Middlebury

Middlebury College announces recipients of 2008 Fellowships in Environmental Journalism

June 27, 2008

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. ? Administrators of the Middlebury College Fellowships in Environmental Journalism have announced the fellowship recipients for 2008. This is the second year of the program, which is designed to support intensive, year-long reporting about environmental issues by journalists at the start of their careers.

Administrators annually select 10 journalists - including two Middlebury College seniors whose projects will contribute to senior work for the baccalaureate degree. Graduate Fellows receive $10,000 for research expenses and participate in weeklong residencies at Middlebury College in the fall and at Monterey Institute for International Studies in the spring. This year's visiting reporters will be Alan Weisman, author of "The World Without Us," in September, and Rebecca Solnit, who wrote "Hope In the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities," in April.  The program is funded by an anonymous gift of $1.5 million.

"The first year of the fellowship was a remarkable success," said program director and Middlebury College Scholar-in-Residence in Environmental Studies Bill McKibben. "Not only were all of the fellows great people, they produced a wide range of important stories, many of which are currently under consideration at major publications. We expect just as great things from these new fellows." McKibben is an author and former staff writer for the New Yorker, and his work appears regularly in Harpers, The New York Review of Books, The Atlantic Monthly and National Geographic. McKibben is joined by Associate Director Christopher Shaw, former editor of Adirondack Life magazine and the author of "Sacred Monkey River," a book about the Mexican rainforest.

This year's selected fellows and their topics include: Molly Loomis of Victor, Idaho, reporting on desertification and Tibetan nomads in China; Annie Murphy of La Paz, Bolivia, reporting on the effects of oil palm biofuel plantations on Afro-Columbian farmers; Alex Baron of Nanjing, China, reporting on China's Grand Canal and the north-south water transfer; Lygia Navarro of Oakland, Calif., reporting on forest loss in lowland Michoacan and its effects on campesinos; Joshua Canning of Shelburne, Vt., reporting on the restoration of traditional technologies in a remote Japanese valley; Mason Inman of Cambridge, Mass., reporting on flood planning and management in Bangladesh; Malia Wollan of Berkeley, Calif., reporting on the "Green Revolution" and the future of worldwide food production; and Catherine Price of Oakland, Calif., reporting on innovative methods for treating and using "bio-solids," or human fecal material.

The two Middlebury College seniors are: Kevin Redmon of Minneapolis, Minn., reporting on the philosophy and practical considerations for the recent Finch-Pruyn land purchase in the Adirondack Park; and Tim Reynolds of Bristol, Vt., reporting on the challenges and strategies for protected areas in southern China.

Fellows in the program were selected based on letters outlining their projects, according to McKibben. "We were looking for issues big enough to stretch people, to make them more able journalists," added Shaw. "The $10,000 stipend won't be enough, obviously, to support someone for a year, but it should give them the time and resources for a powerful project."

For more information about the Middlebury College Fellowships in Environmental Journalism, visit http://www.middlebury.edu/administration/enviro/fellowship/.