KNAU

Earth Notes: Restoring Heiser Spring

Feb 3, 2016

Life flourishes near water in the desert. From rare plants to insects that begin their lives in water to the colorful warblers that eat them, healthy springs are hotspots of biodiversity.


To avoid the first frost, Navajo herders move their livestock to lower ground when aspen trees drop their leaves. Others watch the stars and the moon to gauge the timing of seasonal movements. But with changing climate in the Southwest, nature’s signs have become less reliable.


Extended drought on the Navajo Nation has been tough on grazing animals and the grasses that usually support them. Hauling in more hay from outside the reservation has been a short-term fix for feeding hungry livestock. But it has contributed to an invasion – of noxious weeds. 


Literary and cinematic history is full of characters who have some type of disability...from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, to Rain Man, to Marlee Matlin's Oscar-winning performance in  Children of a Lesser God. But there aren't nearly as many of these characters in musical theater. That's according to Jim Leve, a musicology professor at Northern Arizona University. He's researching the repertoire of musical productions that feature characters - and actors - with all kinds of disabilities. 


Earth Notes: Monitoring the Bosque

Jan 13, 2016

The fast-growing field of “citizen science” is a proven way for local residents—young and old—to build direct connections to their environment and help professional scientists conduct essential research.


For millennia, people have coveted rare goods they could get only through trade with others. The Ancestral Puebloans of the Colorado Plateau were no exception. They traveled great distances to exchange items like local turquoise, hides, and pottery for exotic shells, copper bells, and cacao.


NASA

Space missions are revealing more and more evidence of watery worlds in surprising places. Nadine Barlow is a physics and astronomy professor at Northern Arizona University. She's part of an international panel that studies areas of the solar system where water - and possibly life - may be present.


Earth Notes: Tracking El Nino

Dec 23, 2015
NOAA

Every few years the equatorial Pacific Ocean warms, producing the phenomenon known as El Nino and causing a whole raft of environmental impacts around much of the world. The pattern was named by South American fishermen in the 1600's who noticed a change in fishing conditions around the Christmas season.


Ryan Singer

The 10 year wait for the 7th film in the epic Star Wars series has come to an end. "The Force Awakens" opened this week in theaters across the world. The intergalactic saga has pulled-in generations of fans since its debut nearly 40 years ago. Its social impact is huge. Ryan Singer knows that. Raised on the Navajo Nation, Singer's vibrant paintings blend the landscapes and characters of both the Navajo reservation and Luke Sykwalker's home planet, Tatooine. He told Arizona Public Radio's Gillian Ferris he's been thinking about Star Wars since the first time he saw it.


Fossil bones and ancient stone points clearly show that both giant mammoths and hunting peoples roamed the high Southwest some 13,000 years ago. But did these two types of mammals meet? Rock art researcher Ekkehart Malotki thinks that a petroglyph panel on the San Juan River holds a tantalizing clue.


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