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Earth Notes
Every Wednesday

Earth Notes, KNAU’s weekly environmental series, explores the Colorado 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.

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  • Juneteenth observes the date in 1865 when enslaved African Americans were freed in Texas. But Black motorists well into the 20th century still experienced segregation and discrimination.
  • Arizona’s share of the National Old Trails Road was the first transcontinental route for newfangled motorcars, envisioned in 1912, as a wave of automobile popularity engulfed America.
  • When you think of our Nation’s oldest settlements, stories of Plymouth Rock, Jamestown or Albany may come to mind. Yet America’s oldest towns are actually right here on the Colorado Plateau — Oraibi in Arizona and Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico.
  • 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 shrinking shoreline of Lake Powell has revealed a wonder: an extraordinary collection of fossil bones from the Early Jurassic period that offers a glimpse into the life of a now-extinct creature called a tritylodontid.
  • Ancestors of present-day horses originated in North America and spread around the world from there. But, according to the archaeological record, they were absent from the continent since the end of the Pleistocene some 10,000 years ago until Europeans re-introduced them.
  • The headwaters of the San Juan River originate in the snow-capped peaks of the southern Rocky Mountains. Along its journey, the river is joined by numerous tributaries as it flows through the states of Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.
  • Nowhere in the world can you visit an urban ice age exhibit taking place in real time, except the La Brea Tar pits of Los Angeles. It's known for the massive ice age megafauna animals trapped within the unsuspecting tar.
  • The San Francisco Peaks ragwort stands sentry over northern Arizona from its home on the San Francisco peaks. It grows close to the earth in unassuming, flat-topped clusters of blue-green leaves.
  • 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.