Dear friends

  • Summer interns Allison Gerfin and Stephanie Paige Ogburn

    Kerri Brown


Having worked as a bicycle messenger, Wall Street broker, jeweler, car detailer and welder, Allison Gerfin is ready to try her hand at something new: an internship at High Country News.

Allison wandered between the Atlantic and the Pacific coasts for a number of years, from New York City to Portland, Ore., and then to Bangor, Maine. On her last trip west a year and a half ago, she didn’t quite make it to the Pacific. Instead, she ended up working as a copy editor in Grand Junction, Colo., where she fell in love with the arid inland West. "The desert really educates you," she says. After a few months here in Paonia, Allison plans to return to Portland and the rapidly rusting Chevy she left behind. She hopes to put both her old welding and her new writing skills to use as she fixes up her Nova and looks for a job.

Stephanie Paige Ogburn says her summer as an HCN intern will be a welcome change from pursuing a master’s degree in environmental science at Yale. Stephanie is concentrating on social ecology because "environmentalists tend to leave out the human side" in their focus on the land, she says. With two other students, she recently started SAGE, a magazine with an accessible and sometimes irreverent environmental message.

Stephanie has spent two summers working in Colorado, where the state’s dryness led her to curtail her own water use. (She still takes showers, though — they’re just shorter.) During a year of teaching fourth grade in Edinburg, Texas, near the Mexican border, Stephanie decided she wanted to know "America’s second language," so she went to Guatemala to attend Spanish school.

After her stint at HCN, Stephanie plans to help teach an environmental writing class back at Yale.


Peter and Katherine Montague founded the Southwest Research and Information Center in 1971 to provide New Mexicans with scientific, legal and journalistic expertise on environmental issues. Over the years, the center’s Albuquerque-based staff has helped communities understand subjects ranging from uranium mining to coal gasification to the Waste Isolation Pilot Project. HCN board member Annette Aguayo edits SRIC’s newsletter, Voices from the Earth.


Subscriber Wendell Duffield, a retired volcanologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, sent us a note regarding HCN Publisher Paul Larmer’s story about Gale Norton’s departure (HCN, 4/3/06: Norton departs): "During my very satisfying 30-year career with the USGS, I watched and worried as the once rightfully proud organization, noted for its excellent science, seemed to skid toward satisfying politicians rather than being allowed to pursue the unvarnished truth. Now, I read in Larmer’s story ‘Norton Departs’ that the USGS is no longer even a ‘major agency’ of the Interior Department." (Larmer listed the BLM, the Park Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Reclamation, but forgot USGS.) "Apparently the trip to unimportance and insignificance in the realms of earth and planetary science has been completed."

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