HPPR Environment

hydrology (water, aquifers, rivers)
fauna (wildlife)
climate change

Management & conservation
water conservation
soil conservation
wildlife protection
policies & regulations



Alan Cain whitetail deer program leader for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). Alan and Ellis Powell, also with TPWD, recently used big bore air rifles to do a bit of research into the effectiveness of big bore air rifles for harvesting game.

Cain recently spoke at the TPWD Commissioners meeting in Lufkin and gave his opinion of the power and effectiveness of big bore air rifles in cleanly and humanely dispatching deer-sized game. 

Our Turn At This Earth: Ogallala Road

Nov 15, 2018
Ani Espriella


I’m the kind of person who can’t resist a country road. I’ll be zipping down the interstate between somewhere big and somewhere else big, and a narrow track winding between pale buffalo grass pastures will catch my eye. Next thing I know, the interstate is fading into the distance in my rear-view mirror, as I follow my nose into the next county.

Have you ever wondered what makes the leaves turn from green to gold in Autumn? Well, today on Growing on the High Plains, we'll take a trip to New England and visit the astonishing color show provided by the regional trees and shrubbery. Tune in to find out more regarding the science behind the faded shades of Spring as they break into the blaringly-bright hues of Fall.

Jonathan Baker

Snow fell across the flatlands late Sunday night, and on into Monday morning, with as much as seven inches being dumped onto the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles.

As the Garden City Telegram noted, this snowfall followed another winter blast in Western Kansas last week, bringing concerns that the fall harvest would be delayed. Across the region, wheat planters were scrambling to get wheat planted before the snow arrived. On Sunday and Monday, Finney and Kearny counties saw peak amounts of snowfall.

Luke Clayton

For many years, season hunting leases were the norm. Hunters would lease a tract of land, set up feeders, campers, food plots, etc. and "work" the lease throughout the year, putting corn in feeders, fixing up the camp, etc. But, in today's busy world, folks have less time to devote to the year around upkeep of a season lease.

Luke Clayton

So far, this has been an awesome year in Texas for harvesting trophy class whitetail bucks. Today, a buck that makes the Boone and Crockett book with the minimum score of 170 BC has become almost commonplace, especially on well-managed ranches, many of which are high fenced, all across the state. 

Our Turn At This Earth: The Beaver Creeks

Nov 8, 2018
Ani Espriella

My father pastured his sheep on what could loosely be termed the “shores” of Little Beaver Creek, a dry watercourse that flowed only after gully washers – his term for big rainstorms. Today it amazes me that I could have grown up in that place and never wondered how the creek got its name. Nor did I wonder what happened to the water or the trees that beavers could not live without.

Today’s edition of Growing on the High Plains whisks us off to the Italian countryside for a visit near the medieval and Renaissance hill town of Montepulciano. Nestled in the Italian province of Siena in southern Tuscany, one can find a wondrous garden at farm estate of Villa La Foce. The villa was built in the late 15th century as a hospice for traveling pilgrims and merchants.

Established by the writer Dame Iris Origo and her husband Antonio Origo, the villa was consistently used to shelter refugee children and assisted many escaped Allied prisoners of war and partisans during World War II, in defiance of Italy's fascist regime and Nazi occupation forces.


High Plains Outdoors: Deer And Honey

Nov 2, 2018
Luke Clayton

This week, Luke discusses the Honey Locust Tree. If you are a deer hunter, this is a tree you need to familiarize yourself with.

Deer absolutely love eating the honey-sweet beans, especially this time of year when they are ripe and flavorful.  Contact Luke via his website www.catfishradio.org 

Our Turn At This Earth: The Carbon Cycle

Nov 1, 2018

Stories about disruptions in the carbon cycle abound in the news these days. But recently, it occurred to me that I didn’t really know what the carbon cycle was.

A few Google searches later, and I will never again see my fall garden in quite the same way.

It has always seemed a miracle to me that a tiny seed can sprout into a squash vine that takes over my backyard. Well, now I know that during photosynthesis, plants use the sun’s energy to rearrange the carbon from carbon dioxide, and the hydrogen and oxygen in water, into glucose, which they use to grow.

It might seem odd to be talking about melons at this late season, but I assure you this installment of Growing on the High Plains will roll right along with this Halloween week. Today I'll share some insight (and secrets) about the hearty, hydrating casaba melon. Indeed it is a winter melon, so it's ripe for discussion on this first day of November.

From Texas Standard:

As the winter season draws nearer, many Texans have noticed the sudden rain, flooding and chilly weather that's hit our state. Ironically, there were fewer severe-weather events in Texas this year – something that Texas A&M University's newspaper, The Battallion, captured in a recent headline.

Just before Christmas in 2017 an explosion at an oil and gas site was reported in Windsor. You may not remember it; no homes were damaged, and while one worker was badly burned, no one died.

But recently released recordings from dispatch that night, plus interviews with those close to the incident, show the small Northern Colorado community just barely avoided a disaster.

Cotton Seeds Could Be A Food Of The Future

Oct 25, 2018

When we think of cotton we just think of the fiber – the white fluffy stuff you see while driving down the highway. But there's a lot more to the cotton plant than that. In fact for every one pound of fiber cotton plants produce, about 1.6 pounds of cotton seeds are grown. And there's just not a lot you can do with cotton seeds other than plant more cotton.

But Keerti Rathore has been working for almost a quarter century to change that. He wants you to be able to eat cotton seeds.

Rathore, a Texas A&M AgriLife Research plant biotechnologist, has received approval for his genetically modified cottonseed from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

It's almost Halloween, so I thought I'd spend this week's edition of Growing on the High Plains prattling on about an October tradition: pumpkins! From tiny, white and smooth to huge, gray and bumpy, pumpkins these days are hardly limited to the traditional orange orbs of yore.

A research team at Kansas State University was awarded $2.9 million from the National Institute of Health to conduct research on the immune systems of mosquitoes.

US Geological Survey

Residents of Amarillo and surrounding areas awoke Saturday morning to jostling beds and rattling walls, as a magnitude 4.0 earthquake shook the region.

Seismologist Jascha Polet told The Amarillo Globe-News that, “Without a more detailed analysis, it is difficult to state at this point […] whether this earthquake was tectonic in nature or associated with activities of the oil/gas industry.”

Luke Clayton

In this week's High Plains Outdoors, Luke discusses the importance of learning to properly use a compass and GPS units.

Our Turn At This Earth: Animal Stories

Oct 18, 2018
Julene Bair

My mother used to tell a story about a dog that our family had before I was born. She swore he could read her mind. “’Elmer, ‘ I said to him one time, “why don’t you get me that chicken?’ I didn’t even point. But danged if he didn’t go over and grab me the chicken I’d been thinking about.”

Mom also liked to recall the time she placed duck eggs into the nest of a mother hen. “Well,” she said, “when they hatched and got a little older, they slipped through the fence and went swimming in the pond. Oh did that hen have a conniption.”

They say good things come to those who wait. On today's Growing on the High Plains, I'd like to discuss a biennial for which many a gardener has been very patient. I'm talking about Lunaria annua, also known as honesty or money plant. While biennials typically take a couple years to crop up, this one is well worth the wait. 

Colorado voters next month will decide how close is too close when it comes to oil and gas drilling. A statewide ballot measure known as Proposition 112 would keep new wells dramatically farther away from homes and schools, expanding the distance from a 500-foot minimum to 2,500 feet, the biggest statewide setback requirement in the country. It's a change the industry says would threaten its very existence.

Texas-based oil giant Exxon Mobil got some good press this week when it announced it was donating $1 million to a campaign to enact a carbon tax in the U.S. But many worry the tax proposal would not slow emissions quickly enough and could harm the environment through its legislative giveaways to the oil and gas industry. 

Luke Clayton

Tune in this week and get Luke's take on the changes he has seen in deer hunting during his lifetime.

Deer hunting is way more than the net Boone and Crockett sum of a buck's antlers inches; much more! It's time spent with family and friends and if everything goes just right some great tasting venison for the freezer and possibly antlers for the den wall.

Our Turn At This Earth: Walls Of Corn

Oct 11, 2018

Like any farmer, my father loved driving along a wall of green corn and computing the many bushels it would yield and the money these would put into his bank account. He irrigated his corn out of the Ogallala Aquifer, and always believed that the government would shut him down before he ran out of water.

Not many things in life come easy. So when I first learned of a hearty houseplant with glorious blooms that didn't need much attention, I thought it might be a thing of fables.  On today's edition of Growing on the High Plains, I will extol the many benfits of the beautiful bromeliad — and how, not unlike High Plains Public Radio, we can all nurture and grow it with just a little effort and some occastion seed money. 

It’s no secret that farming operations can produce some gross smells and loud noises alongside those fresh eggs and produce. As urban and suburban growth encroaches on rural areas, that can become all the more obvious.

“Right to Farm” laws were put in place in the 1970s and 80s when urban sprawl started to invade areas of agriculture. All 50 states have some version on the books.

From Texas Standard:

As we've seen since 9/11, partnerships to strengthen national security can sometimes make for interesting bedfellows. One case in point is a collaboration between the Department of Homeland Security and Texas A&M's AgriLife Extension Service. Under the 10-year project, the institutions will launch a new Center for Excellence in cross-border threat screening and supply-chain defense. The project has nearly $4 million in funding for its first year.  

In 2007, years into a record-breaking drought throughout the southwestern U.S., officials along the Colorado River finally came to an agreement on how they’d deal with future water shortages -- and then quietly hoped that wet weather would return.

But it didn’t.

High Plains Outdoors: Striper Fishing

Oct 5, 2018
Luke Clayton

Take Texoma is a world class striper fishery and a fishing destination for many High Plains Public Radio listeners.

Luke devotes this week’s show to giving us a Lake Texoma update and introduces us to STRIPER EXPRESS www.striperexpress.com, one of the oldest guide services on the lake.

To see more pictures of recent catches, follow STRIPER EXPRESS on Facebook. 

Our Turn At This Earth: Elephant Or Cash Cow?

Oct 4, 2018

A few years ago I attended a meeting in my hometown, Goodland, Kansas. It had been called by the Vision Team, appointees of then Governor Sam Brownback, who had taken a noteworthy interest in conserving the Ogallala Aquifer.

We hundred or more attendees were divided into groups of around eight each and asked to address a series of questions. For instance, what role might technology play in conserving the aquifer? And how could education about the aquifer be improved?