Wild About Utah: Defining Remote

Feb 24, 2021
Josh Boling

‘Remote’ is not a characteristic I would assign to the city center, a major metropolis like where I grew up. But I also remember summers spent high in the crown of our old magnolia tree, where my 8 year old self may have begged to differ. There, I found wildness—forgot about time and place and the civilization that occupied them. 

Utah Skies: Perseverance Lands On Mars

Feb 23, 2021

About every two years Earth and Mars are aligned in their orbits so that a space mission can be sent to Mars at the most opportune time. That alignment took place during July 2020 when NASA launched the large robotic rover called Perseverance to Mars. After a 300 million  mile journey, Perseverance landed on Mars on Feb. 18. Another Mars adventure begins on the Red Planet.


In a commentary published recently at Mongabay.com, Paul Rogers, a forest ecologist and Director of the Western Aspen Alliance at Utah State University, argues that forest managers’ “goal should not be to stop wildfire but to reduce conflicts with it.” The headline for the piece is: 

Wild About Utah: Mirabilite Mounds At The Great Salt Lake

Feb 16, 2021
Mary Heers

Back in October 2019, the ranger at the Great Salt Lake State Park began to notice a white mound forming on the sand flats behind the visitor center. The white mounds turned out to be hydrated sodium sulfate, known as mirabilite, which was being carried to the surface by the upwelling of a fresh water spring. 

WildEarth Guardians


Jim Robbins has written recently about pandemic-related overcrowding on Montana’s rivers; the connection between the growth of deadly viruses and the destruction of nature; the effects of public lands policy during the Trump Administration; geothermal energy; and an internet of animals. We’ll talk with him about public lands and related topics as the Biden Administration gets underway.

Wild About Utah: Duck Tornados

Feb 3, 2021

If it flies like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, but there’s hundreds in a maelstrom whirlpool whose torrent of wingbeats make your ears mute and skull hum, it must be a Great Salt Lake tornado a la duck.

President Biden has issued an executive order placing an indefinite moratorium on new leases for oil and gas development on federal lands. Proponents of the moratorium say it’s a positive step and that previous lease sales on federal lands have harmed some of the West’s most cherished landscapes and slowed the nation’s shift to clean energy. Opponents argue that the moratorium will further harm already hard-hit economies with an outsized impact on rural areas. We’ll talk about it on Tuesday’s Access Utah. Our guests will include Sen.


At the request of the Utah Legislature, the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute – with the assistance of a 37-person Technical Advisory Committee – has prepared a Utah Roadmap to help legislators make policy to improve air quality and address causes and impacts of a changing climate. We’ll ask legislators and others how the Roadmap is being implemented this legislative session. Our guests will include Rep. Steven Handy, R-Layton and Rep. Joel Briscoe, D-Salt Lake City.

Wild About Utah: Grandaddy

Jan 26, 2021
Courtesy & Copyright Shannon Rhodes, Photographer

Oft have we, my friends and I,

Left cares of home, and work day woes

To find a haven, there cast a fly;

And where we’ll camp–God only knows.

Credit goodreads.com

Gary Ferguson’s books include “Land on Fire: The New Reality of Wildfire in the West.” We’ll talk with Gary Ferguson about the wildfires burning now in the west. We’ll also talk about his latest book “The Eight Master Lessons of Nature: What Nature Teaches Us About Living Well in the World.”

Wild About Utah: Common Starling

Jan 19, 2021
Starling Murmuration Courtesy Wikimedia and Copyright Walter Baxter Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license

It all began so innocently. Let’s bring over a few European starlings to add authenticity for a Shakespearean theatrical. That was 1890. Today, North America has about half of the world population of starlings, approaching a few hundred million. 

Photo Courtesy & © Roslynn Brain McCann, Photographer

Before installing our permaculture gardens at Utah State University, Moab, the only birds I observed from my office window were Eurasian Collared Doves and crows. 


The fresh morning snow teaches me things I didn’t know, and reminds me of that which I had forgotten after a long year living once more with dark, firm soil.


Wild About Utah: Petrified

Jan 6, 2021
Courtesy of Shannon Rhodes

“Charlie climbed onto the bed and tried to calm the three old people who were still petrified with fear. ‘Please don't be frightened,’ he said. ‘It's quite safe. And we're going to the most wonderful place in the world!’

Utah Skies: The Great Conjunction of 2020

Dec 22, 2020

In astronomy a conjunction is when two or more planets come very close to each other in the sky because their orbits line up with the Earth’s orbit. On December 21, we will be treated with not only a conjunction of two planets, but a great conjunction. Just after the sun sets the planets Jupiter and Saturn will appear so close to each other they will appear to the human eye to be one bright planet.

Wild About Utah: Juncos

Dec 22, 2020
Courtesy and copyright 2008 Ryan P. O’Donnell, Photographer

I first became aware of dark eyed juncos while doing fieldwork for the USFS in Montana. My young children discovered an active nest on the ground near a mountain stream. This was before my birding days. It occurred to me this was a strange place for a small, sparrow sized bird to build a nest, giving predators the advantage. Yet they flourish, and are among the most common and prolific songbirds in North America.

Judy Fahys/InsideClimate News

The ancient people of western Utah’s Danger Cave lived well. They ate freshwater fish, ducks and other small game, according to detritus they left behind. They had a lush lakeside view, with cattails, bulrushes and water-loving willows adorning the marshlands.

Monarch Butterflies On 'Wild About Utah'

Dec 14, 2020
Amanda Barth

I have always been fascinated by insects, and even as a young child I felt a deep sympathy for these misunderstood creatures. Before I had vocabulary to describe the revolving diversity I witnessed as a kid, I recall a sense of nostalgia for the moths, cicadas, bees, and butterflies who appeared in great numbers and animated various plant types around my city. Their ebbs and flows offered clues and added nuance to the flowers, trees, and a change in the weather. When I was young they seemed like part of the changing seasons, reliable and abundant, but I came to recognize how delicate and precarious their existence is, and the consequences of their decline.

Wild About Utah: The Christmas Bird Count

Dec 8, 2020
 Evening Grosbeak
Courtesy US FWS George Gentry, Photographer


My boots crunch loudly on the snow and we pause frequently to uncover a bundled-up ear from hats and hoods to listen. We are listening for birds like the high-pitched call of a cedar waxwing, clear trilling song of a ruby-crowned kinglet, or the incessant sounds of the red-breasted nut-hatch.

Utah Skies: Kepler 1649 c

Dec 2, 2020
By NASA/Ames Research Center/Daniel Rutter

Just a little over 300 light years from Earth in the constellation of Cygnus, astronomers have discovered a rocky exoplanet that is very similar in size to the Earth, orbiting a star in what is called the habitable zone. This means that the planet is in a place where it is not too cold or too hot, and where the conditions are favorable for the existence of life. To be clear however, life has not yet been found on this planet.

Wild About Utah: Subtle Peace In Times Like These

Nov 30, 2020

In times like these, I enjoy the mid-autumn sunshine. The trees now shed of their light-hungry leaves, let brightness again seep to the porous earth’s floor. The naked branches bring back views of the mountains, unveil the cedar waxwings and robins swarming the crabapples in their lust for ferment, and let sounds roll uninterrupted across the valley floor and across me, too.

Wild About Utah: Karst Topography

Nov 23, 2020
Josh Boling

Rivers run beneath these hills, carving winding caverns through ancient stone, plumbing a subterranean watershed—a second topography, ever changing. What little we’ve seen must lead further in, places mythology might only describe.

Wildlife managers across the West have a new tool when it comes to protecting iconic big game. A new report published by the U-S Geological Survey provides detailed maps of G-P-S tracked migration routes for mule deer, elk, pronghorn, moose and bison.

Utah Skies: Apophis, A Large Near Earth Object

Nov 17, 2020
Astronomical Institute of the Charles University: Josef Ďurech, Vojtěch Sidorin

On April 13, 2029 a large asteroid named Apophis (Op-O-Hiss) with a diameter of over 1,000 feet will pass within 19,000 miles of the Earth. Because this asteroid is so large and comes so close to earth it could possibly be observed with the naked eye by about 2 billion people as it moves across the sky. This is the largest known asteroid to come this close to Earth in our life time. This event is still nine years away giving scientists time to plan how to observe it and learn what they can from this rare event.

I Love Snow On 'Wild About Utah'

Nov 17, 2020
Courtesy NOAA, Mark Stacey, Photographer

I love snow! It began when I was old enough to know the difference, and has continued since. We kids always celebrated the first snow of the year at our home in northern Wisconsin.

Utah Skies: Fomalhaut, The Lonely Star of Autumn

Nov 10, 2020

Fomalhaut at this time of year can be seen as a bright star in the southern sky. Fomalhaut is also called the Lonely Star of Autumn because it is the only bright star in the evening sky at this time of year. 

Wild About Utah: Dark Sky Places

Nov 9, 2020

Chances are that if you step outside your front door at night and look up, you can get a pretty good view of the night sky. Even if you live in a bigger city or town, a short journey by car, bike, or foot can usually get you to some amazing stargazing places. And that’s because you live in a wonderfully wild place called Utah.

Wild About Utah: How To Create A Bird Friendly Yard

Nov 9, 2020

Growing up in Smithfield Canyon in northern Utah, I heard birds singing every day. We had the incredible luxury of having a variety of native plants and trees in our yard and the yards of our neighbors. The natural landscape of the canyon makes every yard bird friendly!

Wild About Utah: The Eastern Shore Of Bear Lake

Oct 27, 2020
Patrick Kelley

The Eastern shore of Bear Lake is a quiet place.

Wild About Utah: Wandering Home

Oct 21, 2020
Josh Boling

There’s a map in my head lined with the topography of memory and time. The landscape has a rhythm, the cadence of muscle memory when enough boot prints have been tracked across it. Earth’s geometries are as familiar as my own.