Commentary Header Image

Roundleaf buffaloberry is a bitter pemmican ingredient

Roundleaf buffaloberry, Shepherdia rotundifolia, grows as a shrub three to six feet tall, but its color makes it a conspicuous member of the plant community on the Colorado Plateau. Its leaves are approximately an inch in diameter, oval, and the leaf edges are turned under—hence the name roundleaf. The leaves are thick but pliable, with a dense layer of trichomes that creates the distinctive silvery green color.

READ MORE...

Desert bighorn thrive at Colorado National Monument

A flagger controlling traffic at a road repair site told me that I would be allowed to pass in a few minutes, so I got out of my vehicle and started a conversation with her. I am indebted to Ana Jarvis, for when I told her that I was doing photography, she walked me the 10 feet to the edge of the cliff and pointed out a herd of bighorn that was not visible from the road.

READ MORE...

This Downy woodpecker is an opportunistic forager

On a grey day in November, a downy woodpecker tapped furiously, thrashing tall, hollow stems in a dense stand of poison hemlock. I followed the sound to its source and found a woodpecker hammering at the soft material, sending shreds of stems flying.

READ MORE...

The class of 2016 both survived and thrived

The Class of 2016 has special significance for me personally. Along with this year’s graduating class, I became a part of CU-Boulder in 2012, joining the university as this college’s dean. I’m delighted to see the successes of this remarkable class of students in earning their degrees.

READ MORE...

Sand treaders move continually among the dunes

Rain fell in the desert west of Lake Powell for several hours in the early afternoon. As soon as it stopped, I took a walk among small dunes to see what was in bloom and who was out and about.

I was more than a bit surprised to see a large, black sand treader foraging and digging in the sand. Perhaps the rain summoned the sand treader — they rarely appear before dusk.

READ MORE...