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NPR podcast hosts says rising up in Steamboat fueled love of science

Aaron Scott, who works for Nationwide Public Radio’s “Brief Wave” podcast, interviews Nathan Steinmann, son of biologist David Steinmann, exterior the Sulfur Collapse July 2022 whereas engaged on a latest story for the science-based podcast. David Steinmann, who found a brand new species of worm within the cave, returned to go to with Scott and guided an exploration of the cave for the podcast episode that was launched earlier this month.
David Steinmann/Courtesy photograph

As a baby rising up in Steamboat Springs, Aaron Scott would generally stroll from his dwelling within the Fairview neighborhood previous the Sulfur Cave at Howelsen Hill as he headed to city together with his associates.

Scott, 41, remembers a time when he would attempt to think about what mysteries the cave held as he made his well past it.

“At any time when we might stroll into city from Fairview down the ski path, we’d peer into it,” mentioned Scott, who at present is co-host of Nationwide Public Radio‘s day by day science podcast, “Brief Wave.” “We’d dare one another to go in, however none of us had been courageous sufficient or silly sufficient to do it.”



That was a great factor as a result of the ambiance contained in the cave is a lethal mixture of hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. Scientist say that one or two breaths may knock an individual out, and an extended publicity might be deadly.

However this summer time, some 30 years later, with assistance from particular respiratory equipment and protecting clothes, Scott had a possibility to discover the cave he may solely think about as a baby.



Scott’s journey into the cave was led by Dave Steinmann, a biologist on the Denver Museum of Nature and Science who found a brand new species of worms greater than a decade in the past.

“I can not say it was a dream come true,” mentioned Scott, who shared the expertise NPR’s nationwide podcast, which he co-hosts with Emily Kwong. “It is not like I might spent years dreaming about what was within the cave, nevertheless it was deeply gratifying to have this place that had been a thriller to me as a child, after which, as a part of my job, get to go discover it and discover out that it is simply as improbable of a spot as you could possibly dream up.”

The podcast, “Worm Blobs From The Bowels Of The Earth,” was launched Sept. 2 and is among the many many various matters and points which might be addressed by “Brief Wave,” which explores new discoveries, on a regular basis mysteries and the science behind the headlines.

“Daily I get to study one thing and discuss someone who’s on the market exploring the world — it is completely a dream job,” Scott mentioned. “Half of the episodes are NPR science and surroundings reporters approaching the present, and we do longer variations of the tales that they are reporting for ‘All Issues Thought-about’ and ‘Morning Version.’

Whereas engaged on a narrative about tufted puffins for “Oregon Area Information,” Scott rode together with a US Fish and Wildlife workforce as they surveyed seabirds alongside the Oregon Coast. The journey took the group previous the island that homes the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse and now homes an enormous colony of Steller sea lions.
Brent Lawrence /US Fish and Wildlife

“We form of dive deeper into the tales and do prolonged variations of their recording or have them on to speak in regards to the information of the day — like the brand new James Webb Telescope pictures, or we’ve one thing developing on an try and redirect an asteroid — in order that’s form of the way in which we cowl extra newsy matters. (Different) episodes are us going out and speaking to scientists that we’re actually enthusiastic about, and that we’re internet hosting individually.”

The cave was the newest journey for Scott, who grew up and lived in Steamboat Springs. When his mother and father obtained a divorce, he began splitting his time between Steamboat and the Pacific Northwest.


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He graduated from Columbia River Excessive College in Vancouver, Washington, in 1999 and attended Grinnell Faculty in Iowa, the place he obtained his bachelor’s diploma in spiritual research with a focus in gender and ladies’s research in 2003. holds grasp’s levels in broadcast journalism and science journalism from the Columbia Graduate College of Journalism.

Whereas recording a rehearsal of “Little Store of Horrors” at Portland Middle Stage for a narrative for Oregon Public Broadcasting’s artwork present, “State of Marvel,” Aaron Scott determined it was solely applicable to interview Audrey II. Scott’s expertise in journalism consists of protecting science and nature with NPR and Oregon Public Broadcasting’s science and surroundings workforce and the character TV present “Oregon Area Information.” Nevertheless, he additionally labored for numerous years producing OPB’s weekly arts radio present, “State of Marvel,” and was the humanities editor at Portland Month-to-month journal.
Aaron Scott/Courtesy photograph

Scott mentioned his curiosity has pushed his journalism profession, which included a stint protecting arts and leisure, together with the outside and nature.

“I’ve had the fortune to be a jack of all trades — working for {a magazine}, working for a number of radio exhibits, working for a tv present protecting the humanities and protecting science,” Scott mentioned. “I feel what actually drives me is simply curiosity, and getting to fulfill individuals doing actually fascinating issues and pursuing their ardour on the earth.”

Earlier than becoming a member of NPR in 2022, Scott was a producer and reporter for Oregon Public Broadcasting’s science and surroundings workforce and the character TV present, “Oregon Area Information,” the place he climbed mountains with microbiologists, bushwhacked old-growth forests with ornithologists, snorkeled distant rivers with conservationists and in any other case wandered the pure wonders of the Pacific Northwest.

Aaron Scott is proven bushwhacking by way of coastal forests on the Oregon coast, which actually meant crawling by way of salmonberry thickets, therefore the helmets, as he seems for the elusive marbled murrelet whereas engaged on a function for “Oregon Area Information.”
Stephani Gordon/Oregon Area Information

In 2020, Scott reported and hosted Oregon Public Broadcasting’s 10-part podcast “Timber Wars, which instructed the story of how a small group of scientists and environmentalists without end modified the way in which we see forests and the pure world, as a means of marking the 30th anniversary of the noticed owl being positioned on the endangered species checklist.

“Timber Wars” examined the problems from all views, Scott mentioned, and it has been included into faculty lessons across the nation. It additionally received a number of awards, together with being the primary audio work to obtain the MIT Knight Science Journalism Program’s Victor Ok. McElheny Award.

“I feel this science and the character half to me can positively be traced again to rising up in Steamboat and going mountain climbing with my dad,” Scott mentioned. “He was a mining engineer by commerce, so he would all the time level out geological formations and will identify each flower we’d go.”

Even when he isn’t working for Nationwide Public Radio’s “Brief Wave” podcast, Aaron Scott enjoys getting out in nature. This {photograph} was taken as he climbed within the Dolomites.
Aaron Scott/Courtesy photograph

Scott additionally remembers amassing tadpoles and salamanders at summer time camp in Steamboat, and he mentioned the lively out of doors way of life that many individuals take pleasure in right here has fueled his ardour for the outside and science.

“The summer time camps as we grew up grew to become extra mountain climbing and occurring backpacking journeys, and rafting and kayaking,” Scott mentioned. “Having the ability to discover all of the pure marvel round Steamboat instilled in me a love of the pure world.”

Scott began his journalism profession protecting the humanities in darkish theaters, and whereas he loved that position, he mentioned he all the time discovered himself drawn again science and alternatives to get again to nature.

Aaron Scott is proven right here when he was photographed for NPR on June 6, 2022, in Washington, DC Scott is co-host of the “Brief Wave” podcast, which explores new discoveries, on a regular basis mysteries and the science behind the headlines, all in about 10 minutes each weekday.
Farrah Skeiky/Nationwide Public Radio

“Someday I made a decision that I’ve spent sufficient time within the metropolis, in darkish theaters, and that I wished to get again into nature,” Scott mentioned. “I wished to be out exploring the landscapes — the extremely various panorama we’ve right here in America — and I wished to spend time with the people who find themselves on the market finding out it, and making an attempt to study extra about it and our place in it.”

That led him to “Brief Wave” and again dwelling. In late July, I interviewed a gaggle of graduate college students from Georgia Tech who had been being led by Steinmann into the Sulfur Cave.

Nevertheless, tragedy hit the Scott household a number of weeks later when David Scott, Aaron’s father, handed away on Aug. 12 whereas mountain climbing close to Mica Lake within the Mount Zirkel Wilderness Space. Scott devoted the Sulfur Cave episode to his dad.

Aaron Scott spent a protracted day mountain climbing up and down the canyons off the Zumwalt Prairie in northeastern Oregon filming a number of hunters looking for elk whereas reporting a function for “Oregon Area Information” a couple of collaboration between the Nature Conservancy and hunters to push large herds of elk off the fragile prairie and into neighboring forests.
Brandon Swanson/Oregon Area Information

“My dad was a forest ranger at coronary heart, and that positively imbued in me a love of the pure world after which a curiosity to not simply have a look at one thing and snap a photograph and go by, however to ask, ‘Why does it look that means? Like, what are the geological forces that make it look that means?’”

Scott mentioned his father’s want to dwell in Steamboat Springs, to be near nature and to all the time keep linked to his household additionally left a mark.

“He made the selection that he wished to dwell in Steamboat on the Western Slope of the Colorado Rockies above all else,” Scott mentioned. “I’ve turned down promotions, I’ve turned down job transfers as a result of I wished to remain right here. It was a really priceless lesson as a result of I really feel like I’ve performed a really comparable factor with Portland. I need to dwell on this metropolis, on this neighborhood of family and friends that I’ve, and I do know I’ll all the time be capable to discover a job.”

Scott was glad he obtained the prospect to come back dwelling this summer time, and he mentioned he had been trying ahead to sharing the Sulfur Cave episode together with his father.

“It makes me unhappy that he did not make it to hearken to the Sulfur Cave story,” Scott mentioned. “Once I knew I used to be going to be doing that story, it felt prefer it was a present that I may give to him. It could let me come into this space the place he raised me, and I used to be going to get to do a narrative about it for Nationwide Public Radio. It is one piece of the heartbreak to know that he is not going to get to listen to it.”

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