Third epidemic in a decade: fir engravers killing white fir

Ouray’s amphitheater is formed by walls of rich red sandstone draped with the deep green of several species of conifers, but now, the magnificent amphitheater is sullied with the red of dying white fir, Abies concolor. Another bark beetle epidemic has begun. Read more

Coincidence of large cone crops and winds results in conifer blowdown

I had chosen a dispersed camping site on the Uncompahgre Plateau for its proximity to a small reservoir and a large meadow. But when I drove into the site, I found it was littered, not with refuse, but with tops of subalpine firs. Read more

Treehoppers’ environments are defined by their host species

An amplectic pair of treehoppers, Telamona monticola, was on a CU sidewalk beneath a swamp oak tree, Quercus bicolor. I surmised that they tumbled from the tree while delicately adjusting their positions. I collected the treehoppers to photograph them and 7 hours later they were still amplectic. Read more

Let Your Light Shine: My Year As the Visiting Scholar of Conservative Thought at the University of Colorado

Visiting scholar's stump speech: "I miss liberalism. Real liberalism. Not this namby-pamby, afraid-of-your-own-shadow faint-hearted liberalism. What I miss is the rock-ribbed, truth-seeking, justice-pursuing, rights-defending, I-don’t-agree-with-you-but-I’ll-defend-your-right-to-say-it liberalism." Read more
Desert moss, which covers desert soil, and its various adaptations

Microscopic structures on moss leaves collect water from humid air

Desert moss lacks many adaptations that allow plants to survive in the desert, so why is it so successful? Read more

Writing an honors thesis: an empowering yet terrifying journey

Throughout this past year, as my social life slowly gave way to exhausting hours of laboratory work and even longer nights of thesis writing, the predominant question I was asked by my friends, peers and even myself was, “why?” Read more
Ant Lion

An ingenious predator digs pit traps

Something was fluttering clumsily near my tent. That evening in Canyonlands was too cold for sustained insect flight, but nevertheless it repeatedly tried to lift off. Read more
Jerusalem cricket

A startling creature in the sand

Jerusalem crickets are not crickets and do not occur in Jerusalem, so how did this common name come about? Read more

The beetles in the cactus flowers are not pollinators

I was focusing on a claret cup when I noticed several beetles near the base of the stamens. They were moderately active inside the flower, but they did not venture onto the pistil, nor did I see any moving between flowers--they seemed content to stay deep in the flower. Read more

In spring, we see colorful willows growing pine cones

I was treated to a colorful sunrise and later I noticed a marshy meadow bright with green, yellow, orange and red willows. Colors were born by stems, not leaves, so the effect was delicate and diaphanous against wind piled banks of snow. Read more

Gregarious bushtits have arrived

When I approached this group of three (see the photo) too closely, they flew off. But they did not fly away, but at me, passing within a foot of my head. So I was buzzed by a gang of small but cheeky birds. Read more

Sale of Utah's Comb Ridge reminds us of tragedy of Hetch Hetchy

John Muir, one of America's most treasured naturalists and proponent of conservation, visited Yosemite Valley in 1868 and was smitten by its grandeur. Read more