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Episode 1220—Air Date: May 13, 2012

This week on National Geographic Weekend host Boyd Matson speaks with guests about skiing volcanos in Washington State, time traveling to the universe's birth, re-declaring independence in the War of 1812, meeting American beavers invading Patagonia, drinking water until there is none left, saving big cats by sniffing out their poop, sleeping in a colony of butterflies, and raising baby koalas.

HOUR 1

• The world's best skiing is not found at the top of a chairlift. Professional skier Chris Davenport knows this better than anyone, so he gets off the groomed runs...and climbs mountains in his ski boots. He has skied Everest's Lhotse Face, but this spring he's taking it easy by targeting volcanos in the Pacific Northwest, including Mt. Rainier, Mt. Washington, and Mt. Shasta. Follow his #VolcanoTour on Twitter.

• In space, distances are so vast that they're measured in time. Astronomer Chris Impey says that the greatest distance we're able to see from earth is nearly 14 billion years in the past—to the beginnings of the universe, when gases had not yet been pulled into the clusters now known as stars and planets. He chats with Boyd about his new book, How It Began: A Time-Traveler's Guide to the Universe.

• The United States has a formidable navy, with nuclear submarines, aircraft carriers and war planes. But that wasn't always the case. Two hundred years ago, at the beginning of the War of 1812, the scrappy 15-ship fleet of the U.S. Navy was in a fight against the biggest navy of its time--that of the British Empire. Luckily for the United States, the British were preoccupied with a war against Napoleon. Mark Collins Jenkins shares the story of that war in his book The War of 1812 and the Rise of the U.S. Navy.

• Even the most innocuous looking animals can wreak havoc when introduced as an invasive species. Down in Patagonia, the North American beaver is creating all kinds of ecosystem damage as they toy with the water systems. But the Wildlife Conservation Society's Steve Sanderson focuses on the positive, telling about the 100 miles of new hiking trails in Karukinka Natural Park, where visitors can expect to see condors and even elephant seals on the park's shores.

David Braun, editor of National Geographic Daily News, reassures Boyd that the Earth was never in danger last week from the extra-large moon.

HOUR 2

• Many people in the American West shudder when they hear the words "water crisis." But Charles Fishman, author of the book The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water, explains that there is the same amount of water there has always been. It's just not found in the same places. He says that all water is "dinosaur pee," so people should get used to the idea of recycling the resource to better use it in our cities.

• All dogs have a certain joie de vivre. But Megan Parker, founder of Working Dogs for Conservation, takes advantage of Labrador retrievers' and border collies' ability to focus and enjoy play time in her business. She has the dogs hunt out the feces of lions, jaguars, and cheetahs, and rewards them with a little play time with a tennis ball.

• Butterflies are generally a solitary species. Most butterfly species roost together in migration, but National Geographic grantee Susan Finkbeiner explains that they usually spend most of their non-migratory time alone. She is in Central America studying the non-migratory passion-vine butterflies and why they insist on bedding down together in large groups.

• Koalas, the unofficial national animal of Australia, are under siege. Rapid suburbanization means the marsupials have to deal with cars and dogs—two threats for which the slow and relatively defenseless animals aren't well-suited. Joel Sartore tells Boyd about his time spent in Australia photographing the endangered species and the dedicated workers who are trying to save them from extinction. His pictures appear in the May 2012 issue of National Geographic magazine.

• In this week's Wild Chronicles segment, Boyd encourages his kids to climb up a volcano—and almost has them carry him down.

Listen to National Geographic Weekend

Episode 1220—Air Date: May 13, 2012

  • 00:11:00 Chris Davenport

    The world's best skiing is not found at the top of a chairlift. Professional skier Chris Davenport knows this better than anyone, so he gets off the groomed runs... and climbs mountains in his ski boots. He has skied Everest's Lhotse Face, but this spring is taking it easy by targeting volcanos in the Pacific Northwest, including Mt. Rainier, Mt. Washington and Mt. Shasta. Follow his #VolcanoTour on Twitter.

  • 00:09:00 Chris Impey

    In space, distances are so vast that they're measured in time. Astronomer Chris Impey says that the greatest distance we're able to see from earth is nearly 14 billion years in the past—to the beginnings of the universe, when gases had not yet been pulled into the clusters now known as stars and planets. He chats with Boyd about his new book, How It Began: A Time-Traveler's Guide to the Universe.

  • The United States has a formidable navy, with nuclear submarines, aircraft carriers and war planes. But that wasn't always the case. Two hundred years ago, at the beginning of the War of 1812, the scrappy 15 ship fleet of the U.S. Navy was in a fight against the biggest navy of its time—that of the British Empire. Luckily for the United States, the British were preoccupied with a war against Napoleon. Mark Collins Jenkins shares the story of that war in his book The War of 1812 and the Rise of the U.S. Navy.

  • 00:08:00 Steve Sanderson

    Even the most innocuous looking animals can wreak havoc when introduced as an invasive species. Down in Patagonia, the North American beaver is creating all kinds of ecosystem damage as they toy with the water systems. But the Wildlife Conservation Society's Steve Sanderson focuses on the positive, telling about the 100 miles of new hiking trails in Karukinka Natural Park, where visitors can expect to see condors and even elephant seals on the park's shores.

  • 00:03:50 News - May 13

    David Braun, editor of National Geographic Daily News, reassures Boyd that the Earth was never in danger last week from the extra large moon.

  • 00:11:00 Charles Fishman

    Many people in the American West shudder when they hear the words "water crisis". But Charles Fishman, author of The Big Thirst, explains that there is the same amount of water there has always been. It's just not found in the same places. He says that all water is "dinosaur pee," so people should get used to the idea of recycling the resource to better use it in our cities.

  • 00:09:00 Megan Parker

    All dogs have a certain joie de vivre. But Megan Parker, founder of Working Dogs for Conservation, takes advantage of Labrador Retrievers and Border Collies' ability to focus and enjoy play time in her business. She has the dogs hunt out the feces of lions, jaguars and cheetahs and rewards them with a little play time with a tennis ball.

  • 00:06:00 Susan Finkbeiner

    Butterflies are generally a solitary species. Most butterfly species roost together in migration, but National Geographic grantee Susan Finkbeiner explains that they usually spend most of their non-migratory time alone. She is in Central America studying the non-migratory passion vine butterflies and why they insist on bedding down together in large groups.

  • 00:08:00 Joel Sartore

    Koalas, the unofficial national animal of Australia, are under siege. Rapid suburbanization means the marsupials have to deal with cars and dogs—two things for which the slow and relatively defenseless animal simply aren't suited. Joel Sartore tells Boyd about his time spent in Australia photographing the endangered species and the dedicated workers who are trying to save them from extinction. His pictures appear in the May 2012 issue of National Geographic magazine.

  • In this week's Wild Chronicles segment, Boyd encourages his kids to climb up a volcano -- and almost has them carry him down.