Flagstaff, AZ – Earth Notes: Florence Merriam Bailey
In the Victorian era, most woman interested in nature enjoyed the great outdoors from a lawn chair, not astride a horse. But naturalist and writer Florence Merriam Bailey defied convention throughout her long and eventful life.
Born Florence Augusta Merriam in New York State in 1863, she was baby sister to C. Hart Merriam. He would become a renowned biologist and pioneer of the life zone concept and Florence's lifelong mentor.
In the arid Southwest, the idea of a rainy season comes as a surprise to many newcomers. But the region does enjoy a distinct monsoon period that usually begins in early July and lasts into the middle of September.
Domestic cats tend to do exactly as they please. Wild felines are no different, as biologists learned after re-introducing lynx to Colorado's southern mountains.
Over the past decade, 218 of these wild cats with shaggy coats and tufted ears were placed in woods where they'd become regionally extinct decades ago. Each lynx wore a radio-collar that allowed scientists to follow its movements.
Take a break on a fallen tree during a hike through a ponderosa forest, and you might want to take a closer look at where you're sitting. Chances are you're not alone: you might see a large ant or two walking along the log.
The Colorado Plateau is a treasure trove for petroglyphs. Ancient peoples of the Southwest carefully carved and chipped their art into dark rock, exposing the lighter rock beneath.
One hot spot for rock art is the weathered basalt of Picture Canyon in east Flagstaff, where some 700 designs on more than a hundred rock panels line the sides of the canyon. In them archers hunt, and deer, bighorn sheep, and lizards play.
Archaeologists have an insatiable desire to tell time. They use every tool they can to get at the ages of artifacts, sites, and entire cultures. One technique that has proven extremely valuable, especially in the Southwest, is tree-ring dating.
Flagstaff, AZ – Earth Notes: G.K. Gilbert, Plateau Geologist
Geologists have been drawn to the Colorado Plateau for many decades. New York-born Grove Karl Gilbert was one of the first, and arguably one of the most influential, since he named the place.
G.K. Gilbert acted as geologist for the Wheeler Expedition in 1871, and surveyed the Grand Canyon region the following year. He joined the Powell Survey of the Rocky Mountains in 1875, and stayed with the United States Geological Survey for the rest of his life.
In a place as overpoweringly remarkable as the Grand Canyon, it's no surprise that the canyon's features bear impressive names. Its buttes and monuments are named for everyone from Hindu and Egyptian deities to characters from King Arthur's court. Even Charles Darwin makes an appearance. Yet the renowned naturalist never actually saw the great chasm.
A program to power the Navajo Nation is meeting real needs with the latest in green technology.
In a partnership with New Mexico's Sandia National Laboratories, the Navajo Utility Authority has powered hundreds of homes with brand new solar panels. Some also boost their wattage with a small windmill.