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for people who care about the West

Catch-and-release at HCN


A new and very talented crop of interns has just joined HCN. They'll be here for the next six months, learning how a nonprofit media outlet works, and researching, interviewing and writing stories for us.

A recipient of the Boyden Wilderness Writing Residency, Nicholas Neely arrived in Paonia after six months in a remote Oregon cabin, working on a collection of essays about urban anglers in Rhode Island's Narragansett Bay. Nick has a bachelor's in environmental studies and literary arts from Brown University, and a master's in literature and environment from the University of Nevada, Reno. He's the founding editor of a creative writing journal called The LBJ: Avian Life Literary Arts (literarybirdjournal.org).

Nick grew up in Portola Valley, west of Palo Alto, Calif. He came to HCN to see "another corner of the West," and to write newsier pieces. Post-HCN, he's considering an MFA program and book project ideas.

Lisa Song ended a 13-year streak in Boston to come out West to High Country News. After earning her bachelor's degree in environmental science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she stayed on for a master's degree in science writing. That's where former intern Christine Hoekenga introduced her to HCN. So she left the City on a Hill for a town in the mountains. "I've never lived in a place this small," Lisa says.

Lisa's got the West at heart, though. Born in Beijing, she and her mother moved to Pullman, Wash., when she was 6. For her master's thesis, Lisa looked into land and water management in Pima County, Ariz., where she was intrigued by the pygmy owl, an aggressive little bird that's reshaping land-use policy in the region. While at HCN, Lisa plans to focus on multimedia reporting, which, she says, often feels more immediate: "It has the potential to tell a story entirely in someone else's words."

To that end, she'll be attending a weeklong training session in photography, audio and video this month through Chips Quinn Scholars, a program for young minority journalists. Then she'll come back and teach the rest of the HCN team -- or so we hope!

Rachel Waldholz escapes to HCN from NYC, where she recently helped start the Tremont Tribune, a monthly bilingual newspaper in the central Bronx. As the paper's first and only reporter, she wrote a number of articles about the borough's "fierce environmental movement," including its vibrant community gardens and the revitalized Bronx River.

A former pick- and chainsaw-slinger for national park trail crews in California and Texas, Rachel is excited to dig into the West once more — this time in search of the best stories. In her off time, she's eager to tromp around the Western Slope from Paonia, where, unlike the urban canyonlands of Manhattan, "you can walk to the end of the street and just keep walking."

Originally from New Jersey, Rachel was an English major at Barnard College. This summer, she plans to spend a month reconnecting with her creative-writing side on Washington's Whidbey Island through the Hedgebrook residency program.

Cally Carswell, who was among our last crop of editorial interns, returns to HCN this month as a full-time staff reporter. She'll be heading up our multimedia work, and will also write news stories. We're excited to have her back; as copy editor Diane Sylvain commented, "Once again, HCN's innovative 'catch and release' intern program proves effective — much to our delight!"

We're sad to be bidding adieu to assistant editor Marty Durlin. After more than two years of writing and editing at HCN, Marty left at the end of January to pursue her first love, theater. She wrote and produced an original musical last year, Babbitt (based not on the life of the former secretary of the Interior, but on the novel by Sinclair Lewis), and plans to enter it in a competition, as well as to create new musical plays. Best of luck, Marty; we'll miss you. 

Claudia Ebel and Jamie Rozaklis stopped by on a road trip from their home in Boulder, Colo. after a night of camping in single-digit weather. "It was so cold we slept in the car," said Jamie. He studies linguistics and speech pathology at the University of Colorado at Boulder; Claudia has a degree in international affairs, also from CU Boulder, and just returned from a trip to Central America.