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Before we headed out on our latest road trip for the Our Land series, we put a call out on social media, asking for ideas of places we should go in Arizona and New Mexico. Shannon Miller's suggestion really caught our attention: "White Sands are the only white gypsum 'sand' dunes in the world. They are actually crystals and it is beautiful."

How could we resist?

There's really no place like it on the planet: White Sands National Monument in southern New Mexico. It's the world's largest gypsum dunefield, miles and miles of stunning white landscape.

A new study raises a novel idea about what might trigger celiac disease, a condition that makes patients unable to tolerate foods containing gluten.

The study suggests that a common virus may be to blame.

For people with celiac disease, gluten can wreak havoc on their digestive systems. Their immune systems mistake gluten as a dangerous substance.

It has been quite a while since Californians have seen such green. Riding the coattails of an unseasonably wet season, some valleys have become riots of color, deserts have been blanketed with blooms so suffusive they earn the word "super" — and the state's officials have taken notice.

The Montmorency tart cherry is pretty much the only sour cherry grown in the U.S. And cherry growers in Michigan know the tree really well. It was brought here from France a couple of hundred years ago. "This is older than most people think of as heirloom varieties and it's our main variety to this day," says Jim Nugent, a cherry grower in northern Michigan.

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Speaking Up.

About James Hansen's TED Talk

When climate scientist James Hansen spoke up about climate change in the 1980s, he risked the loss of his job & reputation. But, he says, it was worth it — because he could not be silent about something so important.

About James Hansen

A quiet change to the website photo banner of a relatively obscure federal agency is causing a bit of an outsize stir on social media.

On the top of its home page, the Bureau of Land Management, which manages more than 200 million acres of public land under the U.S. Department of the Interior, swapped out a photo of a young boy and his companion backpacking across a mountain meadow in favor of one showing a massive coal seam at a mine in Wyoming.

Every rush hour, bumper-to-bumper traffic belches out diesel fumes along Madrid's Gran Via, a six-lane artery that bisects the Spanish capital. Art Deco facades line the grand boulevard.

But they're blackened with soot.

"The pollution hurts my eyes, and I can feel it in my throat," says commuter María Villallega, 48, who lives in the city center and walks to work. "I don't own a car myself, and I'll be happy when they're not allowed here anymore. We need to protect the planet, and ourselves."

This story starts with the mystery of a missing cow.

University of Utah researchers placed seven cow carcasses in Utah's Great Basin Desert, and set up cameras to learn about the behavior patterns of local scavengers.

But a week later, researcher Evan Buechley returned to one of the sites and found no sign of the cow.

A rain forest sings with the sounds of insects, birds, maybe a howler monkey or two. But scientists are discovering that some forest dwellers also communicate in ways humans usually can't hear — via ultrasound.

A team from Dartmouth College has recorded these signals in treetops on a pristine Panamanian island called Barro Colorado, and slowed them down to make sense of them.

The Big Dreams Of A First-Time Farmer

Apr 3, 2017

"I never thought farming would be my venture," says my sister, Faith.

But perhaps it was her destiny.

Our parents were farmers (and teachers as well) in a small farming community on the coast of Kenya, living in Mabafweni village in Kwale County. Their five children had to get up at 5 a.m. during growing season, roughly April to June, to weed grass from the fields and dig up the soil by hand to make it soft. Our parents took care of the big worries, like what to plant and how to manage the farm. Lots of Kenyans have a similar experience. Over 75 percent of Kenyans farm.

Earlier this winter, photographer Michael Furtman was driving along the North Shore of Lake Superior in search of great gray owls. Several of the giant, elusive birds had flown down from Canada looking for food.

He pulled off on a dirt road where he had seen an owl the night before. An owl was there, perched in a spruce tree, but a pair of videographers were filming it.

"I backed off; I was going to just let them have their time with the bird," Furtman says. "And then I saw them run out and put a mouse on the snow."

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

This weekend bicycles are ruling the road in Yellowstone National Park. Most park roads are closed until later this month, but every spring Yellowstone opens about 50 miles of its main thoroughfares to bikes only.

Humans have long looked to animals for design inspiration. From basic camouflage to a quiet bullet train in Japan to the Wright brothers' wings, the process called biomimicry is a basic tenet of human engineering.

Jonathon Keats has turned it on its head.

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