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Our Land: Gold King Mine Spill, Science Contest Winner & Online Indian Market

In the August installment of Our Land, environmental correspondent Laura Paskus revisits the Gold King Mine spill and the destructive impact of the toxic orange plume that went flowing down the Animas and San Juan rivers five years ago. The waste that was released when crews tried to reopen the abandoned mine killed fish and coated river banks with heavy metals. Paskus reports with help from a grant by The Water Desk, an independent journalism initiative based at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Center for Environmental Journalism.

Laura Paskus also interviews Lillian Petersen, an extraordinary young woman who just won the Regeneron Science Talent Search prize of a quarter of a million dollars. The Los Alamos High School student’s winning project, which predict harvests early in the growing year for every country in Africa, has also won the attention of the International Food Policy Research Institute.

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the economy across New Mexico, including on tourism and the arts in tribal communities. Many Native artists rely on summer art shows to sell their works, and one of the biggest festivals is Indian Market – going online this summer because of the pandemic. Correspondent Antonia Gonzales talks about how the Native American art world is attracting virtual visitors.

August 12 was “back to school” – virtually – for APS students. Gene Grant and The Line opinion panel discuss what the start of a new school year looks like during a pandemic, and also examine how an August tourist season plays out during COVID. The Line wraps up their panel discussion with a look at the tussle between the New Mexico GOP and the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association.