Arctic Drilling Series, Photogenic Wolverines, Environment and Politics in the West, and Congratulations

Some Friday Nooze for you, to send you on your way into the weekend! From Margie Kriz Hobson with E&E News, the first and second installments of an amazing special series called "Destination Arctic: Drilling in the Last Frontier:"

Off-shore development brings life-and-death issues to the Last Frontier

GIRDWOOD, Alaska -- The Yup'ik Eskimo people of Alaska's St. Lawrence Island, a 90-mile-long piece of land in the middle of the Bering Sea, are at a crossroads in their long history.

For 2,000 years, they've lived on the island, a remnant of the Bering land bridge that once linked Asia and North America. As the world came to their doorstep, the residents of Savoonga and Gambell maintained a subsistence lifestyle focused on harvesting whale and walrus while adapting to the changes around them... Read more.

Town on the front lines of the coming oil explosion hopes for a silver lining

WAINWRIGHT, Alaska --- A cold autumn rain was beginning to fall as Hugh Patkotak approached the edge of the Wainwright Lagoon, where a group of scientists were navigating back to town after a day of studying sea life along the village shores.

As the marine biologists unloaded equipment from their small research vessel, Patkotak recalled that not long ago subsistence hunters here rode dog teams onto the frozen tundra each winter to hunt for caribou. Now Patkotak, 65, is firmly rooted in the modern world as a pilot for the North Slope Borough and chairman of the Olgoonik Corp., Wainwright's profit-making arm... Read more.

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Next, from Cassandra Profita with OPB's Ecotrope blog, a look at how scientists are trying to catch a glimpse of one of North America's wiliest creatures:

Searching for Wolverines in the Cascades

You might remember when biologists captured the first photographs of wolverines in Oregon last year in the Wallowa mountains.

It was quite the triumph after years and years of searching for the elusive animal. Now, a new project is starting up to find similar documentation of wolverines in the Cascades.

“Everyone agrees that the wilderness around the Three Sisters, Mount Washington and Mount Jefferson contain wolverine habitat,” said Jamie McFadden, biologist and project leader. “But there’s never been any photographic evidence of them from that area.”... Read more.

 

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High Country News' Cally Carswell weighs in on some of the most important political races in the nation, environmentally speaking:

Races where the environment matters. Sort of.

Environmentalists can't contain their glee about Jay Inslee's candidacy for governor of Washington. "I can count on one hand the members of Congress … that are like Jay Inslee," gushed League of Conservation Voters president Gene Karpinski at a Washington chapter event last October. The national LCV usually stays out of state politics, but at that event, Inslee received its first gubernatorial endorsement in 30-some years. "We want to help him get elected to be the greenest governor in the United States," Karpinski said... Read more. 

And check out this great infographic about the West's super PAC megadonors.

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And finally, a big congratulations to all of the good folks at High Country News, for winning the Knight-Risser Prize for Western Environmental Journalism from Stanford University! The award-winning special series follows the path of migrating pronghorn across the American west.

From the Knight-Risser website:

Judges have awarded the 2012 Knight-Risser Prize for Western Environmental Journalism to "Perilous Passages," reporting in High Country News by Emilene Ostlind, the photographer and biologist Joe Riis, and contributors Mary Ellen Hannibal and Cally Carswell. The award will be presented at a Knight-Risser Prize Symposium to be held in 2013. More details will be coming soon on the symposium.

Congratulations are also in order for alumna Lynda Mapes and her colleagues at The Seattle Times, to whom the Knight-Risser judges awarded a Special Citation for their coverage of the historic Elwha Dam removal. Nice work, guys!