16 episodes

An exploration of the natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest through sound. Hosted by Ted Alvarez

Crosscut Escapes Crosscut

    • Science
    • 5.0 • 19 Ratings

An exploration of the natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest through sound. Hosted by Ted Alvarez

    Introducing the Mossback podcast!

    Introducing the Mossback podcast!

    This week we have a special preview of Mossback, a companion podcast to the popular Mossback’s Northwest video series that airs on KCTS 9. The Mossback podcast digs deeper into the topics that fans want to know more about from the current season of Mossback’s Northwest.


    Hosted by Sara Bernard, each episode of this series will feature an interview with Mossback, Knute Berger, about one episode of the video series. The podcasts will provide stories and factoids that were left on the cutting room floor, along with critical analysis from Berger and a greater context that will stitch each topic into the long, storied history of the Pacific Northwest.


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    Credits


    Hosts: Sara Bernard, Knute Berger


    Editorial assistance: Mason Bryan


    Executive producer: Mark Baumgarten

    • 6 min
    The Meaning of a Mountain

    The Meaning of a Mountain

    Peter Rainier never set foot on this continent. Some tribal members suggest giving a more fitting name for Washington’s tallest peak.


    For the very first episode of Crosscut Escapes, we told a story about a mountain. Not just any mountain — the mountain. You know the one. It’s the biggest in the state, the one you can see from Seattle, Tacoma, Yakima and sometimes even farther away.


    You also know the name. It’s on beer cans, baseball stadiums, plumbing companies, street signs and beaches. But that name you know so well is not what everyone calls it. In fact, the mountain has many names, given to it by the many different peoples who were here before there was a Washington, and who are still here.


    Peter Rainier, an 18th century admiral in the British Navy for whom the mountain would eventually be named, never even saw the peak. The Indigenous communities who have thrived here for millennia have connections that run far deeper.


    For the final episode of Season 2 of Crosscut Escapes, we take a step back and listen to some of the people who have the most to say about this mountain — and what it would mean to change its name. 


    Crosscut video producer Beatriz Costa Lima was the reporter for this episode. The video she produced on the topic was part of Crosscut’s Deeply Rooted series about environmental justice in Washington.


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    Credits


    Host/Co-producer: Ted Alvarez


    Co-producer: Sara Bernard


    Music: The Explorist


    Executive Producer: Mark Baumgarten

    • 25 min
    For the Love of Birds

    For the Love of Birds

    Ted Alvarez thinks birding is boring. But with so much interest in it now, he decides to investigate.


    The Pacific Northwest is a haven for thousands of bird species, from sage grouse to bald eagles to common finches. Many impressive migrations take place every year. And the enthusiasts who love spotting all these birds can be very enthusiastic. 


    Birding draws obsessives; there are bird societies, events and even competitions. But you know who really doesn’t care about all this? Crosscut Escapes host Ted  Alvarez. He’d rather spot any other kind of wildlife than a bird. A bird is a disappointment, in his book. 


    Yet in the past year, birding has exploded as a pastime. A pandemic that forced us to interact with nature first in our homes, and then in the outdoors, meant we all started watching the birds in our backyards and then on the trail, very, very closely.


    In this episode of Crosscut Escapes, Alvarez puts aside his skepticism to hear from conservationists and researchers who help open his eyes to the bustling avian world all around us.


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    Credits


    Host/Co-producer: Ted Alvarez


    Co-producer: Sara Bernard


    Music: The Explorist


    Executive Producer: Mark Baumgarten

    • 23 min
    Flower Power

    Flower Power

    Professor Steven Clark is on an ongoing quest to find a rare daisy that helps us understand the intricacies of evolution.


    Professor Steven Clark spends his days bushwhacking brushy trails until they turn into rocky scrambles, then vertical cliffs. It’s arduous work in service of a unique goal. He’s searching for the Columbia Gorge daisy, a rare flower that only grows in the trickles of water and tiny pockets of dirt in the wet, cliffside crevices of the Columbia River Gorge.


    You may or may not be the kind of person who goes to this kind of trouble to find a flower. And this flower is not even particularly beautiful or environmentally consequential, as far as modern science is concerned. But for Steven Clark, this flower is about as special as any in the world.


    For this episode of Crosscut Escapes, Clark and Crosscut video producer Sarah Hoffman slog through the woods and scramble up to a ledge in the middle of a waterfall in order to count a few tiny, rare flowers as part of a larger research project documenting rare plants in the Pacific Northwest. 


    Their journey provides a deeper sense of just how beautifully complex the natural world is — and the importance of each tiny piece of the evolutionary puzzle to make a thriving whole.


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    Credits


    Host/Co-producer: Ted Alvarez


    Co-producer: Sara Bernard


    Music: The Explorist


    Executive Producer: Mark Baumgarten

    • 22 min
    The Science of Sasquatch

    The Science of Sasquatch

    To find the mythical beast, members of the Olympic Project first analyze the evidence.


    Bigfoot, Sasquatch or whatever your favorite nickname; this giant, apelike cryptid is cemented in the minds of many Americans — and nowhere is that more true than in the Pacific Northwest, where reports of strange things afoot in the woods are relatively common.


    The beloved legend has given rise to enthusiasts galore, but it has also helped create a different kind of Bigfoot buff: one that takes a more scientific approach. 


    For this episode of Crosscut Escapes, we suspend disbelief to join The OIympic Project, a local group of scientists and seekers who collect, vet and analyze the mysterious physical evidence they find, from stray hairs to large footprints to unexplained sounds. 


    With a particular focus on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, the group aims to amass the data that just might, eventually, either prove or disprove Bigfoot’s existence once and for all.


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    Credits


    Host/Co-producer: Ted Alvarez


    Co-producer: Sara Bernard


    Music: The Explorist


    Executive Producer: Mark Baumgarten

    • 28 min
    The Fungus Among Us

    The Fungus Among Us

    Wild mushroom foraging can be deadly. But in a region crammed with thousands of edible species, it’s fiercely beloved.


    With its plentiful moisture and forest cover, the Pacific Northwest is home to some of the greatest proliferations of wild mushrooms in North America. Many people are inspired to hunt for them, but there’s a fine line between delicious and deadly.


    In Northwest forests, for instance, you can stumble upon beloved gourmet varieties, like morels and chanterelles, but also scarier ones, such as the aptly named “death cap” and the “destroying angel,” which can attack your liver and kidneys, killing you within hours of consumption.


    Needless to say, learning how to forage on your own can be an intimidating prospect. That’s where the Puget Sound Mycological Society comes in. It’s one of the largest organizations of its kind in the country, and education is its main focus.


    In this episode of Crosscut Escapes, we tag along with Marian Maxwell, a mycologist and former president of the Puget Sound Mycological Society, to learn a thing or two about mushroom hunting strategies, obsessions and pitfalls — and the weird and wonderful world of one of the planet’s strangest organisms.


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    Credits


    Host/Co-producer: Ted Alvarez


    Co-producer: Sara Bernard


    Music: The Explorist


    Executive Producer: Mark Baumgarten

    • 19 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
19 Ratings

19 Ratings

Nicole Bailey ,

Respite from COVID-19

I LOVE hearing in depth reporting on the environment. This podcast is engaging and thorough! Thank you, Crosscut!

HistoryUnfolding ,

Engaging

In depth exploration of topics that fascinate. Perfect for morning walks around the neighborhood.

icarian ,

Well produced and edited!

Intelligent, great editing and production. I did not look at the timer once (editing). Great start and I look forward to more.

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