This American Land Podcast
Engaging with leaders in the conservation movement, This American Land explores the protection of our natural heritage and the critical issues impacting America’s natural landscapes, waters and wildlife.
Revered as America’s national mammal, bison have made a spectacular recovery after near extinction in the late 19th century. But the wild herds of bison roaming Yellowstone National Park have outgrown the space available for them in the Park, and authorities are harassing and slaughtering bison that migrate across Park boundaries to reach grasslands they need to survive. Gary Strieker talks with Mike Mease, co-founder and coordinator of the Buffalo Field Campaign, to review the reasons why bison are considered a threat to cattle ranches around the Park and what the Campaign is doing to ensure the last wild herds of bison can live free and thrive.
After four years of executive actions by the Trump Administration that have weakened and undercut environmental safeguards, what needs to be done to restore the laws and regulations intended to protect our clean air, water, landscapes and wildlife? Gary Strieker talks with Kieran Suckling at the Center for Biological Diversity about the environmental priorities facing the incoming Biden Administration.
The last gray wolf in Colorado was shot in 1945, but in the recent election voters in the state approved a proposition directing wildlife authorities to bring them back. Supported by a well-funded campaign, the initiative countered powerful opposition from ranchers and farmers and got critical support from urban and suburban voters. To understand how this happened and what this means for the survival of the species, Gary Strieker talks with Rob Edward, the strategic advisor of the Rocky Mountain Wolf Action Fund, which organized the initiative, and Jason Blevins, a reporter who covered the campaign for the Colorado Sun, an online news outlet based in Denver.
Brought into the country as pets, Burmese pythons were released or escaped into the Everglades and have multiplied dramatically. Reaching as much as 20 feet in length and weighing 200 pounds, they have a tremendous appetite and are wiping out populations of small native mammals and reptiles. Gary Strieker talks with Ian Bartoszek, a wildlife biologist with the Conservancy of South Florida who is leading a radio telemetry project tracking the snakes.
The Tongass National Forest in Alaska now faces a revival of logging threats. The Trump Administration wants to lift federal protective rules and allow logging in the Tongass that could result in clear-cutting old-growth trees and destroying areas of rainforest habitat that makes the Tongass so special for biodiversity and as a buffer against climate change. Gary Strieker talks about this with Andy Moderow, the Alaska Director of the Alaska Wilderness League and an expert on the Tongass an…
Gary Strieker talks with Jason Ward, a naturalist, bird watcher and host of the documentary series “Birds of North America” on YouTube, focusing on how his show aims to reach people who might not normally engage in conservation efforts and learn about natural history – in particular young people, people of color, and people who live in cities. He’s a leading figure in this effort to promote inclusivity in conservation, and is now a community relations and outreach coordinator for the Nat…
Gary Strieker talks with James Edward Mills about diversity and inclusiveness among people in America’s great outdoors – in our national parks, wildlife reserves, monuments, wilderness and other public lands — and the importance of those values in achieving the goals of conserving and restoring our natural resources. James Edward Mills is a journalist and founder of “The Joy Trip Project” and the author of “The Adventure Gap” , addressing why minority populations are much less likely …
As a nation, we’re now at a time of serious self-examination, looking at our record of systemic racism in policing and elsewhere in our society. It’s a time of reckoning for all of us, including the conservation community, where most of us feel responsible for protecting our natural resources because of our experiences in the great outdoors. But the outdoors in America has not been totally welcoming for people of color, and that needs to change. Gary Strieker talks about this with Tykee Jam…
Coyotes are literally everywhere now, roaming cities and suburbs across the country. They’ve been persecuted — hunted and poisoned by government agencies for more than a century – but they’ve thrived in spite of that. Gary Strieker talks with Dan Flores, author of “Coyote America”, a book that explores the history, folklore and science of coyotes and how they’ve managed to spread their territories right into our backyards.
The huge Pebble Mine gold and copper project in Alaska has been revived by the Trump Administration against fierce opposition from environmentalists and the salmon industry downstream in Bristol Bay. Gary Strieker talks about this controversy with Stephen Lee, a reporter with Bloomberg Environment who has covered the saga for years.
New uranium mining activity just outside the boundary of the Grand Canyon National Park would pose the risk of serious radioactive contamination of air and water, especially threatening the Havasupai people who live at the bottom of the Canyon. Gary Strieker talks with the Sierra Club’s Alicyn Gitlin about the campaign to persuade Congress to enact a permanent ban on uranium mining in the Canyon area.
President Trump has reduced the size of two national monuments in southeast Utah — Grand Staircase Escalante and Bears Ears — the largest elimination of protected lands in U.S. history. Conservation groups have filed lawsuits to reverse these decisions. Gary Strieker talks with Josh Ewing of Friends of Cedar Mesa, one of the plaintiffs in the litigation.
With nearly 100,000 protected wild horses and burros on public lands, the federal government is struggling to manage them, at great expense, but their numbers are exploding out of control. A new plan relying on contraception and more roundups has been proposed for funding, but critics say it’s not feasible and that wild horses and burros will continue to multiply. Gary Strieker talks with Keith Norris of The Wildlife Society about possible solutions.
Wildlife-vehicle collisions are a serious hazard in many parts of the country, killing a million large animals and hundreds of drivers or passengers every year. Transportation departments in many states are building overpasses and tunnels to allow animals to cross roads safely, with proven results. Gary Strieker talks with Patricia Cramer, an expert in researching and designing wildlife crossing structures that prevent accidents and save lives.
A million-acre pristine wilderness in northern Minnesota faces a major toxic threat from a sulfide-ore copper mine project that was once rejected by federal authorities but is now supported by the pro-industry Trump administration. Gary Strieker talks with Rebecca Rom, who leads the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters.
In 1975 grizzlies were listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, and since then a back-and-forth legal battle has followed attempts to de-list them and allow hunting of grizzlies outside national parks in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. Gary Strieker talks with leading grizzly advocate Louisa Willcox.
Since 1973 the Endangered Species Act has empowered the federal government to save bald eagles, brown pelicans, peregrine falcons, California condors, American alligators and a wide range of other animals and plants. But there is an active opposition to the Act that threatens to weaken it. Gary Strieker talks with Noah Greenwald, Endangered Species Director at the Center for Biological Diversity.
NOTE: Since this episode was recorded, new regulations under the Endangered Species Act have been issued, and we will devote another episode to these changes and their impact on enforcement of the Act.
Host Gary Strieker talks with wolf specialist Carter Niemeyer about the history of wolf eradication, the re-introduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park, the continuing campaign by some ranchers and politicians to limit the spread of wolves to wider ranges, and the outlook for wolves in the West and the Great Lakes region.