I’m thrilled and honored to have won two first-place awards in the Society for Professional Journalists’ 2013 Top of the Rockies contest! My High Country News cover story on forest mortality in the West, “The Tree Coroners,” won the science reporting category for print pubs with circulation between 30 and 75K. And my other cover story of the year, “Farming on the Fringe,” about the struggle of farmers in Colorado’s San Luis Valley in the era of diminishing water supplies, won the agriculture reporting category. I’m also proud of Sarah Jane Keller, who took first place in the environmental reporting category for her story, “A groundwater legacy on the rocks,” about regulatory rollbacks in New Mexico, which I had the pleasure of editing last summer and fall. And congrats, also, to my colleague Jonathan Thompson, who took first place in the blogging category, for the remarkably accessible and engaging pieces he writes on energy and economics for HCN.org. Y’all are awesome.
I’m also excited to be back to blogging for HCN, after a brief hiatus while I made my move to New Mexico. Check out my most recent post, on an exciting new development in the Mojave Desert. Scientists think they’ve found a spot where Joshua trees are marching north with the changing climate. If this is, indeed, the “leading edge” of this iconic species, it could provide great insight into one of the biggest questions the trees face: As their historic habitat becomes inhospitable, can they move quickly enough to new terrain to remain on the map in significant numbers? Photo: Joshua trees in the Tikaboo Valley, north of Las Vegas, where scientists think they’ve discovered the species “leading edge.” Courtesy Flickr user Jeremy Yoder.