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.

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.

USDA Forest Service

Today, the West’s amber waves of grass are more often than not a species land managers cringe to see. Cheatgrass, a Eurasian species that most likely arrived on ships a century ago, now runs across millions of acres of the Intermountain West and Colorado Plateau. 

Earth Notes: Earthworms and Climate Change

Apr 9, 2014
Jacob McDaniel

Earthworms are friends to gardeners, recycling plant debris into plant nutrients. But, do they contribute to the climate-change problem?

National Park Service

Many visitors to Grand Canyon like to have a picnic when they visit the national park. And they’re not alone. The trouble is that their fellow South Rim diners have often been big, and hungry, elk.

Earth Notes: Using Social Media to Manage the Outdoors

Mar 26, 2014
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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