Chico State students John Machado and Sean Berriman collect samples from within the immediate disaster zone of the Camp Fire. Photo by Sandrine Matiasek.

Research in the aftermath of the Camp Fire reveals the threat of wildfires on water quality (Chico State)

Feb. 8, 2024

A groundbreaking multi-year research initiative launched at Chico State in the aftermath of the Camp Fire examined the presence of contaminants, including metals, in nearby watersheds. Joined by researchers from CU Boulder and the USGS, the research, recently published in the prestigious Journal of Environmental Science: Processes and Impacts, sheds light on the alarming impact of wildfires on stormwater runoff.

Bundled up against the cold, Diane McKnight stands near Cotton Glacier.

Diane McKnight reflects on the LTER (LTER Network)

Sept. 28, 2023

Diane McKnight has been an integral figure in the Long-Term Ecological Research Program for decades. She was instrumental in launching the McMurdo LTER, spearheaded restructuring network coordination, and served as Chair of the LTER Network Executive Board. She’s mentored dozens of students and developed too many projects to count. The LTER Network Office sat down with Diane to chat about her life in the Network and her dreams for the LTER moving forward.

A male Wilson's Warbler, a bright yellow and olive colored small bird with distinct black eye and black cap.  Photo: Patrice Bouchard on Unsplash

The birds are all right

June 20, 2023

Birds continue to thrive in Colorado’s Snake River watershed, despite increasing heavy metals and rare earth elements in streams, finds a study by Kelly Watson and Diane McKnight.

Holly Barnard and artist Jocelyn Catterson an artwork by Catterson in the Lieutenant Governor's office at the Colorado State Capitol building.

Art and climate science converge in new exhibit at the Colorado Capitol (KUNC)

May 24, 2023

An exhibit that just opened in the Colorado capitol building's rotunda features artwork made in the process of partnerships between artists from around Colorado, their communities, and CU Boulder scientists. Called “Coloradans and our Shared Environment in Times of Challenge and Change,” the art grapples with the climate and environmental challenges that are part of Coloradoans' lives: drought, decreasing groundwater, acid mine drainage, wildfire, pine beetle tree mortality, and more.

A mixed-media artwork by Jocelyn Catterson explores groundwater in the San Luis Valley, reflecting a partnership with INSTAAR Holly Barnard.

Coloradoans and our shared environment in times of challenge and change (CU OOE)

May 18, 2023

A collaborative exhibition tells the story of how Coloradans are experiencing interrelated challenges of fire, drought, and water and air quality in their communities. Artists (the CASE Fellows) partnered with scientists and communities to make visible the connections between Coloradans and their environment. Several INSTAARs acted as scientist partners. This website showcases the artwork, as well as quotes from the partners, explorations of the issues, and what you can do to act.

Maddie Sanders, one of the CASE Fellows, works on a large mural

Announcing the Colorado Art Science Environment Fellows and Colorado State Capitol Exhibition (CU Boulder Community Outreach and Engagement)

Dec. 19, 2022

The Office for Outreach and Engagement announces the CASE Fellows program. The program pairs Colorado artists with CU Boulder scientists to produce art that will be exhibited at the Colorado State Capitol in an exhibition about how Coloradans are experiencing interrelated challenges of fire, drought, and water and air quality. Lisa Schwartz from OOE is leading the program in partnership with Shelly Sommer at INSTAAR, Boulder County Arts Alliance and with exhibition and curatorial support from Amy Hoagland.

Diane McKnight in the Dry Valleys of Antarctica.

These freeze-drying algae can awaken from cryostasis, could help spaceflights go farther (AGU)

Dec. 8, 2022

Algal mats survive extreme conditions in Antarctica by entering a freeze-dried state. Led by Diane McKnight, researchers collected the green algae that survive there and grew them in the lab to assess their applications for spaceflight.

Snow covers Deer Creek, near the the headwaters of the Snake River on Jan. 29, 2022, in Summit County. (Hugh Carey, The Colorado Sun)

Climate change is eroding work to clean up the Snake River. Is snowmaking making it worse? (Colorado Sun)

Feb. 16, 2022

A warmer, drier alpine is impeding water quality for streams and rivers used for snowmaking, like the Snake River that runs through Keystone. Diane McKnight is interviewed in this Colorado Sun story.

CU Boulder campus in fall colors with flatirons behind

New class of CU Distinguished Professors: Leaders in research, education, service (CU Connections)

Nov. 11, 2021

University’s highest faculty honor awarded to 11 professors for 2021, including INSTAARs Diane McKnight and Giff Miller.

Two mountain streams come together, one with rusty red acid rock drainage

More metals found in Summit County river due to climate change, scientists say (9NEWS)

Nov. 10, 2021

A first-of-its-kind study by Garrett Rue and Diane McKnight suggests that warmer weather and less snowpack are causing higher concentrations of rare earth elements in the river.

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