Sustainable Communities Program at NAU

Earth Notes: National Fossil Day

Sep 19, 2018
National Park Service

On Oct. 17 this year, the National Park Service and more than 300 partners are celebrating National Fossil Day.  This is the eighteenth year of the annual event, part of Earth Science Week.


Courtesy of Carlos Bustos

In hot dry climates, urban trees can reduce the intensity of sunlight, block infrared heat exchange—and act as natural evaporative coolers.  Having shade trees to the center or east of a building’s southern façade can cool it by several degrees.


Earth Notes: Skunks and Rabies

Sep 5, 2018
Courtesy Tad Theimer

In 2001, Flagstaff became the epicenter of a rabies outbreak among skunks and gray foxes. State health officials reported rabies undetected in wildlife in northern Arizona before that time.  Since then, additional rabies outbreaks have occurred in the Flagstaff area every few years.


Dr. Cory T. Williams

Suburbs are prime striped skunk real estate, sheltering up to twenty times more of these infamous animals than surrounding wildlands. Because skunks can be a vector for rabies, biologists at Northern Arizona University have been studying their behavior in some detail.


Earth Notes: Spruce-Fir Decline

Aug 22, 2018

In the Colorado mountains, seedlings of spruce and fir trees spring up in years with snowy winters and cool, wet summers. But those conditions have grown rarer in the last few decades. 

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