Fresh faces and fresh powder

  • New interns Bryce Gray and Lyndsey Gilpin take a break to play in the snow.

    Brooke Warren

Over the past month, we’ve finally received our fair share of snowfall in Paonia, Colorado, and along with it welcomed our new interns, Lyndsey Gilpin and Bryce Gray. They’ll begin nearly six months of reporting, and (assuming we let them out of the office) they might even squeeze in a few outdoor adventures here on the edge of the West Elk Mountains.

 Despite brief journalistic stints in Chicago and Los Angeles, Lyndsey, 25, is a Kentuckian through and through, born, raised, educated and later employed in Louisville. Her family ties to eastern -Kentucky’s coal-mining communities helped foster her awareness of environmental and economic issues from an early age.

She brought that interest with her to the University of Louisville, where she worked for the student newspaper and regional publications and volunteered with a group opposed to mountaintop-removal coal mining. Seeking to merge her conservationist and journalistic interests, Lyndsey enrolled at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Chicago to focus on environmental reporting. “I would go to Chicago, and people didn’t even know what mountaintop removal was,” she says. “That’s what made me mad and made me want to communicate it to the rest of the country.” Since graduating in 2013, Lyndsey has covered renewable energy and the tech industry’s intersection with the environmental movement, most recently as a freelancer based in Los -Angeles.

Bryce, 27, was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and lived in North Carolina, Ohio and Voorheesville, New York. He attended Minnesota’s Carleton College, where he wrote for the college newspaper under an anagram pen name, Cy Grearby. A cross-country road trip in 2011 got him hooked on the West. That fall, Bryce bought a motor scooter and rode from Boston to Berkeley, California. In 2012, Bryce moved to Polson, Montana, to report for the Lake County Leader, which he eventually edited. There, he wrote about small-town life, the environment and, at least once, the legendary Flathead Lake Monster, Nessie’s long-lost American cousin. He also attended Medill, where he reported extensively on climate science, locally in Chicago and abroad in Greenland. Bryce graduated in fall 2015 and came to intern at HCN sans scooter. “I’m really excited to return to a small town in the West, this time with the opportunity to focus more exclusively on the stories that make the region unique and important,” he says.

January’s visitors were scarce, but Wayne “Wano” Urbonas stopped in for a tour all the way from Maui, Hawaii. Wano grew up on Colorado’s Western Slope, spent part of his life as a “ski bum in Telluride” and recently interviewed for a job at Citizens for a Healthy Community, an environmental organization in Paonia. He hopes to return to the land-locked West before too long. Thanks for stopping by, Wano!

Finally, a small correction. A recent “Heard Around the West” (1/25/16) worried over cars hitting two-ton cows, way too big for biological reality. Most cows would be between 1,300 and 2,200 pounds, or about one ton.

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