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Heid E. Erdrich is the author of seven collections of poetry. Her writing has won fellowships and awards from the National Poetry Series, Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, McKnight Foundation, Minnesota State Arts Board, Bush Foundation, Loft Literary Center, First People’s Fund, and other honors. Erdrich has twice won a Minnesota Book Award for…
 
Timothy Steele is an American poet who has received numerous awards and honors for his poetry, including a Lavan Younger Poets Award, the Los Angeles PEN Center Award for Poetry, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Robert Fitzgerald Award for Excellence in the Study of Prosody. He has taught at Stanford University and the University of California in S…
 
A native of Minnesota, Traci Brimhall is an Associate Professor and Director of Creative Writing at Kansas State University. Her first published collection, Rookery, features many poems about birds. “Birds just seem to have a kind of spiritual or symbolic weight,” Traci explains. “They feel somehow ancient or ethereal – timeless in a way, and I thi…
 
Wendy S. Walters is a non-fiction writer and poet, who holds a MFA/PHD in Poetry and Literature from Cornell University. She is the former Associate Dean of Art and Design History and Theory at Parsons, The New School. Currently she serves as Director of the Nonfiction Concentration and Associate Professor of Writing, Nonfiction in the School of th…
 
This episode we're sharing "Timber Wars," from OPB. The show explores the fight over old growth forests in the Pacific Northwest. And at the center of that fight was… a bird! The spotted owl became a lightning rod and a symbol of the divisions between timber interests and environmentalists back in the 90s. And there are some interesting parallels b…
 
In the final episode of Grouse, Ashley returns to a lek in Washington with biologist Michael Schroeder and finds it scorched by recent wildfire. Michael cries as he looks out over an area that was once home to one of the largest remaining pockets of sage-grouse in the state. But he says he’s not ready to retire yet — there’s more work to be done. W…
 
Back in 2015, the Obama Administration hammered out a deal with leaders and land managers across the west that avoided listing the Greater Sage-Grouse under the Endangered Species Act. It was a grand compromise that protected key sage-grouse habitat while allowing for continued access to sagebrush country for a diverse set of stakeholders, from ran…
 
Western Wyoming is home to many sage-grouse mating and nesting sites. And, in recent years, it’s also become a hub of oil and gas extraction. Matt Holloran knows this all too well. He did his PhD - back in 2000 - on sage-grouse and how natural gas drilling affects them, and has been studying the birds ever since. Ashley Ahearn heads to oil and gas …
 
The Greater Sage-Grouse appears in the the songs, stories and dances of many Indigenous Peoples of the West. In this episode of Grouse, Wilson Wewa, an elder of the Northern Paiute of the Warm Springs Reservation in Oregon, remembers the first time he encountered a sage-grouse lek as a child. He also shares an ancient story from the Wasco Nation ab…
 
Caleb McAdoo is a biologist with Nevada Fish and Game. He’s lived in sagebrush country his whole life — he loves this landscape — and now, he’s watching it disappear before his very eyes as cheatgrass and wildfire take over. In this episode of Grouse, join Ashley Ahearn for a trip to the vanishing sagebrush sea in Nevada — and find out what fire me…
 
Mike Schroeder has been studying sage-grouse in Washington state — where the population is declining — since the 1980s. Mike takes Grouse host Ashley Ahearn on a journey to find this troubled bird and explore some scientific and cultural lore surrounding it, from American Indians to Lewis and Clark to Roosevelt. Will they find any sage-grouse today…
 
Grouse series host Ashley Ahearn burns out on the urban rat race, leaves her job at a top NPR member station, and moves to 20 acres of sagebrush in rural Washington state. She discovers the Greater Sage-Grouse, a bird that is native to the land where she now lives — and fits in a whole lot better than she does. What is a sage-grouse, and why does e…
 
In the season finale of Sound Escapes, acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton takes us on a whirlwind tour of nearly every habitat on the planet. From tropical forests to deserts to wetlands, you'll hear what the Earth truly is: music spinning in an otherwise silent space. Thank you for joining us on this sonic journey. We hope each episode brought you …
 
“By modern standards, Mark Twain was really a switched-on listener,” says our Sound Escapes host, Gordon Hempton. “He brilliantly used sound in the crafting of his novels. Birds would sing at the right time of day and in the right situations. He would use thunderstorms to mark the locations of Jim and Huck's journey down the Mississippi.” In this e…
 
After a long winter in northern Minnesota, everything seems to awaken at once. From the songs of migratory birds to the croaks of frogs and toads, we can witness a wonderful rejuvenation. In this episode of Sound Escapes, paddle a canoe through Voyageurs National Park alongside Gordon Hempton, the Sound Tracker. We'll hear the hauntingly beautiful …
 
Today we head to Pipestone Canyon in Eastern Washington, where you can hear a ridgetop wind come from a mile away. You can not only listen to the calls of animals in the distance, but also the waves of echos upon echos as the sound passes through the canyon: a form of dimensional information that Gordon Hempton calls, “The poetics of space.” Let's …
 
Experience dawn in the Kalahari Desert as the sun rises over the sandy savannah in South Africa. It’s nearly level at this part of the Kalahari Desert. The trees are widely spaced. There’s almost no available water. You cannot see very far — the heat itself ripples the horizon. It's hard to imagine any animal feeling at home in this landscape — but…
 
“Water makes every sound imaginable and occupies every frequency audible to the human ear and certainly spans the dynamic range from the faintest sound to near distortion,” says Gordon Hempton, the Sound Tracker. The writings of John Muir can guide our ears, as we listen to the water music: “The deep bass tones of the fall, the clashing ringing spr…
 
In this episode of Sound Escapes, you'll hear sounds recorded by Gordon Hempton, the Sound Tracker, at Zabalo River Wilderness Quiet Park — deep inside the Amazon of Ecuador. Zabalo was certified as the world's first wilderness quiet park on Earth Day in 2019. Gordon calls this place a living Eden. "And when we listen there, we listen for miles. No…
 
"Olympic National Park has taught me that it's possible to not only love a place, but love a place deeply at first listen," says Gordon Hempton. "And spring is when Olympic is at its most musical." Delight in the sounds of Pacific Chorus Frogs, the Varied Thrush, grouse, and many more in our first sonic expedition. Support for Sound Escapes comes f…
 
For those of us sheltering in place, it’s easy to feel the walls of our homes closing in. But sound can set us free. All we need to do is listen. In these eight episodes, you'll hear soundscapes from the wildest places on the planet personally selected by host Gordon Hempton, the Sound Tracker, from his thousands of hours of recordings. "These soun…
 
Window strikes are among the most serious threats to birds in North America, killing an estimated 1 billion birds every year. In New York City, between 90,000 and 230,000 birds die annually from collisions with the city’s buildings, according to NYC Audubon. But recent legislation requiring bird-friendly glass on new construction offers a hopeful p…
 
Rachel Carson is known best for writing Silent Spring. It’s a condemnation of DDT and other toxic pesticides and how they hurt the environment. When the book was published in 1962, it was full of new information that shocked most Americans. Silent Spring led to a radical shift in national pesticide policies, and the book has been credited with spar…
 
BirdNote host Ashley Ahearn recently sat down with Dr. J. Drew Lanham at the University of Washington College of the Environment Symposium on Nature and Health. The conversation wove through Dr. Lanham’s poetry, readings from his memoir, and his thoughts about faith, climate change, the loss of birds, and the ways we can work together to confront s…
 
Hey Sound Escapes listeners! Just a heads up that this is now the feed for BirdNote Presents, the home for all longform and special podcast projects from BirdNote. We've got lots of great stuff coming, including a story about Rachel Carson and a kind of thrush, a series on cats and birds, and another season of Sound Escapes. If you're subscribed to…
 
Today we’re visiting the Zabalo River in Ecuador. It’s a completely undisturbed ecosystem, where all the creatures we hear are all native to the land, and have coexisted and continued to evolve together for thousands of years. No animal is stepping on the communications of another animal. No two birds sound alike. Let’s listen… This is the final ep…
 
A great place to listen to insects — and birds — is a remote mountain lake in the spring. The surrounding mountians and properties of the cold water make these lakes some of nature's great concert halls. Gordon Hempton, an acoustic ecologist and sonic guide for the this series, recorded the sounds of this lake in Washington’s Methow Valley. The air…
 
We’re back with our guide, Gordon Hempton, the Sound Tracker. Today he’s taking us to Saskatchewan’s Grasslands National Park, just a few miles north of the Canada/US border. As you’re listening, close your eyes and envision how all of these voices fit together — how each one is settled into just the right place on the spectrum.…
 
Gordon Hempton has spent his life recording the sounds of the natural world, from the rainforest of Hawai’i to the vast dry prairies of North America. Then, one morning, he woke up to silence. Ever since his first sudden encounter with hearing loss, Gordon has made it his mission to share the art of truly listening. He believes that in our noisy, b…
 
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