Lydia Lee Takes Top Honors for Science Writing

Alta Journal contributor wins big from SPJ NorCal.

oysters, lydia lee
Penni Gladstone

Alta Journal contributor Lydia Lee has been honored for science writing by the Society of Professional Journalists Northern California for her article about native oysters from Issue 18.

In the story, Lee tells the history of the Olympia oyster, a tale of, as she puts it, “quiet resilience” of a species that has been under serious threat but is lately on the comeback. This same piece also received an Honorable Mention from this year’s Eddie & Ozzie Awards.

A journalist of broad interests, Lee has written about a variety of topics for Alta, including California-based wheat growers, roller skating drag performers, superefficient houses, and knitting. She is also an avid cyclist and keeper of beehives.

“Lydia Lee’s exhaustive reporting brings to life the fascinating story of the Bay Area’s only native oyster,” says Blaise Zerega, Alta’s managing editor. “She separates fact from legend about the little-known Olympias, from their importance to Indigenous people and their shell mounds to the myth of ’49ers eating them to extinction to their coveted place on restaurant menus today and efforts underway to restore them.”

Lee and her fellow winners will be honored at a virtual ceremony on Wednesday, November 30. Alta’s editors and staff congratulate her and all the other 2022 winners. More information about this year’s winners can be found on SPJ NorCal’s website.•

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