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New Eyeless Fungus Beetle Found in Cave

A new species of eyeless insect adapted to the darkness has been discovered in an Arizona cave, a new study says.

Arizona Irrigators Share Water with Desert River

As drought and high water demands deplete more and more rivers in the western United States, it’s easy to assume a future of dryness is the inescapable fate of once vibrant streams. But in the beautiful valley of the Verde River in central Arizona, farmers, residents, and conservationists are working together to restore flows to…

Phoenix and LA Spar Over Colorado River Water

In a recent volley between Phoenix and Los Angeles, newspapers in those two arid cities pointed fingers at each other over who has the least sustainable water supply. In the L.A. Times, opinion writer William deBuys asserted: If cities were stocks, you’d want to short Phoenix. Of course, it’s an easy city to pick on. The…

Fresh powder!

For decades ski resorts around the world have used snowmaking equipment to supplement nature’s sometimes erratic bounty. But a resort in the western U.S. will this season arm its snow cannons with a controversial form of ammo: sewage effluent purchased from a local municipality. Needless to say, the plan has its detractors.  

Will Modern Phoenix Outlast the Prehistorical Hohokam?

    Darell Duppa, a late nineteenth century pioneer of the American Southwest, may barely warrant a historical footnote, but he left one memorable legacy: he named the capital city of the state of Arizona. With a classical education and five languages under his belt, Duppa was no typical Western pioneer.  He drank and gambled,…

Tucson BioBlitz Transect: Walking Across the Desert

As part of the 2011 BioBlitz in Saguaro National Park, NG Explorer-in-Residence J. Michael Fay walked some 70 miles over seven days on a transect across park and city, noting all the plants and animals along the way. Experience the whole exhilarating journey for yourself.

Counting Stars at the Saguaro National Park BioBlitz

  By Sean O’Connor Artificial lights flood the night sky, making the urban and suburban lives that so many of us live a little brighter, but not necessarily for the better. Light pollution also drowns out the sea of stars shining through our atmosphere. Who doesn’t love to look up at the night sky and…

Soil, the Foundation of Life, Found in the Saguaro BioBlitz

Michael Conway of the Arizona Geological Survey was on hand at the recent BioBlitz in Arizona’s Saguaro National Park to teach students, scientists, and bloggers about something many of us don’t readily associate with a 24-hour inventory of all the species we could find in the preserve: the rocks and soil. To get a better…

Buffelgrass Wanted: Dead and Gone

Meg Quinn, of Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation, talked to me at the recent BioBlitz in the Saguaro National Park about the scourge that’s blighting much of the Sonoran Desert of Arizona — a tough alien grass that’s taken hold and threatening the native ecosystem.

Photographing the BioBlitz

Kevin FitzPatrick is a wildlife conservation photographer who specializes in shooting BioBlitzes. I found him at the 2011 BioBlitz in the Saguaro National Park, Arizona, where he told me why he has developed a passion for documenting the special species count in our national parks.

The Wild Cats in our Backyard

The University of Arizona mascot is the Wild Cat, or bobcat, so it is only fitting that the university is involved in research and conservation initiatives for the benefit of wild cats all over the world. “Our mission is to conserve and research all 36 species of wild cats worldwide,” Lisa Haynes, of the University…

Moth Inventory Finds Scores of Species in Saguaro Park

Chris Grinter is with the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, He recently joined the 2011 BioBlitz in Arizona’s Saguaro National Park, where he and colleagues identified some 145 species of moths in the preserve. The specimens included moths as small as a pinhead, others much larger, and at least one alien species that…

How the BioBlitz Ties Us All to the Sacred Earth

Cecil Manuel, of the Cecil B. Manuel Inter-Tribal Dancers, shared his cultural and spiritual knowledge at the recent BioBlitz in Saguaro National Park. Among the dances he demonstrated was the Hoop Dance. “There are so many different stories that we tell about the dances. Different tribes have different versions of how they came about,” he…

Meet the Snake Kings of Saguaro National Park

During the recent BioBlitz in the Saguaro National park, Arizona, we met two members of the Tucson Herpetological Society: Robert Villa and Hanna Strauss. The Tucson Herp Society is dedicated to conservation, education and research concerning the amphibians and reptiles of Arizona and Mexico. Villa and Strauss were at the BioBlitz with two species of…

“Unknown” Flies Found in 2011 BioBlitz Park

A two-week sampling of flies in the Saguaro National Park yielded hundreds of specimens, many of them yet to be described scientifically. John Francis, National Geographic’s Vice President for Research, Conservation, and Exploration, talked to Mike Irwin at the recent BioBlitz in the park.