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.

Earth Notes: Eat More Bugs!

Jun 16, 2021
The University of Arizona/Arizona Insect Festival

Close to a decade ago, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization issued a report with a six-legged directive: eat more bugs. With the human population set to exceed 9 billion by 2050, we’re going to need new sources of food to satisfy our growing demand. Insects are a rich source of protein, already consumed regularly by some 2 billion people worldwide.

Michael Collier

Last year, crews were excavating the site of a new apartment complex in Flagstaff when something caught the eye of  equipment operator Spencer Phillip. Impressed on the surface of a big block of red stone were what appeared to be animal tracks.

Realizing it was something unusual, they stopped work and called in local geologists to take a look. Turns out, the five-toed tracks were made by a reptile that walked across soft mud about 240 million years ago.

Earth Notes: Camp Verde's Historic 'Pecan Lane'

May 26, 2021
Getty Images

The Southwest has plenty of buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. But, in the central Arizona town of Camp Verde, a streetscape defined by a set of trees has also made the list.

They’re pecan trees, planted in 1927 by Eva Haydon, daughter-in-law of the land owner at the time. The trees line a stretch of the Montezuma Castle Highway, what locals call ‘Pecan Lane.’ They were the first of many planted in the area.

Hopi Tutskwa Permaculture Institute

Hopi people cultivate a dazzling array of corn varieties. They come in a kaleidoscope of colors; blue, red, yellow and purple, all starting from humble seeds.

For the Hopi, seeds are considered kin and treated as such. They root people to their land and cultural traditions. Women are entrusted with seed stewardship, carrying for them like one might care for a close relative. These stewards pass the seeds to the next generation as part of a collective inheritance.

Bureau of Land Management

Wild donkeys, also known as burros, first arrived in Arizona with early Spanish colonists, with many more imported by miners in the 1800s. They evolved from a North African variety and have tough digestive systems, allowing them to thrive in Arizona’s arid environment.


These burros can double their numbers every four years, so overpopulation eventually led to overgrazing of the landscape and predation by mountain lions and other animals, including humans.