earth notes

Earth Notes: Potter Wasps

Oct 18, 2017
Gary Alpert

Native Americans in the Southwest are renowned for their beautiful ceramics. And it just could be they were inspired by watching a local insect build a nest of clay.


Ka-Voka Jackson

Ka-Voka Jackson’s college career began with a science scholarship from the Hualapai Tribe.  Now she’s a master’s student in restoration ecology at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.


Earth Notes: Clark’s Nutcracker

Oct 4, 2017
Eugene Beckes

Explorers Lewis and Clark, in Idaho in the early 1800s, observed dapper grey and black birds ripping into pine cones for the seeds. William Clark mistook them for woodpeckers, but Meriwether Lewis correctly identified the species as a cousin of crows, ravens, and jays. Still, ornithologists named the bird Clark's nutcracker. 


Earth Notes: Moki Dugway

Sep 27, 2017
Bob Wick

Driving the Moki Dugway in southeast Utah is not for the faint of heart.

Dugways are roads chiseled into steep slopes. This three-mile stretch of gravel switchbacks 1,200 feet up a nearly vertical cliffside topped by Cedar Mesa sandstone. The few guardrails don’t  hide the wreckage of the occasional vehicle that went over the edge. 


In 1950, Hosteen Nez found a yellowish rock outcrop not far from Cameron, Arizona. His people, the Diné, called it leetso. Ten years earlier that find would have been no big deal. But with the Cold War heating up, Nez suspected this was the valuable ore geologists said contained uranium.


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