earth notes

Earth Notes
3:11 pm
Wed April 15, 2015

Earth Notes: After a Fire, Is a Spring an Oasis?

Springs are magical places where groundwater comes to the surface — lush green patches that are among the most diverse, productive, and threatened ecosystems on Earth.

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Earth Notes
3:29 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

Earth Notes : Migratory Birds May Carry Global Hitchhikers

Credit Credit: Wikipedia Commons.

Migratory birds are among the forces that stitch the globe together. Biologists have long known that animals can carry seeds and spores on their bodies, or may eat them and spread them in their waste.

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Earth Notes
8:00 am
Wed March 11, 2015

Earth Notes: Tiny Particles, Big Impact

Credit NASA/JPL-Snow Optics Laboratory

  For those living in the American Southwest, dust is as much a part of the environment as dryness and sunshine. Tiny particles seem to get into everything, including houses, cars, and noses.

While dust can be annoying, scientists believe it plays a vital role in the region’s ecology. It appears to provide essential minerals and chemical compounds to high-mountain ecosystems, just as seafaring salmon bring ocean nutrients high up into freshwater streams.

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Earth Notes
8:00 am
Wed March 4, 2015

Earth Notes: Walnut Canyon Celebrates a Century

  This year, Walnut Canyon is celebrating a hundred years of protection as a national monument—protection that came none too soon because its prehistoric sites were being seriously damaged.

It was people known to archaeologists as the northern Sinagua who built some three hundred rooms in the limestone alcoves of this hidden canyon near the San Francisco Peaks. They lived, farmed, and hunted in the canyon and on the rim from the 1100s into the mid-1200s.

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Earth Notes
8:00 am
Wed February 25, 2015

Earth Notes: Grand Canyon's Pioneering Cactus Collector

Credit National Park Service

  It was a long way from the civilized college town of Ann Arbor, Michigan, to Mexican Hat, Utah, back in the summer of 1937. But Dr. Elzada Clover made the trip.

A botanist at the University of Michigan, she had an ambitious dream to explore the little-known plant life of the Colorado River region. Cacti were her specialty. Where better to find them than the Southwest deserts?

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Earth Notes
8:00 am
Wed February 18, 2015

Earth Notes: Seeding the Clouds

Credit National Center for Atmospheric Research

  For generations western farmers have worried about getting enough water from the sky to nourish their crops. Some have tried to do something about it.

A century ago farmers in places like the Great Plains and California hired specialists who claimed they could water the land by shooting explosives into the sky or by releasing secret mixtures of chemicals. Sometimes it did rain then. Sometimes it didn’t—in which case the would-be rainmakers typically left town fast.

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Earth Notes
10:33 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Earth Notes: Photographing Climate Change

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.

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Earth Notes
8:51 am
Wed June 4, 2014

Earth Notes: Sedona Wetlands Preserve

Made up of reclaimed wastewater, the Sedona Wetlands provides a habitat for wild birds.
Credit Courtesy photo

What happens to the water that runs down your kitchen or shower drain? If you live in Sedona, Ariz., the answer is that it helps migratory birds along their way.

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Earth Notes
4:00 am
Wed May 16, 2012

Earth Notes: Osprey

They’re sometimes called fish eagles, for good reason: their diet is almost all live fish. They’re big raptors, hard to miss soaring above the scattered rivers and lakes of the Southwest’s high country. They’re ospreys, birds that belong to the summer skies of the Colorado Plateau.

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Earth Notes
8:46 am
Wed April 25, 2012

Earth Notes: Rattled on the Trail

Few sounds in nature are as instantly recognizable and terrifying as the sudden rattle of a pit viper. No matter how often you’ve heard it, it’s a sound that sends a jolt of adrenaline and raises the hair on the back of the neck.

But look closely, because maybe what you’re hearing isn’t a rattlesnake at all.

It might instead be a close mimic, a gopher snake. With their speckled, earth-tone appearance, these common snakes look something like rattlesnakes, but they aren’t dangerous. In fact, they are highly beneficial and eat large numbers of rodents.

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