Monday, February 12, 2007

Environmental Journalism at its Best

Writing for one of our favorite publications, High Country News, Michelle Nijhuis has won a prestigious science journalism award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The prize was given for a series of three stories on climate change in the West. One of the stories, Save Our Snow, describes how Aspen is trying to come to grips with the reality of climate change. Another, The Ghosts of Yosemite, integrates history and the pioneering work of Joseph Grinnell in Yosemite National Park with current day research by biologists who are documenting the changing composition of species in the Sierra brought about by environmental shifts, including a warming climate. And a third story, Dust and Snow, describes the possible impact of a combination of increasing fallout of dust in the Colorado Rockies, perhaps from over-grazing in the Southwest, and increasing temperatures from global warming.

Michelle Nijhuis represents one of the very best in our profession. I urge you to check our her stories to see how she so deftly writes about technical subjects in a compelling and engaging way. As her editors once said of her, she "possesses both the mind of a scientist and the heart of a poet." And she understood early on that a rise in global average temperature doesn't really mean much. What really matters is what's happening on the ground in particular places, like Yosemite, and how people living in particular regions such as the West will be affected by a changing climate. Congratulations Michelle!

-- T.Y.

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