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.

Ka-Voka Jackson

Ka-Voka Jackson’s college career began with a science scholarship from the Hualapai Tribe.  Now she’s a master’s student in restoration ecology at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.


Earth Notes: Clark’s Nutcracker

Oct 4, 2017
Eugene Beckes

Explorers Lewis and Clark, in Idaho in the early 1800s, observed dapper grey and black birds ripping into pine cones for the seeds. William Clark mistook them for woodpeckers, but Meriwether Lewis correctly identified the species as a cousin of crows, ravens, and jays. Still, ornithologists named the bird Clark's nutcracker. 


Earth Notes: Moki Dugway

Sep 27, 2017
Bob Wick

Driving the Moki Dugway in southeast Utah is not for the faint of heart.

Dugways are roads chiseled into steep slopes. This three-mile stretch of gravel switchbacks 1,200 feet up a nearly vertical cliffside topped by Cedar Mesa sandstone. The few guardrails don’t  hide the wreckage of the occasional vehicle that went over the edge. 


In 1950, Hosteen Nez found a yellowish rock outcrop not far from Cameron, Arizona. His people, the Diné, called it leetso. Ten years earlier that find would have been no big deal. But with the Cold War heating up, Nez suspected this was the valuable ore geologists said contained uranium.


Earth Notes: American Avocets

Sep 13, 2017
Max Taylor

The American avocet is a rare sight as it migrates across the Colorado Plateau in spring and fall. The birds fly south in the winter to Mexico and the southern United States. They wing their way north in spring, hundreds of miles over arid western lands to reach their summering grounds in the northern U.S. and Canada. 


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