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

The famous pack mules that carry supplies and people in and out of the Grand Canyon have back pain, as you might imagine. One man is on a mission to make the lives of these beasts of burden a little less painful.

When Rene Noriega retired a few years ago after a long career as a Border Patrol agent, he took what — for him — was the next natural step.

Gillian Ferris Kohl / KNAU

This weekend, New York City’s Carnegie Hall will host a choral festival with a decidedly northern Arizona flare. Three local choirs are performing for the first time at the famous theater. And, as you might imagine, it’s a very big deal for this group of small town singers. 

Zach Mabes is a tenor with the Flagstaff Master Chorale. And ever since he found out he’d be performing at Carnegie Hall, he’s been putting in a lot of rehearsal time at the music building at Northern Arizona University.

Tom Brownold / Tom Brownold Photography

Anyone who’s ever hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back knows the trek is usually followed by a couple of days of sore muscles. But, no creature probably knows that better than the Canyon’s legendary pack mules. For more than 100 years, they’ve been hauling supplies and tourists in and out of the Grand Canyon. And now, one man is bringing them some relief. Arizona Public Radio’s Gillian Ferris Kohl reports.

When Rene Noriega retired a few years ago after a long career as a Border Patrol agent, he felt there was only one thing to do next.

In the late 1880s, a silver strike turned the dusty town of Tombstone, Ariz., into a cosmopolitan hot spot. There were casinos, oyster bars and shops filled with the latest Paris fashions.

But when the silver ran out, Tombstone almost died. Only one thing has kept it alive for the past century: the 1881 shootout at the O.K. Corral, re-enacted daily.

 Today marks Arizona’s 100th anniversary of statehood. And throughout this centennial year KNAU will bring you stories of some of Arizona’s most notable events, places and characters. This morning, we start with Wyatt Earp. He became a legend in the late 1800’s after the infamous gunfight at the OK Corral in Tombstone. Since then, Earp has captivated the imaginations of people all over the world, including Hollywood filmmakers. Arizona Public Radio’s Gillian Ferris Kohl brings us the story of how Wyatt Earp secured Arizona’s place in silver screen history.

The History of the Ice Cream Cone Runs Deep in Flagstaff

Today, KNAU begins a series on summer foods with a northern Arizona twist. Our first story focuses on the history of the ice cream cone, which, as Arizona Public Radio's Gillian Ferris Kohl reports, has deep ties to Flagstaff.

Tough Tomatoes

L. Garvie / ASU

The Center for Meteorite Studies at Arizona State University has announced the acquisition of a new and very rare sample for its collection...a freshly fallen Martian Meteorite. It will soon be the centerpiece of an exhibit at ASU. Meenakshi Wadhwa is the director of ASU's Center for Meteorite Study and she spoke with Arizona Public Radio's Gillian Ferris Kohl about why this rock is so special.

 The installation phase for a pipeline that will bring drinking water to some of the Navajo Nation’s most remote communities is about to begin. Arizona Public Radio’s Gillian Ferris Kohl reports.

Installation will start this spring on the Navajo Gallup Water project on the eastern edge of the Navajo Nation in New Mexico. It’s the cornerstone of a 2005 water settlement between the tribe and the federal government over use of waters from the San Juan River. Pat Page is with the Bureau of Reclamation, which is managing the project.

  Flagstaff Mayor Sara Presler only has a few months left in office before stepping down from the position. But, as Arizona Public Radio's Gillian Ferris Kohl reports, Presler's already found her next job.