Ashley Ahearn | KUOW News and Information

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 MIT, Vermont Law School, the Metcalf Institute at the University of Rhode Island and the Institutes for Journalism and Natural Resources. 

You'll hear her stories on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, The World, Marketplace, Here and Now and other public radio programs. 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. In her spare time Ashley enjoys riding vintage motorcycles, snowboarding and hiking in the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges of the Northwest. 

Ways to Connect

A Norway rat shot with a pellet gun in the alley behind University Book Store in Seattle. There are more rats in Seattle, and warmer climate means a longer breeding period -- and therefore more rats.
KUOW Photo/Mike Kane

Seattle has a rat problem. Rat sightings in Seattle are double the national average. Population growth is part of the problem; so is the weather.

That’s meant good business for Adam Truitt, owner of Pest Fighter.

Advocates for a healthier Puget Sound have long contended that it needs to be treated as a nationally significant water body, just like the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay.

Such recognition, they say, will attract more money and attention for improving the Sound’s environmental health.

Ben Silesky, 26, and Sydney Allen, 21, go door to door to raise awareness and support for ballot Initiative 732, which would put a tax on carbon emissions in Washington.
KUOW Photo/Ashley Ahearn

If you could make energy companies pay $25 for every ton of CO2 they emitted, would you?

What if that tax increased your electric bill and the cost of gasoline by 25 cents per gallon – but the revenue from that tax reduced sales taxes and gave money back to low-income families in the form of a rebate?

Growing up on a farm in the rural hills of Uganda, Carol Bogezi knew that fending off predators was critical to her family’s survival.

They used bows and arrows to keep monkeys from eating their vegetables and wild cats from harassing their goats. But beyond the predator-prey dynamics, there were complicated human dynamics to deal with, as well. Her father had three wives and 17 children so Carol often sought peace and quiet out in the fields where she’d watch antelope frolic and study the different types of plants and grasses.

KUOW environment report Ashley Ahearn speaks with Carol Bogezi about how growing up on a farm in Uganda lead her to studying human-carnivore relationships at University of Washington and working with ranchers and wolves in Eastern Washington. Bogezi is the recipient of a $100,000 award for environmental leadership from Seattle’s Bullitt Foundation.

A federal jury in Seattle has awarded a former BNSF Railway worker, and whistleblower, more than $1.6 million.

In 2010, Curtis Rookaird alerted federal officials that his employer had told him to forego an important brake test on a train carrying oil and hazardous materials. He was later fired.

A coal mine operation in Wyoming.
EarthFix Photo/Katie Campbell

The Lummi Nation’s Tribal Chairman Timothy Ballew pulled fellow council member Travis Brockie into his office to announce the big news:

He’d just gotten off the phone with Col. John Buck of the Army Corps of Engineers.

The U.S.S. Bear, a cutter that was dispatched by President McKinley to rescue the Belvedere and other ice-bound whaling ships. The Bear wasn’t able to break through the ice to Point Barrow until July 28, 1898. Today, there is no ice.
U.S. Library of Congress

Audio Pending...

When the steamship Belvedere left San Francisco in the spring of 1897, its crew members couldn’t have known what a treacherous voyage awaited them.

A ship moored at the Port of Tacoma not far from the proposed site of the largest methanol plant in the world.
KUOW Photo/Ashley Ahearn

It wasn’t long ago that Tacoma was known for its distinctive industrial smell, the so-called “aroma of Tacoma.” But in recent years, as more young people move to the city, the arts and cultural scene has flourished, some say eclipsing the city’s industrial past.

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.

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.