Bellamy Pailthorp | KNKX

Bellamy Pailthorp

Environment Reporter

Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment beat from the Seattle offices of KNKX Public Radio News, where she has worked since 1999. She also hosts and produces the weekly segment, The Weather With Cliff Mass, which airs every Friday. She holds a Masters in journalism from New York's Columbia University, where she completed the Knight-Bagehot fellowship in business reporting in 2006 mid-career during her stint on KNKX’s Business and Labor Beat from 2000-2012.

From 1989-98 she lived in Berlin, Germany freelancing for NPR and working as a bi-lingual producer for Deutsche Welle TV after receiving a Fulbright scholarship in 1989 for a project on theater studies and communist history. She holds a Bachelors’ degree in German language and literature from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. (Yes, she is fluent in German.)

She strives to tell memorable stories about how we will power our future while maintaining healthy cultures and livable cities. Character-driven narratives of exploration and innovation excite her. 

Outside work, she practices and instructs yoga, walks half marathons with friends, backpacks with her husband and extended family, reads and watches fiction with nieces, enjoys tasting new foods and admiring all kinds of animals -- especially her two house cats, who often remind her she should spend more time sitting on the couch with them.

Ways to Connect

Kathy Moses / Colville Tribes Environmental Trust Program via AP

A rapid melt of mountain snowpack in eastern and central Washington is pushing some rivers to high levels not seen in decades.

It’s not that unusual, says KNKX weather expert Cliff Mass, who expects the mild weather nearer to the coast to continue through this weekend.

Credit Kevin Kniestedt

At the Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver, Wash., monitors are updating the latest Kilauea eruption on Hawaii's Big Island. About half the scientists there are helping with the Hawaii eruption. Two of them recently flew to the Big Island to assist on the ground. About a year ago, KNKX went inside the observatory to find out what they do for our show Sound Effect. Given all the volcanic activity in Hawaii right now and the fact that this Friday is the 38th anniversary of Mount Saint Helens erupting, we thought you'd like a peek inside this observatory where all eyes and ears are on volcanos. 

Gexydaf / <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/90821451@N00/5527708847/">Gexydaf</a> Flickr via <a href="http://compfight.com">Compfight</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>

The Federal Transit Administration has approved $75 million dollars for expansion of Tacoma’s Link Light Rail line.  

The money will be used to more than double the line, which currently runs from the Tacoma Dome to the Theater District downtown. The extension will connect it to a U-shaped route that heads first north to the Stadium District then back south into the Hilltop neighborhood.   

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

A diverse array of groups from all over Washington State gathered in Seattle this week to rally support for Initiative 1631. That’s the latest proposal to curb carbon emissions by imposing fees on big polluters.

Tim Durkan / Tim Durkan Photography

People in the Pacific Northwest have been experiencing a bit of a roller coaster ride weather-wise lately, with temperatures spiking up and down in a manner that KNKX weather expert Cliff Mass says is quite typical for late May. The ride will go uphill this weekend to a predicted high of about 80 degrees on Sunday, just in time for Mother’s Day.

“The weekend is going to be wonderful,” Mass says. The clouds will dissipate later in the afternoon Friday, he says, as temperatures climb to the upper 60s and high pressure builds. Mass says it will stick around for a while.

Courtesy Jenny Shrum / American Camp National Historical Park

It would be a bit of a stretch to call zoologist John Fleckenstein a beginner.  He recently retired from a long career as a kind of wildlife detective. He worked with Washington State’s Natural Heritage Program, looking for and studying the behaviors of all kinds of rare creatures.

Tim Durkan / Tim Durkan Photography

Here are some upsides to cloudy weather: Cloud cover creates a soft light that's great for photographers. It’s harder to get a sun burn. And clouds can be really fun to look at.

Many of us may need a few reminders that clouds aren't so bad as we enter what could become an extended period in which low clouds and cooler temps dominate in the greater Puget Sound area.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KNKX

Gov. Jay Inslee wants Washington’s maritime industry to be the most sustainable in the world. And Seattle’s strong ties with Norway are proving useful. A delegation of experts is visiting this week to share information on electric-powered ferries and autonomous ships.

Courtesy Long Live The Kings

Saving salmon and steelhead in Washington state can seem like a mission with miserable prospects.

But one nonprofit has made it into a game that they say is a lot like fantasy football, and schools are involved this year.

Ed Ronco / KNKX

Folks around the Puget Sound region enjoyed a toasty week with temperatures in the 70s starting Tuesday. They even hit the low- to mid-80s in many places in western Washington.  

But the classic northwest “sandals-and-socks” people are now wearing their socks again.

Ben Torkelson / Chelan County Fire District 3 via AP)

Wildfire season used to start in mid-June, say state officials coordinating the response. Now they’re already out fighting wildfires in April, even in places west of the Cascades.

"Fire season is already here,” said Washington Commissioner of Public Lands Hillary Franz.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KNKX

Concerns about the future of Bothell Country Village top the agenda of the city’s Landmark Preservation Board meeting Tuesday evening.

A new book is out that will likely be of interest to anyone who has just moved to the region and maybe even to some old-timers.  

Explore The Salish Sea is a nature guide for kids. It’s about the unique marine ecosystem that connects Puget Sound with Canada. It’s aimed at fifth and sixth graders and based on a previous edition made for adults. Both books use lots of colorful photos and facts to showcase the abundant life that depends on the Salish Sea.

beyondboundariesphotography / flickr via Compfight

After nearly three weeks of wet weather that was making it look like this month might shape up to be one of the rainiest Aprils on record, sunshine is on its way to the Pacific Northwest. KNKX weather expert Cliff Mass says there’s one last rainy stretch to get through late Friday, but after that, real spring warmth and strong sun is on the way.  

Ted S. Warren / file / AP Photo

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday in what many observers are calling a historic showdown that will determine who has to pay to fix our "roads" for salmon – and how quickly.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, is raising concerns among environmentalists.

John Froschauer / AP Photo

Community groups are building coalitions region-wide, aiming to stop expansion plans by the U.S. Navy.

Operating since 1942, the naval air station on Whidbey Island is not new. But the recent replacement of its electronic warfare aircraft has upset many residents in the area.

Kyle Jones / flickr via Compfight

If you were hoping April showers would hold off this weekend, don’t hold your breath. Be ready for more of the cool, wet weather that has been persisting in the Pacific Northwest in recent weeks.

Karen Reagan / US Fish and Wlidlife Service

Federal wildlife officials want to protect a rare green-and-white butterfly that is only found on San Juan Island by listing it as an endangered species.

The tiny creature has been declining since it was rediscovered twenty years ago. Its population is now estimated at fewer than 200 in the wild.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KNKX

A hydroelectric project that threatened to diminish scenic waterfalls on the South Fork of the Skykomish River near Index will not be built.

Phoung Lee / AP Photo

The Kinder Morgan Pipeline expansion “will be built,” according to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who says it’s in the national interest. However, opposition in British Columbia caused the company on Sunday to put the $7-billion dollar project on hold till the end of May, citing too much uncertainty.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Opposition groups are applauding an announcement from Kinder Morgan Canada. The oil giant has put expansion of its Trans Mountain Pipeline on hold until the end of May as the company seeks clarity on a path forward.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KNKX

‘April showers bring May flowers,’ or so the saying goes. Like Groundhog Day or dozens of sayings you can find cataloged in a Farmer’s Almanac, it’s part of the weather-related folklore that’s been passed down for generations. They hold some truth.

But most meteorologists prefer more scientific observations. For long-term forecasting, the ENSO - or "El Niño Southern Oscillation" - provides some of the most reliable guidance on what kind of weather to expect in winter.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Confronting the likely effects of climate change can feel overwhelming. One recent graduate in atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington is channeling that fear into an ambitious athletic feat.

Eliza Dawson is joining three other women to row across the Pacific to Hawaii this summer. They hope to beat the world record in what she’s calling a race for the climate.  

Courtesy of Seattle Space Needle Panocam

A predominantly cloudy period has dominated in the greater Puget Sound region this past week, with intermittent showers and mostly mild temperatures. That pattern is expected to continue into next week, says KNKX weather expert Cliff Mass – with one exception.

Elaine Thompson / File / AP Photo

More than 1,300 scientists, policy makers and other interested parties are attending next week’s Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference in Seattle.

The meeting happens every two years and alternates between the U.S. and Canada.  This year, the 30th anniversary since the first one took place in 1988, there’s an emphasis on ecosystem recovery across the international border.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

When you think of spring, visions of daffodils and cherry blossoms under warm, sunny skies may come to mind. Turns out the more typical aspects of this season, meteorologically speaking, come from the unstable atmosphere, which produces lots of wet and showery, cool weather.

Alan Vernon / flickr via Compfight

Scientists from the Audubon Society and the National Parks Service have teamed up to look at the effects of climate change on birds. The study predicts the behavior of 513 species across 274 national parks in summer and winter.     

The authors found on average nearly a quarter of the bird species found in popular park destinations could be completely different by mid-century.  

Mr. Jincks Flickr via Compfigh cc

The pressure is on Starbucks to create a disposable coffee cup that doesn’t end up in the trash. After a lengthy campaign that featured a huge puppet made of discarded cups and a petition with more than 800,000 signatures, the company announced a new $10 million initiative to develop a cup that is fully recyclable or compostable. 

Bellamy Pailthorp / KNKX

Local tribes are calling on the memory of legendary civil rights activist Billy Frank Jr. to rev up the fight for salmon recovery. They met in Tulalip Monday for what they dubbed a “first-annual” Pacific Salmon Summit, named in his honor.

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