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: Thieves of Time

Jun 19, 2019
Michael Engelhard

A couple years ago, a volunteer patrolling near Bluff, Utah, found a human-like figure pecked onto stone—rock art at least five times older than the Liberty Bell. The volunteer gasped to see that a thief had used a rock saw to try and cut out the panel. 

Earth Notes: Rock Art Ranch

Jun 12, 2019
Michael Engelhard

At age 82, Brantley Baird is among the nation’s oldest ranching vaqueros. He’s roamed the five-thousand-acre Rock Art Ranch near Winslow, Arizona, since 1945, when his parents leased it. Three years later, at age eleven, Baird found his first ancient ceramic pot there—the one prominently displayed in a photograph in the ranch’s museum.

Earth Notes: Clear Creek Vineyard and Winery

Jun 5, 2019

In the late 1960s 20-something Ignacio Mesa dreamed of producing his own wine. Three decades later he began planting grapevines between the Mogollon Rim and the Verde Valley. Now, Clear Creek Vineyard and Winery is thriving.

Los Alamos National Laboratory

The word pajarito means “little bird” in Spanish. That’s how the Pajarito Plateau in northern New Mexico got its name. But new research has found bird populations are crashing there—issuing a warning for the future of the Southwest. 

Earth Notes: Powell Artifacts

May 22, 2019
Natural History Museum of Utah, UMNH.A.2018.6; ET614.6

John Wesley Powell is famous for his 1869 journey down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. But before that expedition, Powell taught geology at Illinois State Normal University in the town of Normal, and was curator of the Illinois State Natural History Museum.