Ashley Ahearn

Environment Reporter

Year started with KUOW: 2011

Ashley is the environment reporter at KUOW and part of the award-winning regional multimedia collaborative project EarthFix. Before joining KUOW Ashley was a producer and reporter for Living on Earth, a nationally aired environment program from Public Radio International.

She has a master's degree in science journalism from the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California and has completed reporting fellowships with Vermont Law School, the Metcalf Institute at the University of Rhode Island and the Institutes for Journalism and Natural Resources. She also serves on the board of the Society of Environmental Journalists. In her spare time Ashley enjoys riding vintage motorcycles, snowboarding and hiking in the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges of the Northwest.

Ashley has completed reporting fellowships MIT with Vermont Law School, the Metcalf Institute at the University of Rhode Island, and the Institutes for Journalism and Natural Resources. Her work has received national and regional awards from the Online News Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Society of Environmental Journalists and others. 

Ways to Connect

For decades, a growing number of consumers have turned to organic produce as a healthier alternative to vegetables and fruits grown with chemical pesticides and fertilizers.

It turns out that organic crops are better suited for farmlands subjected to drought conditions, according to a study published today in the the journal Nature Plants.

This story was updated at 6 p.m. PST

The City of Seattle is suing Monsanto for manufacturing a cancer-causing chemical that's contaminating the city's Duwamish Waterway.

Monsanto was the sole producer of the chemicals PCBs from the 1930s through the ‘70s. They were used globally to make coolants, paints, lubricants and for other industrial purposes. PCBs also served a fire protection and safety protection for the electrical and other industries, according to the company.

Activist Michael Lapointe at the BNSF Railway blockade in September 2014.
Rising Tide Seattle

Five climate change activists who blocked an oil train in Everett were convicted Friday of trespassing – but the jury gave environmentalists something to celebrate anyway.

Activist Michael Lapointe at the BNSF Railway blockade in September 2014.
Rising Tide Seattle

Five environmental activists who chained themselves to train tracks in Everett to protest oil and coal trains begin trial in Snohomish County District Court on Monday.

The activists face criminal charges alleging they trespassed on BNSF Railway property and blocked an oil train for eight hours on Sept. 2, 2014.

Snohomish PUD's early designs for marine turbines that would have been part of a tidal energy pilot in Puget Sound.
COURTESY OF SNOHOMISH COUNTY PUD

A Washington utility has surrendered its federal license to install tidal turbines at the bottom of Puget Sound.

The Snohomish County Public Utility District wanted to put two turbines on the bottom of Puget Sound near Whidbey Island. But at the very end of last year it gave up its federal license.

A budget deal that’s heading for final action Friday includes a provision that could create international demand for American oil — and help make the case for building rail-to-ship export terminals on the West Coast.

Lake Washington and Mount Rainier from O.O. Denny Park in Kirkland.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

It’s not in your head. Seattle's Lake Washington is getting warmer and more comfortable to swim in every year. And it’s not the only lake experiencing a rapid rise in temperature.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, one of the 'super-nationals,' with a solar installation in Paris.
Washington State Governor's Office

The Paris climate talks have shifted the spotlight to a group of international leaders dubbed “sub-nationals” -- but one of those leaders from the Pacific Northwest prefers a different title.

A coal-fired power plant in Wyoming. Burning coal is the world’s leading source of carbon pollution and it has a direct impact on global climate change and the future of the world’s oceans.
MICHAEL WERNER

A voter initiative that would put a tax on carbon emissions has gathered enough signatures to put it on the ballot in 2016.

NOAA scientist Jeff Hogan uses a long pole to attach a 'D-tag' to an orca near Rosario Strait in the San Juan Islands in 2012. One side of the tag is lined with octopus-looking suction cups, the other bears a tiny antenna.
Ashley Ahearn, KUOW/EarthFix (all photos collected under NMFS ESA Scientific Research Permit #16163)

Boat speed is a big problem for Puget Sound’s endangered killer whales, according to new research published Wednesday.

Shane Underwood (left) and his son, David, stand at the Quinault Indian Nation’s seafood plant in Taholah, Washington. The loss of the largest glacier that feeds the Quinault River and rising seas are threatening the tribe’s way of life.
Ashley Ahearn, KUOW/EarthFix

TAHOLAH, Wash. - A big question is confronting international leaders in the Paris climate talks: How do they help poor, island and coastal nations threatened by rising oceans, extreme weather and other climate change-related risks?

In the Northwest, sea-level rise is forcing a Native American tribe to consider abandoning lands it has inhabited for thousands of years.

International leaders gathering in Paris to address global warming face increasing pressure to tackle the issue of "climate refugees." Some island nations are already looking to move their people to higher ground, even purchasing land elsewhere in preparation.

In the U.S. Northwest, sea-level rise is forcing a Native American tribe to consider abandoning lands it has inhabited for thousands of years.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee.
Facebook Photo/Governor Jay Inslee

Bill Radke talks to KUOW environment reporter Ashley Ahearn about what Washington Governor Jay Inslee and other local leaders are doing in Paris for the UN climate summit.

Crows fly from all over the Seattle region to reach their nighttime destination, where thousands upon thousands of them spend the night together.
KCTS9 Photo/Ken Christensen

Listener Lauren Linscheid of Seattle sees crows flying every day toward Lake City Way. “I want to know where they’re going and why,” Lauren told KUOW’s Local Wonder team. We sent reporter Ashley Ahearn to investigate.

William Ruckelshaus in a 2012 file photo. Ruckelshaus was named a Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient in 2015.
KCTS9/EarthFix Photo/Katie Campbell

Environmental elder statesman William Ruckelshaus may not have decided where to display the Presidential Medal of Freedom he will be receiving at a White House ceremony Tuesday, but he has decided how to have a little fun with it.

“Well I’ve threatened my wife to wear it outside my suit coat in the daytime and inside my pajamas at night so it wouldn’t hit her in the face when I turned over,” joked the 83-year-old Ruckelshaus before admitting he really doesn’t know what he’ll do with the medal, one of 17 being awarded.

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