David Poulson

David Poulson is the editor of Great Lakes Echo. He also is the associate director of Michigan State University's Knight Center for Environmental Journalism where he teaches environmental, investigative and computer-assisted reporting. Before coming to MSU in 2003, he was a daily newspaper reporter and editor for 22 years, a period when he mostly covered environmental issues in the Great Lakes region. He is on the advisory boards for Michigan Sea Grant and MSU's Environmental Science and Policy Program and on the board of directors for the Society of Environmental Journalists. test

Recent Stories

New NWF chief to focus on education, outreach, engagement

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The National Wildlife Federation has a new president and CEO. Collin O’Mara was recently in Michigan for an environmental tour of the Detroit Area, and stopped by Current State. For a CEO, he’s fairly young at 30 years old. Current State’s Melissa Benmark asked him what environmental values he brings to this position that might be different than someone in their fifties or sixties. O’Mara says he’s going to try engaging more citizens with nature in a personal way in order to overcome urgent conservation challenges. Continue Reading →

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Fireflies in southern Michigan

Image: Ken Scott

Photographer Ken Scott captured these fireflies streaking through the night sky near Willis, Mich., with a series of photos taken over 40 minutes. The technique of merging multiple short exposures into one eliminates the possibility of overexposing the ambient light such as that coming from a nearby city, said Scott, a Suttons Bay professional photographer. It also captured one of the beetles trundling across the ground and flashing its light.  Scott said it wasn’t until he posted the image that he noted the insect’s ground trek from the lower right corner of the frame. “Yeah, that bugger was a bonus!” he said. Continue Reading →

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Former Echo reporter scores another national award, gives success formula

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A former Echo writer has won national recognition for a series of environmental stories about the Great Lakes. Brian Bienkowski, now a reporter and editor at Environmental Health News, received second place in a beat reporting category in the contest sponsored by the national Society of Environmental Journalists. The series is called Stories of the Great Lakes’ People, Places and Creatures. Bienkowski, a 2012 graduate of the Michigan State University’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, also received the same award in the same contest last year. While at MSU, he received the center’s Rachel Carson Award for outstanding environmental journalism graduate student. Continue Reading →

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A deeper dive into Lake Erie’s pea-green soup

Water 'buffalos,' like this one provided by the Ohio National Guard, kept Toledo residents supplied with drinking water during the recent 3-day water crisis. Image: Karen Schaefer

Karen Schaefer, an independent public radio journalist based in Ohio who has been covering algae blooms in Lake Erie for years, reported on the recent Toledo water crisis for Great Lakes Echo. Here she gives deeper background on the development of the threat posed by algae and what may lie ahead. Additional stories here. This report first appeared on WKAR’s Current State public affairs program and is produced as a partnership with Great Lakes Echo.   Continue Reading →

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Michigan voters favor changing energy mix – especially if it doesn’t cost anything

Otto E. Eckert Station, a coal-fired power plant in Lansing, Mich. Photo: Jennifer Kalish.

More than 42 percent of Michigan potential voters think the state should dramatically reduce its reliance on electricity generated from coal over the next 25 years as technology improves and costs decrease for other sources, according to a recent poll by Public Sector Consultants. But only 13 percent favor a dramatic drop in coal-produced electricity over the next 10 years, even if it means electricity rates were to increase, according to the poll of 600 likely voters done by the Lansing public policy company and Denno Research. Poll respondents were told before answering:

“Michigan produces 57 percent of its electricity from coal, 11 percent from natural gas, 22 percent from nuclear, and 10 percent from renewable energy sources. Of these sources, coal is the source that produces the greatest amount of carbon emissions, a component of climate change. As you think about balancing Michigan’s energy needs with the price of electricity on one hand, and the environment on the other, which of the following statements comes closest to your beliefs?” Continue Reading →

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Mosquitoes triple

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If you live in Michigan it seems like every summer is a time to complain about the mosquitoes being really bad this year, but how bad are they, really? Current State talked with Ned Walker about this year’s mosquito crop and some of the issues connected to mosquito-borne illness. He’s a professor in MSU’s Department of Entomology and the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. Continue Reading →

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Upending the basin: Making data dance

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Last week I covered the release of an animated model of an oil spill in the Straits of Mackinac. The greatest question it prompted in my mind: Why didn’t we do that? I’ll grant that the researcher who put that one together had studied Great Lakes currents for 30 years. Journalists aren’t going to replicate that kind of expertise. But journalists aren’t expected to generate the data. Continue Reading →

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