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Nate Rott

Nathan Rott is a correspondent on NPR's National Desk, where he focuses on environment issues and the American West.

Based at NPR West in Culver City, California, Rott spends a lot of his time on the road, covering everything from breaking news stories like California's wildfires to in-depth issues like the management of endangered species and many points between.

Rott owes his start at NPR to two extraordinary young men he never met. As the first recipient of the Stone and Holt Weeks Fellowship in 2010, he aims to honor the memory of the two brothers by carrying on their legacy of making the world a better place.

A graduate of the University of Montana, Rott prefers to be outside at just about every hour of the day. Prior to working at NPR, he worked a variety of jobs including wildland firefighting, commercial fishing, children's theater teaching, and professional snow-shoveling for the United States Antarctic Program. Odds are, he's shoveled more snow than you.

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There's an all-too familiar fight that takes place after horrible events like those in Dallas and Orlando, centered around firearms and how — or even whether — to regulate them.

Gun-control advocates and Democrats call for tighter regulations. Gun-rights groups and Republicans argue that blame shouldn't be put on inanimate objects, but on the people pulling the trigger. Both sides dig in. And it seems that nothing changes.

The streets around the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., are slowly coming back to life — slowly.

Police removed one of the roadblocks a few blocks away from the gay nightclub Wednesday, allowing local traffic to drive past a makeshift memorial of flowers, balloons, candles and crosses for the 49 victims, to within view of the club.

Alex Brehm was standing by the door of a still-shuttered 7-Eleven, watching scores of federal and local law enforcement officials work the scene, thinking about what's next for his home and the city of Orlando.

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Andrew Herrington slips on a battered green backpack, stashes a .308 bolt-action rifle under his arm and steps off a boat onto the steep, rocky shores of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

"It's about a half-mile that we're going to walk up to for those traps," he says.

In almost every circumstance, hunting is strictly forbidden at national parks. But there's an exception to that rule. Herrington's job is to hunt at Great Smoky Mountains National Park for an invasive and hugely destructive species: feral hogs.

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Up next, we want to introduce you to a couple of the guys who are responsible for cleaning up the bathrooms at Great Smoky Mountains park. Not pretty, but somebody's got to do it. NPR's Nathan Rott takes it from here.

There are about 1,600 black bears and roughly 10.7 million people in Great Smoky Mountains National Park every year, and Ryan Williamson is responsible for the safety of both.

Williamson is a wildlife biologist at the park. He's an expert in bear behavior and practically a field medic for wildlife. He can rattle off a list of anesthetizing drug concoctions that would make your tongue twist and your head spin.

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Voters supporting Donald Trump and other candidates turned out in huge numbers yesterday in Arizona, Utah and Idaho, where one line into a caucus site was reportedly longer than a mile. NPR's Nathan Rott waited it out with Arizona voters last night.

When Bernie Sanders took the stage at the Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort late last week, he became the first presidential hopeful since 1999 to campaign — in person — on the largest Native American reservation in the United States.

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No matter where you are in Tucson, Ariz., you're no more than 20 miles from Saguaro National Park. The park and its tall, pronged, namesake cacti literally surround Tucson. There's the rounded top of the park's cactus-studded Wasson Peak to the west, the park's desert-to-forest Rincon Mountain Range to the east and about a million people living between.

But if you go around Tucson — to its historic barrio neighborhoods, swap meets or hiking trails — and ask people about their neighboring national park, you might be surprised.

"Saguaro High School?"

Driving through the gold-brown savanna of Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California, past its Dr. Seuss-like trees and water-carved rocks, it's easy to see why the national parks have been called America's Best Idea.

Spend a few hours with some of the park's employees, like Cultural Resources Branch Chief Jason Theuer, and you'll see that national parks are also another thing: expensive. There is a nearly $12 billion maintenance backlog of work that needs be done but isn't because of limited money.

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Several leaders and members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering.

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