Latest Stories

"Birds Watching." Printed reflective film mounted on aluminum on steel frame.
Photo Gallery

In Chicago, writer Gavin Van Horn and environmental artist Jenny Kendler visit her new art installation, which confronts viewers with the gaze of 100 giant bird eyes. It's meant to provoke curiosity, wonder, and awareness of how many non-human eyes are always watching us.

Length: 
15:24
Northern Rocky Mountains wolf
Audio

There are two famous moments that helped shape environmental politics. Gavin Van Horn, of the Center for Humans and Nature, tells us what happened when Aldo Leopold met the eyes of a dying timber wolf and when Paul Watson looked into the eye of a dying sperm whale.

Length: 
10:08
chimpanzee
Sonic Sidebar

In 1960, a young primatologist stared deeply into the eyes of a wild chimpanzee. She was Jane Goodall. He was David Greybeard. Their mutual gaze changed animal science forever.

Length: 
2:32
Pardeep Singh Kaleka and Arno Michaelis
Audio

Pardeep Singh Kaleka's father was murdered when a white supremacist attacked the Sikh temple that his father led. Remarkably, he and a former white supremacist met just two months after the massacre. Now, they work together.

Length: 
14:58
An abstract image of a man at a desk
Articles

Daniel Ziblatt has watched authoritarian leaders elected in country after country – Putin in Russia, Erdogan in Turkey, Orban in Hungary, Bolsinaro in Brazil. He says there’s a playbook for how demagogues destroy their countries' democracies.

Length: 
17:55
An illustration of a scientists synthesizing mushrooms in a lab
Articles

A psychedelic research center in Wisconsin is gearing up to manufacture enough medical-grade psilocybin to supply the world. Steve Paulson went to Usona Insitute to see where the magic's made, and got a peek inside the lab of chemist Alex Sherwood.

Length: 
6:48
A wolf
Bookmarks

"White Fang" by Jack London is a classic outdoor adventure story about a wild wolf-dog's struggle to survive in the Yukon Territory during the 1890's Gold Rush. Writer Quan Barry read it for the first time at age 11 and learned just how powerful a book can be. 

Length: 
2:56
Huck Finn
Bookmarks

“The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain is one of the most controversial books in the American literary canon, particularly because of its frequent use of the N word. But for Enrique Salmon, a young Native kid trying to master the English language, “Huckleberry Finn” was the book that launched his lifelong love of reading.

Length: 
4:06
children reaching for the stars
Articles

English author and professor Katherine Rundell thinks all of us – even adults – can benefit by reading books primarily meant for kids. Reading children’s books might inspire us to take chances, learn new things and go — literally and figuratively — to new worlds.

Length: 
14:06
glowing mushrooms
Articles

Mushrooms and other fungi are mind-bending. A fungal network can spread for miles, but genetically, it’s a single organism. As biologist Merlin Sheldrake says, “they are everywhere at once and nowhere in particular.”

Length: 
40:07
Woman waiting for moment to speak at a meeting
Articles

Veronica Rueckert, a vocal coach and public radio producer and host, shares the ways women are silenced and offers advice for how to best tap into the power of their voice.

Length: 
12:06
Audio

Why are so many women criticized for "vocal fry"? Anne Strainchamps talks to podcaster Ann Friedman and NPR pioneer Susan Stamberg about critiques of female voices.

raven
Audio

Years ago, the philosopher David Abram was a sleight-of-hand magician who wanted to learn from the "traditional magicians" of Asia. So he apprenticed with a powerful shaman in Nepal, who seemed to have the ability to transform into a raven.

Length: 
14:02
Greg Dixon (Photo copyright gregdixonphoto.com)
Photo Gallery

Thousands of sandhill cranes gather each fall on the banks of the Wisconsin River before they head south for the winter. Anne and Steve visited the Aldo Leopold Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin to witness this migration firsthand, along with their guide: wildlife ecologist Stan Temple.

Length: 
06:55
Photos courtesy of the Aldo Leopold Foundation
Articles

David Barrie is fascinated by how animals find their way. How do they travel thousands of miles across oceans or continents, to a place they've never been, without any other creature to show them the way?

Length: 
11:25
We came over one hill and saw hundreds of zebras.
Photo Gallery

Imagine driving over a hill and seeing hundreds of zebras or a thousand wildebeest. Anne and Steve were lucky enough to witness this spectacle in the Serengeti. Their expert guide, Moses Augustino Kumburu, describes the Great Migration.

Length: 
09:20
Articles

Elizabeth Krohn says she left her body, went somewhere else, met and talked to God. And then came back to dream the future. What does her experience tell us about where religion comes from?

Length: 
8:26
 A herd of topi.
Audio

The fact that so many animals migrate — sometimes thousands of miles — has puzzled people over the ages. Why do they take such risky journeys? Conservation biologist David Wilcove studies migration, and he says the scale of migration is staggering.

Length: 
10:10
The Maasai have lived alongside the Serengeti wildlife for generations.
Articles

Science journalist Sonia Shah, herself the child of Indian immigrants, has long been fascinated with the way animals, people and even microbes move. She says migration is both a crisis and an opportunity.

Length: 
09:30
rings of water in a puddle
Articles

Anthropologist Enrique Salmon formulated the concept of “kincentricity,” a worldview that sees everything around us — plants, animals, rocks, wind — as our direct relative. As Salmon says, “the rain is us, and we are the rain.”

Length: 
38:34
rainforest
Audio

Ann Patchett's "State of Wonder" is a story about medical ethics and self-discovery when everything seems lost. Patchett tells Anne about her own experience visiting the Amazon while researching her novel.

Length: 
11:29
A false bull
Audio

Mark Sundeen tells Anne he accepted an advance to write a travel book about bull-fighting in Spain. What he wrote instead was an over-the-top fake documentary.

Length: 
12:45
Pro-bee is pro-human
Audio

When we talk about bees, usually we mean honeybees. Or bumblebees. But that’s just two out of 20,000 different species of bees. Thor Hanson tells Anne about how different species of bees and humanity have developed dependence on one another.

sky
Dangerous Ideas

Magician Nate Staniforth has a dangerous idea for you. Tonight, after dark, go outside and look up to the sky.

Length: 
2:37
Site of Thoreau's Hut, Concord, Mass.
Articles

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life." Those famous lines from Henry David Thoreau's "Walden" have inspired generations of people — including his biographer, Laura Dassow Walls.

Catan
Articles

Board game critic Eric Thurm argues that games carry subliminal messages — and that even some of the most innocuous games are often more political than we think.
 

Length: 
14:47
Mahjong tiles
Interactive

Board games are a tradition for a lot of us. But have you ever thought about where those traditions come from? Producer Angelo Bautista investigates the history of mahjong.

Length: 
22:56
A man with totalitarian ideas and conspiracy swirling around him.
Articles

Examining both historical and present-day moments of widespread loneliness, philosopher Samantha Rose Hill argues we must understand our feelings of loneliness — otherwise they could be exploited to control us.

Length: 
14:47
A Black woman with her face on her knee
Audio

Poet Claudia Rankine spoke to Anne about the loneliness of being Black in America, and how the social isolation of the pandemic woke Black Americans up.

Length: 
15:57
Petina Gappah on "Persuasion"
Bookmarks

Author Petina Gappah recommends a book she explains is “The most African of Jane Austen’s novels.” Her reason why is a look at women in Africa today told through the eyes of two novelists: a Zimbabwean in 2020 and English woman in 1818.

Length: 
3:23

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