Connecting the Dots

In one of his final acts in office, President Obama added an additional 48,000 acres of protected land to Oregon’s little-known Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Ranchers and loggers called it a tragedy, but scientists say it was a crucial victory for biodiversity and landscape connectivity.

Furry Animals, Fuzzy Science

Turning college team mascots into icons of wildlife conservation seems like a winning strategy, but there is surprisingly little science to suggest that it can really help to protect species — particularly those that are critically endangered. Still, a growing number of schools are giving it a go.

A Clearer View of Forest Clearcutting

The issue of forest clearcutting has been controversial in the Pacific Northwest for decades, though I’d mostly remained neutral on the topic. That all changed recently when my father told me he was planning to clearcut roughly 20 acres of Douglas fir timber behind the house where I grew up.

Undark Podcast #5: Conflict & Conservation

Join our podcast host David Corcoran as he discusses with writer Alexandra Ossola her journey into mountains of Colombia to find a rare hummingbird and the parallels she saw with the people who share its territory. Also: Undark’s Tracker columnist, Paul Raeburn, talks about fair use of copyrighted material.

On Rattlesnakes (and Getting Scooped)

My first foray into long-form journalism had it all: the history, biology, evolution, local politics and big questions surrounding efforts by state wildlife officials to bring rattlesnakes back to an island in the Quabbin Reservoir of central Massachusetts. Then The New York Times came along.

Return of the Blue Dragon

For the 11 years that Shurna DeCou worked as a journalist in the Cayman Islands, she followed the struggle to protect — and along the way fell in love with — the blue iguana. Today, in large part due to volunteer efforts, their numbers are recovering. Whether that trend will continue, however, is far from certain, as threats loom in all directions.