SEJ's Fund for Environmental Journalism Announces Winter 2016 Grantees

SEJ's Fund for Environmental Journalism awards
$19,835 in story project grants in FEJ Winter Cycle 2016-2017


SEJ’s Fund for Environmental Journalism has awarded $19,835 for six new story projects selected through the FEJ’s Winter 2016-2017 round of competition. Coverage grant categories included "The Politics and Economics of Renewable Energy in the U.S." and “Biodiversity and Climate-Change Impacts in North America.”


Congratulations to the grantees!


SEJ Fund for Environmental Journalism Winter Round grantees with story projects now going forward include:


Elaine Anselmi (Up Here Magazine | for “Open Waters: Global Warming Threatens Critical Arctic Habitat.” SEJ’s grant will cover travel expense, translation and guides for research and production of print and web articles.

Elaine is the associate editor of Up Here magazine in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. She has worked across the country as a tree-planter and journalist — first heading to the Canadian North for an internship while studying journalism at Humber College in Toronto. She gradually made her way back up, working for various magazines and newspapers along the way.

FEJ-funded project:


Brian Bienkowski (Environmental Health Sciences | for “Pig Power: Biogas’ Surprising Health Potential.”  SEJ’s grant will cover travel, graphics and multimedia costs for research and production of web features, podcasts and print articles.

Brian serves as editor of Environmental Health News and its sister site, The Daily Climate. He was part of the reporting team that won an Oakes Award honorable mention for EHN's 2012 series, "Pollution, Poverty, People of Color." He also won 2013 and 2014 awards for Outstanding Beat Reporting from the Society of Environmental Journalists for his coverage of the Great Lakes region at EHN. As a graduate student Bienkowski served as a reporter and assistant editor at Great Lakes Echo. He has contributed to newspapers throughout Michigan, as well as local and national magazines. Prior to attending graduate school he worked in manufacturing and urban agriculture. He holds a master’s degree in environmental journalism and a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Michigan State University.

FEJ-funded project:


Scott Dance (The Baltimore Sun |  for “Green Energy, Brown Air.” SEJ’s grant will cover costs of documents, videography and travel expense for research and production of print and web features.

Scott Dance covers the environment for the Baltimore Sun. Some of his stories have explored the impact of sea level rise on Chesapeake Bay marshland and barrier island beaches; the consequences of Baltimore’s troubled efforts to stop sewage leaks into waterways; and changes to Maryland policies encouraging renewable energy development. He previously covered science for the Sun and energy, health care and technology for the Baltimore Business Journal.

FEJ-funded project:


Yana Kunichoff, Michelle Kanaar and Kari Lydersen (freelance for MidWest Energy News, others)  for “3-State Comparison: Transition to a Green Economy.” SEJ’s grant will cover photography and travel expense for research and production of web features.

Yana Kunichoff (far left) is an independent journalist and documentary producer based in Chicago. She has written about housing, immigration and politics for The Guardian, Al Jazeera America and others, and her recent piece about police unions won the Sidney Hillman prize for investigative reporting. Michelle Kanaar (center) is an independent photojournalist who regularly publishes work on labor, environment and social justice issues for publications including the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, the Miami Herald and the Chicago Reporter. Kari Lydersen (right) is a Chicago-based reporter specializing in energy, the environment, labor, public health and immigration issues, and the myriad and complicated way such topics intersect, as well as a staff writer for Midwest Energy News.

FEJ-funded project:


Oscar Lopez Gibson (freelance, multiple publications) for “The Slow Dying of America’s Great Barrier Reef.” SEJ’s grant will cover travel, photography, guide and equipment hire for research and production of magazine articles.

FEJ-funded project:


Rachel Waldholz (Capital Community Broadcasting | KTOO, as lead station for the Alaska Energy Desk) for “Alaska’s Renewable Revolution.”  SEJ’s grant will cover travel for a radio and video series for research and production of website and broadcast features to be distributed statewide and nationally via public radio and public television.

Rachel Waldholz covers energy and the environment for Alaska's Energy Desk, a collaboration between Alaska Public Media, KTOO in Juneau and KUCB in Unalaska. Before coming to Anchorage, she spent two years reporting for Raven Radio in Sitka. Rachel studied documentary production at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, and her short film "A Confused War" won several awards. Her work has appeared on Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Marketplace, among other outlets. More.

FEJ-funded project:



All Fund for Environmental Journalism Grantees retain full authority over editorial and publishing decisions. Through its FEJ program, the Society of Environmental Journalists maintains a firewall between news decisions and sources of grant support. Independent and separate agreements are maintained between SEJ and FEJ grantees and between SEJ and donors whose generous contributions make unique journalism projects possible.

Contribute now to SEJ’s Fund for Environmental Journalism and help sponsor future grant opportunities.


Thanks to the following generous foundations and many individual donors for making this cycle of grants possible:

Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
The Energy Foundation


Back to FEJ Grantees main page


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