The Science of Sustainability

Archives

Science on the SPOT: Dark Matter: Inside the Compost Cycle

Science on the SPOT: Dark Matter: Inside the Compost Cycle

How does San Francisco’s 600 tons of compostable waste become a nutrient-rich material that improves the quality of our local wines? Agronomist Bob Shaffer, Northern California’s “compost guy,” takes QUEST into the composting process.

Continue Reading

Science on the SPOT: Salt Creek Tiger Beetles

Science on the SPOT: Salt Creek Tiger Beetles

The Salt Creek tiger beetle is one of the most endangered species in the United States, with only 200 to 500 beetles left. They're found only in a small saline wetland area just north of Lincoln, Nebraska.

Continue Reading

Science on the SPOT: Northern Pacific Rattlesnake Tracker

Science on the SPOT: Northern Pacific Rattlesnake Tracker

Katie Colbert, a naturalist at the Sunol-Ohlone Regional Wilderness, shares with us how she tracked dozens of Northern Pacific rattlesnakes and what surprised her about their movements and behaviors.

Continue Reading

Science on the SPOT: Rendezvous With Horseshoe Crabs

Science on the SPOT: Rendezvous With Horseshoe Crabs

Watch as thousands of prehistoric horseshoe crabs take over a beach in Delaware.

Continue Reading

Science on the SPOT: Bats Beneath Us

Science on the SPOT: Bats Beneath Us

Every summer, 250,000 bats take up residence under a freeway bridge in California's Central Valley. And each night, they exit the bridge in a stunning ribbon-like formation.

Continue Reading

Science on the SPOT: Green Eggs By The Gram – Sustainable Caviar

Science on the SPOT: Green Eggs By The Gram – Sustainable Caviar

Once an exotic product associated with royalty and overfishing, caviar is now being farmed sustainably right here in California.

Continue Reading

Why I Do Science: Dan Costa

Why I Do Science: Dan Costa

One of the great things about my job is to be able to talk to some of the world's greatest and most charismatic scientists, like Professor Dan Costa of UC Santa Cruz.

Continue Reading

Science on the SPOT: Sound Waves – Listening to Orcas

Science on the SPOT: Sound Waves – Listening to Orcas

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.

Continue Reading

Web Extra: How Hummingbird Got Fire

Web Extra: How Hummingbird Got Fire

Chariman of the Amah-Mutsun Ohlone tribal band, Valentin Lopez, reads the legend of how Hummingbird got fire from the Badger People.

Continue Reading

Cool Critters: The Gray Fox

Cool Critters: The Gray Fox

QUEST visits with a rescued North American Gray Fox at the Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek. This elusive species is native to the Bay Area and happens to be the only member of the dog family who can climb trees.

Continue Reading

Mt. Umunhum: Return to the Summit

Mt. Umunhum: Return to the Summit

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.

Continue Reading

Science on the SPOT: Journey of the San Francisco Bay Trail

Science on the SPOT: Journey of the San Francisco Bay Trail

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.

Continue Reading

Science on the SPOT: Lupe the Mammoth Comes to Life

Science on the SPOT: Lupe the Mammoth Comes to Life

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.

Continue Reading

QUEST Lab: Properties of Plastic

QUEST Lab: Properties of Plastic

Exploratorium Staff Scientist Julie Yu changes and manipulates the physical and chemical properties of plastic bottles by exposing them to heat. This is how plastic bags and bottles can be recycled and used over and over again.

Continue Reading

Redwoods and Climate Change

Redwoods and Climate Change

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.

Continue Reading

Your Photos on QUEST: Steven Christenson

Your Photos on QUEST: Steven Christenson

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.

Continue Reading

The Science & Art of Cheese

The Science & Art of Cheese

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.

Continue Reading

Web Extra: The Terroir of Cheese

Web Extra: The Terroir of Cheese

Watch this QUEST web extra to learn how "terroir" – or the characteristics of a specific region such as its climate, soil and topography – indelibly influences the production of award-winning, artisan cheese.

Continue Reading

Field Notes: Brian Fisher in Madagascar

Field Notes: Brian Fisher in Madagascar

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.

Continue Reading

Bats In Our Midst

Bats In Our Midst

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.

Continue Reading