Dinner in the Dino – On December 31, 1853, Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins hosted an elaborate dinner in the body of the world’s first life-sized model of a dinosaur. Hawkins’ event helped launch the world’s first wave of dinomania.

The Great Raft of the Red River – For hundreds of years, rafts of logs choked Arkansas’ Red River, stifling navigation and settlement. The logs were so thick and dense that early accounts describe people crossing the river and not even realizing it. Finally, on November 27, 1873 the great raft of the Red River was destroyed.

100 years of the Burgess Shale – “The Burgess Shale is arguably the most important fossil site in the world,” says Robert Gaines, a paleoecologist at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif. August 2009 marked the 100th anniversary since Charles Walcott discovered the site, high in the Canadian Rockies.

It’s a Dirty Job – In the past few years, fossil feces, or coprolites, have become an important tool for understanding the past. Coprologists have been able to reconstruct the diets of dinosaurs and date when humans first arrived in the new world. The field has a long history beginning with the eccentric geologist William Buckland.


Rising From the Ashes – A short introduction to the ecological changes at the mountain since its eruption in May 1980. I was fortunate to be able to go out in the field with ecologist Charlie Crisafulli, who has been studying St. Helens for 25 years. Of particular note were the hundreds of toadlets we saw at one lake and the lush plant life on the Pumice Plain, just in front of the volcano’s crater.

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge — In August 2005, I was fortunate to travel to Alaska to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge with a class from the University of Washington’s Program on the Environment. It was an amazing experience to visit this austerely beautiful landscape. If you are interested in my trip, I wrote a five-part series for A second story about the Refuge also weaves in an adventure I had at Lake Baikal in Siberia. It appeared on and in a shorter version on the Huffington Post.