Monday, August 22, 2011

Holy Battered Bats! Double Menace Threatens Farmers' Helpers



COLUMBIA, MO (NET Radio)
- Farmer Shelly Cox and her husband rely on the mainstays of Midwest agriculture: John Deere tractor, genetically modified seeds and rich soil.

They also get extra help from what you might call nature's pest control crew - migrating bats.

"They're huge at insect control," Cox said while walking toward a small wetland where bats cluster during the summer months."How much money do you want to spend on pesticides? Or do you want to be saving money and using what Mother Nature gives us?"

Cox credits the bats that visit her family's 86-acre farm outside Savannah, Mo. as a big reason why they've only used pesticides twice in the last 15 years.
But that could change soon.

Wildlife experts in the heartland are preparing for a serious one-two punch to the bat population: a mysterious fungus spreading from the northeast, and the proliferation of wind power.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Archaeology Dig Seeks Clues To Nebraska's Prehistoric Past



(NET RADIO) - Editor's note: This Signature Story is part of the NET News QUEST Nebraska project, a multimedia series exploring Nebraska science, environment and nature.

Matt Marvin and Steve Sarich are digging and sifting. Marvin is using a shovel to remove dirt from their excavation site, a half centimeter at a time. Sarich is carefully sifting the dirt through a screen. They're standing amidst grass, weeds and dead reeds, fighting flies, ticks and sometimes 100 degree heat in the middle of the drained Hugh Butler Lake, north of McCook. There's no Indiana Jones glamour in this real archeology world.