Saturday, March 30, 2019

Plateau on the Radio: Episode 41 Plants of the Plateau with Sara Souther

Listen to Episode 41 HERE...

This week we focus in on the many plants of our region, specifically endemic and culturally sensitive plants.

Wildflowers in northern Arizona - photo by Lawrence Busch

As we all know the Colorado Plateau region is truly a special place, but one of the things that defines our area being so special is that we have the most endemic plants of any region in the US. And for those that might not know, endemic means that those species are found here and nowhere else. Some would argue that this fact is due to the huge size of the Colorado Plateau, spreading across four states and many sovereign tribal nations, but it is actually due to the environmental complexity that we have ranging from the alpine tundra to the high deserts as well as all the important stresses that these plants face in often harsh conditions, leading to the evolution of many new and distinct species. Biologists and other researchers have documented more than 3,000 vascular plants here on the Plateau, and of those 3,000 plants, 10% of them are endemic, and that is a very big number.

Sara Souther (NAU)
Our guest this week is plant ecologist and conservation biologist Sara Souther (Landscape Conservation Initiative), a truly wonderful person who is helping to launch the Tribal Nations Botanical Research Collaborative, a region wide inventory of the ten culturally sensitive plants that are out there. And this effort is really great because it relies on Citizen Scientists just like you to report data as you recreate and explore the forests of northern Arizona. By utilizing the iNaturalist app and taking photos you can help foragers from the tribes, scientists, and land managers better understand the ecology of these species as well as provide information on areas where sustainable harvesting can take place.

Sara and I also discuss her roots as a forager in West Virginia, the plight of the American Ginseng plant, and the importance of exploring the relationship between the plants and the people who utilize wild food, medicinal and culturally sensitive plants, and what that relationship can say about these communities themselves.

Also the mystery of the recent Juniper tree die-off all around the Plateau region, specific threats to endemic plants of our area, and local music by Sap Dabblers, Tha' Yoties, Sihasin and more!

Further Information and Reading:

Sara Souther's ResearchGate (links to research papers by the guest)

iNaturalist - Tribal Nations Botanical Research Collaborative

Further Information on Species mentioned by Sara Souther and the Host:

American Ginseng

Coyote Tobacco

Emory Oak

Blue Grama

Jones Cycladenia 

Kachina Daisy

Utah Juniper

One-seed Juniper

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Plateau on the Radio: Episode 40 The San Francisco Peaks

Listen To or Download Episode 40 HERE...

The San Francisco Peaks - Photograph by Kate Graham

Join us this week as we celebrate the unique beauty of the San Francisco Peaks, in northern Arizona.
Our guest is author and ecologist Gwendolyn Waring, who recently put out a wonderful book titled 'The Natural History of the San Francisco Peaks', and this book is a thorough one, from the formation of the Peaks through multiple eruptions over several million years, to the Pleistocene era and the glacial impacts on the mountain itself, to many of the plants and animals and fungi that made their way to this isolated mountain island and somehow managed to survive. It is beautifully written, mixing science with love, and is a book that anyone could pick up and truly enjoy no matter what.

Gwendolyn shares some experiences on the San Francisco Peaks, discusses the adaptation that many species have made to survive in this often inhospitable environment, talks about the future of the peaks with climate change and mind, and so much more. A truly remarkable person, whose science and life experience on the Plateau and beyond is vast indeed.

Quaking Aspen off the 151 on the slopes of the San Francisco Peaks.
Photograph by Kate Graham.
Also, a spotlight on the Quaking Aspen, the San Francisco Peaks Groundsel, and we share the voices of the Star School students and staff, an off the grid charter school in Northern Arizona, who created a film titled 'Dook'o'oosliid' all about their connection to the sacred San Francisco Peaks.

And for High Desert Jamboree we play some mountain music for you, and hear some memories of the Peaks by resident forager of This is the Colorado Plateau; Ashley Doyle, and local photographer Kate Graham.

The San Francisco Peaks as viewed from the high desert of the
volcanic field. Photograph by Frank Schively.
Further Information and Reading:

A Natural History of the Intermountain West by Gwendolyn Waring

Doo'ko'oosliid - Short Film by the middle school students of the Star School

Species mentioned by Gwendylon Waring and the host:

San Francisco Peaks Groundsel - Packera franciscana

Corkbark Fir - Abies lasiocarpa var. arizonica

Limber PinePinus flexilis

Southwestern White Pine - Pinus strobiformis

Quaking AspenPopulus tremuloides

American Pipit

Clark's Nutcracker

American Three-toed Woodpecker

Mexican Spotted Owl

Red Squirrel




Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Plateau on the Radio: Episode 39 Plateau Foraging with Ashley Doyle

Listen to Episode 39 HERE...

Join guest host, nutritionist and forager Ashley Doyle for another episode all about delicious food and great ways to forage your own fridge during the cold months. Ashley discusses ways for us all to get geared-up for the upcoming Spring foraging season, choosing the best field guides for your region, and the properties of herbs when utilizing them for different medicines. Also a great interview with urban farmer Summer White about Roots Micro Farm here in Flagstaff, AZ, about being part of the community, and about growing micro-greens in your own home as a great way to get fresh greens during the winter. All that and more with music by hvnnibeat$ out of Flagstaff and Namaste Humble from Brooklyn, NY.

Roots Micro Farm, a beautiful example of an urban farm in Flagstaff, AZ

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Plateau on the Radio - Episode 38 Plateau Films and the Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival

Listen to Episode 38 HERE...

This week we are giving science a break and heading to the movies in honor of the Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival, an epic event that has taken place in our region since 2003.


We explore some of the famous films that were shot around the canyons and buttes, rivers and towns of the Colorado Plateau, and also spotlight some of the future filmmakers of our region. Students at the Star School, an off the grid elementary/middle school in northern Arizona write, direct and produce their own short films on everything from alternative power to storytelling and traditional practices.

Our wonderful guests this week are Dr. John Tveten, the Executive Director of the Mountain Film Festival who also once hosted a couple of spectacular radio shows out of Hopi on KUYI, Amy Martin a documentary photographer who uses her camera's lens to increase awareness, understanding and compassion across physical and social barriers, and John 'Verm' Sherman a bouldering pioneer, creator of the bouldering V-scale, and a spectacular wildlife photographer who uses his photography to spread awareness on the plight of the endangered California Condor.

Photograph by Amy Martin, part of the Todos Dignos series.
Photograph by John Verm Sherman of  one of the
critically endangered California Condor .
Further Info:

Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival

Star School Student Film Projects

Amy Martin Photography

John 'Verm' Sherman Photography

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Plateau on the Radio - Episode 37 Wildlife Issues and Killing Contests on the Plateau

Listen to Episode 37 HERE...

Coyote in the grasslands (photo by Greg Kramos, USFWS)
There is a terrible practice out there friends that we all need to know about...it is hard to look at, and difficult to stomach, but important to shine a spotlight on it so that we can try to change things.

They are called Wildlife Killing Contests, and chances are they are happening on public lands near you. Each year thousands of coyotes, foxes, bobcats, prairie dogs, crows, and even wolves are targeted in these horrific events where contestants win prizes and awards for killing the animals. These contests are largely un-monitored by state and federal wildlife agencies, and it is up to folks like you and advocates like our great guest Betsy Klein to put a stop to them.

Betsy, who is the founder of I AM WOLF NATION, and co-founder of Plan B to Save Wolves, educates us on what these killing contests are, the misinformation given for their existence, and shares with us how to best assist in the effort to ban wildlife killing contests in Arizona, and in your neck of the woods.

The end result of a horrific contest (photo courtesy of Southwest Environmental Center)
Also on the program, micro-trash and the impacts on wildlife, lead-poisoning among one of the most periled species on the Plateau; the California Condor, and something positive you can do to assist birds during the cold months courtesy of our resident forager extraordinaire Ashley Doyle.

Special thanks to Emily Renn of Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery for helping to set this episode up.

Further Information:

I AM WOLF NATION (A Call to Action Group)

Plan B to Save Wolves (Organization)

A Death of Ethics: Is Hunting Destroying Itself? (Article by Todd Wilkinson, mentioned in the interview)

Project Coyote (Organization)

Killing Games: Wildlife in the Crosshairs (movie trailer mentioned in the interview)

Sedona Wolf Week (Regional Event happening March 25th -30th, 2019)




Friday, January 25, 2019

Plateau on the Radio: Episode 35 Plateau Politics and the Government Shutdown

Listen to Episode 35 HERE...

As the longest government shutdown in history continues, we turn our attention to all the negative impacts that are taking place in the Plateau and beyond, and in the spirit of community radio we even try to bring you the other side of the coin and worked hard to bring you a comprehensive list of the positive impacts this government shutdown is having on people and places.

Signs in many National Parks this month urge visitors to please
take care of the place during this government shutdown.

We update you on the current state of National Parks around our region like Zion, Arches and the Grand Canyon, as well as incidents that have occurred in other National Parks around the country. And in our Notes from the Field segment we look at news from the government shutdown perspective on the impacts in regards to safety in our Public Lands, and important postponed fire management work around the West, as well as impacts that you might not have even suspected (for all you craft beer drinkers out there).

Trash cans overflowing in Yosemite National Park, CA
Also we hear from you dear listeners and your opinion on the government shutdown. All that and some good tunes to get us through the hard times. Tune in, and thank you so much for listening!

Friday, January 18, 2019

Plateau on the Radio Episode 34: Rumble on the Mountain

Listen to Episode 34 HERE...

We are happy to be back on the air after a nice winter hibernation, and on today's episode we will be highlighting one of the truly great community events that takes place annually here on the Colorado Plateau and that is the Rumble on the Mountain happening this Saturday January 19th in Flagstaff, AZ. This year is the fifth year of the Rumble and the topic they are highlighting is the ongoing legacy of Uranium Mining on the Colorado Plateau, a hugely important subject for the health of communities here on the Plateau, and a subject that does not get the spotlight it truly deserves.

'Rumble on the Mountain' by Ed Kabotie

We have some recordings from the very first Rumble on the Mountain that we will share with you, where the focus was on the utilization of reclaimed wastewater on the San Francisco Peaks, an area held sacred by all the sovereign Nations of the Plateau. The recordings include the audio of a piece by Sarah Weatherby entitled 'How and How Not to Ski', a moving performance and speech by the chair of the Havasupai tribe Rex Tilousi, a call to action by Moran Henn, and a Call to Holiness by Vernon Masayesva, the former chair of the Hopi Tribal Council. Also music by Tha Yoties, and Ed Kabotie.

And in the second hour we play some tunes by past and current performers of the Rumble on the Mountain, including Innastate, Sage Bond, and Sihasin. We also get to hear from organizer Ed Kabotie himself with a phone interview where we discuss the origin and metamorphosis of the Rumble on the Mountain event, the connection between uranium, arsenic, water and how we treat one another, as well as an update on his travels of late to Washington DC and California where he brings his messages from the land and people of the Plateau to all who will listen.

Ed Kabotie at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian


Further Reading/Links:

Ed Kabotie - The Alternative History of America (performance at the Hopi Festival 2018 at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian)

Sarah Weatherby - How and How Not to Ski (presentation)

HaulNo (Facebook page of organization spotlighted at this years Rumble on the Mountain)

Rumble on the Mountain (Facebook page of the event)