Written by Kelsey Bray
Humans and nature are inseparable – your environment can improve your health, define your career and even change the future of your town. That’s the premise of Forterra’s new podcast, Rooted: Where We Stand.
It’s produced and hosted by Kyle Norris, a reporter for KUOW and NPR. You’ll learn more about Washington through interviews with farmers, mayors, scientists and more. All six episodes are out now! Learn more about each one below.
Farmers have a tight-knit community, and they often rely on each other during tough times – something that’s becoming more frequent because of rising operating costs and worsening natural disasters caused by climate change.
Linda Neunzig, Snohomish County Agriculture Coordinator, Forterra board member and farmer, understands the importance of community support. In this episode, she talks to Kyle about having to evacuate hundreds of her sheep during a flood, and how fellow farmers stepped in to help.
We talk about the benefits of healthy forests all the time. They provide a habitat for wildlife, improve air quality, dampen noise pollution, protect towns from flooding and reduce soil erosion and water pollution.
As it turns out, healthy forests also mean healthy humans. Kyle talks to research social scientist Kathy Wolf about nature’s effects on human health, as well as what tree canopy is and why it’s so important.
Wolf is featured in this episode as well. She works at the University of Washington’s School of Environmental and Forest Sciences and UW’s Nature and Health Initiative, where she focuses on nature-based human health, environmental psychology and urban ecosystems.
She expands on how trees affect mental and physical health in this episode – spending just 15 minutes in a park can make a huge difference! Kathy and Kyle discuss several studies with promising findings.
This episode features scientist Rosa Hunter, who runs the lab at the Salish Research Center on the Lummi Indian Reservation. She’s one of the top researchers in the country when it comes to studying and identifying microscopic eight-legged animals called tardigrades.
Hunter isn’t someone you’d typically see running a lab. She’s Mexican and Native, and covered in tattoos. She dropped out of college and spent time in prison. However, students love her authentic and open nature. Tune in to learn more about how she became interested in science and what her research means for the environment.
Darrington, a small town in Western Washington, has had its share of setbacks. In 2014, the deadliest landslide in U.S. history hit the neighboring town, and residents are still feeling the effects to this day. Businesses are closing, and people are deciding whether to stay in the town they grew up in or leave for a place with more opportunities.
However, Mayor Dan Rankin has hope for the future. He takes Kyle around the town to talk about why it’s special and the plans for the Darrington Wood Innovation Center, which will provide more than 100 competitive-wage jobs.
This episode is a bit different than the others! It’s a fictional love story with voice actors and sound editing. The team wanted it to sound like a modern version of a radio drama.
The setting is beautiful Lake Serene. Located off U.S. Highway 2 near Index, it has crystal clear blue waters, fresh snow and stunning views of Mount Index. More than 45,000 people visit every year to hike Lake Serene Trail, a strenuous 7.2-mile trip with 2,000 feet of elevation gain. What better place for a story?
Which episode is your favorite? Share with us on social media! We’re @ForterraNW.