Diane Hope


Forests constitute an important part of the “Carbon World Bank.” The organic matter in their leaves, wood, roots and soil stores a great deal of carbon absorbed from the atmosphere.

Scott Baxter

As we look back over 100 years of Arizona's statehood this year, it would be a serious omission not to consider one of the traditional cornerstones of Arizona's economy - ranching.

Randy Babb / reptilesofaz.org

In 1986, after a statewide vote by thousands of school children, the Arizona Tree Frog became Arizona’s official state amphibian. Beating out better-known rivals like the spadefoot toad by a wide margin, this small and seldom-seen frog might seem an unlikely candidate for top spot. But it makes sense when you realize how much they love to climb.

Rarely more than two inches long, with smooth green skin and a dark stripe running from eye to rear, these amphibians live mostly above 5,000 feet in the forests of central-northern Arizona, close to streams and wet meadows.

This week Earth Notes concludes its series on the sun with a look at how to use a backyard solar oven. You can use one anywhere there’s a few square feet of sunny exposure on a backyard or balcony.

And yes, you can use a solar oven on some winter days. Even when it’s cold and the ground is covering with snow, a cooker will work if you have enough sunshine and your solar oven is well insulated. But you’ll need to use the midday hours when the sun is at least 45 degrees above the horizon—that means your shadow is shorter than your height.

This week Earth Notes continues its series on the sun, with a look at turning your backyard into a kitchen

Just as the inside of a parked car heats up on a sunny day, a solar cooker traps the sun’s rays in its enclosed interior, causing water, fat and protein molecules in the food to heat up. The molecules vibrate vigorously, and the food cooks.