High Plains Public Radio

HPPR Environment

Awareness:
geography
geology
hydrology (water, aquifers, rivers)
flora
fauna (wildlife)
climate
weather
ecosystems
climate change

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

Kathleen Lavine / Denver Business Journal

Wind energy is booming in Colorado, reports the Denver Business Journal . In fact, 14 percent of the state’s power now comes from wind, according to data from the U.S. Department of Energy . And the Centennial State isn’t alone; wind power is surging in many parts of the country. Colorado is one of 11 states across the country that now get at least 10 percent of their total electricity from wind farms. Compare that with ten years ago, when there were only three such states. Iowa is the nation...

Buddhika Weerasinghe / Getty Images

Greenhouse gas emissions have reached a new height, UPI reports. The last few years have witnessed growing support for an effort to combat climate change. Even so, a new World Meteorological Organization report finds rising levels of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere. The report noted that, since 1990, there has been a 37 percent increase in the warming impact on the climate because of greenhouse gases like CO2, methane and nitrous oxide. Carbon dioxide levels have now reached a...

Nathan Rupert / Flickr Creative Commons

Colorado wildlife officials are proposing killing more mountain lions and black bears in the coming months, reports The Denver Post . The move comes as the state has faced a dwindling deer population. This “predator control” push is aimed at saving fawns. At its heart, the effort comes down to economics. Deer hunting is a major part of Colorado’s hunting industry. As such, the activity is vital to Parks and Wildlife revenues . However, killing bears and mountains is a highly controversial...

Have you ever wanted s'more information about the origin of those squishy, sweet puffs we all take for granted around the campfire? Today's Growing on the High Plains peeps at the ancient origin of the marshmallow, and it's hiding in plain sight. Join us as we tap the root of the " mallow plant," commonly found around marshy wetlands. From mucilaginous medicine to confection perfection, this treacly treat goes WAY back -- and the story of its cultivation is more than just fluff.

Wallethub

On average, Americans spend nearly $2,000 per year on energy bills. But that burden could be lighter. Experts estimate that the U.S. could save more than $1.2 trillion if more energy-efficient measures were put in place. This fact prompted personal finance website Wallethub to study which states are the most and least energy efficient. New York was found to be the most energy efficient, while South Carolina was found to be the least. Among High Plains states, Colorado performed the best,...

Sue Ogrocki / The Wichita Eagle

The 5.8-magnitude earthquake in Oklahoma last month raised some big questions for Kansas geologist Tandis Bidgoli. “I was very concerned,” Bidgoli said, “because it didn’t appear there were any foreshocks to that event.” As The Wichita Eagle reports, big quakes are usually preceded by other, smaller seismic events. Scientists often uses these smaller tumblers to predict a bigger earthquake. But last month in Pawnee, Oklahoma, the big quake seemed to come out of nowhere. And that lead Bidgoli...

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. These luscious plants aren't shy when they show their true colors, and they provide...

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. But when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, fall somewhere in the...

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. As The Dallas Morning News reports, J eremy Boak told a roomful of geoscientists this week in Dallas that he’s concerned that the biggest quakes seem to be happening far away from zones of “high concern,” which is to say, areas near injection wells. Somehow,...

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 . On Oct. 17 the remains of four buck pronghorns were discovered on private land south of Kimball. The heads of three of the animals had been taken, along with some of the meat. Meanwhile, officials also discovered a dead cow elk, left to rot near the road to Smith Falls northeast of Valentine. The animal is...

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. The organizers of the event have now agreed to never hold such a contest in Kansas again. They will pay more than $2,000 in legal...

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. By comparison, neighboring counties in Oklahoma have recorded 33 in that time. And all but two of the regional earthquakes in Oklahoma were of magnitude 2.5. or...

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. From music and entertainment to news and regional education highlights like this one,...

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. As The Verge reports, scientists have discovered that bees can be trained like dogs. Researchers from Queen Mary University of London have successfully taught a group of the tiny insects to pull on a string in exchange for a treat. What’s more, you don’t have to train the bees individually. If you teach one bee, then that bee’s compatriots will...

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.” But Larry Ruthi of the Dodge City branch of the...

kansas.com

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.” In fact, notes The Lawrence Journal-World , f or decades Kansas was part of what was referred to as the Great American Desert. Knowing that Kansas was at one time famed for its aridity makes the present state of affairs even more striking: According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, not a single acre of Kansas soil is currently considered to be in...

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? Scientists are blaming the quakes on the disposal of wastewater that comes from hydraulic fracturing, better known as “fracking.” The amount of fracking has dramatically increased in Oklahoma over the last few years. There are technologies for disposing of wastewater that would be less quake-friendly, such...

"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 .)

fivethirtyeight

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. So, was William Atkinson clairvoyant? No, as fivethirtyeight.com reports, he was simply aware that Oklahoma is riddled with fault lines. And, as a petroleum...

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. Since the beginning of the fracking boom, the state has experienced a 5,000 percent increase in seismic activity. The quakes are believed to be caused by wastewater disposal. In March government scientists said disposal wells have “induced”...

USGS

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. The 375 earthquakes Oklahoma experienced in the first half of...

KFOR.com

Some Oklahoma drivers have grown concerned about the structural integrity of the state’s bridges after last week’s 5.6 magnitude earthquake. As KFOR reports, some Oklahoma bridges were damaged by the massive quake. However, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation insists that damage sustained was only cosmetic. The agency claims that all affected bridges have cleared safety inspections. Transportation officials, have tried to reassure drivers, noting that Oklahoma bridges are designed to...

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. As you would expect, the sights at this national treasure were so...

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...

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. In a press release Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts said, “These resolutions represent a long-term strategy for representing each state and ultimately improving water...

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 . Gov. John Hickenlooper has suggested that he might order a one-third cut in carbon gas emissions from power plants over the next 14 years. Hickenlooper's proposal would direct power plants to cut CO2 emissions by 35 percent by 2030. In fact, Hickenlooper’s...

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. A garden is a collection of true joy, a...

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