Terri Cook and Phil McKenna awarded EGU Science Journalism Fellowship


Credit: Left – Cheryl McCutchan

The European Geosciences Union (EGU) has named journalists Terri Cook and Phil McKenna as the winners of its 2016 Science Journalism Fellowship. The support will allow Cook to look into how artificial floods are used to support sustainable water development, while McKenna will report on how trees and buildings can weaken seismic vibrations.

Cook says: "It's an honour to be selected for this fellowship, which I will use to travel to Switzerland to visit the Spöl River. This is one of the world's best models of a successful, long-term strategy for using dams, which have traditionally disrupted river ecosystems, to intentionally unleash floods intended to restore them. I look forward to learning more about the efforts of the many scientists and managers who have worked together to restore this and other European rivers."

McKenna will use his support to "report on ongoing efforts to understand how trees, and potentially buildings, could act as seismic metamaterials, materials that can cancel or redirect damaging earthquake waves," he writes in his winning proposal. McKenna will travel to France to watch researchers deploy a network of seismometers in a remote location, half in an open field and half inside a forest, to find out if trees can diminish simulated earthquake waves.

Terri Cook is a science and travel writer based in Boulder, Colorado, US. She has a background in geology and has published more than 60 features about geology, ecology, and the environment in ScienceNews, Scientific American, NOVA Next, Eos, EARTH, among others, as well as three popular geology books.

Phil McKenna is a freelance science journalist who has written for publications such as the New York Times, Smithsonian, New Scientist, NOVA Next and InsideClimate News. In 2013 he wrote a feature for MATTER on the climate-change implications of natural gas emissions from aging pipelines under US cities, which won two science journalism awards.


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