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1 September 2017

Slicing a 20,000 year-old mammoth tusk

In his job as a university machinist, Dale Pomraning has built and fixed earthquake detectors and aurora rockets. But recently he worked on his first object that was once part of a living creature. He and others sliced a six-foot, 100-pound wooly mammoth tusk lengthwise, sort of like a salmon filet.

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24 August 2017

Polar bears of the past survived warmth

An ancient jawbone has led scientists to believe that polar bears survived a period thousands of years ago that was warmer than today.

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17 August 2017

Hike across Alaska ends with after-dinner bear

There, we reached mile 0 of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and the finish of a south-to-north walk across Alaska, most of it on the service road that parallels the pipeline.

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11 August 2017

Final steps to Mile 0 of summer walk

I said goodbye to my final hiking partner today outside a van on the side of a gravel highway. For the remaining 40 miles in my summer hike along the path of the Trans-Alaska Highway, it will be just Cora and me.

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4 August 2017

In fifth month, Trans-Alaska hike nears end

We just passed Trans-Alaska Pipeline mile 100, which means that distance remains on our summer hike from Valdez to Prudhoe Bay. My dog Cora and I started walking on April 30, which means we’re in our fifth month of sleeping outside.

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2 August 2017

Water chemistry field work leads to startling discoveries!

As the summer draws to a close, I look back fondly on the field days I have had this summer, perhaps most fondly on June’s water chemistry field day.

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28 July 2017

Crossing the divide into a new world

On our summer-long hike along the path of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, this morning my dog Cora and I left the last tangle of boreal forest along America’s highway system. We walked away from a campsite of white spruce and balsam poplar that shielded us during a rain and wind storm the day before.

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24 July 2017

A summer of student research and discovery

Each summer a wonderful group of teachers, staff and students converge on Bosque School’s campus to work as a team, to take care of each other and the environment, to think about bugs and observe snapping turtles!

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20 July 2017

Dog partner enhances hike across Alaska

By Ned Rozell I suspected my brief dogless period was coming to an end when my wife and daughter were looking at puppies on the Internet. We had a few months earlier lost Poops, a Labrador retriever mix, to a tumor on a front paw. Though it was strange not to have a creature greeting you with socks in its mouth, I was enjoying the break from responsibility. But Kristen …

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11 July 2017

Deep thoughts from the Deep Blue Sea

As far as I can see from the ship to the horizon there is nothing but deep blue sea. Not a single ship has passed within sight since we left the north shore of Oahu.

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29 June 2017

High summer along the pipeline’s path

YUKON RIVER — It’s high summer, past the solstice. Everything is alive here on the path of the Trans-Alaska pipeline. Since I started this hike across Alaska on the last day of April in Valdez, the country has softened, greened up and started flowing.

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26 May 2017

Gear has come a long way in 20 years

When I walked this same path 20 years ago, I averaged six miles each day. After a few weeks in 2017 of hiking the path of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, it seems easy to do 10 miles a day. Back then, sometimes my backpack weighed 60 pounds. I’m trying to keep it half that weight now. I started from Valdez with a load of 32 pounds. Most of the reduction is due to clever people who have engineered lighter gear because consumers wanted it, and because of breakthroughs in materials available to designers.

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18 May 2017

Lots of quiet time in the Big Lonely

I walked around the chain-link fence of Pump Station 12 of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, apprehensive about the human encounter to come. It was time to send a weekly column. I needed a Wi-Fi signal or a cellular bar or two. I had walked more than a week through air devoid of communications waves.

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12 May 2017

Mountains full of snow and birds

In the early going of my second hike across Alaska along the route of the Trans-Alaska pipeline, I chose to walk the highway rather than the pipe’s route to get up Thompson Pass north of Valdez. The road added six miles to our day. But I tried the pipe route up the pass 20 years ago and it was like trying to climb a 90-meter ski jump.

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5 May 2017

First steps from Valdez, in the snow

My wife Kristen looked at the Valdez forecast on her phone as we drove to our take-off point. “It says wintery mix of snow and rain the next few days,” she said. “No one likes a wintery mix.”

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28 April 2017

Revisiting a dream, 20 years later

Twenty years ago, I was 34 when I walked away from a chain-link fence near Port Valdez and headed east. Those were the first steps on a summer-long trip across Alaska. In a few days, I will begin to retrace those steps.

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14 April 2017

Pleistocene Park an experiment in adventure

More than 700 donors believe in an attempt to recreate the ice age in Siberia. The operators of Pleistocene Park have raised more than $100,000 in a crowdfunding effort to bring bison and yaks to eastern Russia. The creators think the animals will help convert tundra to ancient grasslands that will slow global warming.

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7 April 2017

Life returning to island destroyed by eruption

Nine years after it erupted, Kasatochi Island is just beginning to resemble its neighbors.

Kasatochi is a speck in the middle of the Aleutian chain between Dutch Harbor and Adak, about 75 miles east of the latter. The volcanic island had no modern history of erupting until August 2008. In a few days that summer, the island changed from the lush green home of a quarter million seabirds to a gray pile of ash.

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5 April 2017

Are there otters in the Rio Grande?

On a chilly Tuesday morning on April 4th, 2017, 120 1st graders and 35 high school students braved the cold and the wind to celebrate Otter Day! Every year Bosque School students invite young students to learn about otters and their habitat in New Mexico.

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24 March 2017

Squirrels somehow predict seed bonanza

How can female squirrels predict a good food supply before it exists?

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