fit the Mold

Monument Valley
Michael Collier

Every month this fall, KNAU has been taking you to places on the Colorado Plateau. They may be places you know, they may be places you've only heard of. It's a series we call Land Lines and today we're visiting Monument Valley. People come from all over the world to see this valley, one of the most evocative landscapes in the southwest. But at least one rock feature doesn't quite fit the mold of the mesas and buttes. In today's Land Lines, Rose Houk and Michael Collier explore the origins of El Capitan.

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Land Lines
5:30 am
Thu November 17, 2011

S.P Crater

S.P Crater
Michael Collier

S.P. Crater--Today on Land Lines, Michael Collier and Rose Houk take us to S.P. Crater near Flagstaff. Early cowboys gave this perfectly shaped cinder cone its initials--whose shape reminded them of a ……chamber pot.   

Climbing the steep slopes of S.P. Crater, you take one step forward and two steps back in the loose black cinders.  This beautifully symmetric cone, about thirty miles north of Flagstaff, reminded local cowboys a century ago of the shape of a chamber pot, thus the initials S.P.  As the old wranglers used to say, Volcanoes happen.

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