Staff Directory 6134697

Kerri Westenberg

Health and Science Editor | Newsroom
Phone: 612-673-4282

Health and Science Editor Kerri Westenberg edits the Science & Health section of the Sunday newspaper.

In her previous role as Travel editor, she was twice named Travel Journalist of the Year by the Society of American Travel Writers. She previously worked at Bon Appetit, Cooking Light and National Geographic magazines. She is also the author of "State of Wonder," a book that celebrates Minnesota and derives from a series that first appeared in Travel.
Recent content from Kerri Westenberg
Pennywise in New Line Cinema’s horror thriller “It: Chapter 2.”

Scary science: The feeling of fear has surprising benefits

Don't let the emotion scare you. Experiencing it yields some benefits.
Noah Wolfe and Cora Stallcup both went for a return while taking part in a pickleball league game at the Minneapolis Cider Co. The Minneapolis Cider C

Pickleball scores more venues in the Twin Cities, plus younger players

Pickleball gains younger players with more courts in places that emphasize fun with fitness.

Pickleball scores more venues in the Twin Cities, plus younger players

Pickleball gains younger players with more courts in places that emphasize fun with fitness.

New Wild Rice Retreat offers more soothing travel experience in Bayfield, Wis.

A recently opened wellness retreat center on the shore of Lake Superior introduces a whole new way to vacation.

North Coast: The 12 best Midwestern beaches to visit this summer

Don't let the coastal elites tell you that the Midwest has no beaches.

Bye, Burch – hello, grill: Chef Isaac Becker shares the secrets to making steak

After the shuttering of a favorite restaurant, chef Isaac Becker shares his secrets to perfecting steak at home.
Tara and Jordan Harvey, founders of Knowmad Adventures, at Machu Picchu, Peru, in 2013.

Pandemic complications have more vacationers turning to travel agents

"Travel advisers" help folks navigate the world of changing rules and newly unfurled welcome mats.

Minnesota mom, daughter tackle BWCA camping trips in every season

Four seasonal Boundary Waters trips bring escape from the pandemic, and so much more.
Celebrate a return to travel with these 7 essential U.S. vacation destinations

Celebrate a return to travel with these 7 essential U.S. vacation destinations

While travel to many overseas destinations remains restricted, domestic travel is hot.

3 Minnesota road trips to enjoy beautiful spring scenery

These destinations offer lovely views.

Why rental car rates are soaring – and how to beat the trend

Blame the stunning rates on a massive sell-off of cars.
A view of Cathedral Rocks in Yosemite, Calif.

What belongs on our USA bucket list? Share your must-visit spots in America

This summer will be a good one to explore America. Tell us your favorite spot to visit.
Minnesota State Parks Magazine Story - Blue Mounds State Park is full of natural surprises. Start with the Sioux Quartzite cliff (Shown here), rising

From bison to rapids, discover the hidden gems of Minnesota's state park system

Parks, trails and waterways that show off Minnesota's richly diverse landscape.

Two key reasons to book summer flights now: cost and flexibility

Most airlines will roll back freedom to change tickets purchased at basic economy rate.

When can Americans get back to Europe?

Midsummer could be possible, but then again, maybe not.

Spring break flight? Tips for saving cash, navigating MSP in a busy season

If you're flying for spring break, here are tips for navigating the airport rush.

The nine best Midwest resorts for social-distanced winter fun

Best places to relish the outdoors in a winter like no other, where social distance comes naturally.
Lou Renner search for the final spot to drive in his ice axe as he topped out on an ice route Wednesday afternoon at Robinson Park.

Winona's Ice Climbing Park takes winter activity to new heights

Winona's Ice Climbing Park takes winter activity to new heights


Thrifty Traveler provides the lowdown on cheap airfare from MSP

The Minnesota-based website unveiled its "ultimate guide" to finding deals from Minneapolis-St. Paul.
MSP’s terminal 1 was filled with holiday travelers in December 2020.

Returning to U.S. by air? You'll need a negative COVID test first.

Melanie McManus takes a moment to enjoy the old growth forest of Magney Snively Natural Area near Spirit Mountain in Duluth.

The pandemic will change vacations in 2021. Here's how Minnesotans can embrace the trends.


Will 2021 be a better year for travel? Yes, for lots of reasons

Here's how the challenges of 2020 will transform travel for the better in 2021.
Tips for decorating your home with Pantone's Colors of the Year

Tips for decorating your home with Pantone's Colors of the Year

Pantone Color Institute doubled up on its color choice, naming Ultimate Gray and the lemony yellow Illuminating.

Tips for decorating your home with Pantone's Colors of the Year


When will cruising restart and what will it be like?

Cruises will set sail from U.S. ports by the second quarter of 2021 — but the experience will be different.

How to track rapidly changing travel restrictions in U.S.

Here's where and how to ski safely in Minnesota this winter

Now is the time to hit the slopes and trails, and not just because snow is flying.
An ancient Roman marble statue sat among tables of a restaurant in Rome, where travelers may be able to return soon without quarantining.

Amsterdam? Rome? You may be able to travel to Europe sooner than you think

Delta Air Lines will begin trial flights to Amsterdam and Rome in the coming weeks.
MSP has introduced the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower program, offering a lanyard for easy identification to those who would like to wear one.

MSP airport adds program for travelers with hidden disabilities

The Tiber, Rome's iconic river, makes a cameo in the film "The Great Beauty."

Best movies and shows to watch for taking a vacation via your screen

Children's author and storyteller Rose Arrowsmith DeCoux worked with young children to teach them the story of "When the Tomtes Made Mischief," about

Virtual classes, parties and tours bring on holiday traditions from around the world

The newly constructed Prairie Wetlands Learning Center (PWLC) will have a grand opening on Saturday, August 8. Checking out some of the unique feature

In Fergus Falls, Minn., a prairie paradise for snowshoeing, hiking

At the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center, you can explore a unique type of grassland: prairie potholes.
Empty nesters Kellie and Phil Schechinger, pictured with their dog, Marley, recently updated their Edina home to accommodate their casual lifestyle.

'70s house in Edina gets open floor plan for casual living

Edina home's main level goes from dark and disjointed to light and open.
Visitors on the island of Skellig Michael, Ireland, Oct. 5, 2012. Visitors to Ireland can expect spectacular scenery, bountiful seafood and an infinit

When flying picks back up, will you be ready?

Now makes a good time to heed the Real ID deadline and passport expiration dates.
Christmas holiday minimal creative composition made of suitcase, gift box, sunglasses,Santa hat, candy cane, retro photo camera, fir branches and snow

Experts weigh in on the best time to book flights for the holidays

Experts on airfare deals say costs are lower than in previous years and deals can still be found.
John Richardson, the Hawk Ridge fall count director, showed off a sharp-shinned hawk to visitors on Tuesday. The hawk was caught in their banding cent

A parade of raptors at Duluth's Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve

Be sure to plan ahead and use caution when taking road trips amidst the pandemic.

Pop-up outhouses and advance research fuels road trips south

My family was among the millions of Americans taking a road trip this summer. We learned a few things along the way.
Lake Superior kicked up some spray in front of the peak foliage along the North Shore by Split Rock Lighthouse in October 2019.

Where to go in Minnesota to enjoy the fullest of fall colors

Ideas and photographic inspiration to fuel an autumn drive.
Yellow leaves lined the Tettegouche hiking trail on Wednesday afternoon. ] ALEX KORMANN • Fall colors were at the tail

Fall color resources for leaf-peeping in Minnesota

Christopher Lutter-Gardella tended to his raised-bed gardens, which flow from the side of his Minneapolis house into his backyard.

Gardeners in Minneapolis and St. Paul find joy in abundance

Two urban gardeners build on their successes, plan to go bigger next year.

For digital nomads, traveling for work takes on new meaning in pandemic age

A growing number of professionals are working remotely — really remotely.
Near Hibbing, the Laurential Divide runs through the Superior National Forest. Photo provided by

Near Hibbing, Minn., a geological force of nature

The Iron Range area is the site of a rare three-way continental divide.
Rick Steves stops during a hike on Italy's Cinque Terre. Provided by Rick Steves' Europe.

Why Europe guru Rick Steves wants travelers to stay home

The author and television personality on tourism's future, the mark of a good traveler and how Italy is the India of Europe.
Devils Bridge-Ponte della Maddalena is a bridge crossing the Serchio river near the town of Borgo a Mozzano in the Italian province of Lucca

From kids' camps to pilgrimage hikes, virtual travel hits its stride

Increasing numbers of tour companies are offering online experiences for would-be travelers.
This Sept. 16, 2017 photo shows two canoes along a lily pad-lined bog in Minnesota's Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The area protects more tha

The future of travel: How tourism slowly recovers from the coronavirus pandemic

Brief stays, last-minute excursions and road trips are easing people back into tourism.
LeAndra Estis checked on the growth progress of vegetables in her backyard garden in St. Paul. Her daughters Quaia, left, and Lonna help in the garden

Twin Cities urban gardeners share the ups and downs of growing food

Two urban gardeners embrace the setbacks with the successes as they nurture their growing fruits and vegetables.
Amy Nelson disinfects a check-in kiosk after it was used by a passenger. Delta shows off its new cleanliness procedures at MSP. brian.peterson@startri

What you need to know about MSP and flying as people return to the air

The Split Rock Lighthouse was lit on November 10, 2019 to honor the lives of the 29 men that died aboard the Edmund Fitzgerald 44 years ago. The light

Split Rock Lighthouse and Jeffers Petroglyphs to reopen July 15

The iconic Minnesota sites are popular stops on road trips.
Not since the battle of 1978 to designate the BWCA as a wilderness area has the town of Ely been so divided. This time it's the possibility of Copper/

How to stay safe, and have fun, on your summer vacation amid a pandemic

Sunny summer getaways take on a fresh twist in the shadow of a pandemic.
LeAndra Estis, right, grows vegetables at home in St. Paul with her daughters Quaia Crenshaw, 19, left, and Lonna Estis, 13.

Two Twin Cities gardeners break new ground for vegetable plots

Two gardeners — one just starting out and one expanding his plot — plant for food and family.
Kurt and Edwige Moses camp for the night in their teardrop camper trailer, built by St. Paul company Vistabule.

Summer of the road trip: Why we're hitting the road, and how to do it safely

Pandemic worries are fueling a surge in driving vacations.
Need a plumber? Safety comes first for both homeowner and workers.

Pandemic takes toll on overworked home plumbing systems

Plumbers' workloads are bursting now that more of us are at home more of the time.
Minneapolis-based outfitter Knowmad Adventures sends many travelers to Chilean Patagonia.Photo provided by Knowmad Adventures

Will adventure travel lead the way back to travel? Knowmad Adventures and Wilderness Inquiry weigh in

Minneapolis-based adventure travel specialists Knowmad Adventures see a silver lining to the current pause in travel.
After a redesign by Rehkamp Larson Architects, "It is an easy kitchen," said homeowner Patricia Kane. "Everything has its place."

Small St. Louis Park home gets efficient, light-filled new kitchen

New kitchen in St. Louis Park home remakes space for optimal workflow, organization and natural light.
The drawing room walls at Drayton Hall in Charleston, S.C., haven't been painted since the Civil War era.

Online home gazing, from Glensheen Mansion in Duluth to Drayton Hall near Charleston

Some of the country's great homes welcome virtual visitors — at no charge.
There's still plenty of time to start select vegetables from seed.

Is there a seed shortage in Minnesota? Not yet, but don't wait to buy

In a busy year for gardening, buy seeds early, shop locally and consider using starter plants.
Empty lines were a common sight Wednesday at MSP. ] ANTHONY SOUFFLE • The scene looked drastically different th

MSP airport's Terminal 1 construction takes off

Himeji, Japan - March 26, 2019 : On the day of cherry blossoms in full bloom at Himeji-Jo Castle, In the last week of marchevery year is the time of c

Take these 4 virtual tours, from Glensheen in Duluth to the Bode Museum in Berlin

While people around the world stay at home, virtual tours are the new answer to wanderlust.
The geologic landscape of Joshua Tree National Park has long fascinated visitors to this desert. These plutonic intrusions are a granitic rock called

Our beautiful world: Star Tribune photographers share their travel pictures

Travel destinations are quiet, their streets and beaches empty. But these photos from our staff photographers let us slip away for a moment.
This Sep. 12, 2011 photo shows Cathedral Rock in Sedona, Ariz. A landmark of Sedona's skyline and one of the most photographed sights in Arizona, Cath

Travel section to temporarily move to Variety

The golden tips of Aspen trees in fall shown here sprinkled throughout the Boreal Forest along the north shore of Lake Superior. Aspen trees, seen thr

Where to get away from it all (including other people) in Minnesota


How to explore the world without ever leaving home

Fliers can find cheap tickets now for cities such as New Orleans.

Cancel or book a vacation? Consider doing both

A week of fast-moving coronavirus news has puzzled travelers.
Walls with two different but similar colors can give a room dimension and make it feel larger. In this room designed by HUEcreative, Agreeable Gray by

Choosing paint colors is tricky – consultants can cut through the confusion

Consultants, from designers in your home to online services, can ease the selection process.
Photo by Jennifer Jeanne Patterson, Special to the Star Tribune

It's getting real: Travelers will need a Real ID by Oct. 1 – here's how to get it

A traveler wears a face mask at an airport near Detroit, Feb. 27, 2020.

As the coronavirus spreads, should you cancel vacation?

Common questions about the coronavirus and travel: what travelers need to know.
Digs are sleek and chic at Roost Apartment Hotel in Philadelphia. Photo by Matthew Williams

Finding a hotel home in Philly, London, Rome

Protesters flags of United Kingdom and European Union outside Parliament in Westminster during the Brexit debates. A British Airways flight passes ove

What Brexit means for U.S. travelers

Passengers stand on the deck of the Diamond Princess cruise ship anchored at Yokohama Port in Yokohama, near Tokyo, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020. Japan&#x

Will the coronavirus sink cruising?

A child swims in the Wilderness Resort's Wild Waterdome Waterpark, in Wisconsin Dells, Wis. Photo by Nick Collura, Provided by Wisconsin Dells Visitor

Escape winter without getting on a plane: drivable destinations that will warm your bones

Passengers arriving from a China Southern Airlines flight from Changsha in China are screened for the new type of coronavirus, whose symptoms are simi

As coronavirus concerns grow, should you board that plane?

Somia Mourad and Keith Bush prefer the sleek, clean look of white enamaled woodwork and painted their 1891 Kenwood home to suit their tastes. Project

Tackling a controversial question: Should you paint the woodwork white?

That is the question for home sellers in an era when white woodwork is preferred by many prospective buyers, especially younger ones.
Planets Mars (left) and Saturn (center) shine brightly against the backdrop of the Milky Way above Fire Lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. ] MARK

From dark skies to cruises to camping, travel trends for the new decade

Five of the latest travel trends lead to Minnesota — and beyond.
Daniel, an emotional-support duck, is pictured onboard an American Airlines flight in this file photo.

New rule would limit emotional support animals on planes. Here's how to give your input.