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!

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Dispatches from the Road: Shale Country

The intrepid Shale Country crew is on the road, and they’re already seeing and learning about lots of exciting things!

For up-to-the-minute updates about what they’re doing, follow us on Twitter  @IJNR_connect,  hashtag #IJNR_shale. You also should check out this blog, Exploring the Shale: Promise and Peril, by Fellow Pat Bywater, who is posting updates from the road.

Here’s a Storify synopsis of what they’ve been up to so far:

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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:

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

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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:


Posted in Development, Earth Month, Economics, Fisheries, Health, Journalism, Legislation, News from Fellows, Oceans, Politics, Pollution, Public Lands, Technology, Water, Wildlife | Leave a comment

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.

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 centuryRead more.


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 saidRead more. 


Silicone in wristbands absorbs chemicals. Researchers used modified ones to test people’s exposure to 1,200 substances, such as flame retardants and cigarette smoke. (Photo Alexa Clark/flickr)

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