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.

Ways to Connect

Melissa Sevigny

Not many vegetables have a Facebook page at all, let alone with nearly 19,000 followers, but “Glass Gem” corn is special. Its translucent, rainbow-colored kernels made it an Internet sensation. Growers of this heritage crop say Glass Gem has inspired thousands of people to get involved with seed-saving and reconnect with ancient foodways. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny tells the story of how this unique corn made its way from Oklahoma to Cornville, Arizona—and from there, to the world.


Ryan Heinsius

Teenage climate activists have gained global attention this year. Sixteen-year-old Greta Thunberg from Sweden inspired widespread school strikes in September, and indigenous hip-hop artist Xiuhtezcatl Martinez is part of youth-led lawsuit against the U.S. government to secure the right to a stable climate. Youth voices will be at the center of this week’s Climate Summit in Flagstaff. It will bring together scientists from all three state universities as well as a diverse group of health professionals, environmentalists, tribal members, writers, and artists. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with two of the organizers, Kate Petersen and Bruce Hungate.


Melissa Sevigny

It’s common now to see smoke in the air around Northern Arizona in the fall. Prescribed burns have become the norm for managing forests—especially around Flagstaff, which is a national model for forest management in an age of megafires. But nationwide, there’s a shortage of people qualified to do those burns, and funding is limited. The Nature Conservancy is trying to fill that gap by offering training for future “Burn Bosses.”  KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports.


Melissa Sevigny

New research from the University of Arizona shows the Southwest is a hotspot for future precipitation swings—and that’s bad news for trees. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports.


Gardening is part of the curriculum at The STAR School on the western edge of the Navajo Nation. The pre- K  through-8th grade school is an off-grid, solar-powered charter school and one of few schools in Northern Arizona that is certified to serve its own student-grown produce in the cafeteria. In the latest segment of Eats and Beats, stories about food and music, KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports it’s a way to get kids excited about science, nature…and even eating their vegetables.

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