Earth Notes

Earth Notes
8:53 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Earth Notes: Using Social Media to Manage the Outdoors

The view from Shoshone Point at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon
Credit Photo by Ryan Heinsius

The managers of nature-oriented parks, including many on the Colorado Plateau, don’t always know how many visitors to expect, or when peak visiting times will come. But, technology may be changing that. It turns out that vacation photos posted by tourists on the Internet may be able to improve managers’ understanding of how people use and enjoy parks.

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Earth Notes
8:40 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Earth Notes: Herbert E. Gregory

A notebook owned by Herbert Ernest Gregory.
Credit Clay Martin/USGS

Herbert Ernest Gregory isn’t exactly a household name among Colorado Plateau residents. But, for more than 40 years, Gregory spent several months each summer exploring and explaining the plateau’s geologic wonderland.  About all that commemorates him here now is his weathered canteen hanging in the visitor center at Zion National Park.

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Earth Notes
8:49 am
Wed March 12, 2014

Earth Notes: Measuring the Night on the Colorado Plateau

Chaco Canyon National Historic Park
Credit National Park Service

Some 27 national parks and monuments protect the Colorado Plateau’s remarkable canyons, rivers, and wide-open spaces. But, people increasingly visit the plateau to experience another rare natural resource: its dark skies.

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Earth Notes
8:48 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Earth Notes: Utah’s King of Gore

Lythronax argestes, the great uncle of the famed T. rex.
Credit Natural History Museum of Ut

A dinosaur recently found in southern Utah has reshaped paleontologists’ ideas of the fierce group of carnivores known as tyrannosaurs.

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Earth Notes
2:27 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Earth Notes: The Line on Fishing Line

Untangling birds from discarded fishing line
Credit Arizona Game and Fish Department

Arizona claims a unique population of desert-nesting bald eagles. Those eagles often build their big bulky nests near water, including lakes and rivers in the northern part of the state. The birds use about anything they can find in nest construction—including used fishing line.

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Earth Notes
8:41 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Earth Notes: Project FeederWatch

Credit Pam Koch/Project FeederWatch

Feeding wild birds in the backyard is an enjoyable hobby for many. But for Emma Greig it’s much more—it’s a way to keep tabs on what’s happening with bird populations across the country.

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Earth Notes
1:52 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Earth Notes: The Humble (or Maybe Not) House Sparrow

House sparrow
Credit Dave Herr, USDA Forest Service

No city park or town plaza is complete without the presence of ubiquitous house sparrows — birds so resourceful and adaptable that they can be found even at remote ranches with just a couple of trees. House sparrows are the little brown birds, often with black bibs, that hop around on the ground, cadging bugs, leftover French fries and sandwich crumbs.

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Earth Notes
11:52 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Earth Notes: Early Cotton

Early cotton from the Colorado Plateau
Credit National Park Service

A thousand years ago, farmers on the Colorado Plateau were known for their classic crop trio of corn, beans and squash. But, in some places, they were also growing, using and trading cotton.  

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Earth Notes
10:41 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Earth Notes: Ancient Peoples and Fire

Prater Canyon in Mesa Verde National Park
Credit Library of Congress

In modern times human presence has influenced the size and number of wildfires on the Colorado Plateau. We are, in part, responsible for more big fires and fewer small ones. But is there also a connection between ancient peoples and wildfire?

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Earth Notes
7:23 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Earth Notes: Sedona Sinkholes

Devil's Kitchen
Credit Arizona Geological Survey

The colorful red rock geology of Sedona looks timeless. But, the complicated topography hides layers of rock that aren't as solid as they appear. And that might - in some places - even pose a threat to humans.

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