Stephanie Paige Ogburn


Stephanie Paige Ogburn has been reporting from Colorado for over five years, primarily from the Western Slope.

She was previously a reporter at ClimateWire, an editor at High Country News and a reporter at the Cortez Journal. Now based in Denver, Stephanie is enjoying the many amenities of city life, and getting used to traffic. When not reporting, she enjoys backpacking, mountain biking, growing food, cooking, and spending time with her family. 



Fri March 27, 2015

Research Flights Probe Why Some Oil & Gas Basins Pollute More Than Others

The NOAA P3 aircraft will be flying over oil and gas basins across the western United States.

Researchers from the University of Colorado and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder have begun a new study to measure air pollution from oil and gas fields across the West.

The scientists are flying a small airplane across numerous oil and gas basins, from North Dakota's Bakken oil field, through Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah, and all the way down to Texas. They will take measurements of methane as well as ozone precursors, and aim to answer the question: Why do some oil and natural gas production basins pollute more than others?

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Tue March 24, 2015

Are Bark Beetles To Blame For Increased Western Wildfires? Study Says Not Likely

Bark beetle damage in a western forest.
U.S. Forest Service

Take a drive or a walk through many of Colorado's mountains, and you'll see a whole lot of dead trees. Mostly lodgepole pine killed by mountain pine beetle, the gray trees look like prime kindling, some standing, many fallen like so many pickup sticks across the landscape. The mountain pine beetle has killed 46 million acres of the West's forests, leaving a scar no forest visitor can miss.

Conventional wisdom has long held that these beetle-killed forests are more likely to burn. They certainly look that way. But scientists have been questioning the idea that such forests burn more for a few years. A 2013 study from Colorado State University pointed the finger at drought, not bark beetles, for increased wildfire. Now a new, more comprehensive study from a team of scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder has found that forests with widespread beetle kill are not more likely to burn.

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Mon March 16, 2015
Tasty Science

Is Fat The Sixth Taste? Denver Museum Goers Help Scientists With Mystery

Desiree Baca takes a taste test at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Her results, and those of hundreds of other visitors, are helping scientists learn if humans can taste fat.
Stephanie Paige Ogburn KUNC

At the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, children and their parents meander through the Expedition Health exhibit, chattering about science and bodies, peering through microscopes and conducting experiments.

A set of glass doors abuts the exhibit, and every once in a while, after a quick chat with a museum volunteer, a family makes its way through the doors.

Today, that family is the Bacas -- Tim, and daughters Raveania and Desiree, ages 12 and 11, from Aurora. They sit at a tall lab bench, and listen as Anjelica Miranda, dressed in a white lab coat, guides them through a taste test.

The Bacas are not aware of it yet, but they are taking part in one of the most unique science experiments in the country. Their taste test results, combined with that of hundreds of other museum visitors, may help scientists discover the genetic underpinnings of a si

xth taste.

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Mon March 9, 2015

Parental Push Over Vaccine Spacing Puts Physicians In A 'Tough Spot'

ZaldyImg Flickr-Creative Commons

Colorado children have some of the lowest vaccination rates in the country. With a kindergarten measles vaccination rate of only 80 percent, public health officials say it's just a matter of time before an epidemic hits the state.

Much of the debate over vaccinations centers on risks to the general population, as parents opt out due to health concerns and schools end up with many under-vaccinated students. A new study from researchers at the University of Colorado shows that doctors are increasingly getting pushback from parents who want them to space out the normal vaccination schedule, and are struggling to deal with this pressure.

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Mon March 2, 2015

What Is Oil And Gas Wastewater And What Do We Do With It?

Oilfield waste arrives by tanker truck at a wastewater disposal facility near Platteville, Colo. After removal of solids and oil, the wastewater is injected into a deep well for permanent storage underground.
William Ellsworth USGS

When most people think about oil and gas production, water probably isn't something that comes to mind. But maybe it should.

When a typical oil well starts producing, there are three main products pumped out: gas, oil, and water. The amount of water is significant. In Colorado, for every barrel of oil produced in 2013, there were 6 barrels of wastewater pumped from the ground. (A barrel is 42 gallons.)

How that water -- sometimes referred to as produced water -- is treated and disposed of has become a growing issue as oil and gas production has increased in Colorado and across the United States.

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