First, get up in the middle of the night and drive through the freezing December cold to a wildlife refuge in New Mexico about an hour down the interstate. Then, meet a caravan of biologists and volunteers at an abandoned restaurant right off the highway. When everyone has arrived, follow the line of traffic into the refuge. After you pass through the second gate, abandon … Continue reading How to catch a wolf
Everything I did on my summer vacation was free. Well, everything except for the daily bags of ice I purchased for my cooler from a groovy local café at $2.25 a pop. (Because heat). All of it was on public land in the West, and all of it was magnificent. On a mostly solo 10-day trip I hiked on the Continental Divide Trail, peered into … Continue reading Land of the free
The road stretched straight and flat before me, like you’d see in a sports car commercial or a Dennis Hopper movie. On either side, the land spread wide and open. Not quite flat–with a bit of a roll here and there–dotted continuously with juniper and other unidentifiable desert shrubs. I had been traveling out West for almost six weeks since leaving my home in West … Continue reading Where did the West go?
It’s that time of year again, so I’m reposting my seasonal rant against Rudolph. In the age of Trump, this originally lighthearted piece triggers a bit more of an ominous response. After all, we thought we had left some of this behind, didn’t we? Here goes: No, this isn’t an environmental screed. Rudolph and Santa actually seem to live a pretty low impact life in … Continue reading The illogic of Rudolph
It’s festival week as I write this, specifically; the 14th annual American Conservation Film Festival (ACFF). I’ve been involved with the fest for well over 10 years now (I’ve lost count), and pulling it off each fall is a year round effort. It starts right after the festival ends, typically with a well-earned celebration at a local bar where we review our numbers, pat ourselves … Continue reading One year, an impossible task
The timing seems almost surreal. Just a couple of weeks after my husband John and I visited the site of the proposed Birthplace of Rivers National Monument in West Virginia’s Monongahela National Forest, ferocious floods devastated the region. I had already submitted my feature on the proposed monument for the July issue of The Observer when the floods hit, and the issue reached the stands … Continue reading The birthplace of rivers floods
I love it when my local reporting for The Observer here in Jefferson County, West Virginia links to larger national (or international) issues. That’s what happened when I dug deeply into animal cruelty charges against a local farmer last year. Danny Rohrer had been a cornerstone of our weekly farmers’ market for more than a decade, and our community was stunned when sensational headlines about … Continue reading Reporting locally, thinking globally