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Earth Notes

Earth Notes

The Colorado Plateau is one of North America’s human and environmental treasures. Ancient cultures have called this land of sun-baked deserts and lush mountain landscapes home for centuries. Earth Notes, KNAU’s weekly environmental series, explores the Plateau by telling stories of the intricate relationships between environmental issues and our daily lives.

Rooted in science and wrapped in human interest, the two minute long segments encourage listeners to think of themselves as part of the solution to environmental problems. Upbeat and informative, the program tries to foster hope and dampen despair about the environment, and motivate listeners to become more conscious and informed stewards of the Colorado Plateau.

  • June is the month for roses and the Territorial Women’s Rose Garden in Prescott has nearly 300 varieties. Collectively, they honor the women who lived in and helped shape the Arizona territory before it became a state.
  • The Grand Canyon is a big place and capturing it on one geologic map was a big job. A new exhibit at the Museum of Northern Arizona tells how that map was made and why it’s called the "Dragon Map."
  • The Southwest is well known for its deserts, but coniferous forests exist, especially in rare regions known as “sky islands.” These are isolated mountain ecosystems that reach 6,000 feet in elevation or more, surrounded by a sea of desert.
  • The Fremont were ancient pueblo farmers of corn, beans and squash, as well as expert hunters and gatherers. By 1000 A.D. they had developed a highly sophisticated culture among the lush river valleys and forested canyons of their homeland.
  • The ringtail can be tricky to see. They're the smaller cousins to raccoons and live in rocky habitats across the Southwest. With large rounded eyes and ears, they’re exceptionally well adapted for their elusive, nocturnal lifestyle.
  • T.C. Cannon is considered one of the most talented Native American artists of the 20th century. His skills ended abruptly in 1978 after a car crash, yet his large body of accomplishments in a short period continue to influence new generations of Native artists.
  • For more than 20 years, bird lovers have celebrated the onset of the summer breeding season at the Verde Valley Birding and Nature Festival. This year’s event takes place the last weekend in April and is centered at Dead Horse Ranch State Park.
  • The most productive aquifer in northern Arizona is named after its main water-bearing rock unit — the Coconino Sandstone. The Coconino Aquifer underlies 27,000 square miles west of Flagstaff and into New Mexico and southern Utah.
  • Nestled within the shade of mixed-pine forests, freckled orchid flowers unfurl as small clusters on crimson stems. This is the lesser-known, native cousin to your orchid houseplant, called the spotted coralroot.
  • Not only can smoke cause health risks for residents... it’s a cause of concern for astronomers, too.