Mariah is a graduate of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln with a degree in Environmental Studies, and a minor in Fisheries & Wildlife. She has been a member of the Platte Basin Timelapse team since 2014. This project has taken her to the Sandhills of Nebraska, the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, and to see one of the greatest migrations in the world - the sandhill crane. Protecting wild spaces, getting people outside, and creating community inspires her to be a storyteller. She lives in Lakewood, Colorado, and can be found snowboarding, prairie running, or spending time with her husband and two cats.
Posted on December 7, 2022
In the High Plains of western Nebraska, Bighorn Sheep can be found scaling the buttes that rise above the North Platte River Valley. However, that was not always the case. Bighorn Sheep were once commonly found in the Great Plains and American West but were nearly hunted to extinction. Thanks to conservation groups and landowners, […]
Posted on March 9, 2022
Imagine trying to count hundreds of thousands of birds in a matter of seconds. This is what Andy Caven does every spring… from a plane. In March, upwards of a million sandhill cranes pass through Nebraska’s central Platte River Valley. For the past 20 years, the Crane Trust has conducted aerial surveys of sandhill crane […]
Posted on May 20, 2021
Grasslands once spanned across Nebraska in waves, from the tallgrass prairies in the east to the shortgrass prairie in the west and all the mixed-grass prairies in between. The history of Nebraska’s grasslands are deeply intertwined with the history of its people. Indigenous peoples across the Great Plains possess diverse and intimate knowledge about the […]
Posted on March 25, 2020
While driving down a two-track road, deep in the Nebraska Sandhills, one may be so lucky to witness a heavenly white bird gliding across one of the many spring-fed lakes. The trumpeter swan is the largest waterfowl species in the world. Almost hunted to extinction, these birds have since been reintroduced to the Nebraska Sandhills […]
Posted on February 19, 2020
When the Platte Basin Timelapse project first began, Bob Kuzelka of Lincoln Friends of Chamber Music approached PBT’s co-founders, Mike Forsberg and Mike Farrell, with the idea of someday putting the time-lapse imagery to chamber music. Several years later, that idea became a reality and Time and the River was created. The world premiere of Time and the […]
Posted on January 23, 2020
A common misconception is that fire is always bad, that it destroys landscapes and tears communities apart. When settlers arrived in the American West, wildfire suppression became a standard practice. What many did not realize is that the suppression of fire allowed for fuel loads to build, causing larger, hotter, and more destructive wildfires. Today, […]
Posted on December 19, 2019
Posted on May 9, 2019
In mid-April, I was fortunate enough to witness greater sage-grouse courtship displays on Pathfinder Ranches in south-central Wyoming. Below is a short film I edited together from the footage I shot from this trip accompanied with a short essay about these birds. Platte Basin Timelapse will continue to develop the larger story about grouse species […]
Posted on February 27, 2019
A line of fire blazes in an ocean of grass. The smell of burning bluestem wisps through the air. A man dressed in leather boots carefully tips a drip torch to spark a flame onto the landscape–a familiar sight by those who live on working landscapes in the Great Plains. In early spring, I photographed […]
Posted on January 31, 2019
If you listen closely and long enough, every rivulet, stream and river has a song – each note, measure and verse comprised of every force that has ever shaped it and every creature that has ever drawn life from its waters. And if these watery lifelines have songs, then their most striking melodies are sung […]
Posted on January 31, 2019
In the upper reaches of North America’s watersheds, one will find a charismatic chunky gray bird dipping and diving underwater in clear, fast-flowing streams. This bird is called the American dipper and is North America’s only aquatic songbird. Photographer and conservationist Mike Forsberg fell in love with the American dipper on a college fishing trip. […]
Posted on May 16, 2018
“Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. What is soft is strong.” -Lao-Tzu Across Wyoming’s sea of sagebrush, two cargo vans full of students approach the Wind River […]
Posted on September 26, 2017
On August 21, 2017, the total solar eclipse swept its way across the Continental US sending the path of totality right through the heart of Nebraska. Thanks to our camera technician, David Weber, several of our permanent time-lapse cameras were able to capture this once in a lifetime event. Below is a compilation of those time-lapses […]
Posted on April 12, 2017
Posted on June 14, 2016
We drive down a long gravel road parting a sea of grass. I look up and see the moon – a fingernail crescent. We park the truck in front of an old cottonwood tree and cut the lights. To the west, the night sky is still dark and star-filled; to the east dawn is a […]
Posted on April 24, 2016
Sarah Sortum grew up near Taylor, Nebraska, on her family’s cattle ranch in the Sandhills, the descendant of homesteaders. Her family continues to operate on the same property, running their own cattle, custom grazing operations for others, and Calamus Outfitters, a nature-based tourism operation.
Posted on January 7, 2016
The roads were dark, the truck was full of gear, and the Platte Basin Timelapse team was headed to the Nebraska Sandhills. We were on our way to the Switzer Ranch, 16 miles northwest of Burwell, Nebr., to film a cattle drive for our forthcoming documentary. This would be my first time experiencing a cattle drive […]
Posted on December 10, 2015
Nebraska irrigates more farmland than any state in the nation, and a lot of that water is pumped from underground. A new program for sharing Nebraska’s groundwater may help both farmers and endangered species.
Posted on September 8, 2015
Let me introduce you to our latest permanent time-lapse cameras located in the high country of the South Platte River Basin, 50 miles southeast of downtown Denver. These two cameras are capturing change over time at the Cheesman reservoir and spillway. Cheesman Dam became the world’s tallest dam at 221 feet when construction finished in […]
Posted on August 26, 2015
This year’s wet spring sent as much water down the Platte River in two months as usually passes through in an average year.
Posted on July 22, 2015
Colorado Parks and Wildlife is one of several state and federal agencies that has been working for decades to recover the federally threatened greenback cutthroat trout. But a few years ago, new genetic research revealed that they’d been saving the wrong subspecies.
Posted on April 21, 2015
In the predawn hours of an early Saturday in April, cars creep quietly along a gravel road south of the Platte River’s main channel. For the last half hour, the dark sky has nibbled away at the edge of the full moon above, the lucky occurrence of a rare lunar eclipse.
Posted on March 18, 2015
A community works to conserve wildlife habitat along the central Platte River in Nebraska.
Posted on March 2, 2015
The third day of February dawned normally for Brice Krohn, senior director at the Crane Trust. The conservation group started burning a few tree piles on their property near Alda, Neb., along the central Platte River. But it wasn’t long before he and his staff noticed the water around in the channels around their property rising.
Posted on January 7, 2015
Last October, on the day before Halloween, I set out on a kayaking trip down the Elkhorn River in search for signs of the North American river otter. I went with Craig Allen, a professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s School of Natural Resources, his colleagues David Angeler and Dirac Twidwell, and Nathan Bieber, a […]
Posted on October 17, 2014
My first experience at Wilderness Park is one I will never forget. Roughly four autumns ago, a couple of my friends asked me if I wanted to join them on a day adventure at the park. I assumed that we were going to a park where there would be picnic benches, freshly cut grass, and […]