From the Editor
The Power of Optimism
Making a difference despite difficult circumstances. Our very first article in the new Educate and Interpret section. A podcast on the unique challenges of managing coastal parks.
Podcast | Coasts
Barrier islands move constantly, but people build houses on them anyway. Cape Hatteras superintendent-scientist Dave Hallac tells us why good data can only do so much (18 minutes).
By Brooke Bauman
Image credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers / Mark Bias
Events | Historic Preservation Training
Sharing the Mysteries of Mortar
Finding the right recipe to replace crumbling joints in historic buildings can be the key to preserving them. I conducted two recent trainings to show how.
By Catherine Cooper
Image credit: NPS / Catherine Cooper
The stories behind extraordinary images and videos from the practice of park science
Denali's sled dogs take scientists into the backcountry to study snow depth. The Denali kennels mark their 100th year of operation in 2022.
Archeologists found old bison bones in a high alpine habitat. It changed how we understand bison and the people who interacted with them.
Fort Union installed the National Park Service's first Motus tracking station in Oct 2022. The first bird it detected had flown from Canada.
Research | Marine Science
How Alaskan Marine Ecosystems Responded to a Massive Heatwave
A marine heatwave in the North Pacific had widespread, detrimental impacts on ecosystems and species. Why were some more resilient than others?
By Heather Coletti
Image credit: NPS / Jim Pfeiffenberger
Observations | Wildlife Diseases
An Infectious Strain of Pneumonia Threatens Capitol Reef’s Prized Bighorn Herd
Capitol Reef National Park’s bighorn sheep herd grew almost fourfold since being introduced from Canyonlands over two decades ago. Now the herd is at risk from a debilitating disease.
By William Sloan, with Morgan Wehtje
Image credit: NPS / Chris Roundtree
Connections | Natural Sounds and Night Skies
Protecting Tranquility in a Bright, Noisy World
The National Park Service is a global leader in the fight to preserve dark night skies and quiet soundscapes. The benefits aren’t just esthetic.
By Christopher Kavanagh, Sharolyn Anderson, Cathleen Balantic, Li-Wei Hung, Gina Pearson, Frank Turina, and Karen Trevino
Image credit: NASA / Karen Nyberg
Research | Artificial Intelligence
Eavesdropping (on Birds) Has a Smart New Tool
BirdNET uses artificial intelligence to analyze audio recordings and detect bird species by sound. We’re exploring its potential to help parks answer complex, pressing questions.
By Cathleen Balantic
Image credit: NPS / Cathleen Balantic
Events | Natural Sounds and Night Skies
Chasing the Stars Down Under
New Zealand, an aspiring “dark sky nation,” held a seminal conference on protecting night skies and natural sounds. One of us was a keynote speaker.
By Karen Trevino and Christopher Kavanagh
Image credit: NPS / Karen Trevino
Sea Level Rise Threatens Cultural Sites in the Everglades
In Florida’s vast, world-class wetland, climate change puts important archeological and post-colonial features in the path of a rising tide.
By April Watson
Image credit: NPS / Anthony Sleiman
A Deadly Tumor-Causing Disease Joins the List of Perils for Endangered Sea Turtles
Padre Island National Seashore has worked for decades to preserve Kemp’s ridley sea turtles. A new viral disease now threatens them.
By Jennifer Shelby Walker
Image credit: NPS
Helping Islands Stay on a "Budget"
National island parks in the Gulf of Mexico are hemorrhaging sand at an increasing rate. Here's how we slow the bleeding.
By Jeff Bracewell
Image credit: NPS / Jennifer Manis
The Curious Case of the Old Dog in the Sand
The discovery of a large fossil canid jawbone in Idaho gives clues to the region’s diverse, verdant past.
By Kari A. Prassack and Laura C. Walkup
Image credit: NPS
Tracking a Flu Strain That’s Killing Wild Birds
When confronted with a seemingly uncontrollable disease, surveillance matters. National parks are important watchdogs in the search to know more.
By Lisa Shender, Lori Oberhofer, Ryan Trimbath, Alacia Welch, Olivia Magni, Leslie Frattaroli, and David Payer
Image credit: NPS / Rose Fielding
When the River Breaks
In the aftermath of the devastating 2022 Yellowstone floods, we examined historical river flows. Could our insights help predict future events?
By Ally Marrs, Teodora Rautu, David Thoma, Ann Rodman, Mike Tercek, and Andrew Ray
Image credit: NPS
How a Flower and Fish Changed the Niobrara River
People planted yellow iris and stocked northern pike in the river for beauty and sport. The iris altered the river channel, and the pike ate the native fish.
By Lusha Tronstad
Image courtesy of Lusha Tronstad
Educate & Interpret
Internships | Pollinators
For the Love of Monarchs: How We Joined the Push to Save a Beloved Butterfly
We spent the summer of 2022 learning to be good stewards of monarch butterflies. It was an unforgettable experience.
By Cassandra Cavezza and Juan Pablo Esparza-Limón
Image credit: NPS / Sonya Popelka
About This Issue
Last updated: May 1, 2023