Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Meet Frank. He's a monarch butterfly that my son and I raised. We don't actually know the insect's gender, but that hardly matters to a four-year-old.

Butterfly gardener extraordinaire Connie Day gave us two caterpillars from her garden, which is a certified Monarch Waystation.

We reared them inside (mostly) on a milkweed plant, which provided all they required, except water drops. We placed the plant inside one of those netted cages you use to raise painted ladies.

Some articles I reported recently afforded me the opportunity to engage Brent "the bug guy" Karner of the LA County Natural History Museum in an extended conversation about butterflies. A portion of the discussion was broadcast last weekend on KPCC's Off-Ramp. Check it out.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Meet the Bark Beetles

In the last decade, tiny forest-dwelling beetles have wiped out pine trees on millions of acres in the Canadian and American West, including Southern California. The rest of the state has been largely spared, but forest ecologists say that's likely to change.

Learn why in this piece I reported for KQED's Climate Watch.