What a Week!

Sometimes there are weeks where you work 8 hours a day every day and feel like you didn’t accomplish a single thing. This was not one of those weeks. This was one of those weeks when the stars align and projects that have been going on for years – in one case, over a decade – are suddenly… done. Which is amazing, but also a little weird? Monday: I completed copy edits for a new environmental science book, coming out Spring 2020 with Kids Can Press. It is both the hardest and the best thing I’ve ever written and...

Top Five Signs It Might Actually Be Spring

Yesterday was the vernal equinox – the day with equal hours of light and darkness that marks the coming of spring. “Equal” being an approximate term, of course, depending on your latitude. At this time last year, my particular latitude was covered in several feet of snow… snow that lasted so long, a friend who came out to visit in April spent a good chunk of her time tromping around on snowshoes while I wrote How Can We Reduce Agricultural Pollution. This year, however, the weather is far better aligned with astronomy. Here are my top five signs that spring...

Gene Therapy Gives the Gift of Sight

In 1988, scientist and veterinarian Kristina Narfström met with a breeder of Briard sheepdogs. One of the puppies in the breeder’s litter was behaving oddly – bumping into objects its siblings walked around. When Narfström tested the puppies, she discovered that 6 out of the 9 had poor vision… vision that worsened as they grew until the pups went blind. Research revealed that the Briards had a mutation in a gene called RPE65. In humans, RPE65 mutations cause a form of blindness called Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis Type 2. It’s degenerative, and until recently, there was no treatment, no cure. But that’s about...