HPPR Environment

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

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

J.N. Stuart/Flickr Commons

Clay Cooper signed the first Lesser Prairie-Chicken conservation plan in Texas, through the Natural Resources Conservation Service "Working Lands for Wildlife" partnership -- an agreement with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Carole Geier

Today we travel to the sandhills south of Garden City, Kansas to the home of Larry and Carole Geier.  The couple has created an oasis in the midst of sagebrush and sand. The location has perks like night skies filled with stars, and some burly neighbors who used to roam the prairie. 

Luke Clayton

So far, this has been an awesome year in Texas for harvesting trophy class white tail bucks. Today, a buck that makes the Boone and Crockett book with the minimum score of 170 BC has become almost commonplace, especially on well managed ranches, many of which are high fenced, all across the state.  I, and most veteran deer hunters, can remember not too many years ago when there were only a handful of ‘book’ bucks taken in the state each year. While visiting and hunting with my friend outdoor writer and TV show host Larry Weishuhn recently, we spent a good bit of time discussing the subject of the increase of big deer taken in Texas and across the country.

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

An effort to label genetically modified foods in Colorado has failed to garner enough support, following a national trend of statewide GMO labeling ballot measures facing uphill battles. A similar measure in Oregon is was defeated by a far narrower margin.

Voters in Colorado resoundingly rejected the labeling of foods that contain the derivatives of genetically modified – or GMO – crops with 66 percent voting against, versus 34 percent in favor.

Luke Clayton

Howdy Folks, today I'm taking you on a quail hunt to Hidden Lakes Hunting Resort.  My buddy, Terry Tate, is on this adventure with me.  Places like this are the only place you'll find quail, they've been gone from there for about 25 years. 


Texas regulators recently tightened up the rules for disposal wells- the ones that get rid of oilfield waste.  The action was in response to a cluster of earthquakes that have rattled North Texas according to a recent article from StateImpact Texas


The Great Garden series continues with a visit to Darla Wood's garden in Timbercreek Canyon, Texas.  Darla has tried the traditional lawn route unsuccessfully, and now integrates art and listening what the land wants to be.   

Luke Clayton

Howdy Folks!

This note is going to be short.  My wife and I are on vacation in the Galveston Bay.  We're staying in a canal house, and fishing off the deck.  I've also been going out at night gigging flouder with one of my friends.  We've also been taking care of the crab traps.  Take a look at the slide show, and you'll see the amazing stone crabs we brought home.

It's a great time to be outdoors!


 In this look back at Great Gardens across the High Plains, Skip travels to Amarillo, Texas.  There she meets Bob Hatton, who took a yard composed primarily of lawn, and created a landscape featuring plants that trigger memories of his childhood like this beautiful redbud tree.


I’ve been penning stories about the outdoors now for almost a quarter century. One of the benefits of being an outdoors writer so long is sharing the knowledge I glean from all the professional hunters and fishermen I work with. 


The Great Garden series continues with a trip back in time to the Shirley Opera House in Atwood, Kansas.  Skip talks with Alice Hill who is setting the tables at the Opera House with good things from the garden.

You'll remember Alice Hill, whose latest adventure is Full Circle Aquaponics.  She's busy growing everything they eat at Beaver Creek Ranch. 


The newest Texas Panhandle wind farm just began operation, and two more projects have just signed interconnection agreements.  The total cost of the pair will be about $900 million according to a recent article from the Amarillo Globe-News.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

If you think the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation stamp, the "Duck Stamp," is just for waterfowl hunters, think again! Whether you hunt, bird, photograph wildlife and scenery, collect stamps or conserve habitat, you'll want to purchase this stamp.

Joe Birzer / Wheatland Electric

Hays High won big in the standard class at the 15th annual High Plains ElectroRally recently held in Hays, Kansas.  Wheatland took honors in the solar class, and Olathe Northwest won the Team Spirit Award.

The ElectroRally is a "one-hour endurance race for electric cars" designed and constructed by high school students, said Joe Chretien, associate professor of applied technology at Fort Hays State University in a recent press release.

The electric car that completes the most laps within the hour wins the race.

Luke Clayton

Howdy Folks!  My guest this week is guide Billy Carter who has lived, fished and hunted on beautiful Caddo Lake in deep east Texas his entire life. Billy and his wife Dottie own Spatterdock.  They have several furnished rental houses situated right on the lake. They also manage the oldest inland marina in the state, Johnson's Ranch Marina.


The National Weather Service serving the Central High Plains will no longer issue wind advisories. 


As we continue looking back at the Great Gardens of the past, today we'll head to Amarillo, Texas to meet Angie Hanna.  Angie has coined the term "extreme" gardening, referring to growing things in a transitional climate that is between growing zones, faced with constant shifts.  The challenge of the climate brought Angie to a goal of working with the climate, not against it.  

Angie also has a website full of growing tips for our neck of the woods: highplainsgardening.com.

With curbside composting, food waste not a total loss

Sep 30, 2014
Cassandra Profita for Harvest Public Media

Wasting around 40 percent of all the food produced in the U.S. certainly has its drawbacks: It's not feeding people in need, it's expensive and it does a lot of environmental damage.

But across the country, cities, towns and companies are finding food waste doesn't have to be a total loss. In fact, it can be quite valuable – in making fertilizer, electricity or even fuel for cars, trucks and buses.

Michael Brashier/Flickr

Many producers have converted to no-till, and now progressive farmers are learning to cover crop to keep soil covered after harvesting a cash crop. Ryan Speer is such a producer.


As autumn officially arrives this year, I am reminded how blessed we are in western Kansas to live close to nature and her cycles.  On this vernal equinox when daylight and darkness are essentially equal,   I give thanks that I live somewhere that makes it easy for me to note such an occurrence.


The Regional Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency says climate change is already happening in Kansas and the entire region.  Kansas Public Radio’s Bryan Thompson reported Administrator Karl Brooks says the best way to minimize climate change is to implement the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

Great Gardens Series

Sep 24, 2014

Skip Mancini asked gardeners from throughout our broadcast area to participate in a special 'show and tell' series on Growing on the High Plains. A 'June in January' look at eight great gardens begins with an overview of the people and places that Skip visited during the summer of 2008.

Pat Aylward/NET News

It’s a hot summer day outside of Lincoln, Neb., and Jack Chappelle is knee-deep in trash. He’s wading in to rotting vegetables, half-eaten burgers and tater tots. Lots of tater tots.

“You can get a lot of tater tots out of schools,” Chappelle says. “It doesn’t matter if it’s elementary, middle school or high school. Tater tots. Bar none.”

Kansas Farmer

Scott Gonnerman started no-till practices in 2005 and began cover-cropping his east Nebraska fields in 2009. He says he used to think of the soil simply as dirt.

Luke Clayton

For the past five years, my friend Larry Large and I have outfitted elk and bear hunts on a ranch located in northern Colorado, not far from Wyoming’s southern boundary. This is rough, wild country and game is plentiful. It’s one of the few places that I know of with such a large population of black bear. Elk are always plentiful here and because we hunt during the September archery season, before snowfall triggers the resident elk to migrate to lower, warmer valleys, the animals are using their summer pattern of bedding in the black timber up high and moving into the valleys and lower elevations during the day to feed and water. 


Today begins a look back at a series called Great Gardens, which originally aired in 2008.  Visits to eight High Plains gardeners located throughout the HPPR broadcast area resulted in interviews on a variety of topics.  From wildflowers to grapevines to landscaped lawns and cottage gardens, we'll begin a repeat of this series, and a call for eight more gardeners to join in a new interview series for the future.     

United Soybean Board/Flickr

No event did more to emphasize the severity of the erosion crisis than the Dust Bowl affecting High Plains states beginning in the early-1930s.


Mark Hilliard of Hale County, Texas, says, "This is cotton country. It's rare to find a pristine playa lake." He bought the native grassland on which the playa sits from family members, then protected the playa and a grassland buffer with a permanent Wetlands Reserve Easement.

Luke Clayton

Howdy, Folks!

We're all settled in up here in the Rocky Mountains.  We've been hearing the bugling, and seen some pretty nice herds, but so far, we've been unsuccessful.

This morning, one of the hunters missed a pretty good shot, but there will be another.

We're all back in camp, and I'm on the porch, talking with our Camp Manager Billy about the delicious breakfast he made.

Be sure and take a look at the pictures!

I'll be back with another story from the mountains and more pictures next week!


Skip explores a part of the plant world that offered something sweet in ancient times.  Today it's most prevalent in boggy areas or landscaped water gardens, which makes it quite popular in lots of back yards on the High Plains.