Backyard Nature's Direct Feed from
National Public Radio's
Breaking news on the environment, climate change, pollution, and endangered species. Also featuring Climate Connections, a special series on climate change co-produced by NPR and National Geographic.
Last updated on  February 21st, 2018
Arizona's Tepary Beans Preserve A Native Past, Hold Promise For The Future: Click here
Local Native Americans grew teparies for centuries, but the beans began to sink into obscurity. Now, thanks to seed preservation and farmers who want to preserve the past, they're making a comeback.
Like Lemons? Quinoa? Thank This Food Explorer For Bringing Them To Your Plate: Click here
In the early 20th century, botanist David Fairchild traveled the world and brought plants back to the U.S. that we now see as thoroughly American. NPR talks with the author of a book on Fairchild.
California Aims To Get Past The Yuck Factor Of Recycled Wastewater: Click here
With the potential of another drought looming, California is looking at recycled wastewater as a source for drinking. Recycled water is California's single largest source of new water supplies.
In Pyeongchang, Trees Get Help To Resist The Wind: Click here
The wind roared in from Siberia, toppling concession stands and security scanners. These huge gusts led NPR's team to realize why so many trees in the area have elaborate support systems.
Seismic Surveys Planned Off U.S. Coast Pose Risk To Marine Life: Click here
The Trump administration could give companies permission to set off sonic explosions to explore for oil and gas deposits. Scientists say this could seriously harm marine life.
Snow-Making For Skiing During Warm Winters Comes With Environmental Cost: Click here
Professional skiers and resorts in Aspen face a problem this season: deal with patches of dirt caused by warmer temperatures or make the climate worse by making and moving artificial snow.
Did Pox Virus Research Put Potential Profits Ahead of Public Safety?: Click here
Privately funded scientists made a virus related to smallpox from scratch, hoping their version might lead to a better smallpox vaccine. But critics question the need — and worry about repercussions.
$40 Million Later, A Pioneering Plan To Boost Wild Fish Stocks Shows Little Success: Click here
A California program begun 35 years ago to boost waning white seabass populations became a model for other states. Now the first scientific review finds the program had a stunningly low success rate.
Could Free Transit Lure Germans From Their Cars?: Click here
The proposed no-fare program would begin in five cities, as Germany endeavors to meet EU air pollution targets. But similar plans haven't always worked as hoped.
Top EPA Science Adviser Has History Of Questioning Pollution Research: Click here
Michael Honeycutt, the top toxicologist for Texas, is the latest chair of the EPA's science advisory board. But some scientists warn his views align more with industry than with scientific consensus.
These Citizen-Regulators In Arkansas Defied Monsanto. Now They're Under Attack: Click here
In Arkansas, a regulatory committee of farmers and small-business owners banned the latest weed-killing technology from the giant agrichemical company. Monsanto is taking them to court.
California Officials Set Up Invasive Swamp Rodent Hotline: Click here
Nutria can grow up to 2.5 feet, weigh 20 pounds and wreak destruction wherever they go. State authorities believed they were extinct, but recent sightings have led to a call for the public to help.
What Canola Can Tell Us About Crops And Climate Change: Click here
When canola seedpods shatter prematurely, farmers can lose a lot of their crop. Scientists have now figured out how this happens, and it has implications for similar crops facing global warming.
Virgin Islands National Park Is Still Trying To Recover From Hurricane Irma: Click here
The Virgin Islands National Park on St. John's has reopened but the staff is still assessing the damage to park buildings and the coral reefs. It's unclear how long it will take to remove sunken vessels and restore amenities to the park, that before the storms, received nearly a half million visitors a year.
California May Have A Way To Block Trump's Offshore Drilling Push: Click here
In the 1980s, California towns used local zoning rules to block offshore oil and gas drilling. State lawmakers are considering a similar strategy to push back against the Trump administration.