Natural History

10/10/17 – Let Sleeping Volcanoes Lie

Iceland has always loomed large in my mind, its geographic extremes and stark beauty placing it high on the list of places I want to explore during my lifetime. The volcanic island’s larger-than-life reputation in my head belies its true size, which is about that of the state of Oregon. Iceland has, however, had a… Read the Rest »

9/7/17 – The Lookouts: Sentinels of the Woodland Empire

The Lookout Way above the forests, that are in my care, Watching for the curling smoke – looking everywhere, Tied onto the world below by a telephone, High, and sometimes lonesome – living here alone, Snow peaks on the skyline, woods and rocky ground, The green of Alpine meadows circle me around, Waves of mountain… Read the Rest »

8/19/15 – The Boulder-White Clouds: the Long History of Wilderness in Central Idaho

  Idaho is renowned for its recreational opportunities and magnificent ruggedness. The solitude provided by its rivers and mountains are unmatched. Thus, President Obama’s August 7, 2015 signing of Idaho’s Sawtooth Recreation Area and Jerry Peak Wilderness Additions Act is a significant event in environmental and Idaho history, particularly when viewed as the capstone of… Read the Rest »

6/24/15 – Big History on the Snake River

A few weekends ago, I paddled the Snake River from Swan Falls Dam to Celebration Park. The outing was recreational, but it also served as a fantastic history lesson. And not just any history lesson; this was a place-based, riverine version of Big History. In this new history curriculum, geared for high school students but… Read the Rest »

4/1/15 – Hite’s Cove

Every early March my thoughts turn to Hite’s Cove, a steep-sided canyon along the South Fork of the Merced River just west of Yosemite National Park. For those living in the small town up the road from Hite’s Cove, as I did for three years, there is no better place to spot early spring wildflowers…. Read the Rest »

2/25/15 – Snowflake Bentley

A recent article in The Vault, Slate’s history blog, on illustrations of snowflakes from the 1860s caught our eye at SHRA, especially because it referenced Wilson Bentley, a figure better known to all Vermont school children as Snowflake Bentley.[i] Bentley, a farmer from Jericho, Vermont, followed the exquisite snowflake drawings of the 1860s with the… Read the Rest »

10/24/14 – The Passenger Pigeon

September 2014 marked 100 years since the last passenger pigeon died in the Cincinnati zoo. These birds, which at one point made up 20% to 40% of the entire avian population of the United States, lived east of the Rocky Mountains, from central Canada in the north to the southern United States. It is estimated… Read the Rest »

10/15/14 – Sturgeon

In August 2014, when Idaho Power biologists working near the Snake River’s Hells Canyon caught a 10-foot, 400-pound sturgeon, it was far from the largest fish caught on the Snake River.[i] Sturgeon, the largest fresh-water fish in North America, can live to be 75 years old and 14 feet long. Recently, when combing the archives,… Read the Rest »