HPPR Environment

hydrology (water, aquifers, rivers)
fauna (wildlife)
climate change

Management & conservation
water conservation
soil conservation
wildlife protection
policies & regulations

This week's edition of Growing on the High Plains features a regional bird of paradise that's both easy to maintain and brilliant when in bloom: the bromeliad. With minor maintenance, this sturdy plant will continue to grow, gracing your garden with its glory. So it's a lot like public radio! Please help HPPR continue to "pretty up" your days on the High Plains. Donate today during our Fall Membership Drive.  

The Coloradoan

There’s a stereotype that every Coloradoan drives a Subaru. And judging by AAA Colorado's list of the state's 10 best-selling cars, the cliché isn’t far from the truth.

Five of the top ten selling care in Colorado are Subarus, with the Outback and Forester taking the Nos. 1 and 2 spots, respectively. As The Coloradoan reports, residents of the Centennial State like all-wheel drive Subarus for recreating and navigating snow.

Cori Duke / KJRH

A prominent Oklahoma geologist says, when it comes to earthquakes, the trouble could come from unknown quarters. Specifically, the director of the Oklahoma Geological Survey is worried about what scientists don’t understand about geology.

Justin Haag / NebraskaLAND Magazine

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is seeking the perpetrators of the unlawful killing of big game animals in western and north-central Nebraska, reports The Lincoln Journal-Star.

Trey Ratcliff / Creative Commons

A coyote killing contest in western Kansas has settled a lawsuit with the Animal Legal Defense Fund, reports The Topeka Capital-Journal.

The settlement ends a legal threat that had labeled the contest “cruel and inhumane.” The Smoky Hill Calling Contest was held in WaKeeney, Kansas, in January. At the event, the hunter who killed the most coyotes was awarded $500.

Hutchinson News

The severity and frequency of earthquakes in Colorado appears to be lessening, reports The Hutchinson News.

In the past three weeks, there has been just one quake of magnitude 2.0 or greater in the Sunflower State. Only one resident in the state felt that earthquake, which was centered underneath Anthony’s Forest Park Cemetery.

Today's edition of Growing on the High Plains asks you to hearken to our High Plains history as we ponder the lot of early pioneers, especially what harvest time meant to them. 

Like our forefathers who settled this land, so must we all pitch in to ensure a bounty when it's needed. (Just ask the Little Red Hen!) Today, we ask YOU to take a moment and consider what it is that you reap from HPPR's programming.

The Verge

We’ve seen plenty of troubling news lately about the disappearance of bees in the heartland. So  it’s nice to come across a happy bee story this week.

This week's installment of Growing on the High Plains provides an inside scoop on how best to beckon bashful butterflies to your High Plains garden. 

  From deadheading your branching mums to seizing (rather than sneezing) rods of gold, these well-worn pointers will ensure an influx of "flying flowers" to your all-you-can-eat growing space.  Learn what to plant and how to prune so that you'll optimize unannounced visits from thirsty nectar collectors.   

Accuweather / The Wichita Eagle

High Plains listeners who enjoy a cold winter may have reason to rejoice.

Signs aren’t pointing to a repeat of last year’s mild season, reports The Wichita Eagle, and that means there could be more snow on the way. However, the cold won’t come until late, say meteorologists; the early part of the season is expected to be rather mild. Dave Samuhel is a senior meteorologist for AccuWeather. He says this year will “be more like winter should be.”


In 1810, the explorer Zebulon Pike wrote about Kansas, saying: “These vast plains may become in time as celebrated as the sandy deserts of Africa.”

Ripe, fragrant fruit from the orchard is the apple of any gardener's eye.

Too bad this year's crop of apples had an abundance of beady, little eyes of their own. 

This week's installment of Growing on the High Plains gets to the core of how to avoid "coddling" common uninvited guests that often make cozy homes in our summer fruit trees.

Getty Images

Oklahoma now has more earthquakes than any state in the lower 48, including California. And, as CNBC reports, the cause of all this shaking appears to be manmade. But can anything be done?

"The fairies break their dances and leave the printed lawn." —A.E. Housman

This week on Growing on the High Plains, I have an offbeat tale about odd circles that seem to crop up supernaturally on the grass. Rest assured: there's a logical reason for the peculiar presence of these "fairy rings," especially given this summer's peculiarities.  Whether they're marked by darkness or puffs of white, learn more about this serpentine fungus among us.  

They pray. They prey.

But pray/prey tell: why is it that gardeners have been seeing more of these elegant insects this year? Whatever the reason, they're a welcome sight -- not only for their alien-esque arabesques, but also because they feast on pests like something out of a horror film.

Hear more about mantids on this week's edition of Growing on the High Plains.

And it's a good one! (Don't forget your popcorn.) 


In early 1952 an Oklahoma City petroleum geologist named William Atkinson raised eyebrows by purchasing earthquake insurance for his home.

His odd decision looked like a bit of psychic brilliance a month later. In April of that year Oklahoma City experienced a powerful earthquake—the most powerful in the state’s history until last week.

Kool Cats Photography / Flickr Creative Commons

Last week’s 5.6-magnitude earthquake in Oklahoma has now been upgraded to a 5.8, making it the highest magnitude earthquake in the state’s history.

In the wake of this massive quake, CNN Money has published an overview of what we know about these quakes.


Oklahoma fracking operations are facing a potential backlash in the wake of last week’s 5.6-magnitude earthquake, Bloomberg reports.

Last year, Oklahoma had almost 900 earthquakes of magnitude three or higher. Earlier this year Oklahoma regulators limited the disposal of oilfield wastewater in the state, hoping to prevent seismic activity. But this latest quake may trigger calls for more limits on wastewater wells in the state.


Some Oklahoma drivers have grown concerned about the structural integrity of the state’s bridges after last week’s 5.6 magnitude earthquake.

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

By Skip Mancini

It's back to school for kids across the High Plains, so I'd like to submit this audio essay about my summer travels.

As we revel in the centennial of the U.S. National Park Service, what better time to check out what Ken Burns's documentary calls "America's Best Idea?" Today's episode of Growing on the High Plains highlights our extraordinary trip to  Yellowstone National Park. 

Gardeners, when was the last time you had a young one at your side while you played in the dirt? Consider turning your next venture outdoors into a little life lesson for a child unfamiliar with our methods. When you plant a seed in the mind of a child, you never know what will grow.

Today we'll consider the many important lessons that can be learned from a visit to the garden. By encouraging a child's natural curiosity about plants, dirt, and how things grow, you teach them valuable knowledge about their world -- and where exactly they fit within it.

Paulmcdonald / Wikimedia Commons

Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado have agreed to a method of managing the Republican River, a waterway shared by all three states.

As The Wichita Eagle reports, the river has long been a source of costly legal disputes and bitter exchanges between the states. The new resolutions were praised by the governors of the three states.

David Zalubowski / AP photo

The federal government’s Clean Power Plan is currently on hold after a judge ordered a stay on the legislation. But that isn’t stopping Colorado from trying to cut down on carbon emissions on its own, reports The Colorado Springs Gazette.

Children seem to experience a singular wonder when you put them in a garden -- something beyond the splendor of the grass, the blush of a plump pear, and the inviting smells and creatures. They also tend to tune in to what that garden says about its curator.

Today we'll take a walk through my garden, but please enter with a child's honest curiosity. As you survey the bean vines flanked with flowers, perhaps you'll see an unlikely shelter. I know I did. 

AP photo

Groups fighting the proposed anti-fracking ballot measures in Colorado are spending more than 35 times what supporters of the measure are investing, reports The Colorodoan.

Don't let chaos reign in your flower garden!

 Join me as we embark on PART TWO of our segment discussing those beautiful-and-beastly blooms: perennials. On today's show, you'll learn to parse out the "spreaders" from the "clumpers." 

Plus, just a few tips on digging up the mother plant, handling the root ball, and singling out which species might be invasive.   


Kelly Colgan Azar / Flickr Creative Commons

One hundred years ago, the Migratory Bird Treaty was signed between the US and Canada. The treaty was intended to protect endangered birds, and allow them to travel unharmed. But, as StateImpact Oklahoma reports, one particular protected bird is causing a good deal of harm to Oklahoma farmers and ranchers.

caninest / Flickr Creative Commons

One of the world’s most famous wolf packs may be gone thanks to years of excessive hunting, reports The Guardian.

Alaska’s wolves were celebrated in novels by Jack London, and the East Fork pack has been studied for longer than any other collection of wolves on earth.

Rural Blog

Last year, there were 640 oil spills in the US that affected groundwater or surface water in some way. As The Rural Blog notes, many of these crude oil spills go unnoticed and unreported.

In the last seven years there have been 2,500 reported spills. And that number is probably low due to underreporting.  Some oil and gas agencies don't even track spills at the state level.

Gardeners have a saying about perennials: "The first year they sleep; the second year they creep; and the third year they leap."

Today on Growing on the High Plains, we'll unearth a few common myths about these boisterous blooms, which are quite misunderstood by beginning gardeners. If you go into the ground with a deeper understanding of what to expect from perennials, you'll sooner reap the sweet smell of success.