The Jefferson Exchange
Summary: JPR's live call-in program devoted to current events and news makers from around the region and beyond.
It stands to reason that an ecosystem that has been altered by non-native and invasive species should be restored to its original condition. Not so fast, some scientists suggest. The "novel ecosystems" created by alien plants still provide habitat for some key species. Like the birds that find nesting places on the Zumwalt Prairie in northeastern Oregon. Early white settlers planted non-native grasses and grazed livestock, then abandoned some of the sites. And some birds are just fine with the
The focus in wildfires tends to fall upon the damage: the trees lost, the homes destroyed. But ecologists often remind us that fire is part of the forest ecosystem, ultimately necessary for a forest to remain healthy. And fires also save water, if that makes any sense. Think about it: dead trees do not pull water out of the ground and lose it through evaporation. Which adds up to a lot of water saved in the last three decades. National Park Service hydrologist Jim Roche studies the phenomenon.
The old jokes about spending our latter days in a rocking chair on a porch somewhere really don't apply anymore. Because the idea of retirement is so different; older Americans expect to be active in retirement, IF they even retire. Robin Ryan, career counselor and frequent media guest, assumes some kind of life after work in her book Retirement Reinvention . She packed the book with ideas for staying happy and healthy after the full-time working days are over.
The fire sweeps through and blackens everything in its path. Then, a few weeks or months later, green shoots. And morel mushrooms, lots and LOTS of morels in some places. Recent fire seasons have laid waste to large patches of forest, but also encouraged the growth of the tasty mushrooms. Johnny Anderson, one of the owners of Foods In Season , is a big fan of morels.
It's not that hotter and drier summers kill trees by themselves. But when winters are mild, creatures that kill the trees don't die, and continue to feast upon them. That appears to be at least part of what is happening to Douglas firs, particularly in Oregon. Flatheaded fir borers have killed trees by the tens or thousands, by BLM counts. Bill Schaupp is an entomologist at the Forest Health Protection office of the U.S. Forest Service, and well-versed in tree-killing bugs.
When you think of a robbery at a museum, you probably picture a valuable painting, or some artifact from antiquity. But dead birds? It happened, at the Tring Museum in Greater London. A man obsessed with exotic bird feathers stole hundreds of old bird skins from the museum and disappeared. Enter the man obsessed with flyfishing, and we get a book: The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century . Author Kirk Wallace Johnson, the flyfisher, tracked the story and
It makes sense in principle: icebergs and ice sheets in the polar regions melt, and add water to the oceans. So the oceans rise. But HOW? That's the question researched in great detail by Dave Sutherland in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Oregon. His research focuses not just on the melting, but where the water goes, horizontally and vertically. Sutherland's work takes him to Greenland and Alaska, among other places.
John Kalb is a chiropractor in Ashland, but his health interests go well beyond bones and joints. He focuses on the brain in his second book, Keep Your Marbles . It's addressed to fellow baby boomers who notice changes in how their brains work (and occasionally do not seem to work). Think of it as a tuneup and maintenance guide for the aging brain.
James Sexton knows plenty about how relationships end. As a divorce lawyer--tabbed by one client as "the sociopath you want on your side"--Sexton assists in getting people un-married. So he turns the process completely around and offers advice in how to address the issues in a marriage, in If You're in My Office, It's Already Too Late: A Divorce Lawyer's Guide to Staying Together . After all those divorces, he still believes in love and romance.
The booming cannabis business may be good for many people, but there are other impacts to consider. Like what happens to the people who want to keep growing food when the farms around them begin growing cannabis? The Rogue Valley Food System Network wanted an answer to that question, so it teamed up with Southern Oregon University to explore the issues. Environmental scientist Vincent Smith led the work; he presented it in a recent public lecture .
If you break a leg or come down with a disease that confines you to bed, people generally know what to do. But that's physical illness. Mental illness presents a different set of challenges in diagnosis and treatment. All of the members of Southern Oregon Compass House in Medford learned this firsthand. Once a month, we visit with clubhouse members and staffers to explore issues in mental illness, issues we're often hearing about for the first time.
Drought is a regular companion to life in the west. Even when there's no drought, there's not much rain... Klamath Falls gets 14 inches in a "normal" year. Water worries visit other parts of the country as well. Julene Bair wrote something like a love story to a landscape and an aquifer in The Ogallala Road: A Story of Love, Family, and the Fight to Keep the Great Plains from Running Dry .
The lands around us are crisscrossed with trails used by the serious long-distance hikers and the just-an-hour plodders as well. Legislation passed in 2016 requires the U.S. Forest Service to move toward a sustainable trail system... sustainable environmentally and economically. And the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest is getting started on its compliance, holding public meetings and making other moves to assess public needs and interest.
Comedy fans may have known who Michelle Wolf is, but the rest of the country learned her name after the recent White House Correspondents Dinner. Wolf's razzing of reporters and administration mouthpieces is just one of many developments in the media in the last month. And it will come up for discussion when we reconvene with Precious Yamaguchi and Andrew Gay of the Southern Oregon University Communication faculty. They visit once a month for an omnivorous media segment we call Signals &
We invited the Grim Reaper as a guest, but she's booked pretty solid, so we welcome The Green Reaper (yes, that's her nickname). Funeral customs in the U.S. are generally not very kind to the planet. Conventional funerals use tons of wood, concrete, and metals for caskets and tombs, as well as millions of gallons of embalming fluid, which can be carcinogenic. Elizabeth Fournier, the owner of Cornerstone Funeral Services in Boring, Oregon, thinks there's a better way. In her new book The Green