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

Most of the state is under some type of high wind advisory today. And, the strongest gusts are yet to come.

Winds have been blowing throughout the day at around 40 miles per hour. But weather officials expect them to pick up significantly by this evening.

Chris Outler, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Flagstaff, said, "Just east of Flagstaff in the Doney Park area tends to be the most susceptible to high winds and that’s where we’re expecting to see some of the strongest gusts today possibly exceeding 60, maybe 65 miles per hour”

Second Chance Center for Animals

This is the time of year when a puff of smoke on the horizon can raise the hair on the back of your neck. Is it a prescribed burn? Or is it the makings of the state's next massive wildfire? Arizona has experienced two of the largest forest fires in recorded state history in the last decade. And, as Arizona Public Radio's Gillian Ferris Kohl reports, the onset of fire season has a lot of Arizonans on edge.

Flagstaff resident Lisa Skinner grew up in a household of firefighters and has been ready to evacuate her whole life.

The Grand Canyon is a hiker's paradise. Millions of people come from all over the world each year to walk the Canyon's steep trails. Californian Flood Hefley is one of those people. Over the last forty years, Hefley has done more than 100 solo hikes in the Grand Canyon, logging nearly three thousand miles on the trail. Along the way, he discovered a wealth of historical information that he's compiled into a new book entitled, "Grand Canyon Trivia Trek: An Intrepid Rim-to-Rim Historical Journey". He spoke with KNAU's Gillian Ferris Kohl about the book.

Gillian Ferris Kohl / KNAU

Two high school students from Flagstaff, brothers Haydn and Winston Fredrickson, have just won a very prestigious science award. Out of hundreds of entries from dozens of countries, the Fredrickson's design for a space colony won the NASA Space Settlement Competition.

Illegal immigration has become one of the most controversial topics in the country in recent years. It's widely debated among politicians, advocacy groups, law enforcement and others. But a voice that's seldom heard in the dialogue is that of unauthorized immigrants themselves. Now,  new book reveals what it's like to live in the U.S. without legal status told from the point of view of those living the experience.

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.