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Posts by: Kate Siber

On a Mission to Rescue Alaska’s Crumbling Past

Last fall, I drove five hours on a lumpy, potholed dirt road northeast of Fairbanks, Alaska to the tiny outpost of Manley Hot Springs. Situated literally at the end of the road, this loosely settled hamlet has a year-round population of 30, a post office, some hot springs hidden on an old lady's property ($5 gets you a private soak), and a handsome 1903 clapboard roadhouse that is the local citizenry's de facto headquarters. When I arrived, let's just say the locals were less than friendly. But with some time spent…

The Coyote in Your Backyard

I have always had a soft spot for coyotes despite their unsavory reputation among ranchers and wildlife managers. I think they're beautiful and scrappy. Like wolves, they seem to be magnets for our own projections—fearsome predator or vulnerable canid? Unlike wolves, no matter how many we kill (Thousands are still shot every year in this country) they won't go away. They're remarkably resilient. So resilient that they now inhabit the 35 largest cities in the U.S. In Los Angeles, one biologist, from the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area,…

Millennials Doing Cool Things in National Parks

To celebrate the much-hyped National Park Service centennial, my editor at National Geographic Adventure came up with a novel idea: What if we did a series of profiles of 20-somethings doing cool work in national parks? Yes and yes, I said. With my co-writer, Chris Kassar, we put together a series of 20 profiles. I got to interview an incredibly interesting range of people with bright ideas: a musician who organized a classical ensemble to perform works inspired by national parks in national parks; a conservation biologist who bushwhacks through…

The Night Sky is Disappearing, But We Can Save It.

Few things offer the kind of perspective that a salty night sky does. This is a large part of what draws me out into the wilderness—the chance to take in a dome of stars, a sight that reliably reminds me of how small I really am. So I have watched with sadness and panic as night skies have grown brighter and brighter over my lifetime and electric light crowds out the stars, even in places far from cities. Now, the vast majority of people living in the United States cannot…

Just Back From the Metcalf Fellowship

How do you translate complicated scientific research into stories that are both accurate and interesting? How do you figure out how significant new research actually is? How do you get the information you need efficiently from an academic paper? These are some of the questions that have lingered in my mind as I have started to cover science and environmental topics more frequently. Luckily, I recently had the amazing opportunity to devote an entire week to getting answers—and learning how to more effectively report these stories. I was one of ten mid-career…