Butterflies in a Blizzard, or Chaos in Colorado and What It Means for Us

January 2016. My flight to Denver from Washington’s Dulles Airport was on time on December 15th, even though the previous United flight had been cancelled by a hard-striking snowstorm in Colorado. A low, white blanket of patterned clouds covered the
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Pondering the Palms of Cape Hatteras

November 2015. A serendipitous trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina in early November gave me a personal, human scale for understanding some ecological facts about climate, climate change, and coastal plant communities. I ran the Outer Banks Marathon on
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Travels in Alaska: Seeking the Sublime Among Glaciers and Fjords

September 2015. All but one of the 40 glaciers that flow from the Harding Icefield, which caps the Kenai Mountains on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, spill into a handful of fjords that connect with Resurrection Bay and the Gulf of Alaska. I
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Time Travels in Alaska

After a sunset touchdown in Anchorage, I spent Saturday night in the Puffin Inn, a two-star motel, and after a two-star high-calorie breakfast at Gywnnie’s Old Alaska Restaurant just up the street the next morning, I was finally driving south
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Laudato Si’: The Pope’s Encyclical on Care for Our Common Home

September 2015. Pope Francis’s visit to Washington, DC, this week motivated me to speed up my reading of his lengthy and weighty encyclical on climate change, ecology, and humans and nature, “Laudato Si’: On Care for our Common Home.” The document
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My Beer Comes from the Mountains: Watersheds, Wilderness, and Indian Peaks Pale Ale

July 2015. In a previous story about my July trip to the Colorado high country, I got in a dig at Coors beer – well-deserved in my view. In another story from that trip I talked about the relationship between the
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In Search of the Sublime with Albert Bierstadt in Colorado

July 2015. The word “sublime” isn’t used much these days, but it would have been 150 years ago. America’s westward expansion, and the Civil War, embedded in the context of global exploration and a rapid expansion of science, were challenging the
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Colorado Fires and Firemoths

July 2015. Two years ago in June, as the giant Black Forest fire near Colorado Springs, Colorado, was just being contained, I wrote about a tiny, brightly colored, fire-dependent moth, Schinia masoni, the Colorado Firemoth. If you want to see this
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Miombo Magic at Machinga Malawi

June 2015. Another day of testing our methodology for rapid botanical surveys for the “Strengthening the Information Base of Natural Habitats, Biodiversity, and Environmental Services in the Shire River Basin” component of the World Bank’s Shire River Basin Management Program, which
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The View from Zomba Mountain: Plants, Water, and People in Southern Malawi

June 2015. We drove up and up and up along the road slashing across the edge of the escarpment above Zomba town, with views expanding across to Mount Mulanje about 70 kilometers east. At the beginning of the dry season burning
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