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Showing Bats Some Love for Valentine’s Day

Okay, so it’s probably becoming obvious that I love bats.  In recent posts I’ve talked about white-nose syndrome (WNS), a deadly fungal infection that’s devastating American bat populations.  I just donated to FightWNS.org, ordering a super-cool WNS awareness ribbon with bat wings (left).  I urge you to find ways to help bats in your own community. Read more

Followup: White-nose Syndrome Continues to Kill Bats in National Parks

Less than one month ago, I posted a story about white-nose syndrome killing bats in Mammoth Cave National Park. Today, more bad news came from another national park site, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, where white-nose has just been documented for the first time.

I contacted Katie Gillies, the imperiled species coordinator at Bat Conservation International, to ask what can be done to combat the spread of white-nose.

"There is an extensive amount of research being conducted on several fronts right now," she told me. "A few years ago, the fungus didn’t even have a name, and today the full genome has been mapped, sensitive molecular tools to detect it have been developed, and we understand the histology of the fungal invasion and believe we understand the proximate and ultimate causes of death."

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Home

Home is where I carry it.  Here, my pack rests alongside my partner's on the shore of Heart Lake in Yellowstone National Park.

Home is where I carry it.  Here, my pack rests alongside my partner’s on the shore of Heart Lake in Yellowstone National Park.

This tent has been home on many joy-filled backcountry trips, including to Tiger Key in Everglades National Park ...

This tent has been home on many joy-filled backcountry trips, including to Tiger Key in Everglades National Park …

... and the west slopes of Mount Whitney in Sequoia National Park.

… and the west slopes of Mount Whitney in Sequoia National Park.

Care to see others’ visual interpretations of the notion of home?  They’re sure to be different from mine.  Check them out at The Daily Post.

Let’s Get Wolverines on the Endangered Species List

The wolverine is one of the most astonishing and most misunderstood creatures on earth.  Its scientific name of Gulo gulo, or “glutton glutton,” is hardly complimentary, and offers insight into what wolverine biologist Kerry Murphy described as “a serious PR problem” back in late June 2008.

Murphy was teaching a Yellowstone Association Institute field course, Yellowstone’s Pack of Predator Concerns.  Though it’s been almost five years since I attended the four-day class, I still remember the key points Murphy hammered home: wolverines are rare, they’re in trouble, and they get remarkably little sympathy.

wolverine in snow - USFS image

Built like low-slung bears with long tails, wolverines are at home in snowy environments. USFS photo.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Unique

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unique

As a park ranger, I’ve lived in lots of beautiful places … but I don’t think there’s anywhere in the world that can match the Badlands of South Dakota for the beauty of its sunsets. This brilliant pink sky is from two weeks ago, the night before a major winter storm hit the area. Though all sunsets are the same, in that the earth’s rotation brings the sun slowly out of view behind the horizon, every one is different.

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