Melissa Sevigny

Science & Technology Reporter

Melissa grew up in Tucson, Arizona, where she fell in love with the ecology and geology of the Sonoran desert. She has a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Arizona and an M.FA. in Creative Writing and Environment from Iowa State University. Her first book, Mythical River, forthcoming from the University of Iowa Press, is about water issues in the Southwest. She has worked as a science communicator for NASA’s Phoenix Mars Scout Mission, the Water Resources Research Center, and the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. Melissa relocated to Flagstaff in 2015 to join KNAU’s team. She enjoys hiking, fishing and reading fantasy novels.

Jeff Servoss/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The U.S. Forest Service must reexamine a plan for allowing cattle to graze near Fossil Creek on the Coconino National Forest. A court has ruled the current plan jeopardizes habitat for the threatened Chiricahua leopard frog.

Melissa Sevigny

New research supports the long-held hypothesis that the Grand Canyon is as young as six million years. That’s what geologists originally believed before a different study claimed it was tens of millions of years older.

The study was conducted by geologists at Arizona State University. It compares the western Grand Canyon with the Grand Wash Cliffs. It found that the canyon is steeper than the cliffs, which suggests erosion started more recently.

Kevin Schindler

When NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft flew by Pluto yesterday, KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny was patched into mission operations in Maryland. She was talking to some of the Flagstaff scientists who were there to celebrate the big event. It was a reunion for past and present planetary scientists of Lowell Observatory, where Pluto was discovered 85 years ago. 

NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute.

Tomorrow NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft will make its closest approach to Pluto and collect the first-ever close-up images of the dwarf planet. In Flagstaff, where Pluto was discovered, scientists will be waiting to analyze those photographs and other data. But they’re not the only ones. Artists are creating their own interpretations of Pluto, and they’ll use New Horizons for inspiration. 

G. Andrejko, Arizona Game and Fish Department

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed removing the Hualapai Mexican Vole from the list of endangered species. Genetic evidence suggests their numbers are more widespread in Arizona than previously believed.

The Hualapai Mexican Vole was originally listed in 1987 as a subspecies confined mainly to the Hualapai Mountains in the northwestern corner of Arizona. Now researchers question whether that designation is correct.   

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