Plateau on the Radio: Episode 32 Fall Foraging with Ashley Doyle

Listen to Episode 32 HERE...

It's that time of the season again friends, and now that crisp autumn is all around, guest host, forager and nutritionist Ashley Doyle is back on the air to bring you some great knowledge on foraging the Colorado Plateau.

Guest Host and forager extraordinaire, Ashley Doyle.

This time around she discusses medicinal and nutritional properties of Common Mullein, Mormon Tea, Snakeweed, Pinyon, and also how some foraging isn't just for eating but for crafty folks too.

If you would like to get a hold of Ashley Doyle with questions or some of your own knowledge on Fall Foraging the Colorado Plateau region, you can drop her a line at, and she would love to hear from you.

An invasive plant found everywhere on the Plateau,
Common Mullein, is quite the useful plant indeed.

Further Reading:

Common Mullein Resource Page

Snakeweed Resource Page

Mormon Tea Resource Page

Pinyon Pine Resource Page

Coyote Melon Resource Page

Plateau on the Radio: Episode 31 The Tale of Everett Ruess

Listen to Episode 31 HERE...

Everett Ruess in the 1930's, photo by Dorothea Lange.

On this episode of our radio hour we explore the short but full life of Everett Ruess, an artist and wanderer who disappeared in the heart of the Grand Staircase-Escalante in 1934. 

Join us as we look at his past, hear some of his writings, and listen to some songs inspired by one of the great Plateau mysteries.

Inscription found by Greg Funseth and photographed by David Roberts
Further Reading: 

Finding Everett Ruess by David Roberts - If you can stand a whole bunch of badly placed advertisements you can read all of this great and extremely informative work by David Roberts via the link provided. - a page by Everett's family.

Plateau on the Radio: Episode 30 Biological Soil Crust

Listen to Episode 30 HERE...

Tune in to the radio hour to learn all about something that is near and dear to our hearts...Biological Soil Crust.

Biological Soil Crust in Canyonlands National Park, UT (Photo by Bill Bowman)
Join us as we open up the Colorado Plateau Classroom and attend an entertaining lecture by soil ecologist Jayne Belnap and learn all about this amazing life form, the ecosystem services it performs, and about efforts to restore it in areas it was destroyed.

The recording is courtesy of a great program put on in Aspen, CO called Naturalist Nights and was put on by the great folks at the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies and recorded beautifully by The GrassRoots Community Network.

And as always friends remember...Don't Bust The Crust!

Further Reading:

Research Paper Links by Jayne Belnap via Resarch Gate

A Field Guide to Biological Soil Crusts by Roger Rosentreter, Ph.D., Matthew Bowker, Ph.D., Jayne Belnap, Ph.D. Free to download the .pdf file.

Crust 101 by - a great resource for all things crust. 

Biological Soil Crusts - a 2 page hand-out, ideal for classrooms or informational booths.

Forest Rangeland Soil Ecology Lab at Northern Arizona University

Plateau on the Radio: Episode 29 The Murder of Johnny Elden Jr.

Listen to Episode 29 HERE...

On this weeks episode we embrace a new pillar (as we like to call them) of our show. We are all about science, culture, nature and community, but today we will add history into the mix as the Plateau region is rich with many interesting tales. Join my wonderful guest, historian and author John Westerlund, as we dive into the story of the 1887 murder of six year old Johnny Elden Jr. in northern Arizona, shot by a wayward bullet from an angry muleskinner...or was he? And if it is not young Johnny Elden Jr. in the very famous gravesite at the base of Mount Elden, then who is in there?

Give a listen and find out, friends...

The well known gravesite of 6 year old Johnny Elden Jr.

And if you would like to purchase a copy of the Journal of Arizona History that features the 25 page article, “Flagstaff Pioneer John Elden: Murder and Mystery - Myth and History” by historian John Westerlund you can find it at both Pioneer Museum, 2340 N. Fort Valley Road in Flagstaff, AZ, and Riordan Mansion State Historical Park, 409 W. Riordan Road also in Flagstaff.

And John Westerlund's book titled 'Arizona's War Town: Flagstaff, Navajo Ordnance Depot, and World War II' can be purchased at the The University of Arizona Press.

Cover of Journal featuring John Westerlund's
article, with painting by Catherine Sickafoose.

Finally, if you are intrigued by this weeks episode and want to learn more about Arizona history, then head over to the archives of The Journal of Arizona History where you can read articles going back to 1965. And please consider donating to the great folks at the Arizona Historical Society

Plateau on the Radio: Episode 28 Celebrating Poetry and Literature

Listen to Episode 28 HERE...

On this weeks Episode we put science in the backseat and focus in on poetry and literature on the Plateau, as the great Northern Arizona Book Festival kicks off this week in Flagstaff, AZ.

In our very first phone interview (getting fancy these days!), we were extremely honored to have on the Poet Laureate of the Navajo Nation (2015-2019), Laura Tohe. Laura spoke about her childhood, her early encouragement by a professor to embrace her writing skills, life on the Dine Nation, and her many wonderful works of poetry. No Parole Today is a prose memoir on her experiences attending a government school for Native children and the challenge it presented to her socially, culturally, and expressively, and another book we discussed was Tséyi' - Deep in the Rock, Reflections on Canyon de Chelly where she collaborates with photographer Stephen Strom.

Author, Scholar of Native American Literature and Poet Laureate
of the Navajo Nation, Laura Tohe.

Also we had on the Executive Director of the Northern Arizona Book Festival, Jesse Sensibar to talk about the origin of the Book Festival as well as the other literary events Flagstaff has to offer writers and the community including the Narrow Chimney Reading Series, Poetry Slams and the Juniper House Reading events. Jesse also has a new book coming out titled Blood in the Asphalt: Prayers from the Highway where he chronicles a lifetime spent as a tow truck driver on the lonely highways of the American Southwest.

Author and Executive Director of the Northern Arizona Book
Festival, Jesse Sensibar
Special thanks to poet and DJ Erik Bitsui for helping to set this show up. Could not have done it without him.

Head to the links below to find these great books mentioned above for purchase and support Plateau writers:

No Parole Today by Laura Tohe

Tséyi' - Deep in the Rock, Reflections on Canyon de Chelly

Blood in the Asphalt: Prayers from the Highway by Jesse Sensibar

Further Information:

Narrow Chimney Reading Series 

Juniper House Readings

Plateau on the Radio: Episode 27 Bats of the Southwest

Listen to Episode 27 HERE...

This week on your favorite regional science show we explore the wonderful world of bats. An often misunderstood, but incredibly important part of our planet, especially right here in the Southwest.

We talk with the amazing biologist and bat researcher Clarissa Starbuck (Northern Arizona University) all about bats of our region, the things bats do for humans and the ecosystem that many folks might not realize, and about her important research regarding bat populations, landscape movements and how to lessen impacts from wind turbines in northern Arizona. Also, some info on how to get bats into your bat houses, and news from the white-nose syndrome front, a disease that is devastating bat populations in much of the US.

The Hoary Bat, one of our guest Clarissa Starbuck's
favorite species. Photograph by J. N. Stuart.
For more on bat and wind turbine fatalities check out this paper by Horn et al: Behavioral Response to Bats and Operating Wind Turbines

To learn more about White-nose Syndrome check out the White-Nose Syndrome Response Team's page.

And for more about proper placement of Bat Houses (Bat Boxes) head on over to Bat Conservation International.

Also on this weeks show, and continuing on this weeks High Desert Jamboree, the after-hours of your regional science show we discuss the recent news that several monitoring and adaptive management science programs are set to be completely de-funded on October 1st. This will impact  important science taking place on the Colorado River in Grand and Glen Canyon as well as the San Juan River Basin, and would devastate regional scientists livelihoods. For more on this important story please check out our friend Science and Technology reporter Melissa Sevigny's great report.

Plateau on the Radio: Episode 26 The Pecos Conference

Listen to Episode 26 HERE...

In all my years of being knee deep in science here on the Colorado Plateau, I have had the great opportunity of attending many science conference all over the place, and the Pecos Conference was by far the best I have ever seen for so many different reasons that you will hear all about during this episode. 

So please, come take a field trip with me out to base of the San Francisco Peaks in northern Arizona, where the Pecos was held this year. And for those that might not know, the Pecos Conference is a southwest archaeology gathering and has been going strong since the 1920's. Hear from some of the attendees and organizers as they share memories of the Pecos, their research, and their hopes for the future of this truly unique and worthwhile science conference.

The main tent of the Pecos, where all the magic happens.
Special thanks to Archaeologists Michael Terlep, Kim Spurr and David Purcell for making it happen, and truly hope to do more field trip episodes in the future.

And a deep thanks to all the folks who lent their voices, their memories and their passions to this episode. I think I had enough interviews for two programs, and can't thank you enough.

Plateau on the Radio: Episode 25 Wildfires

Listen to Episode 25 HERE...

Join us for a special edition of your humble regional science show all about wildfires, megafires, and the women and men that fight them.

Forest fire beneath dark skies. Photo by astrosherpa
In this edition we will attend a lecture with Forest Ecologist Paul Hessburg all about the history of fire suppression and how we have created the ingredients for mega-fires that are larger than 100,000 acres. Also a discussion on how to prevent these wildfires through thinning and prescribed burns, and why ponderosa pines are fire dependent. And finally we look towards the wildland firefighters, true heroes of the West and especially of our region. We will see what it is like to attend Fire School, hear a great report about Hotshots, and an audio postcard from some of the elite Smokejumpers, and find out about what exactly that red stuff is that they dump from planes onto fire lines.

A Smokejumper headed into the wild.
If you would like to learn more about how to become a Wildland Firefighter head over to the National Wildfire Coordinating Group for some great information and answers to some of your questions.

Plateau on the Radio: Episode 24 Rock Art of the Plateau

Listen to Episode 24 HERE...

Look closely in many places on the Plateau and it is almost inevitable that you will find at least one piece of rock art. From the smallest spiral tucked away somewhere to whole panels of petroglyphs and pictographs, sometimes along a canyon wall for as far as you can see.

San Juan Anthropomorphs which date to the Basketmaker II Period
 - Bears Ears National Monument, UT.
Photo by Alan Kressler

Our great guest interview this week is with archaeologist Michael Terlep who extensively studied the enigmatic cup and channel petroglyphs of the Arizona Strip and Grand Staircase-Escalante. Michael shares with us the idea of Landscape Theory, the importance of working with the Nations of the Plateau to bring about a complete understanding of rock art, and some great places on the Plateau to go gaze at rock art and let your mind wander to ancient times.

One of the many Cup and Channel Petroglyphs.

An enhanced version of the debated Mammoth petroglyph at Upper
Sand Island, UT, that Michael Terlep mentioned.
Enhanced photo by Ekkehart Malotki
Also on the show: The importance of peer-review, Notes from the Field all about a new dinosaur species discovered on the Plateau and myths surrounding rattlesnakes, and an Audio Postcard from the Plateau by contributor Ashley Doyle.

Check out some of archaeologist Michael Terlep's amazing research below:

Water, Pitch, and Prehistoric Indexes: An Analysis of Cup and Channel Petroglyphs (Terlep, 2013. American Indian Rock Art, Volume 39, 2013)

From the Canyon to the Staircase: Expanding the Paleolithic Presence in the Arizona Strip (Bryce and Terlep, 2017)

Archaeological and Historical Survey of Ebon Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands (Terlep, 2013)

Plateau on the Radio: Episode 23 The Monsoon

Listen to Episode 23 HERE...

In this special edition of your favorite regional science hour we dive into the most beautiful time of year on the Plateau...the Monsoon Season.

White Pockets area on the AZ/UT border after a nice rain storm.
Photo by Ryan Lima.

Join me as we learn about the origin of the name Monsoon and how this annual weather pattern develops. We also explore the ancient life within desert potholes, or ephemeral pools that fill up during this magical time of year and have living fossils existing within. And finally we talk about being safe out there in the wilds as you are exploring the Plateau region, and how to best avoid flash floods and lightning strikes, and so much more.

Also, regional music from New Mexico with Native Roots, and from Hopi with Casper Lomayesva and friends.

Below is a footage of a flash flood at Lower Antelope Canyon on the Diné Nation from 2013. In some areas this portion of the slot canyon is 40 feet deep.

Plateau on the Radio: Episode 22 Wild Horses on the Plateau

Listen to Episode 22 HERE...

Photograph by Jay Mark Redelsperger

This week brings us out to the high deserts of the Colorado Plateau where the wild horses of the Diné Nation struggle to survive during this seemingly unending drought. But there is always hope when things seem the darkest, and a grassroots effort started by local folks in Gray Mountain and Flagstaff called Gray Mountain Horse Heroes has stepped up to help the horses in any way they can. We interview four of the Horse Heroes, Paul Lincoln, Glenda Seweingyawma, Eileen Taggart and Billie McGraw on the origin of their meeting, the difficulties and joys of helping so many horses in the area, and ways in which we all can help too. The efforts of this group have not only been healing the horses, but also has been bringing the community of Gray Mountain and the surrounding area together.
From Left to Right: Emery, Paul and Glenda

Also, a history of horses in North America, and music by Sihasin as well as John Trudell and Annie Humphrey.

Further Information:

Please consider joining the Facebook Group: Gray Mountain Horse Heroes to join in the efforts.

If you would like to donate monetarily to the group you can do so at Wildhorse Ranch Rescue, or by purchasing gift cards for the group at Olsen's Grain in Flagstaff for hay and feed.

A recent article by Emery Cowan about the efforts at Gray Mountain: In the midst of drought, volunteers bring food and water to Gray Mountain wild horses

Check out the report mentioned in the show by the Navajo Nation Department of Fish and Wildlife titled Survey of Free Ranging Horses on the Navajo Nation

Special thanks to Glenda Seweingyawma and Jay Mark Redelsperger for the use of their photos. And special thanks to Environmental and Science Reporter Emery Cowan of the Arizona Daily Sun for helping to make this episode happen.

Plateau on the Radio: Episode 21 Foraging the Colorado Plateau with Ashley Doyle

Listen to Episode 21 HERE...

This week your regular humble host, Christopher Calvo took a backseat as guest host extraordinaire, master chef and nutritionist Ashley Doyle took us on a journey through the Plateau to forage for wild and delicious foods, dyes and medicine too.

Guest host and Plateau forager Ashley Doyle
From the gathering of Dandelions on many riparian throughout the Plateau, to Lobster and King Bolete mushrooms in the monsoon drenched slopes of the San Francisco Peaks, to cooking with Amaranth in Ashley's kitchen out in the volcanic fields of northern Arizona, to Biscuit Root in the Canyon Country of Utah. Ashley also walks you through how to make simple tinctures and vinegars with your harvest utilizing things that are probably already in your kitchen right now. This will be a seasonal series on the radio show so please get in touch with Ashley at or on the Facebook page and let her know your favorite foods to forage in your neck of the woods and your favorite recipes too.

Ashley harvesting the fruit of the
Prickly Pear in northern AZ.
For other great resources in harvesting foods on the Plateau check out the following links:
And to get involved with some classes that focus on wild food, look into the wonderful Forager's Path School of Botanical Studies.

Plateau on the Radio: Episode 20 Sacredness and Environmental Protection

Listen to Episode 20 HERE...

In the first part of our show this week we explored the protection of areas on the Plateau that are sacred to the many sovereign Nations that have called this region home since the very beginning.

At Zuni Salt Lake for instance, sacred area to the Zuni, Acoma, Laguna, Hopi and Taos pueblos. There are annual pilgrimages to Zuñi Salt Lake to harvest salt, for both culinary and ceremonial purposes. Ancient roadways radiate out from the lake to the various pueblos and ancestral pueblo sites, such as Chaco. The lake itself is home to the Salt Mother deity, known to the Zuñi as Ma'l Okyattsik'i. When the coal industry came around, a grassroots effort from the pueblos and environmental groups helped to stop the water table from being pumped out of the unique and precious area.

Zuni Salt Lake on the southern edge of the Plateau (AirPhoto)

At the Confluence of the Little Colorado and Colorado Rivers a massive tourist area dubbed Grand Canyon Escalade threatened to go in to an area considered extremely sacred to all tribes who have connections to the Grand Canyon as either an emergence place or a place of historic and modern importance. A group called Save the Confluence and many local people helped to stop this from happening.

The Little Colorado on its journey to the Grand Canyon (OARS)

And the decades long fight to prevent a ski area on the San Francisco Peaks from expanding and then later from using treated sewage water to make artificial snow is still being fought in the courts, primarily by the Hopi Nation but backed many other people and tribes who consider this mountain to be extremely sacred.

We also were extremely honored to talk to Jim Enote from Zuni, the CEO of the Colorado Plateau Foundation.

Jim Enote, farmer, fisherman, and so much more...
Still taken from the film Counter-Mapping by
Adam Loften & Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee)

Jim is responsible for helping to create the efforts surrounding the ideas of counter-mapping, a revisionist effort to elaborate Zuni history and cultural survival independent from the non-Zuni narrative, using Zuni language and Zuni aesthetics and sensibilities as they artistically map their region. We discussed Jim's history, his family, farming, building homes and the difference between trying to converge Native knowledge with science, and keeping them separate while having respect for both. It was one of the best conversations we ever had on the air, and hopefully paved the way to future shows with Jim whenever he is in town again.

To see a great video in regards to counter-mapping with Jim, head over to Emergence Magazine and prepare to be extremely moved.

And if you are interested in supporting the wonderful efforts of the Colorado Plateau Foundation as they strive to help protect sacred and endangered lands, water, language, and sustainable community based agriculture, or are a Native-led group looking to apply for a grant, head over to their website to learn more.

And stay tuned for future news in regards to a new PBS Series titled Native America that will feature Jim and will be airing this Fall.

Plateau on the Radio: Episode 19 Science Communication in the Classroom with Tad Theimer

Listen to Episode 19 HERE...

In Part 5 of our 5 part series all about Science Communication, we close by taking a peek into communicating science within the classroom. Our guest Dr. Tad Theimer, Biology Professor at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ, gives us some beautiful insight on what it takes to be a good teacher, on the joys of meeting and helping students, and on the importance of science literacy when thinking critically about what the world is offering us.

Also, the host and friends of This is the Colorado Plateau share memories of their favorite science teachers, and much more.

For more thoughts by the spectacular human being, Tad Theimer, check out his piece about the Flagstaff March For Science

Plateau on the Radio: Episode 18 Science Communication through Photography with Mike Remke and Tim Macy

Listen to Episode 18 HERE...

This week brings us two great guests in Part 4 of our 5 part Science Communication series, this time focusing on communicating through the lens of a camera. Landscape photographer and soil scientist Mike Remke and wildlife photographer and owner of Macy's Coffehouse in Flagstaff, AZ Tim Macy share their perspectives and experiences from behind the camera, and what photography means to them personally.

Marble - by Mike Remke

Belted Kingfisher - by Tim Macy
If you are interested in learning more about mycorrhizal associations with soil and plants as mentioned in the show, you can check out the definitive page and also head over to the Forest Rangeland Soil Ecology Lab for some great regional information too.

Plateau on the Radio: Episode 17 Science Communication on the Radio with Melissa Sevigny

Listen to Episode 17 HERE...

This week on part 3 of our 5 part Science Communication series we focus in on the airwaves and look into science communication over the radio.

My wonderful guest Melissa Sevigny (Science and Technology Reporter at KNAU Public Radio Station in Flagstaff, AZ) talks about creating a story, about the joys of science reporting and about many of her wonderful segments that you can hear anytime in the KNAU archives. Also we talked about her two books, Mythical River and Under Desert Skies. Many thanks to Melissa for her perspective on science communication and for all her amazing work she does in reporting news and research for the southern Plateau region.

Also we take a trip through science shows in radio history, including the very first science show called Radio Talks that aired in the 1920's as well as the first dramatized science show called Adventures in Research that aired in the 30's. And if you would like to check out some of the modern shows I mentioned in the program, here are some links...

Earth Notes

Canyon Commentaries with Scott Thybony

Wild About Utah

Science Moab

Mesa Verde Voices

Heritage Voices

Plateau on the Radio: Episode 16 Science Communication in Literature with Craig Childs

Listen to Episode 16 HERE...

Happy windy Spring to you all. It has been a lovely week here on the Plateau and I was very fortunate to interview an amazing and kind man who has authored some of of the best books around. Craig Childs (House of Rain, Stone Desert, Apocalyptic Planet) came through Flagstaff and sat down to talk with me about many interesting and beautiful things, including his new and spectacular book titled Atlas of a Lost World - Travels in Ice Age America.

Also in this Episode that is part 2 of our 5 part series (whew!) all about Science Communication, words from Ed Abbey, E.O. Wilson, as well as a fast journey through the ages focused in on the Colorado Plateau and the Great Basin.

Thank you so much Craig Childs for doing this, and thank you for your wonderful words and writings.

Plateau on the Radio: Episode 15 Science Communication in a Newspaper with Emery Cowan

Listen to Episode 15 HERE...

This is the first part in a five part series that seeks different perspectives in the art of Science Communication. We will focus in on the often overlooked part of science that is one of its most important aspects; getting science out there to the people. We will highlight science communication through a daily newspaper, through literature, radio, the lens of a camera and in front of the classroom. Kicking things off is today's interview with Emery Cowan, Environmental, Health and Science Reporter of the Arizona Daily Sun Newspaper in Flagstaff. We discuss Emery's work, the process behind writing an article, and her great perspectives on how to go about doing good communication efforts for environmental and science news.

And check out some of Emery Cowan's recent articles that we discussed below:

A Tinder Fire Resident Who Stayed

Blowin' in the Wind: Arizona Dust is Creating Problems for Rocky Mountain Snowpack

Researchers find Grand Canyon's Underground Water Takes Surprising Paths

Plateau on the Radio: Episode 14 The Geology of the Grand Canyon

Listen to Episode 14 HERE...

No guest this week friends, instead we turn the radio show into a classroom and join a lecture given by legendary regional geologist Wayne Ranney as he discusses how the Grand Canyon was formed and the endless debate over how old the Grand Canyon actually is. This was from a recording on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon at the Shrine of the Ages courtesy of the Grand Canyon Association.

There are some great visuals in his presentation too, so if you would like to watch it instead of listening you can head over to the video on the Grand Canyon Associations Youtube Channel.

Plateau on the Radio: Episode 13 Drought and Water Conservation

Listen to Episode 13 HERE...

Waterline Road on the San Francisco
Peaks (Photo by Cory Mottice)
This time around we are focusing on drought and water conservation and have on a great guest named Erin Young who is the City of Flagstaffs Water Resources Manager and we discuss the future of water security in Flagstaff, the history of the water supply here and conservation measures that are in place, as well as things everyone can do to conserve our precious water. Also a report about dust on snow, the US Drought Index Monitor, and the plight of the ancient Hohokam Nation who experienced one of the worse droughts in history here in the southwest.

For more information on the events being held through the Flagstaff Water Services Department head over to their website and check out the calendar. They also have a really nice history section that lays out the interesting ways Flagstaff has been utilizing water since the very beginning. Also if your interested in doing you part to conserve water, take advantage of the great rebate programs mentioned in the show that the City of Flagstaff offers its residents.

For more information on Red Gap Ranch, have a look at this .pdf file for some history.

Lake Mary is one of the main water sources of the city of Flagstaff (Photo by Chris Gering)

Plateau on the Radio: Episode 12 Citizen Science and Advocacy

Listen to Episode 12 HERE...

This weeks episode is all about the importance of Citizen Science and Science Advocacy. We highlight citizen science opportunities for our listeners to join in, talk about the upcoming March for Science Flagstaff event put on by CEBA with organizers Jackie Parker and Pete Motyka, as well as the Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Projects Wild & Scenic Film Festival, and have a conversation with Mexican Wolf Advocates Jean and Peter Ossorio from New Mexico. Also an audio postcard from Citizen Scientist extraordinaire Ashley Doyle

And for more information on Mexican Wolves head over to the great website, and check out some articles by my great guests including Pupdate by Jean Ossario that highlights news about the pups down in the Recovery Area.

To locate some Citizen Science Projects that were mentioned on the show look into SciStarter as well as Scientific American and The Citizen Scientist Grid.

Plateau on the Radio: Episode 11 Water is Life

Listen to the weeks show HERE...

Tune in for another installment of This is the Colorado Plateau  as we focus on water and drought across our region. Our three wonderful guests, Adrienne Soder and Mary Samar (Graduate Students at Northern Arizona University) and Dr. Denielle Perry, Assistant Professor with the School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability, and they are organizing and participating in the upcoming Student Water Symposium at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ. We talk about their important research and about the importance of water policy in the West. Also a view of the drought from the Four Corners from Luke Runyon, a segment on mega-droughts, as well as water conservation tips from our very own Plateau reporter Ashley Doyle. Music from regional reggae rockers Innastate with Water is Life, and so much more!
The Colorado River, life-blood of the West

Plateau on the Radio: Episode 10 Volunteering for Wildlife and the Landscape

Listen to Episode 10 HERE...

Episode 10 of This is the Colorado Plateau is up and running friends (and you can listen live to future episodes at 10AM MST streaming worldwide on, and in Flagstaff, AZ on 101.5 FM). We talked with Inka Knittle, one of the amazing organizers of the Grand Falls Clean-Up Event happening on April 6th and 7th out at Grand Falls on the Diné Nation, and also we are bringing you dear listeners opportunities on how you can get involved with volunteer activities this Spring on the Plateau, including the great adventure in spotlighting for Black-footed Ferrets out on the southern edge of the Plateau in April. 

Plateau on the Radio: Episode 9 Indigenous Perspective on Bears Ears

Listen to this weeks episode HERE.
This week we are focusing on the indigenous perspective surrounding Bears Ears National Monument by sharing the Heritage Voices podcast that recorded the thoughts of four amazing people. The panel consisted of Lyle Balenquah (Hopi Archaeologist), Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk (Education Coordinator for the Ute Indian Museum), Ed Kabotie (Hopi/Tewa artist and musician) and Angelo Baca (Diné/Hopi, Filmmaker and Cultural Resources Coordinator for Utah Diné Bikeyah). Tune in to hear their experiences with Bears Ears, and also thoughts on larger issues such as indigenous and Western science collaborations, and tribal sovereignty. Thanks to the great folks at Living Heritage Anthropology, the Friends of Cedar Mesa and the Archaeology Podcast Network for making this happen. 
Bears Ears National Monument, UT (photo by Donald J. Rommes)

Plateau on the Radio: Episode 8 Cave Ecology of the Plateau

Listen here: Plateau on the Radio - Episode 8 Cave Ecology of the Plateau
This weeks episode will find us not on the Plateau, but deep within it, as we explore cave ecology and biology with Ecologist and NAU Research Professor Jut Wynne. Also we have a segment on the late Stephen Hawking, Notes from the Field featuring the land swap news from the Hopi Nation, a new Audio Postcard from the Plateau, and a couple of songs of course...

For more on the work of our guest Jut Wynne check out:

Cave Life of the Colorado Plateau

In El Maipais National Monument on the New Mexico portion of the Colorado Plateau is a special place in too many ways to really count. The name El Malpais is from the Spanish term Malpaís, meaning badlands, and it is called that due to the extremely barren and dramatic volcanic field that covers so much of this rugged area.

The cinder cones, lava flows, and other volcanic elements of El Malpais are part of the Zuni-Bandera volcanic field, the second largest volcanic field in the Basin and Range Province. This volcanically active area on the southeast margin of the Colorado Plateau is at the intersection of the Rio Grande Rift Basin, with its deep normal faulting, and the ancient Jemez Lineament. These two features provide the crustal weaknesses that recent magmatic intrusions and Cenozoic volcanism are attributed to.

The smooth Pahoehoe and rugged A'a' lava flows of the Zuni-Bandera eruptions filled a large basin between the high mesas of the Acoma Pueblo to the east, Mt. Taylor to the north, and the Zuni Mountain anticline to the northwest.

And anywhere there is volcanic activity like this, there are also numerous lava tube caves, like the amazing Big Skylight Cave, where a special habitat exists beneath the light of one of the ceiling entrances. And within this habitat are some amazing lifeforms indeed.

Cave Ecologist and Research Professor Jut Wynne and colleagues discovered an new species of millipede living within this delicate and unique ecosystem. Named Austrotyla awishoshola n. sp. after a local Zuni term awisho(moss) and shola(many-legged creature). This millipede may have become restricted to the cave environment following the end of the Pleistocene, and is a spectacular example of how a species can exist solely in one specialized spot.

For more on this species and other cave life information for the southwest, check out the great links below:

Ecological Inventory of Lava Tube Caves, El Malpais National Monument, New Mexico. Jut Wynne. Colorado Plateau Research Station (note: this link leads to a .pdf document)

Southwest Caves Reveal New Forms of Life - USGS Fact Sheet. Jut Wynne and Charles Drost.

Plateau on the Radio: Episode 7 Katie Lee and Glen Canyon

On this episode of your humble regional science show we focus in on the life of an amazing woman and her fight to help restore the place she lost beneath the murky waters of Lake Powell. And of course we are talking about Katie Lee and Glen Canyon. Join us as we explore Glen Canyon before and after the Glen Canyon Dam was built, and here the voice and songs of Katie Lee. You can listen to this weeks episode right here.

Katie Lee at a camp along the Colorado River in Glen Canyon, 1955.
Photo by Tad Nichols

Plateau on the Radio: Episode 6 Pluto and Our Dark Skies

This show highlights the importance of dark skies on the Plateau as well as focuses in on the biggest discovery to ever happen in the Plateau region...the planet Pluto. Our amazing guest Kevin Schindler is the historian at Lowell Observatory and has a new book out titled 'Pluto and Lowell Observatory', so join us as we leave the Plateau for a little while and blast off into space.

Give a listen to it right here...

And you can pick up Kevin's new book at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ (all proceeds from book sales goes straight to Lowell Observatory) and also attend the unveiling of the newly restored Pluto Discovery Telescope up at Lowell on March 10th from 3-5 pm.

Plateau on the Radio: Episode 5 The Uranium Legacy

A still from the film 'Too Precious to Mine'
If you missed this weeks episode of This is the Colorado Plateau you can listen here, we focused on the people of the Grand Canyon, Colorado and Little Colorado Rivers and their deep connections to these amazing places. Also we interviewed photographer Amy Martin and Filmmaker Justin Clifton about the legacy and continuing threat of Uranium contamination on the Plateau and especially on the Diné (Navajo) Nation, as well as their films, art and an art show at Firecreek Coffee Company in Flagstaff called Uranium: Ignominious Legacy on the Colorado Plateau. We also had Plateau reporter Ashley Doyle on with a new segment called Plateau Food Ecology where she discusses the traditional foods of the Hualapai tribe, as well as music by Ed Kabotie from the edge of Grand Falls at the Little Colorado River.
just like to hear it one more time you can listen to it

And please check out the films we discussed: Too Precious to Mine and Half Life: The Story of Americas Last Uranium Mill

And, as always, we would truly appreciate it if you Plateau lovers out there would consider submitting an Audio Postcard from the Plateau. It could be about anything you'd like as long as its Colorado Plateau related...for instance you could speak about a rare bird you saw, or a really great hike you did, or just what the Colorado Plateau means to you...anything goes! So grab your phone or other recording device and send us your amazing words. You can send the mp3 file to and listen for your voice on the air!

Dark Skies of the Plateau: The Temple of the Moon

The Temple of the Moon - Capitol Reef National Park - Photo by Royce Bair
The Colorado Plateau offers remote and spectacular places to escape light pollution and see the stars at a handful of world-renowned dark-sky parks. At Capitol Reef National Park for instance, one can marvel in Cathedral Valley as the dark skies envelop the entire area. 

As light pollution increases across the country, some national parks on the Colorado Plateau are being recognized internationally as places to experience an extraordinary and diminishing resource—dark night skies. Less than one-third of the country’s population lives in a place where they can see the Milky Way, and in many national parks, stargazing programs draw more visitors than any other ranger-led activity.

In 2007, the International Dark-Sky Association designated Natural Bridges National Monument in southeastern Utah the world’s first International Dark Sky Park. In 2013, the association awarded International Dark Sky Park status to Chaco Culture National Historical Park in northwestern New Mexico for its natural nighttime darkness, commitment to reducing light pollution, and public outreach and education programs. And in 2014, the association also recognized Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument as the newest dark-sky park for its superior opportunities to view the night skies.