Earth Notes

Earth Notes
8:47 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Earth Notes: Wetlands Architect

The American beaver is an appealing animal, with dexterous paws, curious eyes and paddle-shaped tail. But, these rodents, the largest in North America, were nearly wiped out by the early 1900s as trappers sent mass quantities of the thick brown pelts back East for stylish top hats.

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Earth Notes
3:40 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Earth Notes: A Sad Obituary for an Ancient Tree

Credit Grant Harley

Reporter John Fleck wrote an unusual obituary in the Albuquerque Journal in September – on the death of a 650-year old Douglas-fir.

Known as “Yoda,” the tree was an icon for climate scientists. Growing out of a lava flow at El Malpais National Monument and measuring barely 7 feet high, Yoda was tiny for a Douglas-fir—which can grow 150 feet tall in moist southwestern canyons. But despite its diminutive size, an annual growth ring count showed that the tree had been alive since at least 1406.

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Earth Notes
9:02 am
Wed September 24, 2014

Earth Notes: Monitoring One of North America’s Rarest Mammals

Every fall Arizona Game and Fish conducts a spotlighting event where rare black-footed ferrets are located counted, measured, tagged and vaccinated against bubonic plague near Seligman.

Arizona’s Aubrey Valley just west of Seligman is home to an animal until recently considered one of the most endangered mammals in the world.

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Earth Notes
5:00 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Earth Notes: Utah’s Oil Sands

Canyonlands National Park
Credit philarmitage.net

The Colorado Plateau has seen its share of energy booms and busts. In eastern Utah, another one may be poised to begin.

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Earth Notes
5:00 am
Wed September 10, 2014

Earth Notes: Restoring Arizona’s Grasslands

Arid grasslands once covered significant parts of the Southwestern states — as much as 24 million acres in Arizona, for example. American pronghorn were widespread in these open spaces, along with many other grassland-dependent wildlife species. 

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Earth Notes
5:00 am
Wed September 3, 2014

Earth Notes: A Milestone Birthday for the Wilderness Act

On Sept. 3, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed the National Wilderness Preservation System Act. With the stroke of a pen, 9 million acres of federal land in the United States was designated as wilderness — with a capital “W.”

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Earth Notes
4:59 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Earth Notes: William Henry Jackson

William Henry Jackson's historic photo of Mesa Verde's Two Story House.
Credit Courtesy photo

In the 19th century, William Henry Jackson introduced many Americans to the scenic wonders of the country’s West — and to the power of landscape photography.

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Earth Notes
4:59 am
Wed August 20, 2014

Earth Notes: The Colorado Plateau’s Prehistoric Baby Boom

One of the enduring mysteries of the Colorado Plateau is why the area’s ancient Puebloan population dropped to almost zero in the late 13th century, after peaking at as many as 40,000 people just 30 years earlier.

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Earth Notes
5:01 am
Wed August 13, 2014

Earth Notes: When Does Wildlife Need Rescuing?

A Mexican spotted owl

When Bea Cooley and Brooks Hart headed down Oak Creek Canyon to do some birding last winter, they had no idea just how close their bird encounters would be.

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Earth Notes
5:00 am
Wed August 6, 2014

Earth Notes: Frogs on the Move

The northern leopard frog

On the Colorado Plateau, life begins anew when the monsoon rains come — especially for native amphibians like the northern leopard frog. This beautiful, spotted, greenish-brown frog pays close attention to moisture, and starts to move on humid days and rainy nights.

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