MIDDLEBURY, Vt. ? Administrators of the Middlebury College Fellowships in Environmental Journalism have announced the recipients for 2007. The newly established program, designed to support intensive, year-long reporting about environmental issues by journalists at the start of their careers, annually selects 10 journalists - two of whom are 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. The program is funded by an anonymous gift of $1.5 million.
Middlebury College Scholar-in-Residence in Environmental Studies Bill McKibben is the program director. He 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.
Selected fellows and their topics include: Sasha Chavkin, reporting on the effects of El Niño rain fall in the Bolivian Amazon; Carolyn Kormann, reporting on the effects of Andean glacial melting on downstream users; Phil McKenna, reporting on traditional water management in western China; Andrew Mombandiyani, reporting on illegal mining and forestry on rural agricultural and wild lands in Zimbabwe; Shadi Rahimi, reporting on wind farms on Native American reserves; Heather Smith, reporting on the strengthening of the honey bee gene pool by breeding with native stock; Els Van Woert, reporting on the fish the Arctic grayling and watershed management in the northern Rockies; Adam Welz, reporting on the diminishing returns of clearing South African land to raise crops for biofuel production; and Forrest Wilder, reporting on local corruption in promoting nuclear waste storage in rural Texas. One additional fellow will be named at a later date due to personal circumstances. Both Kormann and Van Woert are recent Middlebury College graduates, members of the classes of 2004 and 2005, respectively.
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.”