Fund for Environmental Journalism Announces Winter 2011 Grants

January 12, 2012 — Thanks to a major grant from the Grantham Foundation, and generous donations from individual members and friends of the Society of Environmental Journalists, SEJ was able to award $11,707 to seven journalism projects in the Winter 2011 grant cycle of the Fund for Environmental Journalism (FEJ). Congratulations to the winners:


Brian Sewell

Appalachian Voices
Project to be conducted by Brian Freeman Sewell, Managing Editor, and Molly Moore, Associate Editor
Boone, NC, USA
$1,780 for travel and document-access expenses to produce a newspaper story about the Buffalo Creek disaster and the complex history of mountaintop mining in Appalachia

Mr. Sewell's articles, "Rembering Buffalo Creek" and "Reclaiming Appalachia: Can Legislation and Enforcement Restore Mountains?" may be found on the Appalachian Voices website.



Francesca Lyman

Francesca Lyman
Kirkland, WA, USA
$600 for travel expenses to produce magazine and online stories about the future of suburbia and the American dream in the Great Recession and the era of shrinking cities and peak oil

Ms. Lyman's article, "The Conversation: Our New Lots in Life," was published on The Sacramento Bee's online news site on June 24, 2012.

Please also read Lyman's cover article on climate change, "Sandy's Hidden Warning," written for the Winter 2013 edition of the SEJournal, a quarterly news magazine of the Society of Environmental Journalists, produced by journalists for journalists.

More work by Francesca Lyman may be found on her website and on, the latter of which she is also managing editor.



Stephanie Ogburn

High Country News
Project to be conducted by Stephanie Ogburn
Paonia, CO, USA
$917 for travel expenses to produce a story and accompanying multimedia for print and online environmental news services about evolutions in fighting invasive cheatgrass in Nevada

Link to article:

"Great Basin Scientists Unleash New Weapons to Fight Invasive Cheatgrass", (High Country News), May, 2012

More about Stephanie Ogburn:



Sue Heavenrich

Sue Smith Heavenrich
Candor, NY, USA
$750 for travel, telecommunications and document-access costs to produce three articles on the impacts of fractured oil and gas drilling on farms, farmers, and the food supply in New York

Link to a completed article:

"Fracking the Farm", New York Organic News, Spring 2012



Christopher Weber

Christopher Weber
Chicago, IL, USA
$2,237 for travel and survey expenses to produce magazine and newspaper articles and a possible book about the impact of urban farms on local economies and environmental quality in Philadelphia, Seattle and Milwaukee

Links to some completed articles:

"Counting the Harvest: How Numbers Can Save Urban Gardens",, Aug. 28, 2012

"Growing Power Scores $5mil to Feed Our Nation's Hungriest Cities",, Sept. 18, 2012

"Overgrown: What Happens When Urban Farms Get Too Big?",, Oct. 18, 2012

"Perfume Uses Local Ingredients to Bottle Windy City's Essence",, Nov. 5, 2012

More about Chris Weber:


Valerie Wigglesworth

The Dallas Morning News
Project to be conducted by Valerie Wigglesworth
Richardson, TX, USA
$3,488 for soil-testing expenses to produce newspaper and online stories in multimedia about lingering lead contamination from secondary lead smelters affecting two North Texas cities

Links to some completed work:

"The Burden of Lead",, Dec. 2012

More from Valerie Wigglesworth:




Please consider making your own donation today, to help SEJ build the Fund for Environmental Journalism and support new work! Many in this field are adapting to disruptions in their employment and new methods in media; yet they remain steadfast in their goal of providing our communities every day with information that enables understanding and stewardship of the planet’s precious environmental resources. If you would like to help experienced environmental journalists to continue producing rich, rigorously investigated and unbiased content, please make a gift on SEJ's secure website.