The Tenacious Invasives WIN!
Cheatgrass. Yellow star thistle. Spotted knapweed. Tamarisk. Camel thorn. Syrian bean caper. As former and current High Country News interns, we have learned all too well the environmental impacts of such invasive weed species – those scratchy ankle-stabbers, crowders-out of native plants, suckers of water, bearers of wildfire, foilers of wildlife and cattle. But we’ve learned to respect them too, for they are resilient, versatile and nearly un-killable. In other words, they’re botanical bad-asses. And in a contest of mountain climbing and fundraising, every thorny adaptation will be necessary to reach the top.
A High Country News intern alum has offered the intern program a generous $10,000 donation – provided that the rest of us, parsed out into teams like this one, can raise enough money to match the sum. We hope to raise $2,000 (or more!) towards that goal, so we’re asking you to sponsor us on a climb to the top of Paonia’s monolithic, 12,000-foot Mount Lamborn. There are prizes, too: Every donor who gives at least $75 will win a chance at twenty-five $75 Mountain Khaki gift cards.
The intern program, we think, is a worthy investment. It was operative in launching many of us into rewarding journalism careers, and some of us even into positions as High Country News editors. So please donate today, and help us scrabble our tenacious way to the summit so that we may ensure others continue to benefit from the same incredible learning experience long into the future.
Meet the team:
Syrian Bean Caper, a.k.a. Sarah Gilman, blew into her HCN internship in early 2006 from nearby Aspen, Colo., where she had been lying dormant in a Forest Service bunkhouse after a storm and sunblasted season on an alpine trail crew. The editorial flogging she endured from Jodi Peterson, Matt Jenkins and Jonathan Thompson and the reporting skills, story-sense and goofy humor they instilled in her formed the foundation of her career in journalism, first as a beat reporter for the Aspen Daily News and later as associate editor at HCN, where she edits and writes short stories and features, and flogs the next generation of interns and fellows as current coordinator of the intern program.
Bromus tectorum Ogburn (Stephanie; invasive cheatgrass) sneaked
in on some mule hooves to Paonia as an intern in 2006. Since then she's
been spreading out all over the West, working as a reporter in southwest
Colorado and in Oakland, California. Under the guidance of Jonathan
Thompson, with whom she shared a desk, and Greg Hanscom, who occupied
the corner office and managed to be both scary and supportive, Stephanie took
on challenging new reporting topics and even wrote a feature
investigative story for the magazine. She's been using the storytelling
and reporting skills she learned at High Country News ever since, most recently as the magazine's online editor.
Ferocious Bufflegrass Brocious (Ariana) found her way to Colorado from the desert of southern Arizona. The solid six months of real experience in reporting, researching, writing and yes, even fact-checking, combined with tough-love editing from HCN staffers, deepened her knowledge and passion for high-quality journalism and her love of the West. She's still kickin' around HCN's hometown in her current position as News Director for KVNF Community Radio, based in Paonia.
When Cally "feral swine" Carswell (yes, she knows pigs aren't technically weeds, but they're invasive, too!) arrived in Paonia in the summer of 2009, her omnivoristic tendencies were immediately evident. She produced video and audio stories for HCN.org, and survived a crash course in writing for the good-ol'-fashioned print magazine. Her internship ended that winter, but Cally stuck around and multiplied: She was HCN's first editorial fellow, a position that has since been filled by four more hungry reporters. Cally is now the magazine's assistant editor, produces its monthly podcast, and regularly evangelizes on behalf of the intern program, which she believes is among the best training opportunities in journalism.
Hounds Tongue, a.k.a Neil LaRubbio, still takes cues from all of HCN's editors as a 2012 intern and soon to be editorial fellow. He chases every story like a deer hound slobbering after bull elk while the editors whistle for another fact to check, another question to answer, another idea to develop, another word to cut. By the end of December, he should be able to report without commands.
"Asiatic witchweed," a.k.a. Arla Shephard, was an intern in summer-fall '09. The lessons she learned at High Country News inspired her work as a reporter for the Shelton-Mason County Journal, leading to an award in environmental reporting from the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association. She now writes for the Kitsap Sun in Bremerton, Wash.
Help us meet our goal and donate to the High Country News Intern Fund!