Science

National Park Nature Walks: A New Pop-Up Podcast Series

Welcome to National Park Nature Walks, a pop-up podcast. Host Jacob Job, an ecologist and audiophile, brings you inches away from a multitude of creatures, great and small, amid the sonic grandeur of nature. You may not be easily able to access these places amid the pandemic, but after you take this acoustic journey, you will be longing to get back outside.

Episode 1: Rocky Mountains

It’s mid June and we’re on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. This side of the park sees far fewer visitors than the much busier east side, but it’s no less beautiful and offers an abundance of opportunities to explore remote places with lots of wildlife. Today, we start at dawn at the southern end of the Kawuneeche Valley near where Onahu Creek joins the Colorado River. From there, we’ll cross the Trail Ridge Road and head east up the Green Mountain Trail to a hidden gem. A massive open grassy expanse known as Big Meadows. We’ll sit alongside Tonahutu Creek before finally making our way to the base of Nakai Peak, where we’ll seek shelter from a late morning thunderstorm. 

Episode 2: Sequoia Heights

In today’s episode it’s June and we’re in Sequoia National Park in California, home to some of the largest and oldest trees on the planet. Instead of hiking along a trail to explore the park, we’re going to experience it from a slightly different perspective. Today we’re climbing up into the Sequoias to hear what the world sounds like from over 250 feet above the ground. During the first half of this episode, we’ll greet the dawn while sitting at the base of a massive, centuries old Sequoia tree in the Giant Forest. Then, we’ll travel back in time to the beginning of this episode and experience the sunrise all over again, but this time from up inside the canopy of the same tree. 

Episode 3: Where Lewis and Clark Trod

In today’s episode, it’s April and we’re headed to the Pacific Northwest at the mouth of the Columbia River, near Astoria, Oregon. Here, we’ll visit Cape Disappointment State Park, one of the last stops on the Lewis and Clark National Historical Trail. Cape Disappointment is also near where Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery ended their historic 18 month, 4100 mile journey from the mouth of the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean. We’ll start our journey at dawn sitting next to the mighty Pacific Ocean before making our way inland across coastal dunes, salt marshes, high-forested bluffs, and finally, ending the day surround by old-growth forest and a deafening chorus of frogs. The sounds we’ll hear today are some of the same sounds the Corps of Discovery heard here over 200 years ago. 

Episode 4: A Beautiful Swamp

In today’s episode we head to the deep south, to the flooded forested swamps of the Mississippi River Valley. We’re going to explore Tensas National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern Louisiana. Established in 1998, the refuge protects 64,000 acres of second and old-growth hardwood forest that was the last known home to the famous Ivory-billed Woodpecker, which went extinct in the 1930s. Here, we’ll start the day before sun up, chest waders on, walking through flooded forest near the refuge headquarters. We’ll hear Gray tree frogs and crickets end their nighttime shift while the refuge’s countless bird species greet the dawn with a myriad of songs and calls. 

Episode 5: Journey to the Northwoods

In today’s episode we head to the northernmost reaches of the contiguous United States, to one of the most remote parks in the National Park Service. We’re headed into wilderness to explore Voyaguers National Park on the Minnesota/Canada border. Voyaguers is located at the southernmost edge of the expansive boreal ecosystem, which extends hundreds of miles north to Canada’s Hudson Bay. We’ll start the morning at camp, coffee in hand, enjoying the solitude and serenity of dawn next to a backcountry lake. Using a trail shared by moose, bears, lynx, and wolves, we’ll then make our way to a decades old beaver dam, where we’ll settle into the rhythm of birdsong during late morning. 

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