HPPR Environment

Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:00 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Moms Are Moms No Matter the Species

Over decades, my students have written many essays detailing results of getting between young animals and their mommas. Mothers aren’t only tender. They’re tough when necessary, and one look at a momma cow with her calf clearly states you don’t want to mess with her baby. Years ago, a family of fledgling wrens reminded me how moms fuss over their babies and that I should stay out of their business.

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Growing on the High Plains Episode
6:31 am
Thu August 1, 2013

Gardening Exercise

Credit athletico.com

Gardening season can offer a great alternative to going to the gym in order to find physical fitness.  Various activities like pushing a lawnmower, digging a new flower bed, or transplanting perennials can all add up to feeling and looking better through at least three seasons of the year.  If you are working on weight loss, in addition to counting calories, try counting metabolic equivalents or METs,  to meet your goals.

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Playa Country Episode
8:01 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

Grassland Bird: Burrowing Owl

Credit smithsonianmag.com

The Burrowing Owl is North America's only raptor that nests below ground. This bird's fate is tied to that of the prairie dog, and dog populations are in sharp decline.

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Climate
8:01 pm
Sun July 28, 2013

Texas Attorney General Candidate Does Not Believe in Global Warming

Barry Smitherman
Credit texastribune.org

Barry Smitherman, the head of Texas’ oil and gas drilling regulatory agency, does not believe in global warming according to a recent piece by State Impact Texas.  Smitherman says before dismantling the electrical power generating fleet, there should be certainty about the role of CO2. 

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High Plains Outdoors Episode
6:22 am
Sat July 27, 2013

Mark Balette Shares Axis Deer Recipes

Credit southwestdisk.com

My ole buddy, Mark Balette, and I have been hunting out on Mark’s ranch for axis deer.  We came home with a nice doe.  Tonight, we’re cooking it up.

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Texas Panhandle
8:01 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

Palo Duro Canyon State Park: Numbers Up, Improvements Underway

Credit Texas Parks and Wildlife

Revenue and visitors are increasing at Palo Duro Canyon State Park according to the Amarillo Globe-News.  Total park revenue increased to $4 million.  Here are the percentage increases:

  • Total park revenue- 13%
  • Activity fees and concessions- 11%
  • Entrance fees- 8.3%
  • Facility fees- 17.1%

Improvements:

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Weather
8:01 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

High Plains Drought Outlook

Credit cpc.ncep.noaa.gov

Recent rains across the High Plains gave hope that the drought’s grip may be lessening.  However, that was quickly extinguished by the extended forecast released by National Weather Service

At a glance, the forecast map shows drought conditions will persist or intensify across the listening region.  The only exception is the extreme western portion of the Texas Panhandle.  The seasonal drought outlook is valid through October 18.

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Harvest Public Media story
7:22 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Prairie plants help restore farmland soil

Seth Watkins says this pond was cloudy from sediment runoff until he cleared cedar trees and scrub brush from an adjacent patch of prairie. With the long roots of the grasses holding soil and trapping nutrients, the pond cleared up.
Credit Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

The world’s soil is in trouble, even in the fertile Midwest. Some experts warn that if degradation continues unchecked, topsoil could be gone in 60 years. That has implications for agriculture and the broader environment.

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Health
8:01 pm
Sun July 21, 2013

Skin Cancer Rates: Texas is best

Credit skincancer.org

Summertime heat is bearing down on the high plains, and the sun can be intense.  It can also be deadly.  Nationally, 19.4 people out of every 100,00o have an incidence of melanoma.

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Agriculture
8:01 pm
Sun July 21, 2013

Lone Star State Tops Sunflower State in Sunflower Production

Texas surpassed Kansas to become third in the nation in sunflower production, Texas-based magazine Country World reports.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:01 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Blitzkrieg on the Banks of Big Creek

Credit http://healthimpactnews.com

The London Blitz involved nine months of German bomber-induced devastation that drove people who lived there into a state of constant awareness regarding the location of the nearest bomb shelter. While the banks of Big Creek won’t echo with the drone of mechanical motors and sound of carpet bombs exploding one right after another, one locale faces a dive bombing hawk intent on scoring a fresh chicken dinner.

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Weather
8:00 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

School's Out for.... Severe Weather?

Jefferson School, Shawnee, Oklahoma. Destroyed by a tornado on March 28, 1924.
Credit rootsweb.ancestry.com

  The Oklahoma Department of Education requires schools to provide 175 days of instruction.  Districts can cancel school for any weather, anytime of the year.  

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Fauna
8:00 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Rita Blanca National Grasslands Participating in Prairie Dog Vaccination Study

Credit wordpress.com

Prairie dogs are a keystone species on the high plains.  That means others rely on them for food and shelter.  The Amarillo Globe-News reported a study is being conducted to keep them healthy by vaccinating them for the bubonic plague.  

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Playa Country Episode
8:01 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Lesser Prairie-Chicken & Vertical Structures: Weaver Ranch Restores Habitat

Credit www.nm.nrcs.usda.gov

The sprawling Weaver Ranch near Causey, NM, is located in important Lesser Prairie-Chicken habitat. Ranch manager Willard Heck talks about removing 400-500 acres of mesquite plant that had encroached onto prairie land, fragmenting the bird's habitat.

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Dung Beetle
8:01 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

Heroes of the Pasture: Dung Beetles

Heros of the Pasture
Credit Dingle Images

Somewhere I saw this quote, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” I agree and add you’ll meet interesting creatures along the way. Sometimes those new acquaintances look like something from an intergalactic space bar.

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High Plains Outdoors Episode
8:01 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

Deer Rut in July? Absolutely True for Axis Deer in Texas

Credit Luke Clayton

If I was going to tell you that Christmas comes twice a year for deer hunters, you would say I was just plain crazy.  But for those who know about the delicious axis deer, it is the absolute truth.  One of my favorite places to hunt these is with my good friend Mark Balette

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Water
8:01 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Negotiations Begin to Sell Texas Water Rights to Oklahoma Buyers

Water Well, Lipscomb County, Texas

The Canadian River Municipal Water Authority board of directors verbally agreed to begin negotiations to sell Texas water rights to Oklahoma investors and users.  The Amarillo Globe reported the parcel under consideration is over 11,000 acres, and located in Lipscomb County.

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Playa Country Episode
8:01 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Lesser Prairie-Chicken & Vertical Structures: NM Project

Credit Texas Wildlife and Parks / Gary Kramer

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has partnered with hundreds of groups to restore and link back together the Lesser Prairie-Chicken's eastern New Mexico habitat. Crews are removing petroleum welljack pads and service roads, reseeding with native grasses, and removing other vertical objects like mesquite, trees and old windmills in effort to restore a habitat more friendly to the needs of the bird.

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Severe Weather
8:00 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Texas Panhandle Communities: Weather Warning Systems

  While communities in the Texas Panhandle work to improve severe weather warning systems and equipment, experts say the best plan is your own.  

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High Plains Outdoors Episode
8:01 pm
Fri July 5, 2013

Large Mouth Bass Fishing: Live Bait with Seth Vanover

Seth and I calling in from the lake to talk to Marshal Allen Bailey.

Fishing for large mouth bass on live bait used to be controversial because fish could  swallow the bait, however, Seth Vanover has perfected reeling in the big ones and releasing them back into the lake- healthy and ready to go again.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:01 pm
Fri July 5, 2013

Planting a Little Shade

If you’ve ever closely examined vintage Ellis photos, you know the town had even more big trees shading yards, parks, and walkways than exist today. Seeing old pictures made me think about trees growing around town. Fortunately, I didn’t have to look long before I found a history of local tree culture.

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Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:01 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Red, White, and Blue

It's not too late, even in midsummer to plant a flowering Old Glory.  Petunias are the flower of choice for high plains conditions. 

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Playa Country Episode
5:54 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Lesser Prairie-Chicken's Aversion to Vertical Features

Credit okmag.com

Scientists researching the population declines of the Lesser Prairie-Chicken say the bird's habitat has been damaged by vertical structures and human activity like road-building and oil and gas mining. Vertical structures include mesquite and other woody invasives, which the bird is averse to nesting near.

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HPPR Environment
8:01 pm
Sun June 30, 2013

Texas Game Wardens: There is no normal day at the office

Part of the take by Texas Game Wardens from serving a search warrant on a Texas residence in April, 2013. The seizures included a collection of illegally taken wildlife mounts, a quantity of marijuana and $4,000 in cash.
Credit Texas Game Warden's facebook page

  If you work for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, a typical day does not exist.  The day could bring a drug bust, seizure of gill nets, or rescuing a youngster drifting from shore in the family's boat.  State Impact Texas recently featured a few of the more unexpected situations game wardens face on a "typical" day.  One tense incident occurred at Palo Duro Lake in the Texas Panhandle.

Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:01 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Art on the Move

Frequently, I see ornate box turtles crossing a country road or highway. Because I like this home-carrying little reptile, I dodge these little speed bumps. While seeing them slowly lumber across the road triggers a smile, I hadn’t thought much about these Kansas state reptiles until recently.

This summer, I’ve been waking up early to enjoy the cool morning air as I water, weed, and pick veggies. A bonus of rising with the sun is meeting some of my yard neighbors that hide during the heat of the day.

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12:01 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Public Shelter Policy in Oklahoma: Yes for Nukes, No for Natural Disasters

Lead in text: 
Oklahoma is the beating heart of tornado alley. State Impact Oklahoma reports community tornado shelters are closing because they are, "too popular." Listen to the audio feature.
When tornado sirens sound, Oklahomans are on their own. State leaders encourage people to stay put where they are. But that's a big change from days many Oklahomans can still remember, when community shelters were seen as crucial to protecting the public from a very different type of disaster.
Growing on the High Plains Episode
5:20 am
Thu June 27, 2013

Last Rites

I've finally given up the ghost in terms of trying to grow azaleas in a climate where they are not meant to be.  I don't really know why some of us who like to garden on the High Plains won't take no for an answer, and stick to the plants that are meant for our near-desert terrain and weather.  As I write this the calendar has just moved past the first week of June and the thermometer is edging above 104 degrees at early afternoon.  Azaleas are Southern belles, needing moisture, reasonable winds and more acidic soil than we have in Western Kansas.  If I want azaleas in my life from now on, they'll come in pots with foil wraps and big bows that put a touch of springtime on the Easter buffet table or a Mother's Day brunch.

Kansas Weather
8:01 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Have You Experienced a Haboob? Video from SW Kansas

Credit Twisterfiddler.com

The storm chaser known online as Twisterfiddler posted video recently of an impressive dust cloud rolling over southwest Kansas.

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Playa Country Episode
7:10 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Managed Grazing During Times of Drought

As of early-2013, much of the High Plains region is under extreme or exceptional drought. Ungerer, Crouch and Hagen discuss the significance of enrolling grassland in the NRCS Lesser Prairie Chicken Initiative.

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High Plains Outdoors Episode
11:02 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Cool Weather is a Good Time to Fish for Crappie

Fishing guide Seth Vanover holds a large crappie caught on Lake Fork.

Lake Fork guide Seth Vanover buried his face in his side imaging sonar and instructed Billy Kilpatrick, Phil Zimmerman and myself to study the image.

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