Ambar Espinoza

Environmental Reporter

Ambar Espinoza’s roots in environmental journalism started in Rhode Island a few years ago as an environmental reporting fellow at the Metcalf Institute for Marine & Environmental Reporting. She worked as a reporter for Minnesota Public Radio for a few years covering several beats, including the environment and changing demographics. Her journalism experience includes working as production and editorial assistant at National Public Radio, and as a researcher at APM’s Marketplace.

Espinoza joins Rhode Island Public Radio most recently from Seattle, WA, where she earned a master of education with a focus on science education from the University of Washington. She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from American University in Washington, D.C. Espinoza was born in El Salvador and raised in Los Angeles, CA.

Ways to Connect

Amy Simmons / Padture Lab at Brown University

A research team led by Brown University is studying a promising new type of solar cell to produce electricity. Rhode Island Public Radio’s environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza reports the project has received a $4 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Scientists from the University of Rhode Island are hosting eight local teachers aboard a research vessel owned by the National Science Foundation. The teachers are getting a first-hand look at the scientific process.

Researchers are warning residents to drink plenty of water and keep to the shade on hot summer days like today. A study from Brown University and the Rhode Island Department of Health finds that hot temperatures affect people of all ages, not just children and seniors.

The Rhode Island chapter of The Nature Conservancy has acquired more than 160 acres along the Narrow River in North Kingstown. It’s the group’s largest single acquisition along the river.

Photo Courtesy of Mystic Aquarium

One of three Beluga whales spotted in Narragansett Bay has made its back to Nova Scotia. The Arctic whales were spotted back in May as far south as New Jersey.

Biologists are breathing a sigh of relief now that at least one of the beluga whales has returned safely to Canadian waters. They’re hoping this means the other two whales have also returned, if the trio continued to travel as a group.


The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded Rhode Island five grants totaling more than a million dollars to clean up contaminated properties across the state.

The money will help with the cleanup of contaminated sites in the cities of Central Falls, Pawtucket, and Providence.

John Bender / RIPR

Upper Narragansett Bay is cleaner than it used to be. That’s according to the latest data from the Narragansett Bay Commission.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Energy company Invenergy plans to build a natural gas-fired power plant in Burrillville. Governor Gina Raimondo hailed the project Tuesday, saying it will replace aging power plants and reduce air pollution. But the plan was met with skepticism and opposition by residents and environmental advocates.

Photo Courtesy of Ocean Exploration Trust

Scientists at the University of Rhode Island may mount a research expedition to the most active underwater volcano in the Caribbean Sea. Disaster management authorities there have been on alert for more than a week. Earthquakes have been recorded around the area of the volcano known as Kick’Em Jenny off the coast of the island of Grenada, indicating a potential eruption. 

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Deepwater Wind has installed the first of five steel foundations for a wind farm that will sit three miles off the coast of Block Island. The project is expected to produce enough energy to power 17,000 homes. State and federal officials got an up-close look at construction for the first time yesterday. Rhode Island Public Radio environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza was with them, and she reports that Rhode Island has become an example for how to build renewable energy. 

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Deepwater Wind installed the first foundation over the weekend for what is slated to be the first offshore wind farm in the country. Monday morning the company took state and federal officials on a boat trip to see the barge, cranes, and foundations up close.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Federal and state officials take a boat trip this morning to check out the start of construction on Deepwater Wind’s Block Island Wind Farm. The project has broad support from environmental groups, fishermen, the Narragansett tribe, and others. But it’s a point of contention for Block Island residents.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Scientists at the University of Rhode Island (URI) have helped solve the mystery blast at Salty Brine beach. The likely source of the explosion was the combustion of hydrogen gas, which was produced by a disconnected copper cable underneath the beach. That cable, owned by the U.S. Coast Guard, used to power a navigational light at the end of the jetty.

The explosion didn’t leave behind any chemical residues, which told scientists to home in on clean-burning gases, such as methane or hydrogen.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Deepwater Wind started to put steel in the water this week for the Block Island Wind Farm. Island residents have mixed feelings about the construction.  

Susan Torrey lives on Block Island all year. She and her husband have been waiting to see visible signs of what is expected to be the nation’s first offshore wind farm.

“We kept looking around and hadn’t seen anything,” said Torrey. “And he came home [and said], ‘Guess what I saw?’ So we said, ‘Let’s go over to the Southeast Light and take a look.’ So we did!”

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Earlier this spring, we brought you a report from our series Battle With The Sea about the impact of climate change on Aquidneck Island's drinking water with warmer temperatures, heavier rains, and more intense storms. But there’s more to the story. We pick up where we left off.