Diane Hope

U.S. Forest Service

There were no fire lookout towers in the Arizona of the early 1900s. Instead, early firefighters found tall ponderosa pines near mountain tops or other strategic viewpoints. They fitted the trees with handmade steel spikes—known as lags—that they used as footholds to climb the trees.


Danny Kessler/Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology

Wild tobacco is markedly different from its cultivated cousin. The plant’s chemical properties have been known to Native Americans for a long time. Now, researchers are studying the wild form because of its potency and hardiness in the natural world.


Tom Bean

The big skies of the Colorado Plateau show off extraordinary clouds, inspiring devotees and photographers across the region.

Diane Hope/@audioninjachick

Doppler radar is a crucial tool for spotting severe weather, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. When a thunderstorm is far away, the radar can typically only see the upper portions of it.  


Northern Arizona University

One-quarter of all mammal species are bats—and they’re a prominent feature of night skies across North America. But a devastating disease has swept westward across the country since 2006, causing bat numbers to decline drastically.


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