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Wikimedia Commons

A grouse of the open grassland, the Greater Prairie-Chicken is known for its mating dance, performed by males on flat display sites on shortgrass prairie called leks. Their range extends from northern Oklahoma through the Flinthills and northern Kansas, and on north through the centers of Nebraska and the Dakotas. Sarah Sortum and her brother found their way back to the family ranch in the central Nebraska sandhills by starting an eco-tourism business, allowing bird watchers to see the chicken in its mixed-grass home.

Suicide Rate Increases in Kansas

Nov 25, 2013
psychcentral.com

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment 2012 Annual Summary of Vital Statistics revealed suicides in Kansas increased 31.5 percent, totaling 505 deaths versus 384 in 2011,according to a recent article from the Kansas Institute of Health

unitedcountry.com

Folks, you know, sometimes life takes you a direction, and then brings people in that affirm your choice, and take you to the next level.  That is exactly what happened to Bill Dance, and as fate would have it, one of the people he came in contact with was my uncle, Luke.

A World Without Bees

Nov 20, 2013
Winfried Rothermel / APN

You don't have to look the world over for evidence that honeybees are in trouble. A global disaster is in the making, and it's evident right in our backyards. Today Growing on the High Plains looks at the worries of beekeepers in Western Kansas, and the things we'll lose from our table when we lose the honeybees. Get ready to say so long to a myriad of fruits, nuts, and vegetables that depend on the honeybee for pollination.

Kevin Welch / amarillo.com

Life requires water. In Texas the surface water, owned by the state, is drying or dried up, and everyone from farmers to politicians are looking underground to make up the state’s growing water deficit according to the Texas Tribune.  

Production Ag: Sub-surface Irrigation Study Findings

Nov 19, 2013
Nate Birt / agweb.com

The Kansas State University Research Center in Colby, Kansas, has been studying ways to use precious groundwater more efficiently.  Subsurface drip irrigation has been tested for 25 years according to the High Plains Journal

Wikimedia Commons

The Ferruginous is North America's largest hawk. Its habitat includes grasslands, deserts, and other open areas with isolated shrubs or trees where less than 50 percent of the land is under cultivation. The raptor preys on small mammals, many of which would be considered pests to ranchers. Its favorite meal is the prairie dog; a depopulation of the prairie dog on the High Plains has negatively impacted this hawk's numbers.

The Republican River Dispute Continues

Nov 18, 2013
harvestpublicmedia.org

Kansas and Nebraska continue to struggle for a fair share of Republican River according to The Wichita Eagle.  

Bill Dance

Howdy folks, have I got a surprise for you today… my old friend Bill Dance stopped by for a chat, and we’re talking about the defining moment that changed the course of his life.  Believe it or not, he was 7 years old when it happened.  He was fishing with his grandparents one afternoon.  He was fishing.  His Grandfather was fishing.  His grandmother had a quilt spread out on the bank; she was crocheting.  Ah, heck, why don’t you just take a few minutes and listen to Bill tell it.  Just click on the arrow up above.

Until next time, be safe and enjoy the great outdoors.

Whooping Cranes in Kansas: Keep your distance

Nov 14, 2013
Michael Pearce / The Wichita Eagle

Whooping cranes are rare.  In 1942, there were only 20.  Today there are 500, and some have been spotted at the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge in Stafford County according to The Wichita Eagle.  However, if you want to catch a glimpse of the tallest species of North American birds, keep your distance.

circajewels.com

Look!  Up in the sky!  It's a Bird....it's a plane....no, it's a honeybee just taking off from the roof of a high rise hotel!  During a trip to the New York City area we were headquartered at a hotel that provided spectacular views of the city skyline and an up close and personal look at some in-house methods of bringing nature indoors.  From a lobby lined with herbs planted into the walls to a rooftop that was home to thousands of honeybees who daily worked the surrounding New Jersey farmlands, this Regency hotel is doing its best to be a good neighbor to it's guests, the surrounding community, and the environment.

Upland Bird Report: Eastern Colorado

Nov 13, 2013
wikipedia.org

Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologists say lingering effects of a two-year drought have significantly affected pheasant populations across eastern Colorado, setting up challenging conditions for upland bird hunters who take to the field this season according a press release from the Colorado State Division of Wildlife.

Wikimedia Commons

The Sandhill Crane is a tall gray bird of open grasslands, meadows and wetlands. The most numerous crane species in the world, this bird congregates in huge numbers during migration between wintering grounds in the Southwest and its breeding grounds in Canada, Alaska and Eastern Asia.

dravesarchery.com

Howdy Folks!  This is the last week I'm going to talk with David Fort, the president of the American Whitetail Authority.    

David has shared with me the process his organization goes through to choose hunters to participate in their tournaments, and let me tell you what, it is not a walk in the park.  

In addition to having an excellent skill set, there are three tournaments hunters participate in, with the final one in eastern Kansas in January.

Planting Pollinators

Nov 6, 2013
wikipedia.org

As wildlife habitats continue to disappear at an alarming rate, it's important  to remember that these areas are critical to the survival of not only animals of the woodlands and prairies but also the insects that are essential to the creation of many of our food sources. Production of countless fruits and vegetables depends on visits from a variety of flying insects that search out pollinators in your yard and garden. 

Alan Vernon

They're not sport birds, but they are important to the ecological balance of range land. We look at the lives and habitats of the birds, and how conservation initiatives like Conservation Reserve Program helps these species.

http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

Dry conditions continue across the High Plains listening region.  Rain in southern Kansas slightly improved the abnormally dry conditions.  Heavy rains on October 26 improved conditions in the Oklahoma panhandle according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.  

rmefblog.blogspot.com

Folks, I am pleased as punch to be talking with David Fort, president of the American Whitetail Authority.  David is teaching me about a whitetail tournament sponsored by the AWA.  The competition is done with rifles outfitted with cameras, not bullets.  

Autumn Uglies

Nov 1, 2013
beyondthefieldsweknow.org

Those of us who share our country homes with wildlife love spring time when we see the babies.  Nothing is cuter or sweeter than a newborn fawn unless it is six or seven baby raccoons following mom to the creek.  On the other hand, nothing is funnier looking and yet more charming than a flock of recently feathered turkey poults trying to catch grasshoppers as they follow their mother through tall grass.

NASA Earth Observatory

The destruction caused by wildfires may be obvious to the observer, but one new piece of research brings attention to the potential effects of smoke from those wildfires.

The majority of the High Plains region falls under an area of the nation most affected by plumes of smoke from wildfires and other causes, according to research by environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council.

William C. Johnson

Duane Cheney, from the Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams, talks to landowners and operators in western Kansas about the benefits of enrolling playas in NRCS's Wetlands Reserve Program or Continuous CRP, thereby taking those "mudholes" out of production once and for all and converting them into wonderful wildlife habitat that also helps recharge the Ogallala aquifer. Doug Duell talks about his experience rehabbing a 40-acre playa on his western Kansas cropland.

American Whitetail Authority: Hunting With a Camera?

Oct 25, 2013
thetruthaboutguns.com

Howdy Folks!  Today, I’m talking with David Fort, president of the American Whitetail Authority.  You know, there’s all sorts of tournaments, but the AWA tourney is unique.  It’s a whitetail competition series, but the unique aspect is that you’re hunting with a camera mounted on a gun.

hutchrec.com

The palette of autumn colors in western Kansas dazzles me every year.  I know many folks think foliage tours in eastern states reveal the best seasonal color, but I wish they would drive across the prairie with me.  The colors may not be quite so obvious as the hardwood forests in the East, but anyone with a good eye can enjoy our fall hues.

Cindee Talley

  The xeriscaping conversation continues with Tom Gillan, owner of Native Nursery.  Today, the discussion focuses on planning a landscape that gives color and texture from spring until fall.

wunderground.com

The May hailstorm in Amarillo was the 10th costliest storm in the history of the state of Texas with an estimated price tag of $500 million.  With most of 2013 in the rear view mirror, the good news is that construction in Amarillo is up, and repairs from the spring storm is a significant part of the pie.  As a matter of fact, 43 percent of construction projects in the city are roofing according to the Amarillo Globe-News.

Dave Hilfterty grows dryland winter wheat and irrigated corn in Perkins County, Nebraska. Dave had a challenge that was perfect for Wetlands Reserve Program assistance. Amongst his five irrigation circles there's a lagoon, which he got tired of trying to farm through.

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Community gardens dole out small plots of land and encourage people with limited access to fresh produce to grow their own. Now, there’s a new twist on that model springing up across the country: edible food forests.

Howdy Folks!

This week will be short, because I am packing my gear to head back to the Dale River Ranch.  This past weekend, I was not successful.  It happens to the best of us.  I shot from a vertical angle that I don't practice much, and believe you me, when I get back to the ranch, it will be a shot I'll be practicing before I head back out to try again.

Chris Helzer / The Nature Conservancy

Realizing the importance of the Ogallala Aquifer to High Plains states, NRCS created the Ogallala Aquifer Initiative to attempt to reduce the quantity of water removed from the aquifer, improve water quality using conservation practices, and enhance the economic viability of croplands and rangelands in the region. This episode explains how playas fit into these goals.

Amarillo: There are still recycling options

Oct 10, 2013
wikipedia.org

Republic Recyclery closed last month in Amarillo, but there are still recycling options according to the Amarillo Globe-News.

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