Earth Notes

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.

Most people are now highly aware of the enormous quantities of disintegrating plastics accumulating in lakes, rivers, and oceans all over the planet. But those unnatural materials aren’t only found in water.  


The Emory oak is a giant among the pinyon and junipers of Arizona’s high country. Its acorns are special, rich in nutrients and free from the bitter tannins that make most acorns unpleasant to eat. They’re also a culturally important food for the western Apache. Ground acorn sits on tabletops next to salt and pepper shakers, to be sprinkled on venison, rolled into tortillas, or stirred into gravy.

Earth Notes: Ghosts Of Flight

Aug 5, 2020

Remnants of ghost towns are a familiar sight across the northern Arizona landscape, but relics from aviation history are also present.

Before foresters or biologists can collect pine cones, examine pest infestation, or follow their study-animal up a tree, they have to go to tree climbing school.