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Know the West

New adventures and new faces

As spring blooms in Paonia, more visitors come to the office.


Spring is here, the crocuses are blooming, and the days are getting longer with each passing sunset. We’re looking forward to new adventures, even as some of us have just returned from outings.

In mid-February, editorial fellow Emily Benson embarked on a 28-day rafting trip with her spouse, Erika Rader, and 11 others in the Grand Canyon. Their crew (which included plenty of HCN friends) experienced “the full gamut of weather,” Emily said, including “snow, hail, rain, wind, blowing sand, and of course plenty of sun.” Emily has accepted the job of assistant editor. At HCN, she’ll continue reporting on water and other issues while learning the fine art of web editing, photo research and other essential tasks. Congratulations, Emily!

In early April, we welcomed Chris King as our new digital marketer. Originally from Prescott, Arizona, Chris moved to Paonia in 2013, drawn by the area’s untouched beauty, he said. He’ll be helping us with digital outreach and data analysis. When he’s not working, he likes to play the drums, tinker with his 1967 VW beetle, mountain bike and hang out with his wife, Olivia King, who owns Sugar Fix, our local homemade doughnut operation.

Chris King is HCN’s new digital marketer.
Brooke Warren/High Country News

Also in April, longtime HCN contributor Eric Wagner published a new book, Penguins in the Desert. In 2008, Wagner spent six months with conservation biologist Dee Boersma and her team in Punta Tombo, Argentina, where Boersma has spent three decades studying one of the world’s largest penguin colonies. The book is as much about life in the field as it is about the impacts of climate change and development on the bird’s dwindling population.

A few visitors stopped by in March, including Marshall Swearingen, who interned in 2013 and is famous for planting a resilient peach tree in the backyard of the intern house. Marshall is largely responsible for creating HCN’s online archive. (If you haven’t visited it, it’s worth a look.) He’s living in Livingston, Montana, and works for Montana State University in Bozeman, where he writes for the university’s news service.

Other visitors included Cameron Riley, a school bus driver and photographer in Fort Collins, and Greg Krush, who runs a wholesale landscaping tree farm. They stopped by on a spring break road trip around the Southwest. The two, both subscribers and donors, commented on the dry conditions: “It’s scary, dry, dusty,” Krush said. They also picked up tips on handling donors in their volunteer work at KRFC, Fort Collins’ community radio station.

We’d like to thank local photographer David Keegan, who donated a photo of the Butte Pasture Yak Ranch in Crawford for our April fundraising campaign.

Finally, we have a correction: In “The primordial sea, and me” (HCN, 3/19/18) we incorrectly stated the water composition of an adult male human. It’s 60 percent water.