They are an icon of the Pacific Northwest, stirring a mix of fascination, awe and affection. Thousands of people come to the San Juan Islands in Puget Sound just to catch a glimpse of the Southern Resident orcas that call these waters home.
QUEST treks 3,486 feet to the peak of Mt. Umunhum, rising steeply above Silicon Valley. During the Cold War, the Air Force installed a sprawling radar station atop the mountain. For more than 50 years the summit has been off limits to the public. Now it’s being cleaned up and will be opened as an open space preserve.
A dedicated group of outdoor lovers and trail planners is working to build a 500-mile trail around San Francisco Bay. Come along as QUEST hikes and bikes the newest section.
In 2005, a partial skeleton of a juvenile mammoth was discovered along the Guadalupe River near downtown San Jose. A full-scale replica is now featured in a new exhibit at the Children's Discovery Museum in San Jose. Learn more with Kaitlin Maguire from the UC Museum of Paleontology about these majestic creatures that roamed the Bay Area during the Ice Age.
QUEST follows a group of UC Berkeley scientists to the top of a 320-foot redwood in Mendocino County. Only 5 percent of these ancient redwoods survived our voracious desire for their hardy and plentiful wood. Now scientists are trying to predict how the remaining ones and their descendants might fare in the face of climate change in the decades to come.
Most nature photographers put their cameras away at night. Not Steven Christenson. As the co-founder of the very successful Bay Area Night Photography group, he guides like-minded, low-light photographers to find interesting subjects after the sun goes down. Steven reveals his special process of photographing star trails for Your Photos on QUEST.
Cheese. It comes in more than 2,000 varieties — hard, soft, fresh and aged – and it's been with us for thousands of years. Take a journey to Cowgirl Creamery in West Marin to learn how artisan cheese is made and how scientists are putting cheese under the microscope to gain new insights about this incredible, edible food.
Entomologist Brian Fisher braves raging rivers, and dense tropical forests as he travels the world searching for new species of ants before they are lost to habitat destruction. Experience a slice of Fisher's life and work through video footage from his field work with ants in Madagascar.
QUEST ventures under a Central Valley bridge to count the bats that make it their home. The bridge is one of the most important roosting places for Mexican free-tailed bats in the Central Valley, where this voracious insect-eating species protects the local crops from pests. Then meet two volunteers who take injured bats into their homes and nurse them to health.
Solar and wind power may get the headlines when it comes to renewable energy. But another type of clean power is heating up in the hills just north of Sonoma wine country. The Geysers, the world's largest power-producing geothermal field, has been providing electricity for roughly 850,000 Northern California households, and is set to expand even further.
After multiple unmanned missions to Mars, we still don't know if life has ever existed there. NASA scientists are hoping a new high-tech rover will help them solve the mystery. The Mars Science Laboratory is scheduled for launch in late 2011 and will search for any evidence that the Red Planet was once capable of supporting life.
Thousands of northern elephant seals — some weighing up to 4,500 pounds — make an annual migration to breed each winter at Año Nuevo State Reserve, on the San Mateo County coast. Marine biologists are using high-tech tools to explore the secrets of these amazing creatures, which can hold their breath for an hour and dive a mile below the surface.
QUEST tags along with fair organizer J.R. Blair and his San Francisco State University students as they collect mushrooms in San Francisco's McLaren Park. Then we tour the annual Fungus Fair in Berkeley to explore the Bay Area's tasty, dangerous and weirdly wonderful fungi.