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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Field Note: Adiós Al Color - Elk at Great Sand Dunes National Park

Published: January 7, 2022


By Mark Seth Lender


A herd of elk gallops through the cliffs of Great Sand Dunes National Park. (Photo: © Mark Seth Lender)

Living on Earth's Explorer-in-Residence Mark Seth Lender witnesses a changing landscape as snow and elk transform great sand dunes in Colorado.

The photographs capture the transformation, which was complete. Great Sand Dunes before then after the snow. More difficult to impress is the shock. I was in the same place – literally - I’d found the same place I was standing the evening before. But there was no reckoning with the change. It was as if the landscape had been swapped out.

As to the elk, they conveyed in motion what a change in the weather does to that which is static. The first time I saw the elk herd across the expanse of the lake, they were statues. The next day, galloping through the wintery brush of the Baca, a motion blur.

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