Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Canyon Mysteries, Ailing Alligators, "Lights, Camera, Photosynthesis", Wild Horses
Canyon Mysteries: A canyon can be an inspiring classroom, whether you are eight or 80. The stories behind two Georgia canyons could not be any different: Cloudland Canyon in the north is a natural wonder. But Providence Canyon in the southwest is now a tourist destination, in spite of the way earlier residents abused the land. Both intriguing stories come from Georgia Public Broadcasting. Ailing Alligators: It's hard to imagine many threats that alligators can't handle. But in one Florida lake, chemical pollution is devastating these big reptiles with genetic birth defects. A disease sleuth is trying to get to the bottom of this bio-medical mystery, and his findings could help humans as well. We'll take you to Lake Apopka in Central Florida for some daring scientific discovery. Lights, Camera, Photosynthesis: Ready for your close-up? Some crops in Wisconsin are getting more than their 15 minutes of fame. As they sprout, hundreds of corn plants will have thousands of photos taken, to help researchers learn precisely how they grow. Researchers can track the function of specific genes, with the goal of creating hardier plants that can stay healthy in harsh conditions. Wild Horses: There's a romantic notion of wild mustangs, running free across the American West. The reality is more complicated. Horses are long-lived and don't have many natural predators, so their populations can quickly get out of control. Adopting one of these magnificent animals can change the lives of horses, and humans. In eastern Oregon and across the West, a lot of animals are looking for loving homes. Find out what's happening to protect them as well as the other wildlife in this beautiful landscape.
Friday, May 24, 2013
Cattle Rustling, Bats, Colorado River
Some natural sights in Las Vegas will make casinos look just plain dull! Bats get a bad rap in the animal kingdom , but you've never seen them like this! And since bats and zombies often go together: "zombie subdivisions" are threatening what were beautiful, wide open spaces in the West. Good guys in Oregon use new technology to fight outlaws committing age-old crimes. The Colorado River serves a lot of needs, and that tug of war is getting critical.
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Beaver Builders, Wrangling Water, Body Electric, Census in the Smokies
Beaver Builders: Beavers are nature's engineers. It turns out they are also good at restoring ailing ecosystems. In eastern Oregon, researchers are doing some extreme fieldwork (snorkeling in rivers and streams in the middle of the night, in the middle of winter!) to learn more about how beaver dams are helping create healthier streams and rivers for salmon, trout, songbirds, and for nearby communities. Wrangling Water: Cattle are not the only things being rounded up at some Florida ranches. Residents are also herding water! And it's proving to be a good thing both for the economy and the environment. A pilot program pays ranchers to use their low-lying lands to store water. Water that's captured during the wet season can then be slowly released during dry months into the tributaries of Lake Okeechobee. Body Electric: Ever listen to a fish? It's possible with an electric knifefish! While better known electric eels use electricity to stun their prey, these creatures use electricity to navigate and communicate. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University are intrigued by this sixth "electro sense," and are learning more about how these fish use this tool to find their way around--- and locate their next meal. Census in the Smokies: This nature audit has been going on for 10 years and gives scientists a good idea about the trends of life in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A small army of "citizen scientists" help researchers collect specimens, and then analyze their findings.
Friday, May 31, 2013
Rescuing Amphibians, Yellowstone Snowmobiles, Saltwater Fishing
Teens from big cities join a new program to recruit them for careers in the National Park Service. In an emergency effort like Noah's Ark, researchers rescue endangered frogs, toads and salamanders from a deadly fungal disease. Are there too many snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park? Saltwater fishermen in Georgia offer quick lessons on protecting habitats needed by the most popular fish species.