The New Orleans team of Janet McConnaughey, Gerald Herbert and Stacey Plaisance explained in all formats an intensive, highly technical NASA study of Louisiana’s deltas designed to help protect and bolster the world’s deltas dwindling with climate change.
McConnaughey and Herbert captured the start of the five-year study that is expected to help countries around the globe decide which of their deltas can be saved and which are beyond help. McConnaughey, who has been writing for decades about Louisiana’s land loss, learned about the project through a news release and stayed in touch with NASA and Louisiana State University researchers for more than a year. She and Herbert eventually joined one of the researchers on his own boat to interview scientists doing research in the field.
Herbert used his own small plane and a kayak — trips frequently delayed by storms and major breaking news — to get exquisite environmental shots and video of the delta to illustrate the wetlands and wildlife scientists hope to protect. Video journalist Plaisance combined her own video with Herbert’s for a piece bringing the research to life. A separate photo gallery of Herbert’s striking nature photos in Hog Bayou, with poetic text by McConnaughey, completed the multiformat package, making a complex scientific effort understandable.