Courtney Flatt

Reporter for Earthfix
Grapes
7:56 am
Mon June 30, 2014

What Climate Change Could Mean For Your Grape Juice

Concord Grapes in Prosser, Washington.
Credit Courtney Flatt

When you think of grapes in the Northwest, wine is probably the first thing that comes to mind. But Concord juice grapes actually are Washington’s most widely planted grape. It turns out, juice grapes are more susceptible to warming weather than their wine grape cousins.

The sun beats down as researcher Markus Keller leans in to inspect his experimental concord grape vineyard.

Keller: “As you can see here, there’s a lot of flowers forming on the different shoots.”

The grape leaves hang down like a curtain over the rows of vines. This year’s crop looks to be strong.

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Education & Health
10:16 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Inside The Box: Part 2 Of The Portable Classrooms Investigation

A "greener" portable classroom at Perkins Elementary School in Washington state.
Credit The Seed Collaborative

Students around the Northwest go to school every day in portable classrooms. These classrooms are an affordable solution to budget-strapped districts that need more space.

But they can be bad for student health and performance. That’s why some districts are moving away from portable classrooms. One district in Spokane has found a solution.

Courtney Flatt brings us part 2 of our special series "Inside the Box".

Walking into the new Jefferson Elementary School is like walking into a model home. Everything looks tidy.

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Pests
8:34 am
Wed May 14, 2014

Stopping The Stink Bug Invasion

Credit Flickr Creative Commons: Armed Forces Pest Management Board

Northwest researchers are teaming up to stop an invasion of stink bugs moving across the region. The bugs, which can smell like dirty gym socks, ruin tree fruit and grape vines. Those crops are vital to Northwest agriculture.

You have to go through three airlocked doors to get to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s stink bug research lab.

The quarantined, closet-sized room has it’s own ventilation system. The stink bug colony of about 400 bugs is kept inside an even smaller room within the lab.

Chemist Lee Ream opens the door.

Ream: “So, here’s our colony.”

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Search & Rescue
7:25 am
Wed April 2, 2014

A Dog To Come Look For You When You Go Missing

Kia is a 2 year old German shepherd who is training to be a search and rescue dog with the Yakima County K-9 team. The team is made up of volunteers who search for missing hikers, hunters, children, and senior citizens.
Credit Courtney Flatt

If you get lost hunting or wander off a hiking trail, a select group of volunteers may come to look for you. K-9 search and rescue teams spend countless hours training to make sure they can find you when you’re lost.

German shepherd Kia lifts her nose in the air, sniffs, and takes off. Kia is searching a nature preserve in the middle of Richland, Washington. She’s searching for missing hikers.

Miles of hiking trails wind around sagebrush and brambles. It’s bordered by the Yakima River.

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