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Rose Houk

Rose Houk

Earth Notes writer

Rose Houk is a Flagstaff-based writer and editor, specializing in natural history and environmental topics.  Rose was a founding contributor of KNAU's Earth Notes and has written nearly 200 scripts for the series. She is also the author of many publications about national park and monuments, along with audio productions. 

  • Montezuma Castle is a cliff dwelling overlooking Wet Beaver Creek in the Verde Valley. Undoubtedly, the water, plants, animals and other natural resources drew the Sinagua people here a thousand years ago — and attracted attention ever since.
  • This year marks the 50th anniversary of the federal Endangered Species Act. The landmark conservation law lists more than 1,600 animals and plants as threatened or endangered. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sets plans to recover those species and their habitats.
  • A hundred years ago, before big dams constrained the Colorado River, boating was exciting and far less predictable. The Birdseye Expedition of 1923 experienced such excitement at Lava Falls — the monstrous class 10 rapid in Grand Canyon.
  • White-nosed coatis are making tracks northward from their usual home on the US-Mexico border. They’ve been seen in the Verde Valley, along the Mogollon Rim, and occasionally in the Flagstaff area, including Walnut Canyon and the Rio de Flag.
  • Lots of folks watch and list birds these days. But another activity is gaining attention—butterfly counts. Two are scheduled in national parks on the Colorado Plateau this month— July 8 at Bryce Canyon in Utah, and July 15 on the North Rim of Grand Canyon.
  • Cultures all over the world have marked the passage of the seasons in many ways. In the Southwest, the solstices and equinoxes have often been tracked by watching the sun on the horizon, on particular landmarks, or on the faces of rock.
  • The Colorado Plateau is renowned for its star-filled night skies. The region boasts some of the darkest skies in the lower 48 states. One group is engaging across many fronts to raise more awareness of that spectacular quality. The Colorado Plateau Dark Sky Cooperative collaborates with communities, businesses, tribes, government agencies and individuals—anyone who might share their goal of showing the benefits of natural darkness.
  • All over the country, cameras are snapping photos of wildlife in what’s become a fairly common practice. Researchers, wildlife managers, conservationists, community scientists, and property owners install cameras on trees, near water sources, or at places where animals may gather or pass through.
  • The common poorwill is a bird of the Southwest deserts and northern and higher elevation woodlands in the West. Unlike many birds that migrate to sunnier spots in winter, this bird employs a unique way of avoiding the cold—by going into hibernation.
  • In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the timber industry was drawn to the Colorado Plateau’s extensive pine forests. And African Americans—newly freed from slavery—played a big part in that industry.