The emerald ash borer’s devastation of ash trees in forest and cities is the subject of a website produced by a Knight Center student for her masters project.
The goal of the project by Kelly van Frankenhuyzen is to understand the impact of the insect in Michigan and Ohio. The website is geared toward middle school science students with the idea of engaging future generations in citizen science and in the skills and knowledge needed to protect natural resources.
She worked with two Forest Service scientists in Delaware, Ohio, to learn how some trees survive the insect next to those that do not.
The website was part of her internship with the U.S. Forest Service Northern Research Station in Lansing, Michigan. Using multimedia skills gained at MSU and her internship, she wanted to reach middle school audiences with audio podcasts, video and photo stories that the researchers and experts shared.
When van Frankenhuyzen started her internship, she was unaware of the issue, but liked the idea of working with scientists, students and landowners to get a full picture of how destructive this pest really was.
She studied at Michigan State University’s Environmental Journalism and reported stories for the center’s Great lakes Echo news service.
van Frankenhuyzen has lived in Sitka, Alaska, and has a strong desire to work in small communities reporting on environmental issues, such as seafood and parasites, mercury content or radiation on the food sources. Her desire to travel and tell important stories is a driving force in finding a job after graduation.
She has been an MSU studence since beginning her masters in the fall of 2015. She has attended various conferences and presented some of her work at the Broadcasting Education Association in Las Vegas, worked with the Global Center for Food Systems Innovation as a research assistant and as photojournalist for the State News, MSU’s school paper.
The skills she learned in her jobs, core classes and internships has given her a new perspective on journalism and the broad skills it requires, she said. She particularly enjoyed interviewing scientists and experts about the emerald ash borer and creating audio podcasts.
Audio is like a mental theater for listeners to help them get up close and personal with the expert and learn something new, she said.
The website is at http://ash.kellyvanfrankenhuyzen.com