crucial fewsion: making the connections between us food, energy & water systems visible

This podcast series aims to explain some of the main research findings from the FEWSION team - based at Northern Arizona University. Funded by the National Science Foundation. Learn more at:

Photo: Savannah Klasen

Photo: Savannah Klasen

COMING SOON … Crucial FEWSION Episode 5:

‘Is My Burger Killing a River?’ - an exclusive interview with FEWSION researcher and international water conservation expert Brian Richter. Listen to the trailer here now…

Music: ‘Field Hopper’ by Arthur Vincent

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Episode 1 - Introduction. FEWSION project director, Ben Ruddell (Associate Professor in the School of Informatics, Computing and Cyber Systems at Northern Arizona University) describes the aims and scope of the FEWSION project. Also featuring shoppers and traders at the Sunday Farmers Market in Flagstaff, Arizona.

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Episode 2 - What Is Local?

The ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ that the FEWSION team use when analyzing US food, energy and water systems. FEWSION project lead data scientist, Richard Rushforth takes us on a ‘data tour’ of City of Flagstaff, with some of the vital annual statistics for food and water use in Coconino County – and by inference its main population center.

Music: ‘Waste Not Want - Big Drippy’ by Diane Hope (mixed with sounds from a waste water treatment plant)

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Episode 3 - The Butterfly Effect: understanding the resilience and vulnerability of our Food-Energy-Water systems can help make them more sustainable. Ben Ruddell describes real-life examples of drought, hurricanes and trade wars to explain how a change of conditions in one part of the food-energy-water system can cascade through the whole system. And how FEWSION data can help us to predict and better prepare for future scenarios. Music by Diane Hope.

Photo: ‘A Lifetime’s Water’ by Daniel Saldivar.

Photo: ‘A Lifetime’s Water’ by Daniel Saldivar.

Episode 4 - The Last Mile: Citizen scientists are helping FEWSION researchers to collect data on how personal consumption affects large scale food-energy-water flows, from the store to your front door. Sean Ryan, local Citizen Science coordinator for the FEWSION project talks about the rewards of working with students and members of the public. Two of the first Citizen Scientist cohort, along with some of NAU’s FEWSION students, explain what they’ve been finding out. And how those findings are radically changing their everyday behaviors.

Music by Arthur Vincent (aka DOMICIDRE)


bringing chemistry to life…

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Australian maritime archaeologist, conservator and corrosion chemist, Ian MacLeod, describes the fate of sunken ship wrecks .. and some of the adventures he's had while studying their decay. Episode 155 of 'Distillations' - the award winning podcast series of the Chemical Heritage Foundation. With executive producer Mia Lobel.

Music by Tony Higgins.

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How do animals communicate in the dry environment of the Sonoran Desert? With chemistry! Hear ant researcher Burt Hoelldobler, bee expert Steve Buchmann and rattlesnake biologist Erika Nowak, explain. Recorded and produced by Diane Hope with Mia Lobel. For the ‘Distillations’ podcast series - Episode 130 - part 4 of their ‘Chemical Landscapes’ series for the Science History Institute.

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Jelly beans, bones & blood

A new test for the early detection of bone loss & osteoporosis? Researchers at Arizona State University & the Mayo Clinic talk about the development of this new technique & its possible applications. Episode 164 of the ‘Distillations’ podcast by the Science History Institute.

Music by Ergo Phizmiz & Christoph Schilling.

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Water Webs…

… are a new way of visualizing how water controls our ecosystems. Episode 174 of ‘Distillations’ made for the Science History Institute, looks at research by the Sabo Lab of Riverine Ecology at Arizona State University. Studies there have shown that water availability controls riparian food webs to a much greater degree than previously thought - and that drought can have a big impact on trophic cascades.

Music: 'Drown' by Altered Carbon; 'Ethereal Mood in Blue' by Clorofila Azul; 'shuffleground clandestine' by yan_g.



What happened when a historian fell in love with an old photograph…

my daguerreotype boyfriend

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When historian Lynn Downey came across an intriguing daguerreotype of a handsome young man in a dusty archive, she had no idea where her researches would lead…

Episode 20 of the ‘Out There’ podcast series was recorded and produced by Diane Hope; the executive producer was Willow Belden.

Music: Ben McElroy, Blue Dot Sessions & Colin Langenus

Photo by Timothy O'Sullivan, the Wheeler Expedition

Photo 'Heckle & Jekyll' by Eyal Shochat.

Photo 'Heckle & Jekyll' by Eyal Shochat.

In recent decades, raven populations have increased dramatically across the America southwest. They are a far cry from the monosyllabic birds of Edgar Allen Poe’s classic poem. WIth biologist Bill Boarman, writer Catherine Feher-Elston, photographer Lauren Haury and a little help from The Simpsons. Originally broadcast on KNAU, Arizona Public Radio.

Music: The Alan Partridge Project

polo - sport of kings … and cowboys

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Far from the rich polo-playing centers of Florida and California, there’s an altogether more rural - but still highly competitive game going on … listen in on a season’s inaugural game of the venerable sport of ‘Cowboy Polo’.

Recorded on location in Skull Valley, Arizona; originally broadcast on KNAU.


following footprints - Life as a professional tracker


What does it take to become a professional tracker? And how are those skills used? In this feature for KNAU Arizona Public Radio, we hear from wildlife tracker Tony Nester, the Chief of Emergency Services at the Grand Canyon National Park … and the ‘Shadow Wolves’ … an elite group of Native Americans with a unique role on the Arizona-Mexico border.


Dead or Alive? - a five part series for KNAU Arizona Public Radio


A look at northern Arizona’s ghost towns, across time and cultures…why we’re drawn to them, and what we can learn from them. NAU professor of history Michael Amundson introduces each episode. Recorded and produced by Diane Hope & funded by a grant from the Arizona Humanities Council.

Episode 1 - What IS a ghost town? They’re not just 19th century mining towns. They range from ancient Indian pueblos, to 1950’s Route 66 stops.


Episode 2 - History … or Myth? Ghost town hunter Kurt Wenner examines the truth behind some of Arizona’s most notorious ghost towns. Like Canyon Diablo, that was way more violent than Tombstone.


Episode 3 - Tourism - Kill or Cure? How modern day visitation has affected the survival of the ghost town … in some remote locations there really are towns with Population ‘1’.


Episode 4 - Native American Ghost Towns. In the Hopi way of thinking of the past ‘ghost town’ a very appropriate and not necessarily negative term for the homes of their ancestors. On the Navajo rez, ghost ‘town’s are often old trading posts…


Episode 5 - Chloride, Arizona is a living ghost town. Not only do they stage gun fight reenactments for tourists, but members of the all female ‘Wild Roses’ have even tried living the old way…


GEOLOGY - SO MUCH more than a just a bunch of old rocks

LANDLINES: a series of radio shorts on the landscapes of the Colorado Plateau, written and presented by Michael Collier and Rose Houk, for KNAU Arizona Public Radio

Meteor Crater - a cosmic impact site

Photo: Michael Collier

Photo: Michael Collier


Agathla in Monument Valley means ‘place with much wool’ in Navajo…

Photo: Mike Reyfman

Photo: Mike Reyfman


Smoky Mountain - sulfurous fumes curl from vents on the Kaiparowits Plateau


Montezuma’s Well - where geology meets biology

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