This American Land Previous Broadcasts

Artificial Bat Cave, Rocky Mountain Gas, Backpacking with Llamas (Episode #302)

KQED World: Sat, Apr 19, 2014 -- 8:30 AM

There comes a point during a wildlife crisis when scientists are compelled to stop studying, and do something. That's what prompted researchers who have been studying the deadly white nose fungus in bats to develop the idea of an artificial bat cave. Built right next to a huge natural cave, this underground Tennessee facility was built to try to slow the spread of the disease. After bats leave following their hibernation, the human-built cave can be disinfected. Experts say white nose disease is likely to be the worst wildlife disaster of our time, and that the human-built bat cave is an experiment that must continue. Rich deposits of oil shale in Colorado's Garfield County are yielding huge amounts of natural gas and oil for energy companies, but local residents are pushing back against intrusive air and water pollution, noise and traffic from drilling and hydraulic fracturing ("fracking"). Residents in communities like Rifle, Parachute and Battlement Mesa argue that oil and gas operations have gone out of control, and they're demanding more regulation of the industry to protect their homes and lands. In central Colorado's North Fork Valley, amid dozens of organic farms, orchards and ranches, the federal government has shelved plans to lease thousands of acres of public lands for oil and gas drilling. It was a victory for local residents, who came out overwhelmingly against the idea of drilling, saying it threatens a new economy rooted in tourism, wineries, and organic produce. Like the backcountry but can't carry a heavy pack? Try a llama! Monica Drost and her friends have been backpacking together since they were in college. But now, in their 50s, they can't carry their loaded packs anymore. Luckily, they found a llama outfitter and can now enjoy the Oregon wilderness without the aches and pains. Monarch butterflies, up to two billion of them, have to fly hundreds of miles to get to their wintering site in Mexico. So even a tiny impact on their migration ability could mean the difference between survival and death. Researchers study how long-distance migration in flying animals may also affect the spread and evolution of infectious disease. These beautiful insects face many threats, including habitat destruction but their winter home is one of the most stunningly beautiful sights in nature!

Repeat Broadcasts:

  • KQED World: Sun, Apr 20, 2014 -- 9:30 AM

Critical Aquifer, Trout in the Classroom, Grizzlies Return, Dragonflies (Episode #301)

KQED World: Sat, Apr 12, 2014 -- 8:30 AM

Underneath the Great Plains, the Ogallala Aquifer holds a vast expanse of prehistoric water reserves, a vital source of moisture and a key asset for America's agricultural economy. But the Ogallala is now threatened by overuse in places like the Texas Panhandle, where farmers and ranchers now work with advisers from the Natural Resources Conservation Service to find ways to maximize their efficiency in irrigation and protect their water for future generations. Students in the Sierras in California help to restore threatened Lahontan cutthroat trout by raising the fish from eggs and releasing them in an approved trout stream; in the process, they learn about the life cycle of the fish, its value as a native species in the local ecosystem, and how invasive fish are crowding it out of its habitat. Students also learn how to monitor water quality and raise awareness about protecting native trout streams. In the Yellowstone Ecosystem, grizzly bears have made a dramatic recovery since they were federally listed in 1975 as a threatened species in the lower 48 states, increasing from 146 bears at that time to at least 602 in 2010. Grizzlies have reoccupied areas where they had been absent for decades, and are now considered to be at ecological carrying capacity with subadults emigrating to areas outside Yellowstone National Park. In a partnership production with Wyoming's Game and Fish Department, this success story is described by leading bear experts. Just how do dragonflies pull off complex aerial feats, hunting and reproducing in midair? These four-winged insects pre-date dinosaurs and can fly straight up, straight down, or hover like helicopters. Researchers are getting some inspiration from these insects to improve small- scale aircraft design.

Repeat Broadcasts:

  • KQED World: Sun, Apr 13, 2014 -- 9:30 AM
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