Yosemite Nature Notes is a video podcast series that tells unique stories about the natural and human history of Yosemite National Park. Produced by the National Park Service, this series features park rangers, scientists, historians and park visitors as they discuss the diverse plants and animals that make Yosemite their home, as well as the towering cliffs, giant waterfalls and mountain peaks that are known throughout the world.
You can also subscribe to Yosemite Nature Notes on YouTube.
There are over 3,000 meadows in Yosemite National Park, but they only cover 3% of the area of the park. They make up for this small percentage by providing habitat for a wide variety of plant and animal species.
Historically, mountain yellow-legged frogs thrived throughout the Sierra Nevada, but today these endangered amphibians are found in only a handful of locations. Restoration efforts in Yosemite are helping protect what was once the most abundant vertebrate in the park.
Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep are the rarest mountain sheep in North America. After the population dropped to around 100 animals in 1995, this unique sub-species was listed as an endangered species. In the spring of 2015, these charismatic animals were released into the heart of Yosemite for the first time in over 100 years.
Hundreds of black bears make their home in Yosemite and seeing a wild bear is often the highlight of a trip to the park. Bears often remind us of ourselves, and the complex relationship between bears and humans has changed over time as we have strived to keep bears wild.
Sitting on the crest of the Sierra Nevada, Tioga Pass is a gateway to Yosemite's past. In 1880, a gold and silver rush erupted here, and miners flocked to Tioga Hill in droves.
Today, the ghosts of these miners work can be seen in the stone walls of Dana Village, rusty machinery at Bennettville, and the log cabins of the Golden Crown Mine. Even today's popular Tioga Road was once a simple wagon road built to access the wealth of minerals that were never found.
Take a microcosmic safari through a field of milkweed and discover a whole world of life, from bees to wasps to hummingbirds to butterflies. The charismatic monarch butterfly is completely dependent on milkweed for its survival, and places like Yosemite National Park offer protection for this often overlooked plant.
These striking red plants are a common Yosemite roadside attraction in the springtime, but most park visitors are confused about what they're seeing. Is it a plant, a mushroom, or maybe a visitor from another planet? Learn about the unique relationship between snow plants, fungi and trees, as well as the hummingbirds and insects that depend on their nectar.
Many national parks were founded for their geology, and Yosemite is known throughout the world for its exceptional high cliffs and rounded domes. Visitors to the park, from hikers to rock climbers, experience a landscape dominated by granite.
Yosemite's vast acreage and remote location protect some of the darkest night skies in the country. Astronomers, photographers, and city dwellers flock to the park to take advantage of this unique opportunity to view planets, stars, and galaxies.
Water is the life-blood of Yosemite National Park. The Tuolumne and Merced rivers water some of the most productive farmland on the Earth, and urban dwellers throughout the state depend on the Sierra Nevada snowpack for their domestic water needs.
Throughout the Sierra Nevada, high flat plateaus are found at elevations around twelve and thirteen thousand feet. These isolated sky islands are the home to unique plant communities that are found nowhere else.