Dear friends

  • High fashion for fall: Heather Abel and Warren Cornwall

    Cindy Wehling

On to Wyoming

As hunters in camouflage toting bows and muzzleloaders converged on western Colorado in early September, the HCN staff worked overtime preparing for the 25th anniversary of the paper, in Lander, Wyo. We'll have a report in the next issue on the celebration and Western conversation. Meanwhile, to readers that included rancher Jake Kittle and anti-bovine writer George Wuerthner, we send thanks for your good wishes. It is an unusual publication that receives birthday cards.

On a starting-out note, we congratulate reader Logan Hebner on his forthcoming marriage to Angela Marie Frabasilio, and note that the couple, who live near Utah's Zion National Park, are registered for gifts at Anderson's Lumber.

We have suffered some lapses, kindly pointed out by readers. Wayne Houtcopper points out that a Research Fund drawing of the West as a small town with long streets misspelled Bismarck, N.D., and Andy Robinson tells us we turned the Arizona Daily Star into a Tucson paper.

Although Paonia may be well known in some circles as home to High Country News, those who work at the paper know it as a conservative town whose main economic activity is extracting several million tons of coal a year. So we were surprised to see a woman on Main Street wearing a T-shirt that read "Earth First." Beneath those words was a Mercator projection of the earth. And beneath that was a slogan that fits the town well: "Then mine the other planets."

Visitors bearing plaques

Rick and Heather Knight came to Paonia Aug. 30 to present the staff of High Country News with the 1995 Distinguished Achievement Award from the Society for Conservation Biology. The award was given "For dedicated service to nature conservation."

If not for a conflict with HCN's June board meeting, staff would have received the award at the society's annual meeting in June. Instead, we had to wait until Rick, a wildlife biologist at Colorado State University, and Heather, a staff member with The Nature Conservancy in Fort Collins, found an excuse to drive through Paonia. (They were on their way to a vacation in northern New Mexico.)

While the Knights were visiting with staff, a couple came into the office, looked around in bewilderment, and asked, "Is this the High Country Shopper?" We directed them down the street. Rick was delighted. He had read about the many calls and visits we get that are intended for the Shopper; now he'd witnessed one.

New interns

After a year of gardening with SLUG, which stands for the San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners, new intern Heather Abel was eager for a taste of rural living. Driving out of the San Francisco fog, she was prepared for a rural town, but 20 miles beyond Paonia she realized she'd driven right by it and had to head back.

Heather's drive east ended a year in San Francisco where she had a grant to study environmental justice. She spent time planting vegetables with kids from public housing, teaching composting in schools and editing the journal Race, Poverty, and the Environment. "The people I worked with and admired would not be considered environmentalists in the traditional sense," says Heather. "The teenagers never recycled their Coke cans, yet they knew where each of the toxic waste dumps was located in their neighborhood." Some of the sixth graders she taught were the children of migrant laborers who worked in the fields of central California.

Before her stint in San Francisco, Heather, who grew up in Los Angeles, studied at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, where she earned a degree in sociology.

New intern Warren Cornwall, from Boise, Idaho, is beginning to believe in karma. After a summer teaching writing to junior high school students in Washington, D.C., he now sits on the other side of the desk.

Warren sweated in classrooms without air-conditioning beside teenagers from the nonprofit Higher Achievement Program, which provides accelerated courses for talented kids from public schools. In spite of sauna-like conditions, the students caught on fast, he says. After reading George Orwell's Animal Farm, they staged their own classroom revolutions, complete with pamphlets, speeches and cries of "Viva la revolucion! Let the revolution begin!'

Warren's first introduction to writing for High Country News came five years ago, when he interned in Boise with Pat Ford, who was working as HCN's Northwest regional editor. Afterward, he returned to Wesleyan University in Connecticut to complete a degree in government and philosophy.

* Betsy and Ed Marston for the staff

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