Friday, December 30, 2016

The strange, ghostly pointy nosed chimaera

Researchers from Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, the California Academy of Sciences, and Moss Landing Marine Laboratories recently identified a creature caught on film thousands of feet deep in waters off the coast of California as Hydrolagus cf. trolli, also called a ghost shark. Scientists have identified 28 species of Hydrolagus but this is the first evidence that they live in the northwest Pacific Ocean. Learn more in this Men's Journal piece.

Is Your Hiking Habit Harming Nature?

A scientific review looked at papers covering the impact of outdoor recreation on wildlife and found that 93 percent showed an impact, 59 percent of them negative. Spending time outdoors still provides immense benefits for people and for nature, but perhaps we need to be more careful. Read about the study on the Men's Journal website.
Grapevine Hills Trail in Big Bend National Park.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Youngsters Down on the Farm

A new generation of farmers focuses on local, sustainable, innovative practices. Good for their families, the land, and those who eat what they produce.  Read the story here.

Ode to a Writer's Retreat

A week at MadroƱo Ranch turned into a real gift for this busy writer, and one tiny part of the legacy of Heather Kohout. Read my tribute here.

Comfort Food - and Pie!

Bever's Restaurant in Chappell Hill serves fresh, homemade dishes like chicken and dumplings, enchiladas, and chicken-fried steak. You'll also find dozens of kinds of pies. Read about it here.

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

The oldest bakery in Texas, Naegelin's in New Braunfels, has everything you could possibly want of a baked nature. Opened in 1868 by the Naegelin family, now owned by the Granzin family. Read about it in the December issue of Texas Highways.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Life Advice from Her Deepness

The first female chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Sylvia Earle continues to dive as a National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence and has spent more than 7,000 hours underwater. Read her advice here.

Sleep Beneath the Sea

Reef Environmental Education Foundation and Florida International University teamed up to offer four divers a night in Aquarius Reef Base, a science lab 60 feet beneath the surface in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Fewer than 400 people -- including Sylvia Earle, Fabian Cousteau and Ian Somerhalder - have ever slept in the base. Read how to snag a bunk here.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Palo Duro Wraps Year of Parks

My last feature for Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine's Year of Parks covers beautiful Palo Duro Canyon State Park. Fantastic hiking, incredible scenery, great wildlife.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Year of Parks - Ray Roberts Lake

The next installment in my series on Texas State Parks. Ray Roberts Lake is a fishing mecca close to the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Hiking, biking, swimming, picnicking and camping, too! Read more here.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Craft beer in the Texas Hill Country

Good beer, beautiful scenery, great times. The Texas Hill Country Beer Trail features 20 independent breweries offering tastings, tours, games and fun. Read about four of them here, then pick your own route.

Making better medicines

Growing high-resolution crystals in space helps scientists develop more efficient and targeted medicines. Read about how this investigation aboard the space station supports structure-based design.

Dissolving Pills in Space

Testing how solids dissolve in space can help scientists develop better medicines for astronauts and the Earth-bound masses. Read about this investigation aboard the space station here.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Sea Turtle Nerd Nite

Video from my talk on sea turtles at Nerd Nite Austin is now available. If you don't know what to do with yourself until the next Game of Thrones or Stranger Things episodes, check it out here! Nerd Nite happens every month; learn more here.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

From Underwater to Outer Space

Astronauts train for spacewalks from the International Space Station (okay, that's not really outer space, but it works in the headline!) in a giant pool at NASA's Johnson Space Center. Read about how that works in my story for Sport Diver.

Full-size model of the space station at the Neutral Buoyancy Lab, Houston.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Bastrop State Park

Next in the Year of Parks series, Bastrop State Park. This landscape and the dedicated people who work there get knocked down and get right back up. Read more here.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Garner State Park

My Year of Parks series in Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine continues with Garner State Park, home of the cool, beautiful Frio River. This year, the park turned 75; if you haven't been yet, read about what you're missing.  

Full Moon Paddle

REI and the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University teamed up to offer activities centered around Spring Lake. One of the choices: kayaking beneath the light of a full moon. Read more about it in Texas Highways.

What Bill Nye wants you to do about climate change.

I recently interviewed Bill Nye, of the Science Guy and Planetary Society fame, about what travelers and adventurers can do about climate change. Take his advice!

Monday, June 27, 2016

It's Shark Week! Expect some stretching of the facts.

Scientists still don't know a lot about the hundreds of species of sharks in our oceans. Pop culture seems only too happy to fill in the blanks - not always accurately. Just in time for Shark Week, here are five myths about these fish debunked.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Coral bleaching is bad. Really bad.

The longest global coral bleaching event has already affected some 90 percent of the Great Barrier Reef and shows no signs of slowing down. Read the alarming facts in my piece for Mental Floss.
Photo credit: XL Catlin Seaview Survey.


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Day with the Dolphins

Some 26 species of dolphins and whales live along the Texas coast, with bottlenose dolphins the most common. See them on boat tours out of Port Aransas. Read more in the June issue of Texas Highways.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Top Aquariums

Ten of the best accredited aquariums in North America. Find Nemo and Dory and many amazing marine creatures - and help conserve the world's oceans at the same time. Read the list here.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Citizen Science underwater

Your dive trip really counts, pun intended, when you go with the Reef Environmental Education Foundation, which has been collecting volunteer fish surveys for years. Read about my REEF trip to Bonaire here.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Eat, drink, save the bees

This restaurant on the Pedernales River keeps bees and uses their honey in various drinks and dishes, helping to raise awareness of the serious threats to bee survival.

Summer School

Learn something fun this summer! Find some suggestions in my piece for Texas Highways.

Year of Parks - World Birding Center sites

The May issue of Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine features Bentsen-Rio Grande, Estero Llano Grande and Resaca de la Palma State Parks, all part of the World Birding Center. Read it here.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Year of Parks - Enchanted Rock

Number three in the Year of Parks series, in the April issue of Texas Parks an Wildlife Magazine, looks at Enchanted Rock and everything it has to offer kids of all ages.

Year of Parks - Washington-on-the-Brazos

The second installment in my year-long series on Texas state parks takes us to the birthplace of the Republic of Texas. It wasn't an easy birth! Read more here. 

Eulogy for a wolf

In his remarkable 10 years, Oregon's OR4 produced a number of famous offspring, proved himself an excellent father, and taught biologists a lot about wolves. For the most part, people either loved him or hated him. He was killed by state officials on March 31.

OR4 waking up after being collared in 2011. Courtesy Oregon Fish and Wildlife Department.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Seven iconic Texas wildflowers

For this year's annual wildflower piece, Texas Highways took a different approach. We selected symbolic wildflowers for seven regions across Texas and suggested places to see them, along with where to eat and stay and other fun things to do. Read more here.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Tough times for wolves in Oregon

A man who shot an endangered wolf in Oregon was ordered to pay $2,000 in fines and surrender the rifle used in the killing. Not a huge consequence, but more justice than is typically meted out for these beleagured animals. Read more about the plight of Oregon's wolves here.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Why NASA tracks asteroids

For a while, astronomers thought asteroid TX68 might pass close to Earth; reeeeeally close, like as close as a satellite. Thanks to additional data, they figured out that wasn't likely after all. But TX68 was a good excuse to look at asteroids that do pose a risk of hitting Earth and what we're doing it about it. Read more here. (Relax, the risk is even lower than your odds of winning the lottery).

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Great Travel Gear

W Durable Goods in Fort Worth makes a variety of functional and durable (duh) dopp kits, pouches and bags, great for travelers. Read about this Texas company in the March 2016 issue of Texas Highways.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Sweet Texas Road Trip

Highway 16, the longest state highway in Texas, looks like too much for most people to bite off. But the stretch from San Saba to Graham makes a most excellent road trip. Read more in my piece for Texas Highways.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Environmental effects of the border wall

Some presidential candidates want to build more wall on our southern border. Here's a look at how it would affect wildlife habitat, particularly in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

Photo courtesy of The Nature Conservancy of Texas.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Fish in Space

An investigation reared fish on the International Space Station to help figure out why astronauts lose bone mass. Read more here. Just keep swimming...

Monday, January 18, 2016

Gems at the national parks in Texas

Our National Parks turn 100 this year, a good excuse to visit a few of them. My story on Hidden Gems in the national parks in Texas provides more reasons. Read it here.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Discoveries at the World's Largest Telescopes

These five of the world's largest telescopes have made quite a few interesting and even bizarre discoveries. Read more in my piece for Mental Floss. Bonus: you can visit all five of these.

Paranal Observatory, Chile.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Three Days in Marathon, Texas

This tiny town, known as a gateway to Big Bend National Park, is well worth a visit all on its own. This historic hotel, good food, stargazing, art and nature are some of the local attractions. Read more in my piece for Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine.

Year of State Parks - Franklin Mountains

This year, I'm writing a feature on a different state park for every issue of Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine. The series kicks off with Franklin Mountains State Park in El Paso, tall peaks, great hiking and even a cable car ride.