Michael Kodas Kodas

Profile Updated: July 8, 2019
Residing In: Boulder, CO USA
Spouse/Partner: Carolyn Moreau
Homepage: michaelkodas.com
Occupation: Author & Photojournalist focused on environmental topics and issues related to outdoor adventure.
Comments:

I'm the the author of Megafire: The Race to Extinguish a Deadly Epidemic of Flame which was named one of the top 20 nonfiction books of 2017 by Amazon and was awarded the Colorado Book Award for General Nonfiction. The book is a narrative that explains the science, politics and economics that have led to this century's huge increases in the amount of land burning in U.S. wildfires, the number of homes burning in those fires, and the lives lost to them, culminating with the death of the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots in the Yarnell Hill disaster, the largest loss of professional wildland firefighter lives in U.S. history and the largest loss of firefighters lives since 911.
I'm also the author of the bestseller High Crimes: The Fate of Everest in an Age of Greed, published in 2008 by Hyperion. The book is an investigative narrative looking at crime on the world's highest mountain. I climbed on Everest twice to research the book, but never reached the summit (please buy the book, or buy me a beer, to find out why - it's a heck of a story). That book was a question on the game show Jeopardy! and got me a spot on the HBO program Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.
I'm the former Deputy Director of the Center for Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado Boulder, where I taught Reporting on the Environment, Science Writing, Media Entrepreneurship, Newsgathering and Multimedia Storytelling, and various other journalism classes. I worked primarily with graduate students and the Ted Scripps Fellows in Environmental Journalism. In 2009/2010 I was a Ted Scripps Fellow in Environmental Journalism at CU myself.
Prior to that I spent 21 years as a photographer, picture editor and writer at The Hartford Courant, America's oldest continuously published newspaper (blah, blah, blah), where I focused on environmental issues and outdoor adventure stories. My stories included coverage of climbs of mountains around the world, the first circumnavigation of Long Island Sound by sea kayak, a four-year documentation of the recreation and maiden voyage of the Amistad (the vessel on which captive African rebelled to avoid a life of slavery), and work as a forest fire fighter in the Rocky Mountains. I worked in minefields in Vietnam, devastated rainforests in Brazil, and Ground Zero in New York immediately after 9-11-2001. My work has also been published in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Newsweek, Outside, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, GEO, Der Spiegel, National Public Radio's All Things Considered, the PBS Newshour with Judy Woodruff and dozens of other newspapers, magazines, broadcast outlets and websites. In 1999 I was part of the team of journalists at The Courant awarded the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news coverage, and I have won about the same number of awards as every other working journalist, but not as many as the really famous and accomplished ones.
I live in the People's Republic of Boulder, CO, with my wife, Carolyn, who was also a journalist working for newspapers and television station, but is now a videographer and graduate student at The University of Colorado. Carolyn grew up in New Zealand and we visit the South Island as often as we can. I also try and spend a good amount of time skiing and climbing, reporting in as many dramatic landscapes as I can get to, which hasn't been that many in recent years. I'm also an avid rock climber, mountaineer, kayaker and cyclist (I had to give up running after having a hip resurfaced a few years ago).

School Story:

I, unfortunately, was most notable in High School for how disengaged I was. This is probably reflected in the fact that I woke up the morning of my graduation with strep throat bad enough to prompt me to pop Tylenon 3s all day (pill popping was something I had a reputation for in those days). So my recollection of getting my diploma is a bit hazy and I passed out after about half a beer at the graduation party I attended.

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