Rose Houk

Land Lines

There are a lot of ways to go solar, including joining a solar co-op. The basic idea is that there’s power – and financial incentive – in numbers. Cooperative purchasing programs can lower the cost of solar panels and other equipment by offering bulk discounts to groups of home and business owners.

AZGFD/George Andrejko

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is on the lookout for thousands of acres of habitat for one of the most endangered animals in North America: the black-footed ferret. Ideally, it would be an area of healthy grassland with a substantial population of prairie dogs, the ferret’s main food source.

Of thirty known bumble bee species in the western U.S., the bombus occidentalis – the western bumble bee - is among the most common. But their numbers are drastically declining.

Over the last two decades, these yellow-and-black furred insects have experienced a 90% drop in abundance across the West. That’s according to research by Jonathan Koch , an entomologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Logan, Utah. His data adds to a growing body of research with the same alarming findings.

Blowholes are commonly associated with ocean coastlines, but they exist in the desert too. One of the most well-known of these is at Wupatki Pueblo near Flagstaff.

Blowholes are essentially small openings in the earth where air blows out or gets sucked in, acting as a natural fan of sorts. Researchers in northern Arizona believe the Wupatki blowhole is connected to an extensive underground system of fractures.

It measures a few inches across and has been enclosed in a masonry box so visitors can lean over for a blast of cold air on a hot summer day.

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

A series of rubbled hills runs alongside Highway 89 about thirty miles north of Flagstaff. They look fairly unremarkable, but really, they’re remnants of mines that once produced pozzolan.

Pozzolans are a class of silica- and aluminum-rich materials commonly derived from explosive volcanic deposits. The early Romans knew of their value, incorporating them into aqueducts and buildings. The word pozzolan comes from a town in Italy.