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Sounds of the High Country

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Exporting the West's renewable energy commodity

Exporting the West's renewable energy commodity March 26, 2014
California's 38 million residents need energy, and since they don't want it from coal plants, communities in the West are trying to seize an opportunity to export their renewable energy California's way. In this episode of Sounds of the High Country, KDNK's Eric Skalac spoke to Judith Lewis Mernit who wrote about California's energy needs and the west's renewable energy network in the most recent High Country News. As Mernit writes, the situation might mean economic development for small towns with big renewable energy resources.
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Unravelling the mystery of Fallon's cancer cluster

Unravelling the mystery of Fallon's cancer cluster March 10, 2014
In the early March issue of High Country News, contributing editor Sierra Crane Murdoch tells a sprawling tale of contamination, cancer and cover up as she tries to unravel the unsolved mystery of the Fallon, Nevada cancer cluster. For the latest edition of Sounds of the High Country, KDNK's Nelson Harvey spoke with Murdoch about what she found.
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Buyout program in the Gila could help ranchers and environmentalists

Buyout program in the Gila could help ranchers and environmentalists February 20, 2014
Out in the Gila National Forest, ranchers and environmentalists are working together to protect endangered wolves, while also protecting ranchers' livelihoods. In the current issue of the High Country News, writer April Reese investigates the surprising new strategy for endangered wildlife protection being tried in New Mexico.

For this episode of Sounds of the High Country, our collaboration with the High Country News, KDNK's Eric Skalac spoke to Reese about how two usually antagonistic groups are working on a solution that could make everyone happy.
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Edible food forests appearing in the West

Edible food forests appearing in the West January 23, 2014
The number of community gardens in the U.S. has been growing in recent years as more people take an interest in producing at least some of their own food. Yet in some western communities, a new and radical approach to communal agriculture is taking root: the edible forest garden.

In the current issue of the High Country News, the writer Kevin Taylor describes these patches of Edenic edibility that are cropping up on public land across the west. For the latest edition of Sounds of the High Country, KDNK's collaboration with the environmental magazine High Country News, KDNK's Nelson Harvey spoke with Taylor, and checked in with the backers of an edible forest garden right here in the Roaring Fork Valley.
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The West's abandoned gas wells

The West's abandoned gas wells January 9, 2014
The booms and busts of the oil and gas industry have taken a toll on many communities in the West. In Wyoming, the coalbed methane bust in the last 10 years left about 1200 abandoned gas wells behind, sometimes right in the middle of once prosperous ranch land.

On this episode of Sounds of the High Country, KDNK's Eric Skalac talks to Wyoming Public Radio's Irina Zhorov about her article in the most recent issue of the High Country News on Wyoming's abandoned gas wells.
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Killing trees to save the forest

Killing trees to save the forest December 11, 2013
New research shows that trees in the Western U.S. are much more sensitive to warming temperatures than previously thought, and that recent increases in average temperature may already be affecting tree mortality across the west.

For the latest edition of Sounds of the High Country, KDNK's collaboration with the environmental magazine High Country News, Nelson Harvey spoke with the magazine's assistant editor Cally Carswell about some of that new research.

He found out that what scientists are learning about tree mortality today could have major impacts on how we prepare for the future effects of global warming.
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Reviving hemp in the West

Reviving hemp in the West December 3, 2013
Last year, when Amendment 64 legalized recreational marijuana in Colorado, it also legalized hemp and since then, for the first time in decades, farmers around the state are considering growing the industrial fiber. On this episode of Sounds of the High Country, KDNK's Eric Skalac talks to reporter Allen Best, who wrote about Colorado hemp in the most recent issue of the High Country News.
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Small town turns to big science after mining bust

Small town turns to big science after mining bust November 14, 2013
Small western towns that fall victim to the boom and bust cycles of mining or oil and gas often try to reinvent themselves through tourism or other lower impact industries.

But in the latest issue of High Country News, reporter Marshall Swearingen tells the story of one South Dakota mining town that's refashioned itself as a center for cutting edge physics research.

KDNK's Nelson Harvey spoke to Swearingen for the latest edition of Sounds of the High Country, and he learned that while scientific research may not pack the economic punch of the mining industry, it has all sorts of unintended educational benefits.
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The impact of rural school closures

The impact of rural school closures October 30, 2013
As Colorado voters consider a new education funding mechanism with Amendment 66, a decade-old law in Alaska is closing rural schools. On this episode of Sounds of the High Country, our collaboration with the High Country News, KDNK's Eric Skalac talks to Krista Langlois--in the most recent issue of the High Country news, Langlois writes about the law and about how school closures are affecting rural Alaskan communities.
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Marooned on Twiggley Island

Marooned on Twiggley Island October 15, 2013
September's massive flood devastated the front range town of Lyons, and recovery efforts there and in other affected communities are ongoing, even as a partial government shutdown threatened to pull National Guard members from essential work repairing roads and bridges.

For the latest edition of Sounds of the High Country, KDNK's Eric Skalac talks to writer and radio-reporter Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock. In an essay in the current issue of High Country News, Hitchcock tells the story of Twiggley Island--one of a series of islands formed when the St. Vrain river jumped its banks and flooded Lyons. Hitchcock, her family and many other residents were temporarily stranded on those islands for several days.
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