Detroit River Institute Dispatch from the Road: Day 2

Detroit River pic day 2The 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!

Posted in Agriculture, Development, Economics, Energy, Environmental Justice, Fisheries, Health, Institutes, Invasives, Legislation, Pollution, Public Lands, Water, Wildlife | Leave a comment

Detroit River Institute Dispatches from the Road, Day 1

Detroit River pic day 1

The Detroit River crew is on the road, and is learning a ton already!

Check out this Storify synopsis of their first day, which included environmental justice, air and water pollution, a visit to the largest wastewater treatment plant in North America, and meetings with representatives of the US EPA, Michigan DEQ, Sierra Club, Marathon Petroleum, the Michigan House of Representatives, the Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice, the city of Detroit, the University of Michigan, and local citizens.

 

Posted in Development, Economics, Energy, Environmental Justice, Health, Journalism, Legislation, Politics, Pollution, Public Lands, Technology, Water | Leave a comment

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

 

Posted in Agriculture, Development, Economics, Energy, Environmental Justice, Fisheries, Health, Institutes, Journalism, Legislation, Politics, Pollution, Public Lands, Technology, Water, Wildlife | Leave a comment

Institute Announcement: Detroit River

The Detroit River and downtown skyline. Photo courtesy Flickr user rexp2

The Detroit River and downtown skyline. Photo courtesy Flickr user rexp2

IJNR invites applications for its Detroit River Institute, an expenses-paid learning expedition that will explore natural resource, agricultural, economic and human health issues in and around Detroit, Michigan. Content of the fellowship program will be relevant not only to journalists in the Great Lakes Basin, but to those working throughout North American cities as well. Radio, television, print and online journalists of all ages and experience levels are eligible to apply.

While the agenda for the Detroit River Institute is still being completed, current planned stops will introduce journalists to:

  • The Detroit River, which holds the hopes of a proposed redevelopment highlighting its ecological and economic comeback, while also bearing the burden of outflow from one the nation’s largest single-site (and most problematic) wastewater treatment plants.
  • Life in the 48217 zip code, a neighborhood of Arab, African-American and Latino residents surrounded by heavy industries like steel plants and the Marathon Petroleum refinery. The EPA’s toxicity score for the area is 45 times higher than the state average, leading to myriad health and environmental justice concerns.
  • Eastern Market, a historic urban marketplace working to not only connect consumers to locally grown, fresh food but to also procure some of that food from Detroit’s urban gardens and help inner-city agriculture flourish in the city.
  • The city planners, farmers and organizations working to grow and organize Detroit’s urban agriculture landscape now that unused land is plentiful and official zoning regulations are on the books.
  • Ford Motor Company’s Wayne County Plant, where the industry that gave birth to “Motor City” is attempting to reinvent both itself and the technology that made Detroit possible by building new electric and hybrid cars and planning for a much different auto industry future.

These are just a few of the issues currently being considered for an Institute that will use Detroit as its hub and visit several locations both in and around the city over the course of four to five days. The trip may also include programming like: Lake St. Clair dredging and its impact of Great Lakes water levels and the shipping industry; Belle Isle, the newly created Michigan state park in downtown Detroit, and the move to adopt more “deconstruction” versus demolition of abandoned houses.

Posted in Agriculture, Climate, Development, Economics, Energy, Fisheries, Health, Institutes, Journalism, Legislation, Politics, Pollution, Technology, Water | 1 Comment

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

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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. )

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

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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!

Posted in Development, Economics, Energy, Institutes, Journalism, Mining, News from Fellows, Pollution, Public Lands, Technology, Water | Leave a comment