Inquiring Minds

Flagstaff, AZ –
Dr. Wally Covington says too many little trees are causing big problems in the ponderosa pine forest.

This is Inquiring Minds, insights from the campus of Northern Arizona University.


Flagstaff, AZ – Hopi teens, elders and anthropologist Dr. Wolf Gumerman are in step with Footprints of the Ancestors.

For thousands of years, Hopi Indians have inhabited the arid Southwest. They've carved out a colorful existence in the high desert and kept their rich culture alive through rituals, songs, and stories. But Dr. Wolf Gumerman, Director of the NAU Honors Program, says those voices from the past are becoming quieter as fewer Hopi youth are speaking the language.

Flagstaff, AZ – When it comes to obesity and diabetes, Dr. Leslie Schulz is weighing in on the impacts of genetics and lifestyle.

The Pima Indians in the southern Arizona desert have a 40 percent diabetes rate. NAU's Dr. Leslie Schulz wondered why nearly half of that population is overweight and diabetic. She didn't have to look far to find answers.

Jerry Foreman

Flagstaff, AZ – The man who cracked the DNA code in the deadly anthrax letter attacks is going after superbugs.

NAU's most famous DNA detective, Dr. Paul Keim, is using his microbial forensics to take down E. coli, Valley Fever, MRSA and the flu. Keim's molecular diagnostics skills were recruited when lethal anthrax arrived in the mail.

Flagstaff, AZ – Who we think we are is revealed through literature. Northern Arizona University's Gioia Woods is studying defining moments in American culture.

If you consider literature to be the lifeblood of a cultural body, Dr. Gioia Woods has her finger on the pulse. This NAU Humanities Professor says the health of a culture, what it's anxious about and what it's concerned with is all documented in black and white.

Flagstaff, AZ – There are said to be as many as 6,000 languages. With 90 percent of the world speaking only four percent of these languages, NAU professor Bonny Sands says many are in danger of becoming extinct.

"The language Ju|hoan that I've worked on in South Africa has only 10 speakers. They are all over the age of 65."

An NAU English professor, Sands studies click languages spoken near the Kalahari Desert.

"In !XUN, ||a, g||a and n||a are three different consonants."


Flagstaff, AZ – Matthew Wangeman is giving a voice to people with disabilities.

NAU instructor Matthew Wangeman says people with disabilities are often unseen and unheard.

"In our class we try to uncover the reasons why people with disabilities are treated so different by this society, and we challenge the mainstream view of people with disabilities."

Through a state-of-the-art communications devise called Eco-point, Wangeman co-teaches Introduction to Disability Studies.

Flagstaff, AZ – Indigenous people have not been able to slow tropical deforestation in Honduras. NAU Social Scientist Erik Nielsen says a global carbon credit program may be a way to empower communities and reduce greenhouse gases.

Tropical deforestation accounts for some 17 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. That's more than the exhaust from all the trucks, planes and cars on the planet.

Flagstaff, AZ – NAU's Judith Cloud is putting poetry in motion.

This is inquiring Minds, insights from the campus of Northern Arizona University.

Mezzo-soprano soloist and composer Dr. Judith Cloud has made it to Carnegie Hall. In 2009 she took first place in the Sorel Choral Composition Competition in New York's famous concert venue.

Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection.

Flagstaff, AZ – We may have lost the grizzly bear, but NAU's Dr. Paul Beier is working to make sure Arizona's wildlands don't lose other species.

This is Inquiring Minds, insights from the campus of Northern Arizona University.

Elk, squirrels and other animals are running around the woods with collars around their necks. These collars are sending signals to satellites that are sending signals to biologists.