A selection of Midwest Dispatches

After Children Began Getting Sick by the Dozens, Parents Took a Hard Look at Their Town’s Toxic Legacy” The carcinogen TCE has been lurking in the ground beneath Franklin, Indiana, for decades. Now families are demanding answers. May 2019

A Coal-to-Diesel Refinery Is the Last Straw for These Hoosiers” The air in southwestern Indiana is bad enough without the emissions from yet another proposed polluter. February 2019

A Tribe in Northern Minnesota Shows the Country How to Do Community Solar” Photovoltaic panels on the Leech Lake reservation are generating clean power—and revenue to help those who need it most. December 2018

“Why Do We Like Being Scared” New York Times for Kids, October 2018 (not available online)

Stopping a Dakota Access Pipeline Leak in Under 10 Minutes? A Fairy Tale, Say the Standing Rock Sioux” In a recent report, the tribe picks apart the pipeline company’s emergency response plan. May 2018

The Impact a Wisconsin LCD Plant May Have on the Great Lakes Is Not Crystal Clear” The state is allowing Foxconn to take water from Lake Michigan, but what might the company leave behind? April 2018

Will Calling Out Indiana’s Super-Polluting Power Plants Lead to a Cleanup?” A recent study found that the state is home to four of the country’s most polluting power plants. But elected officials won’t even show up to hear their constituents’ concerns about it. January 2018

How Fish Autopsies Help in the Fight Against Asian Carp” Dead fish tell many tales—but can they persuade authorities to strengthen Lake Michigan’s defenses against these ecological saboteurs? October 2017

Read more here

A selection of more stories

The world needs topsoil to grow 95% of its food – but it’s rapidly disappearing” Without efforts to rebuild soil health, we could lose our ability to grow enough nutritious food to feed the planet’s population. The Guardian, May 2019

Could Mammoth Bones Reveal When Humans First Arrived in North America?” Paleontologist Dan Fisher is challenging scientific consensus about when people first came to the continent and how they may have changed the world around them. Sapiens, May 2019

US farmers count cost of catastrophic ‘bomb cyclone’ in midwest” With grain stores ruined and many fields still under water from last month’s extreme weather, producers are facing devastating losses. The Guardian, April 2019

Get ready for tens of millions of climate refugees” Researchers are creating models of where people will move when climate shocks hit, but so far we’re just making educated guesses. MIT Technology Review, April 2019

How Field Museum Scientists Protected a Swathe of the Amazon” For decades, museum staff has studied a megadiverse stretch of forest in Peru’s northeast. Now, it’s a designated national park. Chicago online, March 2019

Q&A: Escalating battle over Minnesota mine puts spotlight on studies of potential impacts” Sciencemag.org, November 2018

These Surfers Are Taking on U.S. Steel” Surfers on Lake Michigan are getting sick, and they think they know why. Outside online, October 2018

Clever use of public data could sidestep new ruleScience, May 2018

One of Illinois’s Most Experienced Biologists Has Lessons for the Future” From urban coyotes to raccoon latrines, Chris Anchor has spent three decades studying wildlife for the Cook County Forest Preserve, gaining a breadth of knowledge few in his field can match. Now he’s trying to pass it on. Chicago online, April 2018

Snakes That Eat Other Snakes Could Help Birds in the South” By restoring the country’s indigo snake population, scientists hope to bring balance to ecosystems—potentially benefiting songbirds. Audubon, March 2018

Global climate science group ponders effort to recruit more female authorsScience, March 2018

Collecting Down in a (Polar) Bear Market” A warming Arctic could be trouble for the eider duck—and for the Inuit communities that collect its insulating feathers. Hakai, November 2017

In Chicago, Controlled Fires Are Helping to Restore Crucial Bird Habitat” The burns, conducted by Audubon Great Lakes and others, stave off invasive plants while spurring new growth at sites across the region. Audubon, Summer 2017

8 Medical Inventions Created by NursesMental Floss, May 2017

More Immigrants, Bigger Smiles and Frowns” People are more likely to wear their emotions on their sleeves in countries with a strong history of immigration. Scientific American Mind, November 2016

Study finds criticisms of the Endangered Species Act unfounded” Sciencemag.org, December 2015

Looks Fishy, Tastes Fishy. But Where’s the Fish?” For vegetarians, allergy sufferers, and the epicurious among us, chefs are getting creative with seafood substitutes. Science Friday, July 2015

Bye-bye Golf Courses, Hello Nature Preserves” The Great Recession had at least one silver lining for wildlife: Golf courses are being turned into natural protected places. Audubon, September 2013

Urban Farms Sprout Across the Country” Gray asphalt and abandoned lots in cities are being turned into farms as city dwellers grow fruits and vegetables in the shadow of skyscrapers. Audubon, March 2011

Band of Brothers” Not even a tragic accident could derail two young men’s inspiring project to study one of North America’s least-understood birds. Their groundbreaking research is helping ornithologists understand how to help these birds as a warming climate alters. Audubon, May 2010