How do you see the role of “Station Scientist” at your station, and how have you taken on that role?
I see the role of being a station scientist as being an ambassador; a bridge between the scientific community and the general public. A station scientist should be able to take ideas from current research and have a broad knowledge of different scientific areas because the public is certainly curious about nature, especially its interaction with weather and climate. However, some members of the public take that “I wonder” curiosity and keep it in the back of their head, never inquiring about it. Gauging the public’s interest and trying to focus a story on that is important to readers, especially if you can fuel that curiosity factor.
How do you use Earth Gauge information? Which topics or materials have you found helpful?
I use Earth Gauge information on a weekly basis in my weather column, known as WEATHERWATCH. Usually, I rotate between climate facts and numbers, but also sometimes mention new research and discoveries; if the issue is especially close to a local phenomenon, it will become a full news story in the paper. I also share information from Earth Gauge’s Facebook page on my own page and on my weather forecasting page.
Do you notice increased response from the public when you cover environmental science topics?
Many in our community do find the environment to have many fascinating concepts, especially how different plants, animals and entire ecosystems interact with the natural environment and how humans can alter the environmental impacts. When I am able to talk to readers, more questions do come up and give me ideas for other environmental science stories.
What is one issue that affects your local environment and how have you covered it?
I have devoted a lot of time to reporting on water quality as it has significant impacts on aquatic species, especially the eutrophication of blue-green algae on Lake Champlain, which has been exacerbated in recent years from excessive rainfall and polluted stormwater runoff. A local high school, in conjunction with the University of Vermont, performs tests on two local watersheds and coverage focuses significantly on their findings. I have also covered how acid rain can impact life in these local watersheds.
Where is your favorite local spot to spend time in nature and connect with your local environment?
There is a series of hiking trails that I have always enjoyed walking on in Hardwick, where one can search for many different types of birds, insects and amphibians. It’s a very peaceful place compared to the rest of the town and is very well maintained and preserved. Often times, you can find blue jay feathers, interesting species of fern or toads along the trail.