Gillian Ferris

Managing Editor

Gillian came to KNAU in 2001 as a freelance reporter. Her first story won an Arizona Associated Press Award. Since then, Gillian has won more than a dozen Edward R. Murrow Awards for feature reporting, writing and documentary work. She served as the local anchor for NPR’s Morning Edition for 8 years before moving into a full time reporting position in 2012. Gillian covers everything from environmental issues to sports, with a penchant for human interest stories of all kinds. When she’s not working, Gillian revels in the natural world and is an avid hiker, skier, swimmer, river runner and surfer. She also enjoys making fancy cakes and reorganizing her collection of fabulous shoes… 70 pairs and counting.

Ways to Connect

Arizona voters head to the polls tomorrow to decide on an Education Finance Amendment, Proposition 123. It would settle a lawsuit brought against the state by public schools for failure to increase K-through-12 funding based on inflation during the recession. It would also give a $3.5-billion-dollar cash injection to public schools over the next 10 years. More than 60 percent of that money would come from the State Land Trust, given to Arizona upon statehood in 1912 as a means to generate revenue for schools. Opponents of Prop 123 say the settlement jeopardizes the land trust and should be paid entirely out of the state’s general fund. Supporters believe it’s an immediate opportunity to pump money into K-through-12 education. Both sides admit it’s a short term plan to the issue of school funding. KNAU reached out to voices on both sides of Prop 123. Morgan Abraham, a Tucson investment advisor and the chairman of the No on Prop 123 campaign, spoke with Arizona Public Radio’s Gillian Ferris. Flagstaff City Councilman, Jeff Oravits supports the amendment and spoke with Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius. 


The Telepoem Booth

Apr 22, 2016
KNAU/Gillian Ferris

This April marks the 20th anniversary of National Poetry Month. Arizona-based writer and artist Elizabeth Hellstern created a special public art installation for the occasion, The Telepoem Booth. It combines the vintage technology of a rotary phone booth with the modern technology of mp3 files. Hellstern recorded more than 200 poems - read by their authors - and programmed them into a 7o's-era phone booth. All you have to do is look in the Poem Directory and dial. The Telepoem Booth is currently set up on a sidewalk in downtown Flagstaff. That's where Arizona Public Radio's Gillian Ferris caught up with its inventor and produced this audio postcard.


Ryan Singer

The 10 year wait for the 7th film in the epic Star Wars series has come to an end. "The Force Awakens" opened this week in theaters across the world. The intergalactic saga has pulled-in generations of fans since its debut nearly 40 years ago. Its social impact is huge. Ryan Singer knows that. Raised on the Navajo Nation, Singer's vibrant paintings blend the landscapes and characters of both the Navajo reservation and Luke Sykwalker's home planet, Tatooine. He told Arizona Public Radio's Gillian Ferris he's been thinking about Star Wars since the first time he saw it.


US Forest Service

The Arctic  - made up mostly of thick boreal forests - is arming faster than any other place on Earth. Over the last 10,000 years, forest fires there have become larger and more frequent. Biologist Michelle Mack studies Arctic fire history at Northern Arizona University's Science Lab. She's concerned the carbon dioxide released through intense fires in Arctic ecosystems is accelerating climate change.


Navajo Nation Government

Navajo Nation officials in Utah have declared a state of emergency following a string of recent suicides among young people.


themash.com

The House of Representatives has passed a bill that paves the way for thousands of seasonal federal employees to be considered for full-time merit-based jobs. As Arizona Public Radio's Gillian Ferris reports, the measure applies to land management workers, including wildland firefighters.

Navajo Nation EPA

The U.S. and Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agencies have entered into an historic agreement aimed at reducing pollution at a tribal wastewater treatment facility. As Arizona Public Radio's Gillian Ferris reports, the settlement marks the first time a tribally-owned entity has paid a penalty for violating the Navajo Nation Clean Water Act.

Sierra Club/Brune Family

This summer, millions of Americans are packing up their cars and heading out on road trips to visit national parks and monuments. Michael Brune is one of them. Brune is the Executive Director of the Sierra Club, one of the world's first large-scale environmental preservation groups. He told Arizona Public Radio's Gillian Ferris that while the trip is - first and foremost - about showing his children the beauty of the land he works to protect, Brune is also meeting with Veterans along the way to talk about the healing power of nature.

Cornell University Library

In a couple of weeks, the country will celebrate Independence Day - the commemoration of freedom from British rule. Today, however, marks the worldwide celebration of another Independence Day, "Juneteenth". It commemorates the Emancipation Proclamation of 1862 and the nearly 3 year delayed notification to many former slaves that they were, in fact, free. It was a time when rebellious slave holders relocated their operations to more remote parts of the country, including the Southwest, so they could continue to practice slavery illegally. Tomorrow, a group of students and faculty at Northern Arizona University will host a Juneteenth celebration, and in this audio postcard they share with us what freedom means to them.

Arizona Highways

Every day this week, we've been hearing from some of the people closest to last year's Slide Fire in Oak Creek Canyon. We've checked in with investigators, evacuees, emergency responders and firefighters. And today, we hear from two fire scientists about the ecological recovery of the burn area. We start with Rory Steinke, Watershed Manager for the Coconino National Forest and leader of the Burn Area Emergency Response Team.

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