Web site of Scott McMillion - Journalist, author of Mark of the Grizzly, senior editor of Montana Quarterly

Archive for the ‘Conservation’ Category

“Elvis Has Left the Building”

By Scott McMillion
Bugle Magazine
November/December 2009
The biggest, surliest and most charismatically violent bull to ever gore an Aerostar, Number Six was the Elvis of elk, but he wasn’t singing “Love Me Tender.”

“Land Snorkeling with Clyde Aspevig”

By Scott McMillion
Montana Quarterly
Fall, 2009

       Go outside. Walk Slowly. Pay attention. Listen. Smell the air. Taste it. Look at the soil and see how it responds to your step. Notice which grasses shine brightest in the morning dew. Compare birds, the differences in wing and shape and flight pattern. Maybe kick over a rock, see what’s under there.
       This is land snorkeling. Doing it could take you almost anywhere, even if you never leave your own neighborhood.
       Think of it like snorkeling a reef. You drift over mysterious turf. You keep your head down, mostly. Everything is cool, so you look it all over, and you wonder. You come back smiling.

“Swimming with Giants”

By Scott McMillion

Western Art & Architecture

Winter/Spring 09

     Every afternoon for 10 days, John Banovich went to the banks of Botswana’s Khwai River, where families of elephants gathered to eat and drink and bathe.  With 25 trips to Africa under his belt, he’d seen a lot of elephants, but he wanted to see more, to learn more.

     Then, on the eleventh day, he decided to join a group of 12 bulls in the river, slipping into the chest-deep water, among the hippos and crocodiles, trying not to think about mysterious bugs and parasites.

“Under the Red Hat”

By Scott McMillion
Montana Quarterly
Spring, 2009
Photography by Thomas Lee

 
Montana State University researcher Gary Strobel’s newest discovery, “myco-diesel,” just might change the world.

“Fire School”

By Scott McMillion
Nature Conservancy Magazine
Autumn 2008

The rain has finally stopped, but Ben Renfro is stuck inside on this sunny Florida morning, pushing paper and licking his pencil. He knows he has to do the paperwork — has to, that is, if he wants to set the woods on fire today.

Renfro runs a firetruck for a living, managing a crew for the Bureau of Land Management in Prineville, Oregon, on the dry side of the Cascade Range, where wildfire is no stranger. Over the years, he has learned a thing or two about putting out fires.

But he has traveled to Florida to hone a different set of skills: He’s learning how to start fires and how to make them behave.

Click here to read the entire article.

“The Perfect Storm” First in a Four Part Series about wildfire

By Scott McMillion

Bozeman Daily Chronicle

June 29, 2008

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK – It started out dry and then it got drier. The rains stayed away, but the wind showed up in a fury and it stayed mad all summer, puffing out its cheeks over and over again. There was lightning all over the place. An outfitter got careless. So did a woodcutter. By July, the fires took over.

Nearly 800,000 acres – more than a third of the park – burned during the summer of 1988. It seemed like the fires were everywhere. You could count the smoke columns. Two, three, four at a time on some days. Ominous mushroom clouds big enough to create their own weather.

Millions of ancient trees went up like matchsticks and the smoke drifted across the nation. Scorched twigs and pine needles wafted 20,000 feet high in the smoke columns, then fluttered to Earth 100 miles away. Nerves frayed. Tempers exploded.

The summer of 1988 reintroduced America to wildfire. Big fire. Major fire. Unstoppable fire. Fire that hadn’t been seen in decades.

Such fire was no stranger to the continent. From Maine to California, wildfires had destroyed communities and killed thousands of people, burned millions of acres in decades past.

In Wisconsin, the 1871 Peshtigo fires burned nearly 4 million acres and killed 1,500 people.

The Great Burn of 1910 scorched 3 million acres of Montana and Idaho and killed 85 people.

But these horrid memories lived mostly in the distant past, before slurry bombers and helicopters and chain saws, before Smokey the Bear, before television could bring the flames to your home every night. Could these things still happen?

The summer of 1988 showed that they could.

Click here to see the entire story.

http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/articles/2009/10/07/special-reports/yellowstone_fires/00yellowstonefires.txt

“The Aftermath and the Lessons” Second in a four-part series about wildfire

By Scott McMillion
Bozeman Daily Chronicle
June 30,2008

After the fires of 1988, scientists from around the nation trooped to Yellowstone National Park, analyzing the aftermath. They found an amazingly resilient landscape.

Click here to read the entire story.

“Ted Turner Puts his Money where his Heart Is”

By Scott McMillion
Bozeman Daily Chroncile
April 17, 2008
Photography by Erik Petersen
Through his philanthropy and his activism, Ted Turner, at 69, is working on hunger, malaria, global warming, red-cockaded woodpeckers, nuclear annihilation and the volunteer fire department at the tiny town of Alder, Montana. Plus he’s writing a book, skiing at Big Sky and hoping to hear the howl of a wild wolf before he dies.

Click here to read the entire story.

“Fair Game”

By Scott McMillion

Big Sky Journal

Fall, 2007

For me, October is the squinting season, a time to throw my eyes as far as I can, to find little white speckles on a vast sagebrush plain, track them down and make meat of them.

In the process, I’ll become mudded and blooded, dehydrated, scraped up, and wind chapped. It’s something I look forward to every year, right up there with Christmas and the first raft trip of the summer.

“The War on Weeds: In Hells Canyon the Lines Are Drawn”

By Scott McMillion
Nature Conservancy Magazine
Summer 2007
Photography by Karen Ballard

The toughness that drove most settlers from Hells Canyon is what kept this place so fruitful for wildlife. For the most part, it’s been spared the energies and damages of mankind, the opposable thumbs and the itch to tinker. Hells Canyon still supports that amazing diversity of life, still has what the rest of the American West once had: vast acreages of native plants and big populations of native critters to eat them and each other. It’s an ecosystem that works.
But much of this is threatened. We saw the invaders.

Click here to read the entire story.

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