Wild About Utah

Wild About Utah is a weekly nature series produced by Utah Public Radio in cooperation with Stokes Nature Center, Bridgerland Audubon Society, Quinney College of Natural Resources, Cache Valley Wildlife Association, Utah State University and Utah Master Naturalist Program - USU Extension. More about Wild About Utah can be found here.

Utah is a state endowed with many natural wonders from red rock formations to salt flats. And from desert wetlands to columns of mountains forming the basin and range region. When we look closer, nature is everywhere including just outside our door.

Hear the wonders of Utah: plants, animals, geologic formations; ancient, present; terrestrial, avian and aquatic. Brought to you by the Moab Area Travel Council

Ways to Connect

Parker Hellstern



A mighty tree has fallen- but its seed has been cast far and wide through his great works. I speak of a frequent WAU contributor, educator, and conservationist. On January 3rd, 2020, Ron Hellstern left us for the great beyond. He was the personification of WAU. 

Benefits of Being Wild

Jan 10, 2020
Matthew Wickenhiser



Imagine a place devoid of randomly constant dings and dongs, a place with no artificial lighting or insistent clicking of keys or ticking of screens. Maybe even a place where one no longer has to think about the persistently pressing matters of politics for even just a brief moment.  

Legacy Beyond Memory

Jan 3, 2020
The sun setting over a field of wilderness


My mother’s father died of cancer three months before I was born. From his memory, I carry his first name as my middle: Orville. 


For most of my life, this was all I had of his. Others had stories of him, photos, old reels of film. Through these means, I began over the years to better understand, perhaps not my grandfather as he was, but certainly as he was remembered. I began to see the meaning of my name but only within the memory of others. 


Winter Bird Feeding on Wild About Utah

Jan 3, 2020
a line of bird feeders and bird seed on the ground.
Ron Hellstern


This a rebroadcast of a program from Nov. 30, 2018.

Most people enjoy watching birds, except for their occasional deposits on cars or windows.  In an earlier program, I mentioned at least fifteen benefits that birds provide to humans and planet Earth. But as human population and developments increase, the survival of many bird species becomes threatened. 

A Solstice Vingette on 'Wild About Utah'

Dec 20, 2019
The sun rising over a snowy landscape with pine trees


In the frigid dark of long winter nights, we tell stories—stories of thievery, heroism, and light. Raven, Maui, and Koo-loó-pe, the hummingbird. They are all said to have taken back the sun from too much darkness for their people, and their deeds remain the whispered subjects around campfires that lead up to the winter solstice. I’d like to tell a story of my own about our calendar’s longest, darkest night and our relationship with it.


Climate Change And Birds on 'Wild About Utah'

Dec 12, 2019
Irene K-s / Pixabay

On December 14th, I will join several others for an exciting day of counting bird species and numbers in our lovely, snowy valley. The numbers will be entered on a database that will be shared globally.

Diane Renkin / NPS

Logan River ecology is about connections between highlands and lowlands, water and land, life in and around the river, and resources that support that life. 

Some History And A Few Tidbits On The Christmas Tree

Nov 27, 2019

With the loss of millions of trees recently, due to fires and drought, it’s good to be reminded of the many, many benefits that trees provide to people…as well as the planet.  

Not All Birds Fly South For The Winter

Nov 25, 2019
PublicDomainImages / Pixaby

Most of our songbirds have taken their songs and headed south. Even robins and meadowlarks have ceased their lovely melodies that carried well into the fall months. But there are a few noteworthy choristers that have remained - Townsend solitaires and N. American dippers. 

This Is Why I Teach Outside on 'Wild About Utah'

Nov 22, 2019
Steph Juth

In February of this year, researchers published an integrative review of the literature on nature’s role as a catalyst for academic growth in children. They had this to say about their findings: “In academic contexts, nature-based instruction outperforms traditional instruction. The evidence here is particularly strong…” (Kuo, Barnes, and Jordan, 2019). 

H.G. Hutteballe / Darrin Smith Photo Collection

Over 15,000 years ago, the glacially fed Logan River was flowing into Lake Bonneville which covered most of the NW quadrant of the state and completely filled Utah’s Cache Valley.  

Extinction Or Survival on 'Wild About Utah'

Nov 1, 2019
Ken Lund / Flickr

Some people complain that the news only reports bad things, and that can be depressing.  But maybe that is the way we can learn how to improve things.  If all we ever heard was that everything was wonderful, even though it truly wasn’t, how would we feel if we accidentally stumbled across a negative situation?  Let’s consider the present global status of the wildlife with which we share this planet.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

It was late evening at our third annual Utah Youth Environmental Summit at the Wasatch Mountain Lodge above Brighton Ski Resort. We were winding down the day when someone happened to look out the window which elicited a high volume shriek.

'Cougars In Utah' on Wild About Utah

Oct 11, 2019
David Stoner

Cougars are more widely distributed in Utah than many residents realize.  These shy cats are found across the state.  They roam from the high Uinta Mountains to the dry southern deserts.

Ron Hellstern

In the book, The Hidden Life of Trees, Forester-Scientist Peter Wohlleben reveals some amazing characteristics that are generally unknown by the humans casually walking by the trees in a forest.  This is part two highlighting this book and I highly recommend you consider searching for it in bookstores or online.

'Rock Art' on Wild About Utah

Sep 18, 2019
Josh Boling

What did we do before radio—before cell phones, television, newspapers, and books? How did we tell stories, share news, warn of danger, or otherwise communicate with anyone beyond those around us? What did we do with words and thoughts when there was no one with whom we could immediately share them? The wilds of southern Utah can provide one answer—if you’re willing to look.

Efraimstochter / Pixabay

Yes, trees are the answer. But they owe their magnificence to a less-known life form that has long intrigued me. Long before trees overtook the land, earth was covered by giant mushrooms 24-feet tall and three feet wide. 

'The Hidden Life Of Trees' on Wild About Utah

Aug 27, 2019

Occasionally, we run across a piece of art, music or literature that we want to share with others.   That isn’t always the case with beautiful scenery.  Sometimes we want to keep that place as a private haven of serenity.  And for good reasons.

'Wildflower Hunting' on Wild About Utah

Aug 2, 2019
Shalayne Smith-Needham

Sunrise at Tony Grove. It’s beauty comes from all directions at once and gives this place an air one can’t help but breathe deep.

'The Colorado Plateau' on Wild About Utah

Jul 26, 2019
National Parks Service

If you have ever been to a museum you have witnessed historical items that may be hundreds, or thousands of years old.  When we look outdoors at the natural geology of our planet earth, we may be witnessing things that are hundreds of thousands, or even millions of years old.

USDA Forest Service

Cache Valley and the Bear River Range that borders its eastern edge are anomalies - especially considering the abundance of water coursing through its canyons and valley bottom.

'Living In Snake Country – Six Things To Consider' on Wild About Utah

Jul 5, 2019
Ana Meister / Pixabay

Summer is here.  People will be using the great outdoors more often, and that includes the many tourists who have discovered Utah’s beauty and diversity.  Caution is always needed when traveling in wild country, and today I refer to an article titled Living in Snake Country-Six Things to Consider written by Terry Messmer, Utah State University Extension wildlife specialist. 

'Silence' on Wild About Utah

Jun 20, 2019
Mario Schulz / Pixabay

Silence is a rare commodity in the world we have created. Our senses are bombarded with all descriptions of sound to the point of sensory exhaustion. Likened to PTSD when violating a safe threshold, it may be time to find an escape.

'The History Of The Bear River' on Wild About Utah

Jun 14, 2019
Utah Department of Enviornmental Quality

The Bear River meanders almost 500 miles from its headwaters in Utah's Uintah mountains to its mouth at the Great Salt Lake, making it the longest river in North America which does not enter an ocean.  Instead, the Bear River serves as the main source of fresh water for The Great Salt Lake. - a vast terminal lake in the great basin with no outlet except evaporation. 

Katie Creighton / UDWR

Just outside Moab between the cold, fast-flowing water of the Colorado River and the slow, warmer waters of the Matheson Wetland Preserve stands a newly constructed escape passage for larvae of the endangered razorback sucker.