Gomez, Rodolfo: A Walk in the Costa Rican Rain Forest

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On the eastern slope of the Continental Divide, about an hour’s drive east of San Jose, Costa Rica, is the Rain Forest Aerial Tram, a tramway that travels through, above and below the rain forest canopy. The rain forest canopy is home to more diverse forms of flora and fauna than anywhere else in the known universe. Rodolfo Gomez, trained as an architect, has found his calling as a tour guide in Central America and specifically Costa Rica. My daughter Molly and I met with Rodolfo in the rain forest, near the aerial tram and recorded this program in April of 1995.

Originally Broadcast: June 20, 1995

Perry, Dr. Donald: A Ride Through a Rain Forest in Costa Rica

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Life Above the Jungle Floor
In the middle of the Costa Rican rain forest, about an hour west of San Jose, Costa Rica, on the east side of the continental divide, you can find the Rain Forest Aerial Tram located on a private rain forest reserve. It’s a series of small, open-air cars that hold about five people each held together by a three kilometers long cable. The tramcars carry visitors through, above and below this portion of the Central American rainforest canopy. The Rain Forest Aerial Tram was the brainchild of Dr. Donald Perry, a biologist trained at the University of California at Los Angeles, who, beginning in 1970, has specialized in the study of the flora and fauna of the Central American Rainforest. In April of 1995, I visited the Rain Forest Aerial Tram with Dr. Perry.

Dr. Donald Perry recommends “Life Above the Jungle Floor,” by Dr. David Perry.

Originally Broadcast: April 1, 1995

Coverdale, Paul: Peace Corps Priorities

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This program’s guest is Paul Coverdale, at the time the Director of the Peace Corps, appointed by the first President Bush. He later became a Senator from Georgia. Our discussion concerned the nature of the Peace Corps and Coverdale’s role as the agency’s director.

Originally Broadcast: August 19, 1991

Chikazawa, Owen and Krogh, Mary Ashley: Two Millennials “Bound for Nowhere”

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Two bold millennial adventurers, born in 1988 and 1989, serendipitously parked their Volkswagon Westfalia Camper Van in a campsite adjacent to the Radio Curious Mobile Studio–also a Westfalia Camper Van–near Lone Pine, California. Lone Pine is at the eastern base Mt. Whitney, about 90 miles west of Death Valley.

Mary Ashley Krogh, who goes by MAK (http://www.makwashere.com/about/), and her husband, Owen Chikazawa (https://www.wewander.tv/about/) have been on the road, “bound for nowhere” (http://www.boundfornowhere.com/), since the end of April, 2016. They’re my guests on this edition of Radio Curious.

MAK and Owen live and work in Stanley. That’s the name for their camper van home, which provides about 18 square feet of living space. MAK and Owen, both graduates of Savannah College of Art & Design support themselves as designers and illustrators. MAK creates apparel graphic art, branding and graphic designs. Owen designs, illustrates and animates broadcast television and startup explanatory videos. As they foment and pursue their wanderlust bound for nowhere, they remotely focus on their clients’ goals and meet their needs.

MAK, Owen, and I visited in their home office, aka Stanley, at Tuttle Creek Campground, just outside Lone Pine, California, on March 17, 2017.

The books that Owen Chikazawa recommends are The Martian by Andy Weir and The 39 Steps by John Buchan. The book that MAK recommends is The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson.

Slater, Linda: Death Valley: The Hottest Place on Earth, and the Driest and Lowest Place in North America

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Death Valley, the hottest place on earth and the driest and lowest place in North America is a spectacularly beautiful 3.4 million acre National Park.  91% of this outdoor “classroom,” has been designated as a Wilderness and protected by Congress.

Our guest in this edition of Radio Curious is Linda Slater, a National Park Ranger for the past 30 years and currently the Chief of Interpretation at Death Valley National Park.

In this wildly beautiful and dangerously hot place is the lowest point in North America– at 282 feet below sea level. Death Valley, replete with rolling sand dunes, deep winding smooth marble canyons, spring-fed oases, and crusted barren salt flats averages 2 inches of rain per year.

We visited with Linda Slater on March 15, 2017, in the Radio Curious mobile studio. While parked next to a rock strewn area, so white that it appeared to be covered in snow, yet the outside temperature was 100 degrees, our conversation began with Linda Slater’s description of that white material.

Lee Stetson as John Muir: An Early American Conservationist

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The Wild Muir

One of the greatest early conservationists of America was a Scottish immigrant named John Muir who, as a young boy, went first to Wisconsin and then later, as a young man in the 1860s, moved onward to California. A friend of President Theodore Roosevelt, he successfully sought to preserve the spectacular Yosemite Valley and the Sierra Nevada range; it was joy in his lifetime. Yet the loss of the equally spectacular Hetch Hetch Valley to a dam to provide water for San Francisco was his greatest sorrow. John Muir founded the Sierra Club and is credited with founding the National Park System in the United States.

I visited with John Muir in the person of Lee Stetson in the studios of Radio Curious in October of 1995 and discussed his life and observations.

We begin with his comments on the effect that extinction of so many species during and since his lifetime has had on the Earth’s remaining species.

The book that Lee Stetson recommends is his own, “The Wild Muir,” by Lee Stetson

The book that John Muir recommends is “Sixty Miles From Contentment,” by M.H. Dunlop.

 

Weiss, Andrew — Ellis Island: Ellis Island:  Those Who Arrived There, Why, and What Was it Like?

Our story this week is about Ellis Island and the people who arrived there when they first came to America. Between 1892 and 1956 about 12 million immigrants came to the United States and entered the country through Ellis Island, in the harbor of New York City. Who were these people? Where were they from?  What was their experience of getting to Ellis Island and what was it like for them once they arrived there?

In this archive edition of Radio Curious, we visit with Andrew Weiss, who I met in 1992 when he was the guide of a tour I took at Ellis Island.  At that time he also was a doctoral student at Columbia University and a teacher at Barnard College in New York City.  When Andrew Weiss and I visited in November of 1992 by phone from his home in New York City we began our conversation with a bit of the history of Ellis Island.

When this program was recorded in November 1992, the guests were not asked for a recommendation of a book.

Click here to listen to the program or on the media player below.

Mbaabu, Brenda — A Contemporary Woman’s History

The experience of immigrating, at age 13, to America from Nairobi, Kenya, and bringing the traditional roots of her ancestors’ lives from the remote village of the Meru people of northeast Kenya, are the stories told in this edition of Radio Curious by our guest Brenda Mbaabu. She shares her tribal legends, family background, and her experiences in the United States.  A woman in her mid-twenties, now working as an AmeriCorps Volunteer in Ukiah, California, Brenda Mbaabu and I visited in the studios of Radio Curious on February 28, 2015.  We began with her description of the Meru, her family and their importance to her.

The books Brenda Mbaabu recommends are “The Bible” and “Little Bee” by Chris Cleve.    

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Massey, Orell — Racism in a Rural California Sheriff’s Department Part One

Our guest on this edition of Radio Curious is Deputy Sheriff Orell Massey—a black man, native of South Carolina and a 20 year veteran of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department. He is also a 21 year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps where he was assigned to the Embassy detail.  When I asked Sheriff Massey to be a guest on this program and share his experience as a black Deputy Sheriff, he asked:  “Are the people of Mendocino County ready to hear what I have to say?”   

In part one of our conversation, recorded on February 1, 2015, Deputy Orell Massey shares his experiences.  You may decide if you are ready to hear what he has to say.

In part two, Deputy Massey gives his personal response when asked, “what is it like to be the only black Deputy Sheriff ever in the history of Mendocino County?” Later he shares stories about his off duty life, his goals and aspirations.

Click here to listen to part one or on the media player below.

Wilkerson, Isabel — America’s Great Migration: 1915-1970 Part Two

In the years between 1915 and 1970 almost six million black American citizens from the south migrated to northern and western cities seeking freedom and a better life. Our guest is Pulitzer Prize winner, Isabel Wilkerson author of “The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration.” Her book tells the untold experiences of the African-Americans who fled the south over three generations.

Wilkerson interviewed more than 1,000 people for her book. She is the first black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize and is a recipient of the George Polk Award and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow. Her parents were part of the great migration, journeying from Georgia and southern Virginia to Washington D.C.

In part one she discussed what she called the “biggest untold story of the 20th century.”  In part two of our conversation, recorded from her home near Atlanta, Georgia, on September 28, 2012, Isabel Wilkerson describes the inspiration behind her narrative non-fiction story of the six million African-Americans who migrated from the south between 1915 and 1970.

Click here to listen to the program or on the media player below.