Earth Notes

The Colorado Plateau is one of North America’s human and environmental treasures. Ancient cultures have called this land of sun-baked deserts and lush mountain landscapes home for centuries. Earth Notes, KNAU’s weekly environmental series, explores the Plateau by telling stories of the intricate relationships between environmental issues and our daily lives.

Rooted in science and wrapped in human interest, the two minute long segments encourage listeners to think of themselves as part of the solution to environmental problems. Upbeat and informative, the program tries to foster hope and dampen despair about the environment, and motivate listeners to become more conscious and informed stewards of the Colorado Plateau.

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.

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.

Can a plant that grows in only three national forests in Arizona survive all that today’s changing environment can throw at it? 

Sherry Sperry

Soon after the Slide Fire burned 22,000 acres in, and around, Oak Creek Canyon in northern Arizona, researchers from the Forest Service Burned Area Emergency Response - or BAER Program - took stock of its impact on sensitive wildlife species.

Earth Notes: The Slide Fire’s New Old Cabin

Jul 16, 2014
U.S. Forest Service

When intense wildfires burn through well-loved places like Oak Creek Canyon, the sense of loss is deep. But, sometimes wildfires offer gifts in the midst of destruction.

Ryan Heinsius

In late May of this year, wildfire swept through upper Oak Creek Canyon in northern Arizona. By the time firefighters contained it in early June, the Slide Fire had burned some 22,000 acres of chaparral, mixed conifers, and ponderosa pine forest.

Foster parents help a lot of kids from difficult backgrounds in getting a better start in life. Now they’re also helping a rare species that’s been struggling to gain a foothold in the Southwestern wilds.

Courtesy photo

The Verde Valley, watered by the Verde River, is named for the ultra-green cast it gives to central Arizona’s desert.

An unusual team of four-legged researchers is hard at work in the Jémez Mountains of New Mexico. They love to run, chase balls — and sniff out a rare salamander found nowhere else.

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.