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.

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Melissa Sevigny

The Hopi language is endangered. A survey in the late nineties showed only five percent of Hopis under the age of twenty could speak it. Language loss is partially due to the legacy of boarding schools, which tried to assimilate Hopis into Anglo society. But it’s also because of modern pressures like television, the Internet, and employment. Hopis say losing the language means losing their culture.

Drought Eye

Drought in the Southwest is something people want to track—and temperature is one way to do that. All over the United States, space satellites and weather stations collect temperature data in real time. But processing and presenting that data can take a long time. That’s why researchers created an interactive online map called Drought Eye. 


NASA/JPL-Caltech/T.Pyle

Astronomers have found more than four thousand “extrasolar planets” beyond our solar system. Now a team including scientists at Flagstaff’s Lowell Observatory have confirmed the discovery of the youngest known extrasolar planet. It’s a scorching-hot world many times larger than Jupiter. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with Lowell astronomer Lisa Prato about how this finding informs our understanding of how planets form.


Harun Mehmedinovic/SKYGLOW Project

Tomorrow the Grand Canyon National Park will celebrate its new status as an International Dark Sky Park. The certification honors the park’s efforts to retrofit or replace thousands of inefficient light fixtures over the past three years. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with park ranger Rader Lane about why Grand Canyon is joining this international effort to combat light pollution.


KNAU/Ryan Heinsius

This week we're running a series of interviews called Bearing Witness: Voices of Climate Change. They're stories told by longtime Arizonans about changes they've seen in the familiar landscapes of their lives. While personal experience, in and of itself, is not scientific conclusion, many researchers believe long-term observation is a critical component to understanding how climage change affects humanity and the planet. Today, we hear from artist Shonto Begay, who paints unique landscapes of his home on the Navajo Nation. He says climate and weather patterns there used to be well-defined. But now, watering holes once brimming with rain are filled with sand, and Begay says he can no longer smell storms coming. His art reflects the changing climate of his beloved home. 

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