Fund for Environmental Journalism Announces Winter 2012 Grantees

Thanks to generous funding from the Grantham Foundation, and 55 members and friends of the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ), we are pleased to announce grants totaling $12,870 to five journalism projects selected in SEJ’s Fund for Environmental Journalism (FEJ) Winter 2012 grant cycle. In addition to the grant, SEJ will also provide mentoring support to any grantees requesting it.

The Society of Environmental Journalists launched the Fund for Environmental Journalism in 2010, to support reporting projects and entrepreneurial journalism ventures related to the environment. For the first time in its history SEJ began awarding small grants to both staff and freelance journalists, to cover costs of travel, lab testing, graphics development, website costs, and other budget items without which journalists might have been unable to produce and distribute specific timely stories about important environmental issues.

Congratulations to the grantees in the Winter 2012 cycle:


Maria Finn (pictured at left) and reporting partner Shannon Service (right)
Sausalito, CA
$1,220 for travel expenses to the San Francisco Bay Area to produce stories in print, video and audio on ways chefs and consumers can save the world’s threatened forage fish

Ms. Finn's article, "Herring on Menus of Bay Area Restaurants," was published in the San Francisco Chronicle on Feb. 17, 2013. Following the article, on Apr. 2, 2013, she was invited to speak at the Seattle Chef's Collaborative on why people should be eating herring and other small forage fish. Reporting partner Shannon Service's audio report, "Struggling Herring Make a Tiny Appearance," aired Feb. 22, 2013 and was also posted to the KQED Science website.

By Shannon Service:
"Tuna's Last Stand," aired on Public Radio International Jan. 1, 2013
"Shark Finning Seems Tough to Eradicate, even in Green Costa Rica" aired on Public Radio International Dec. 17, 2013

Other work by the reporting team:

"A Daring Dive Into the Wild Blue Off Costa Rica" published by the San Francisco Chronicle Dec. 2, 2013
"Achieving Slurpability: Hog Island Oyster's Battle against Ocean Acidity" published by Edible, Marin and Wine Country May 31, 2013 
Maria's Speaking Engagements Around Sustainable Seafood:
  • Sustainable Seas and Storytelling Panel,  SoCap Conference, San Francisco 2013
  • The Whole Fish, Eating Down the Food Chain, CUESA, Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market, San Francisco 2013
  • Diversifying Our Seafood Diets, California Academy of Sciences, Night Life, San Francisco 2013
  • Eat Like an Animal: Diversifying Seafood Choices, Seattle Chef’s Collaborative 2013
  • The Whole Fish Fisher Poets Gathering, Astoria, OR 2013
  • Herring Season, Sausalito Herring Festival, Sausalito, CA 2013
  • The Whole Fish: Waste in the Seafood Industry, 18 Reasons, San Francisco 2013
  • San Francisco Green Festival Moderator for panel Plundering the Oceans 2013

More about Maria Finn:

More about Shannon Service:


William Kelly
South Pasadena, CA
$3,500 for travel to and in China to research a book about that nation's "killer skies" and the complicity of the United States

Mr. Kelly's book written with Chip Jacobs about air pollution in China, People's Republic of Chemicals, was submitted for publication and is being edited for release in October 2014.

Articles adapted from the book are scheduled to run on Inside Climate News in 2014.

"China's Plan to Clean Up Air in Cities Will Doom the Climate, Scientists Say" Inside Climate News Feb. 13, 2014

"US Trade Deals From the 90s Set Up China as a Pollution Haven" Inside Climate News Mar. 6, 2014


Christopher Ketcham
Brooklyn, NY
$2,100 for travel to complet a magazine piece on the sustainability of the Colorado River in an increasingly thirsty Southwest

Mr. Ketcham’s funded work was the cover story of the April 2014 issue of Harper’s Magazine, "Razing Arizona: Will Drought Destroy the Southwest."

Mr. Ketcham also agreed to be interviewed for the fall 2014 issue of Crain's Newspro about the value of the Fund for Environmental Journalism to career journalists, "Fund for Environmental Journalism: Bridging the Gap," by Elizabeth Jensen, September 2014

Other work by Mr. Ketcham may be found on his website: Includes "How to Kill a Wolf,", March 13, 2014; "This Land Was...,", Jan/Feb 2014; "What the Deer Are Telling Us," Nautilus, April 2014; "The Troubling Case of Chris Hedges,", June 2014; and "Taming the Wilderness,", Sept/Oct 2014.


Kari Lydersen
Chicago, IL
$2,550 for travel to the Great Lakes Region and London, to produce a magazine piece and possible book on hard-rock mining, and to report from a pertinent international annual shareholder meeting, respectively

At the global shareholder meeting of Rio Tinto in London, Ms. Lydersen met with visitors from around the world impacted by operations of Rio Tinto and the mining company Anglo American, which was also holding its shareholder meeting. The trip resulted in two stories for GlobalPost, a story for Earth Island Journal and a story for In These Times magazine, as well as material for a future book or long-term project. Here are links to all of the funded stories:

"Religious Groups Keep an Eye on Global Mining Giants," GlobalPost, April 27, 2013

"Activist Shareholders Represent Victims of International Mining Projects," GlobalPost, May 14, 2013

"No Discussion on Some of Rio Tinto’s Most Notorious Operations at Shareholder Meeting," Earth Island Journal, April 19, 2013

"Mining Giant Sued Over Silicosis Epidemic," In These Times Magazine, May 1, 2013

"Deep Miner: One Mistake and You’re Dead," In These Times Magazine, May 28, 2014

"Despite Promised Jobs, Desert Town Opposes Giant Copper Mine," In These Times Magazine, June 11, 2014


Ari Phillips
Austin, TX
$3,500 for travel to and in Australia to produce print and online media about how that nation is confronting the challenge of climate change

Ari travelled to Australia and New Zealand for a total of two months from July 5th through September 5th. Following are links to stories he wrote while on this trip. In addition, all of his stories were published by, where he now works as a staff reporter. Links to funded stories:

How A Ragtag Group Of Australian Activists Is Fighting The Excesses Of A Multi-Billion Dollar Natural Gas Industry” published on ClimateProgress Aug. 2, 2013

Meet The 25-Year-Old Prepared To Spend 10 Years In Jail To Stop Coal,” published on ClimateProgress Aug. 21, 2013

An Inside Look At Living In One Of The World’s Most Sustainable Cities,” published on ClimateProgress Sept. 10, 2013

To Satiate The World’s Demand For Cell Phones, We’re Turning New Zealand’s Pristine Coast Into A Strip Mine,” published on ClimateProgress Sept. 13, 2013

Climate Change’s Silver Bullet? Our Interview With One Of The World’s Top Geoengineering Scholars,” published on ClimateProgress Sept. 6, 2013

Boomtown On The Great Barrier Reef: How Fossil Fuels Turned A Sleepy Australian Community Upside Down,” published on ClimateProgress Aug. 7, 2013 



To learn more about the FEJ grant program, including applicant eligibility and submission guidelines, or to see information and links about past grants, please go to the Fund for Environmental Journalism web page. We are currently fundraising for future grant cycles. Please consider making your own donation today, to help SEJ build the Fund for Environmental Journalism and support new work! 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.

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