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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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Former Echo reporter scores another national award, gives success formula

Upending the Basin static

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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Upending the basin: Making data dance

Upending the Basin static

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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PSA: Mercury – It’s in the fish

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Mercury has found its way not only into our households, but also into our aquatic environment, according to this public service announcement from the Michigan Department of Community Health. “A person’s susceptibility to being harmed by the mercury in fish depends on their age, current health status, genetics, and chemical exposure history,” said Christina Bush, a health department toxicologist. “Given this complex set of factors, it is not known how much mercury it would take to harm any given individual. MDCH issues Fish Consumption Guidelines to help people choose fish that are low in mercury and safer for consumption by everyone, including pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and young children.” The state hosts a website where these guidelines are available. Continue Reading →

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Transparency wouldn’t satisfy Joe Rossi, how about you?

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Many reporters of my generation went into journalism because of the Watergate scandal. Holding public officials accountable – public service journalism – was the attraction then. So, too, were Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman in All the president’s men, the movie version of that story. Me? I was more of a Lou Grant kind of guy. Continue Reading →

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