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David Condos

Host, Up From Dust

David Condos is the host of the KCUR Studios podcast Up From Dust.

He currently works as KUER’s southern Utah reporter based in St. George, covering the dynamics shaping life in communities across the southern part of the state with a focus on environmental issues.

His reporting has earned several prestigious honors, including three National Edward R. Murrow awards, six Public Media Journalists Association awards and seven Regional Edward R. Murrow awards. His radio stories have also regularly aired on NPR’s national programs Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Here & Now.

Prior to joining KUER, Condos spent two and a half years covering rural Kansas for High Plains Public Radio and the Kansas News Service. He grew up in Nebraska, Colorado and Illinois and graduated from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Email him at dcondos@kuer.org.

  • After Europeans colonized America, their descendants plowed their way across the continent, seeking prosperity through farming. But breaking up the soil – that had built up over many thousands of years – made it wash away. So some farmers are retiring their tilling equipment. Amble through Kansas prairies and cornfields as we learn how treasuring the ground beneath our feet can lead to farms that better withstand climate change, use less fertilizer and suck carbon out of the atmosphere.
  • Most of Kansas was once covered by an ocean of grass and wildflowers. But that diverse prairie biome is collapsing, partly because of our obsession with trees. Humans have unleashed an aggressive “Green Glacier” that’s swallowing the Great Plains, and for these ranchers, saving the environment means being a tree killer — not a tree hugger. (This episode comes to us from the new KCUR Studios podcast Up From Dust, reported by Celia Llopis-Jepsen and David Condos.)
  • It’s easy to advocate for saving pandas and elephants, but bugs are a harder sell. Look closer, though, and you’ll find tiny superheroes propping up entire ecosystems as pollinators, decomposers, predators and prey. We’ll wander the prairie with bison ranchers, in search of the dung beetles that work quiet miracles in huge piles of poop. And we’ll meet people overcoming their insect fears to help scientists catch and release bees, before they disappear.
  • A vast ocean of grass and wildflowers once covered one-third of North America. But that diverse prairie biome is collapsing, partly due to greenhouse gases and to our obsession with trees. Humans have unleashed an aggressive canopy that’s swallowing the Great Plains. For ranchers, saving the environment means being a tree killer — not a tree hugger.
  • Humans opened a Pandora’s box by moving plants, animals and fungi around the planet where they didn’t live before. Some of those species become so successful in their new surroundings that they crowd out others. Come along on a hunt for rogue Bradford pears, meet the teens turning cityscapes into butterfly havens and learn how to turn invasive plants into delicious food.
  • 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. Up From Dust is a new podcast about the price of trying to shape the world around our needs, as seen from America’s breadbasket: Kansas. Hosts Celia Llopis-Jepsen and David Condos wander across prairies, farm fields and suburbia to find the folks who are finding less damaging, more sustainable ways to fix our generational mistakes. Coming soon from the Kansas News Service, KCUR Studios, and the NPR Network.
  • Think of this year’s drought as a sort of dress rehearsal to consider the drier, hotter future that scientists predict climate change has in store. Long-lasting droughts could alter the way we live.
  • Thanks to decades of conservation efforts, Hays has become the California of Kansas — a place where thinking about your water use is a way of life. For now, it’s an outlier. But as climate change brings drier, hotter weather to Kansas, more cities may have to follow a similar path.
  • Drought is taking its toll on western Kansas cornfields this year. And all that dead corn could mean higher prices for products that depend on the state's grain supply, such as ethanol-infused gasoline and corn-fed beef.
  • New research shows how increasingly intense solar flares could disrupt the GPS satellite connections that have made Kansas farms more efficient.