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We’re in Western North Carolina, off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville. It’s peak leaf season. I’m audibly panting up a steep incline, spearing leaves and wet dirt with my hiking poles and feeling a little nauseous.

Today, my partner and I are on the Snowball Trail, climbing to Hawkbill Rock. My conditioning is gone after months of working from home in Florida. I’m half-consciously scanning my memory of this trail’s online reviews and trying to remember if they promised a “payoff” or “views.”

As my mind drifts to what I’ll post on Instagram later this afternoon, I remember a…

(Blogged in June 2016)

I am listening to my takeoff song. It helps to have routines.

Flying causes me unspeakable terror.

I maintain a mental list of strategies for escaping planes. I heard that airlines can fine you the cost of an emergency landing, particularly if you’ve caused a criminal disruption. So you gotta do it between boarding and taxi. I plan on a loud, dramatic panic attack. I will wheeze and gasp for air, and perhaps the crew and fellow passengers will assume I am having an asthma attack or some other legitimate health crisis. But the power of…

(Published May 2021 as part of the Environmental Justice Media Intensive)

When Krizia López Arce awoke on a September morning three-and-a-half years ago, her hometown of Ponce looked like a shell of itself. Where billboards once greeted residents and visitors in the southern Puerto Rican city where López Arce grew up, the sky was bare.

“I remember me thinking, ‘Wow, this is not normal,’” she said.

At its peak, the storm sustained 155 mph winds. “Something is happening with the environment, with the climate, that is affecting us more now,” López Arce said.

In 2017, Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck…

(Published December 2020 on WUFT)

Pratibha Singh says the most beautiful time of the year is when the sandhill cranes come flying into Gainesville.

Pratibha Singh scopes out birds from the Paynes Prairie observation tower. (Photo courtesy of Pratibha Singh)

Singh now works as an admissions coordinator at the University of Florida’s College of Business, but years ago she was trained as an officer in the Indian Forest Service. She completed field work in the Himalayas and eventually became director of the Kanpur Zoo in Uttar Pradesh.

While she was excited to be surrounded by animals all day, “running a zoo was more like running a business,” she says. …

I wrote about Gainesville’s birders last year. In this lil audio story, I become one myself.

Jenn Hayes

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