Public Lands

Detroit River Institute Dispatch from the Road: Day Three

On the final day of the Detroit River Institute, Fellows learned all about urban agriculture, from production to sale to consumption. And – in what may have been an IJNR first – they debarked the bus and hopped on bicycles to tour the city!

Check out the Storify synopsis of Day 3! Thanks to all the Fellows for joining us on this adventure, and thank you, reader, for following along virtually.

Detroit River Institute Dispatch from the Road: Day Two

The Detroit River crew continued their adventures on Friday with a day focused on rivers, wetlands, water quality, and conservation efforts.

Check out the Storify synopsis of Day 2 of the Institute!

Detroit River Institute Gets Underway!

At this very moment, journalists from throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic states, and Midwest are descending on Detroit to begin their four-day whirlwind tour of the city and its natural resource issues.

We have a great line-up of stops and speakers, and we can’t wait to meet everyone and get the bus rolling – literally! Topics we’ll cover include: Rewilding the Detroit River, the conflicts between residential and industrial neighbors, environmental justice, international trade, clear-air regulations, wastewater, wetlands, nutrient pollution, wildlife conservation, and urban agriculture. Whew!

We’ll visit the 48217 area – Michigan’s “most polluted zip code,” and we’ll stop at Ambassador Bridge, where 10,000 diesel trucks idle each day as they wait to cross. We’ll meet with representatives of the EPA and Michigan DEQ, to discuss efforts to reduce air pollution – especially sulfur dioxide, which is a leading air pollutant tied to asthma and other health issues.  We’ll stop at Detroit’s wastewater treatment plant, which is changing its image as a major point-source polluter.

We’ll go to Belle Isle, and learn how to restore a river, one wetland at a time, and we’ll see the Blue Heron Lagoon restoration project that’s providing important habitat. We’ll get out on the river with Detroit Riverkeeper, to visit areas of concern, and learn how a bi-national commission is working to clean them up. The group will tour the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, the only such refuge in North America. And finally, the group will get a day-long immersion in urban agriculture – by bicycle.

We hope that you’ll follow along digitally, as we’ll be posting highlights to Twitter (#ijnr_detroit ) and Facebook, and we’ll offer daily dispatches from the road here on the blog.

And last but not least, we’d like to congratulate and welcome all the journalists who will be joining us on this trip!

Introducing the 2014 Detroit River Institute Fellows 

Jim Bloch – The Voice (St. Clair, MI)
Mary Ann Colihan – Freelance writer/producer; book author
Steve Furay – Michigan Citizen; Common Breath Media
Weenta Girmay – Freelance multimedia journalist
Tom Henry – The Blade (Toledo, OH)
Tim Lougheed – Freelance writer/editor
James McCarty – The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH)
Alexa Mills – The Boston Globe
Peter Moskowitz – Freelance writer
Hannah Northey – E&E Publishing
Elizabeth Royte – Freelancer writer; book author
Zoe Schlanger – Newsweek
Kristina Smith Horn – Port Clinton News Herald and The News-Messenger (Ohio)
Al Smith – Freelance writer

Dispatches from the Road: Shale Country Day 3 & 4

The Shale Country crew wrapped up their trip this past weekend, and now are - hopefully! - settling back into their daily routines. They had a whirlwind tour of three states in five days, and returned home with heads full of stories ideas. The last two days of the trip found them in Northeast Ohio, discussing citizen science, NIMBYism, economics, oil & gas regulation, and how to tell environment stories better. They paddled on the Cuyahoga River, and visited a massive fracination plant. They heard from farmers who have benefited from the boom, and those who resent it. They visited a couple at their rural home, where a compressor station has been built across the street - and runs 24/7 at roughly 80 decibels.

Read all about their adventures here, and stay tuned as we share their post-Institute stories!

Shale Country Institute, Day 3 Recap

Shale Country Institute, Day 4 Recap

Dispatches from the Road: Shale Country Day 2 Recap

On Thursday the group traveled to New York to learn about drill-waste disposal, concerned citizens, and the economics of natural gas - among other things. See a complete recap of their day, and learn more about the issues they covered:

Shale Country Institute, Day 2 Recap

Marcellus Shale Sample. USGS hydrogeologist Bill Kappel:  "What you're holding was a swamp before Earth even had dinosaurs."  (Photo courtesy David Unger. )

Dispatches from the Road: Shale Country, Day 1 continued

The Shale Country crew continues their journey near Lake Erie, despite torrential downpours. Yesterday afternoon the group got up close and personal with a well pad in Western Pennsylvania. Read all about it here:

Shale Country Day 1 Undaunted by Deluge

And, check out this post from Fellow and KUNC reporter Stephanie Ogburn, who is reporting from the road:

In Eastern National Forests, Split Estate Means Less Control

Stay tuned for an update this evening about where the group went today, who they met, and what they learned!

2014 Shale Country Institute Preview

We're just two weeks away from the start of our 2014 Shale Country Institute, which will bring 18 journalists from around the country to learn all about fracking in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. As usual, we'll be posting daily dispatches from the road during the Institute, and you can follow along virtually right here on The Nooze. We'll also be tweeting about the program at #IJNR_shale.

Curious about the route we'll take and the topics we'll cover? Check it all out here:

[googlemaps https://mapsengine.google.com/map/u/0/embed?mid=zOb4U1zJNCrY.kKw_PH9aUExA&w=640&h=480]

And, last but not least, we'd like to congratulate and welcome the fine journalists who have been selected to join us on this journey:

Pat Bywater - Meadville Tribune Stephen Cunningham - Bloomberg News Mary Esch - AP John Finnerty - Community Newspapers (PA) Peter Green - Freelance Kalea Hall - The Vindicator Kathi Kowalski - Freelance Martin LaMonica - Freelance Joe Mahoney - Daily Star Stephanie Ogburn - KUNC Steve Orr - Democrat and Chronicle Joanna Richards - WCNP/Ideastream Lonnie Shekhtman - The Boston Globe Lisa Song - InsideClimate News Miranda Spencer - Freelance/Daily Climate Lana Straub - Freelance Dave Unger - Christian Science Monitor Patricia Villone - CTV News

Earth Month, Day 15: Whales and Sustainability in Uruguay

Carol Ann BasettFor today's Earth Month offering, we bring you something a little different. From alumna Carol Ann Bassett, who teaches environmental writing and journalism at the University of Oregon, comes an innovative project. In her own words:

I direct a new & on-going Study Abroad Program through the University of Oregon's Office of International Affairs: "Environmental Multimedia in Uruguay." The program is similar to the core values and design of IJNR as expedition-style immersion journalism on environmental issues. Last fall I worked with a team of eight students (mostly juniors) over an intensive 4-week period in Uruguay. We became the first journalists in the world to ever document Uruguay's Route of the Whale, from its beginning in the hillside town of Piriapolis to the Brazilian border at Chuy. The result is our website, which was released a few months ago. It's bilingual -- and my faith in environmental multimedia on an international level has taken a quantum leap!

Check out their great work here - Route of the Whale - and watch a video synopsis, below:

[vimeo 79445302 w=500 h=281]

 

Earth Month, Day 14: Peeing Wolves and Scientific Bling

On today's installment of Earth Month, we bring you the ongoing tale of a wolf named OR7 (lonely no more!) and a bracelet that's helping scientists understand pollution: Cally CarswellFirst, from Cally Carswell with High Country News, a look at OR7's new friend:

Against All Odds, Wolf OR7 May Have Found a Mate

OR7's lady-friend. Photo courtesy USFWS / Oregon Department of Wildlife.

On May 3, a wolf slipped through the frame of a remote camera in southwestern Oregon, a blur of black and brown. The next day, under the cover of darkness, it stared directly at a camera, eyes aglow, and did something ordinary that, under the circumstances, was an extraordinary sight: It squatted and peed. This was a she-wolf.

Her gender had big implications because a famous he-wolf, known as OR7, was right nearby. OR7 rocketed to celebrity in 2011, when he was two years old. He ditched his pack in northeastern Oregon that year and went where no wolf had gone for decades. He traveled south through Oregon, crossing I-84 and four U.S. highways, and became the first wolf known to have been west of the Cascades since 1947. Then, he slipped over the border into California, giving his species a presence in that state for the first time in almost a century... Read more.

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BrianBienkowskiAnd, from Brian Bienkowski with Environmental Health News, the scoop on some new scientific jewelry:

Armed with Arm Candy: Bracelets Can Detect People's Chemical Exposures

Wristbands are the accessory of choice for people promoting a cause. And the next wave of wrist wear might act as a fashionable archive of your chemical exposure.

Researchers at Oregon State University outfitted volunteers with slightly modified silicone bracelets and then tested them for 1,200 substances. They detected several dozen compounds – everything from caffeine and cigarette smoke to flame retardants and pesticides.

“We were surprised at the breadth of chemicals,” said Kim Anderson, a professor and chemist who was senior author of the study published in Environmental Science & Technology.

Beginning with Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong, the cheap, colorful, rubbery wristbands have been a popular fad over the past decade in promoting charities and other affiliations.

Anderson initially tried to use silicone pendants attached to necklaces to test for contaminants. But then, at a football game she saw “all kinds of people, even burly men” sporting wristbands. That’s when the idea hit her.

Silicone is porous and acts similar to human cells, so once chemicals are absorbed by the wristband, “they don’t want to go back to the water or the air,” Anderson said... Read more. 

Bienkowski_Clark_wristbands

Earth Month, Day 13: Four-part Lake Series

Today on Earth Month, a dynamic duo of alumni present a four-part series examining threats to the quality of Wisconsin lakes, and ambitious new efforts that seek to improve them.  Also, how can you not love the incredible quote they got to lead off the story?

“There are no trends in the lakes. The lake water quality is not getting better. It’s not getting notably worse. It’s as if the interventions we’re doing are just holding the line, running in place like the red queen in Alice in Wonderland.”             - Steve Carpenter, University of Madison

 

Kate GoldenJessica VanEgerenWithout further ado, here's Kate Golden, with the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, and Jessica VanEgeren with The Capital Times, partnering up to bring you:

 

Murky Waters

PART 1: BEACH BUMMER Yahara beach closures highlight algae, bacteria threats statewide

PART 2: MANURE MESS Manure digesters seen as best hope for curbing lake pollution, but drawbacks remain

PART 3: URBAN POLLUTION Leaky sewer pipes could export viruses to lakes

PART 4: CHALLENGES AHEAD Lake scientists to Kegonsa: Lower your water quality expectations

A experimental boom surrounded Madison’s B.B. Clarke beach in 2010 to keep out algae, though it ended up being closed June 24 for high E. coli levels. Algae and bacteria are the prime causes for beach closures throughout the Madison area and the state. Mike DeVries/The Capital Times