9.12.16: Black Faces White Spaces, Teacup Pigs, & The Early Birder Gets the Bird

Sep 12, 2016

The National Park Service reports that only 7% of annual park visitors are African American. On today’s show, we delve into environmental and cultural history to find out why the story of the American outdoors is so white.

Then, in the last census 60 million Americans listed birdwatching as a past time. And who can blame them? Watching birds is like watching tiny adorable flying dinosaurs.  But there's birdwatching and then there's birdwatching. We'll take a look inside the fascinating and pricey world of competitive birding.

Listen to the full show. 

Black Faces, White Spaces

Carolyn Finney is Assistant Professor of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at the University of California Berkeley and the author of Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors.

Public Space, Privately Owned

What happens in cities where public spaces are considered so necessary that private owners are mandated to create them by city planners? Host Roman Mars and the podcast 99% Invisible explore just how "public" a space is when it's owned by a corporation.

You can listen to this story again at PRX.org

The Hard Truth About Teacup Pigs

Jake Swearingen wrote a cautionary article for Modern Farmer with the warning:  “Never Buy a Teacup Pig”.   

...And Tortoises Too

Since we first spoke with Jacob about the teacup pig problem, a new inadvisable pet trend has taken off - albeit very slowly - the sulcata tortoise.

Proof that tortoises are becoming hip? Recently a video of a man walking his giant sulcata tortoise through the streets of Tokyo went viral.  Apparently, even Leo DiCaprio has one.

The biggest problem with keeping a giant tortoise isn't size though... It's lifespan.  Experts say sulcata tortoises can live to be 100 years old or so in captivity... So if you get one of these for your kids, the tortoise might just outlive them - and not a lot of kids want to bring their 100 pound teenage turtle to college.  Fair warning.

Related: A Reptile Dysfunction

The Early Birder Gets the Bird

In 2013, Neil Hayward was depressed. He had just left the biotech company he helped start, and he was getting over the end of a very serious relationship. He had disposable income, and free time. Suddenly, he found himself doing a lot of birding. A LOT. In this episode of NHPR's podcast Outside/Inhost Sam Evans-Brown delves into the subculture of extreme bird-watching.

You can listen to this full episode again here: Episode 17: The Early Birder Gets the Bird