A Siberian Crane at the International Crane Foundation’s facility in Baraboo, WI (Credit: Dan Klotz).
The airplane passenger of the month for October was an unusual breed of traveler, one who gratefully received first-class airfare even though the ticket sent him more than 2,000 km out of his way. He was trying to head south for the winter, got lost along the way, and has ended up with winter accommodations near Moscow—not quite the ideal warm-weather destination.
But this is no ordinary traveler. He and five of his pals tried this trip last year as well, and received an escort from the President of Russia, who was flying an ultralight plane of all things!
The passenger’s name is Raven, even though he is a Siberian Crane. His species is the focus of my latest post for National Geographic; to read more please visit: http://on.natgeo.com/1foj1Tm
British Columbia’s Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park. Credit: Dan Klotz.
No matter where I have traveled in the world, I have found that the many of the larger stretches of primeval forests can only be reached by logging roads. Consider the old growth stands of Sitka spruce and red cedar in the Carmanah Valley, on a remote part of southeast Vancouver Island. Canada’s tallest tree, 313 feet high, grows in this valley, yet you won’t find throngs of tourists having their picture taken next to it.
In fact, you won’t find any tourists next to it. British Columbia’s Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park is only reachable by a rough three hour drive on a gravel road that is the domain of logging trucks, not tour buses and rental cars. To find out why you need to see it (and view a few more photos), read my latest post at National Geographic’s NewsWatch blog at http://on.natgeo.com/15aWbIu.
In mid-April, a humongous explosion rocked the Texas town of West when a fire broke out at an agriculture retail facility storing ammonium nitrate. The blast killed 14 people, injured more than 200, and left a crater 93 feet wide and 10 feet deep. If this and other forms of ammonia are so explosive before being used as fertilizer, what happens when it is used in agriculture? More at National Geographic’s NewsWatch blog, http://on.natgeo.com/10oCQjh.
Looking south from the Empire State Building. Credit: Dan Klotz
The New York City apartment building where I grew up was built in the early 1960s. The building’s heating system still has only one thermostat for more than 150 apartments, and that thermostat is usually set in the mid-70s. If it’s too hot, you must manually adjust each radiator in the apartment (and there’s one for each room). Most people simply open a window or two instead, which is not a very climate-smart solution. More at National Geographic’s NewsWatch blog, http://on.natgeo.com/10sNPuz.
Post-Tropical Sandy rolling inland on Tuesday, October 30 (Credit: NOAA/NASA GOES Project)
The 2012 Presidential elections was proceeding as most elections do, with one notable exception: for the first time since 1984, neither candidate mentioned climate change during any of the campaign debates. Then Hurricane Sandy struck, changing the coastline and the policy landscape. More at National Geographic’s NewsWatch blog, http://on.natgeo.com/YVHz1o
In early August, I wrote for NationalGeographic.com on the nexus between Woody Guthrie and sockeye salmon. The occasion? The folk singer’s 100th birthday, and the 20th anniversary of Lonesome Larry, the only sockeye to make it to Redfish Lake in 1992 (in decades past, the sockeye in the lake numbered at least 30,000). More at National Geographic’s NewsWatch blog. http://on.natgeo.com/RTEbQv
The International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas in Syria. Credit: Global Crop Diversity Trust/Britta Skagerfalt
Rarely do you celebrate an anniversary with raw chick peas and fava beans.
But these seeds, from the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), highlighted the fourth anniversary shipment for the Svalbard Global Seed Vault—located on the colder side of the Arctic circle in Norway. The Global Crop Diversity Trust maintains the seed vault in partnership with the Norwegian government and the Nordic Genetic Resources Center, as a back-up to the living crop diversity collections housed in “genebanks” around the world.
I helped publicize this shipment as part of my work for Burness Communications; click here to read more.