The Lion King of Los Angeles

Growing up in Los Angeles as a Latino child interested in science, Miguel Ordeñana didn’t really have any role models to look up to. Now, as a wildlife biologist, his research on P-22, the famous mountain lion of Griffith Park, is important and inspiring. Ordeñana is an advocate for landscape connectivity and a more inclusive community science and, through P-22’s story, is educating people on how wildlife can exist and even thrive in one of the country’s densest urban landscapes.

AFTER THE FOOTAGE CAME TO LIGHT, Ordeñana, Park Service researchers and Beth Pratt, the National Wildlife Federation’s California regional executive director, watched P-22’s image on a loop, trying to decipher what his long trek and urban relocation meant for his species. To Ordeñana and Pratt, it signified two things: Large predators were living in urban areas, and humans had a responsibility to live and let live. This gave new life to an old dream: building a wildlife crossing in dense LA County, over 10 lanes of crowded pavement and into the Santa Monica Mountains.

Published: May 1, 2022
Length: 15 minutes (3,874 words)

How a California Archive Reconnected a New Mexico Family with Its Chinese Roots

Amid a surge of anti-Asian hate in America, Aimee Towi Mae Tang, a fourth-generation Chinese New Mexican, wanted to know more about of her own identity and how her family settled in Albuquerque. Born in China and new to Albuquerque himself, journalist Wufei Yu decided to help the Tangs learn more about their history, and in doing so, perhaps find his own place in a new city.

Edward had saved more than enough money to buy the land his store stood on. But state law prevented him, meaning he could do little to help preserve the neighborhood. Gradually, the Chinese-owned stores closed, and Albuquerque’s Chinatown dwindled. By World War II, it was gone. Few traces of the neighborhood remain in newspaper clippings and records. “If my great-grandpa were allowed to have land, the Tang family and Chinese Americans could have owned downtown Albuquerque,” Aimee told me.

 

 

Author: Wufei Yu
Published: Apr 1, 2022
Length: 16 minutes (4,116 words)

Hate Speech on the Bitterroot

“For reasons I still don’t understand, I told almost no one about the incident at Poker Joe. After all, why taint the hundreds of memories I have of that treasured place with one disgraceful episode? The river there is handsome in all seasons. Our family has picnicked there, swum there, skipped stones, drunk wine. It’s where I trained my first Lab to retrieve, where I once spent two hours tempting an extraordinarily large trout to a dry fly (only to botch the hookset), where a young moose once galloped so close that I dove into a rose thicket.”

Published: Feb 21, 2022
Length: 7 minutes (1,846 words)

The Nation’s Last Uranium Mill Plans to Import Estonia’s Radioactive Waste

“On a warm July evening, Yolanda Badback described the noxious fumes that haunt the air where she lives. Unlike the fragrance of sagebrush or the sweet scent of juniper and piñon, the odor is astringent and sulfuric, hard to breathe. Sometimes it forces Badback and her family of eight to stay indoors. At its worst, it causes nausea.”

Published: Nov 1, 2021
Length: 17 minutes (4,279 words)

How a Trail in Rural Oregon Became a Target of Far-Right Extremism

“A story about a community divided, about extremism and bigotry, about powerful people who try on a working-class identity like a costume.”

Published: Jul 1, 2021
Length: 24 minutes (6,150 words)

Did James Plymell Need to Die?

The toll of criminalizing homelessness in small cities and towns across the American West.

Published: Mar 1, 2021
Length: 26 minutes (6,500 words)

Extreme Heat Is Here, and It’s Deadly

“For many, the present is already feeling pretty dystopian.” Arizona and regions across the U.S. are seeing record-high temperatures — and the heat will only intensify. At High Country News, Jessica Kutz reports that climate fiction, Indigenous architecture, and a robot named MaRTy are a few key things that can prepare us for a hotter future.

Published: Sep 1, 2020
Length: 25 minutes (6,440 words)

Safe at Home in Los Angeles

An LA native reflects on the city’s elusive nature, its dazzling complexity, and the effect the city has had on her life as a writer. No matter how LA changes, it never dulls.

Published: Mar 27, 2020
Length: 24 minutes (6,006 words)

Land-Grab Universities

Expropriated Indigenous land is the foundation of the land-grant university system.

Published: Mar 30, 2020
Length: 24 minutes (6,043 words)

The Mystery of Mountain Lions

Despite decades of research, myth and fear still surround the animals.

Published: Mar 1, 2020
Length: 11 minutes (2,924 words)