The Taj Mahal, the pyramids - and HCN?

  • Courtney James of Littleton, Colorado, dropped by the HCN offices in July.

    Marian Lyman

Sam Fox crossed visiting HCN off his personal "bucket list" when he came by our Paonia, Colo., office with Erin Drake. Sam pitched some cool story ideas and noted his successful track record -- over the past decade he's suggested other ideas that we've used for stories. The Fort Collins, Colo., duo chatted with Executive Director Paul Larmer about better ways to inspire HCN's next generation of readers. Sam is program coordinator for the Arapaho-Roosevelt-Pawnee Foundation, which supports local national forests and grasslands; Erin is working on a master's degree in human dimensions of natural resources at Colorado State University.

Subscriber Greg Hill of Corrales, N.M., pedaled through town on a bike-and-brew tour of southwestern Colorado. Greg says he "builds stuff" in Corrales,  but escapes the summer heat with an annual bike trip to the mountains. This year, Wallace Stegner's classic novel Angle of Repose entertained him along the way, as did the patrons of many fine brewhouses. Unfortunately, he hit town too early to sample the wares of Paonia's own "beer church," Revolution Brewing.

Longtime HCN reader Ramona Gaylord brought the whole family to our office from their home in nearby Telluride, following a 17-day rafting trip through the Grand Canyon. Ramona and her husband, Kent, first made the trip 13 years ago and wanted to share the "extraordinary and once-in-a-lifetime chance" with their children -- and it took them this long to get a non-commercial permit. Their daughters, Chenbri Swartz, 14, and Soleil Gaylord, 10, accompanied them on the float, as did some friends from California.

Courtney James dropped by on her way back to Littleton, Colo., where, for the past six years, she's worked as a budget analyst for the National Geospatial Technical Operations Center. Courtney, her mother, Erlene, and her dog, Sapphire, were in Crested Butte over the July 15 weekend for the town's annual Wildflower Festival. Courtney is also a volunteer naturalist at Roxboro State Park south of Littleton, where she enjoys the park's stunning geology.

Our Aug. 8 story "Biochar makeover for abandoned mines" contained an editing error implying that acids form when metal contaminants from mining sites are washed into rivers. Actually, acids exist naturally in these soils. Mining practices increase acidity when metals become more exposed and mix with rain and snowfall, eventually washing into water sources.  Also in that issue, "A truce for troubled species" reported that both WildEarth Guardians and the Center for Biological Diversity "pledged to limit new listing petitions and refrain from suing over missed review deadlines." However, CBD agreed only to allow the Fish and Wildlife Service to push back some deadlines if the group files more than a set number of lawsuits. Finally, the "Heard Around the West" photo was taken by Pat Fitzgerald, not Robert Warner.

Alert reader Dave Armstrong sent us a note about the June 3 essay "Ol' One-Eye of Ooh-Aah Point." "I know squirrels about like that," wrote Dave, "and I even know the feel of that gentle, uplifting footwork (although I've used it mostly on chickens). But according to the most recent taxonomic revision of ground squirrels, (the scientific name) is Otospermophilus variegatus. Henceforth, if you need picky technical advice on formal nomenclature of mammals, let me know!"  Thanks, Dave; even critters that may merit a boot in the bum deserve the courtesy of proper identification.

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