Crosscut Escapes
The Carnivore Next Door

The Carnivore Next Door

January 18, 2021

During the pandemic, more people are spotting animals slinking around the neighborhood.

It’s no secret that Washington state is home to many charismatic carnivores — wolverines, bobcats, cougars and bears (oh my!). But it might come as a surprise that plenty of them live in our backyards, literally.

For years, healthy populations of coyotes, raccoons, bobcats and otters all have resided within Seattle city limits, while cougars and black bears haunt the suburbs and exurbs (though sometimes a cougar finds its way into Discovery Park). But with the pandemic drastically increasing the amount of time we spend near our houses, more and more people are spotting these animals slinking around the neighborhood.

Now scientists want your help to understand the carnivores among us. The Woodland Park Zoo and Seattle University have teamed up to create the Seattle Urban Carnivore Project to track the animals, and anyone can participate using the Carnivore Spotter app.

We talk to wildlife biologists and project leaders Mark Jordan, Robert Long and Katie Remine to better understand why these creatures thrive in the big city, and how we can safely share the urban habitat we all need to survive.

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Credits

Host: Ted Alvarez

Engineering: Karalyn SmithPiranha Partners

Music: The Explorist

Quiet Riot

Quiet Riot

January 11, 2021

In 2005, Gordon Hempton made a single spot within the Hoh Rain Forest famous for its serenity. But now it’s noisier than ever.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Olympic National Park offers a smorgasbord of ecosystems: rocky peaks, driftwood-strewn beaches and high-mountain meadows filled with wildflowers and bears. But its rain-fed temperate rain forests host some of the biggest trees in the world. 

The Hoh Rain Forest captured audio ecologist Hempton’s imagination for its serene quiet, free from the intrusion of human noise. For decades, he has recorded the birdsong, bugling elk and pitter-patter of rain in painstaking detail. He’s even declared one small section  “One Square Inch of Silence” as a monument to preserve the natural soundscape of Olympic National Park.

But in the decades since, air traffic over the Olympic Peninsula has made that square inch louder, not quieter — with the Navy’s “Growler” fighter jets providing the biggest obstacle. In this episode of Crosscut Escapes, Hempton and fellow bioacoustic ecologist Lauren Kuehne join us on a trip deep into the forest in search of silence.

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Credits

Host: Ted Alvarez

Engineering: Karalyn Smith, Piranha Partners

Music: The Explorist

Volcano Songs

Volcano Songs

January 4, 2021

Mt. Rainier’s roiling innards make constant noise — and by listening, geologists can tell what kind of mood it's in.

Looming on the horizon like a holographic ice cream cone (when we can see it), Mt. Rainier draws eyes skyward everywhere in Puget Sound. But fear mingles with our fascination: Is it going to blow? And if so, when?

Thankfully, ‘The Mountain’ is one of the most monitored volcanoes in the world, and geologists can decode what’s happening with Rainier in part by isolating the unique sounds coming from within. Their findings can tell us when we should worry — but they also reveal that our entire region vibrates with an eerie music all its own. 

For this week’s episode, we’re joined on our trek to the edge of glaciers and deep within the rock by Kate Allstadt, of the U.S. Geological Survey, and Harold Tobin, director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network.

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Credits

Host: Ted Alvarez

Music/mixing: The Explorist

Crosscut Escapes Trailer

Crosscut Escapes Trailer

December 17, 2020

Coming January 5, 2021. Crosscut Escapes asks big questions about what makes the region tick — and visits the wildest, most unique places to find answers.