Kansas News Service and KCUR Studios launch a new podcast, Up From Dust | KCUR

Trees are swallowing prairies. Bees are starving for food. Farmland is washing away in the rain.

Humans broke the environment — but we can heal it, too.

After two years of reporting, the Kansas News Service and KCUR Studios are releasing Up From Dust, a new podcast about the environmental price of trying to shape the world around humans. It focuses on the people who are rolling up their sleeves to find less damaging, more sustainable ways to fix our generational mistakes.

Hosted by Kansas News Service environmental reporter Celia Llopis-Jepsen and KUER’s David Condos, Up From Dust brings you along as they wander across Kansas prairies, farm fields and suburbia to understand how global environmental crises are playing out in their own backyards, and what is being done locally to help.

“We know the environment is a tough topic,” Llopis-Jepsen said. “It’s overwhelming. We hope you’ll get inspiration and energy from meeting Kansans who are making progress.”

Oliver Hernandez poses with a common milkweed plant in his front yard in 2020. A tiny, young monarch caterpillar and even tinier monarch eggs are visible on the underside of a leaf.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen


Kansas News Service

Oliver Faulkner plants milkweed and other wildflowers after the Green Team helped remove invasive weeds from a Kansas City, Kansas, park.

Episode one, When good plants turn bad, is available now on all podcast platforms. It dives deep on invasive species, which are deceptive. What sometimes looks like a healthy landscape can actually be slowly spoiling everything around it. In this episode, you’ll meet the people attacking the problem, with city codes, machetes and even salad forks.

Future episodes released over the coming weeks will look at topics like how America’s obsession with trees is having an impact on prairies and the people trying to save the Ogallala Aquifer before it’s too late.

Up From Dust is a production of the Kansas News Service and KCUR Studios, and a member of the NPR Podcast Network.

The Kansas News Service is a collaboration of KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, KMUW and High Plains Public Radio focused on health, the social determinants of health and their connection to public policy. Support for the Kansas News Service comes from the Kansas Health Foundation and the Health Forward Foundation.

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