Earth Notes

Earth Notes
5:16 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Earth Notes: How Dark Can the Night Sky Get?

Credit NASA

It’s well known that the sky gets darker as you get farther away from human sources of light.

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Earth Notes
5:53 am
Wed December 12, 2012

Earth Notes: A Sunny Future for Desert Power—But What About the Tortoises?

Agassiz Desert Tortoise
Credit Gerald and Buff Corsi © California Academy of Sciences

Sunshine is endemic to the desert Southwest. So is a venerable reptile, the Agassiz’s desert tortoise.

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Earth Notes
5:38 am
Wed December 5, 2012

Earth Notes: Eating the Wild

This year Americans will spend millions of dollars to eradicate weeds in yards, fields, and gardens. Meanwhile, a group of enthusiasts in Durango, Colorado, has come up with a different approach: eat the weeds!

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Earth Notes
5:00 am
Wed November 28, 2012

Earth Notes: Safeguarding Southwestern Bats

Braided Cave
Credit National Park Service

As winter approaches, some species of bats settle in to hibernate in caves. Lack of food and dropping temperatures drive them inside, where “carpets” of bats congregate on cave ceilings.

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Earth Notes
5:37 am
Wed November 21, 2012

Earth Notes: The Lovable Little Fellow of Clear Streams

The American Dipper
Credit US Fish and Wildlife Service

The Southwest may be dry, but it’s interwoven with rushing streams. Where they run cool and clear, they are often enlivened by what the naturalist John Muir described as a “singularly joyous and lovable little fellow.”

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Earth Notes
5:00 am
Wed November 14, 2012

Earth Notes: The Crown Fire - Carbon Connection

Credit BigDogGraphics

Forests constitute an important part of the “Carbon World Bank.” The organic matter in their leaves, wood, roots and soil stores a great deal of carbon absorbed from the atmosphere.

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Earth Notes
4:00 am
Wed October 3, 2012

Earth Notes: Arizona’s Elk

Arizona Elk
Ron Nichols, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Early on fall mornings, a piercing screech echoes across meadows in northern Arizona. It’s the frenzied bugle of a big bull elk in rut, trying to lure a harem of cows to breed and continue his line.

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Earth Notes
8:07 am
Wed September 26, 2012

Earth Notes: Colorado Pike Minnows

Colorado Pike Minnow
Credit U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

The muddy San Juan River was once home to giant specimens of America’s largest minnow—a fish that could grow as long as a man is tall, and to a weight of a hundred pounds.

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Earth Notes
4:00 am
Wed September 19, 2012

Earth Notes: Wilderness Inholdings

El Malpais National Monument.
University of New Mexico

Wilderness areas represent the highest degree of protection the federal government grants to public lands. They’re managed for values of solitude, scenery, and natural habitat.

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Earth Notes
4:00 am
Wed September 5, 2012

Earth Notes: Arizona’s Water Sentinels

Sentinels sampling water

People have been pitching in to help out some of Arizona’s endangered rivers—and they’re starting to make waves.

The Water Sentinels program got its start in 2006 as part of the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter.

Members say they grew tired of seeing local streams degraded by pollution, or “reduced to bone-dry washes” because of dams, diversions, and pumping.

Now more than 100 regular volunteers work on two main rivers—the Verde and the Salt.

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