Monitoring of environmental phenomena with embedded networked sensing confronts the challenges of both unpredictable variability in the spatial distribution of phenomena, coupled with demands for a high spatial sampling rate in three dimensions. For example, low distortion mapping of critical solar radiation properties in forest environments may require two-dimensional spatial sampling rates of greater than 10 samples/m2 over transects exceeding 1000 m2. Clearly, adequate sampling coverage of such a transect requires an impractically large number of sensing nodes. This paper describes a new approach where the deployment of a combination of autonomous-articulated and static sensor nodes enables sufficient spatiotemporal sampling density over large transects to meet a general set of environmental mapping demands. To achieve this we have developed an embedded networked sensor architecture that merges sensing and articulation with adaptive algorithms that are responsive to both variability in environmental phenomena discovered by the mobile sensors and to discrete events discovered by static sensors. We begin by describing the class of important driving applications, the statistical foundations for this new approach, and task allocation. We then describe our experimental implementation of adaptive, event aware, exploration algorithms, which exploit our wireless, articulated sensors operating with deterministic motion over large areas. Results of experimental measurements and the relationship among sampling methods, event arrival rate, and sampling performance are presented.