Tag: Environmental Studies

Geologist Marcia Bjornerud named Fellow of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters

Lawrence University geologist Marcia Bjornerud has been named a Fellow of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters for 2016. She is the first Lawrence faculty member to be accorded that honor.

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Marcia Bjornerud

Established in 1981, the Fellows program represents the highest level of recognition conferred by the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters. Drawn from a pool of statewide nominees, Fellows are elected for their extraordinary levels of accomplishment in their fields as well as lifelong commitments to intellectual discourse and public service.

One of 11 new Fellows named to the Academy in perpetuity, Bjornerud will be publicly recognized Sunday, April 17 at an awards ceremony in the Pyle Center on the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus.

Bjornerud, the Walter Schober Professor of Environmental Studies and Professor of Geology at Lawrence, joined the faculty in 1995. Her scholarship focuses on the physics of earthquakes and mountain-building. She combines field-based studies of bedrock geology with quantitative models of rock mechanics. She has conducted research in high arctic Norway (Svalbard) and Canada (Ellesmere Island) as well as mainland Norway, Scotland, New Zealand and the Lake Superior region.

“Marcia Bjornerud is an outstanding member of the Lawrence faculty and a great contributor to the quality of life in Wisconsin,” said Provost David Burrows. “Her election recognizes an important connection between academic research and scholarship and the scientific understanding of Wisconsin’s environment. The election to the Academy is richly deserved and is a symbol of the collaboration between Lawrence and the citizens of Wisconsin.”

Linda Ware, president of the Wisconsin Academy Board of Directors, said the Fellows program is a way to “honor the genuine treasures we have in this state—extraordinary people who show us the best of Wisconsin.”

“Every two years, we scan the state to find its most outstanding and creative people,” said Ware. “As part of our increasingly statewide reach for interdisciplinary excellence, we’re proud to recognize these brilliant and focused citizens who inspire people in Wisconsin and beyond.”

“[Marcia’s] election to the Academy is richly deserved and is a symbol of the collaboration between Lawrence and the citizens of Wisconsin.”
         — Provost David Burrows

The founding director of Lawrence’s program in environmental studies, Bjornerud was named a Fellow of the Geological Society of America in 2003 and twice was named a Fulbright Senior Scholar, first in Norway (2000-2001) and then New Zealand (2009). She was named Outstanding Educator in 2011 by the Association of Women Geoscientists and was recognized with Lawrence’s Excellence in Scholarship or Creative Activity Award in 2007.

She is the author of the 2005 book, “Reading the Rocks: The Autobiography of the Earth,” and is a regular contributing writer to the New Yorker’s science and technology blog.

In 2012, Bjornerud was lead author on a pro bono report for the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission on the geology of the Gogebic Range. The report was designed to serve as a free public document to provide baseline information about the potential effects of an open pit mine on the waters of the Bad River and the wild rice stands in the Kakagon Sloughs.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in geophysics from the University of Minnesota and master’s and doctoral degrees in structural geology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Environmental Passion Earns Lawrence Junior Zechariah Meunier $5,000 Udall Scholarship

 Zechariah Meunier is itching to fight the “continuing crusade” of conservation education.

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Zechariah Meunier ’15

The Lawrence University junior from Marshall, Wis., will work toward those efforts after being named one of only 50 national recipients of a $5,000 Udall Scholarship. Meunier was selected from among 489 candidates throughout the country.

Awarded by the Arizona-based Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation, the scholarships are awarded to students committed to careers related to the environment, Native American health care or tribal policy.

Stewart Udall, the former Secretary of the Interior, urged biologists to speak directly and frankly on what they know about evolving controversies that concern environmental problems. It is a message that resonates deeply with Meunier, a biology and environmental studies major.

An Advocate for Biodiversity and Habitat Conservation

“As an ecologist, I will strive throughout my professional career to blur the boundaries between research, education, and advocacy,” said Meunier, whose career plans include a Ph.D. and a teaching position at the collegiate level. “In our technoscientific age, it is crucial that scientists engage meaningfully in society.

“I plan to use my professorship as a platform to conduct research about community dynamics and human impact on ecosystems,” he added. “I want to educate students, the scientific community and the public through lectures, books, articles and field trips. I hope to be a prominent advocate for biodiversity and habitat conservation.”

Meunier has already begun spreading the environmental gospel as vice president and cofounder of Lawrence’s Bird and Nature Club and current co-president of the Ecology and Conservation Organization.

Last year, Meunier was awarded a $4,500 Gilman Scholarship through the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. He spent 11 weeks in Madagascar on a study-abroad program based at Centre ValBio, a research station in Ranomafana National Park where he observed and studied environmental issues related to rainforest degradation and conservation.

As a Udall Scholar, Meunier will travel to Tucson, Ariz., in early August to participate in a five-day Scholar Orientation, where he will meet with environmental policymakers and community leaders as well as other scholarship winners and program alumni.

“I’m looking forward to collaborating and networking with environmentally-minded students from all disciplines as we endeavor to find sustainable solutions,” Meunier said of his upcoming scholar orientation.

Meunier is Lawrence’s third Udall Scholarship recipient in as many years and the sixth in the program’s 17-year history. He joins Chelsea Johnson (2013), Hava Blair (2012), Stephen Rogness (2003), Gustavo Setrini (2001) and Jacob Brenner (1999) as Lawrence Udall Scholars.

Founded in 1992, the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation is one of five federal foundations established by Congress. Among the missions of the foundation is to increase awareness of the importance of the nation’s natural resources, foster a greater recognition and understanding of the role of the environment, public lands and resources in the development of the United States and identify critical environmental issues.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2014 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Sustainable China: Lawrence University Interdisciplinary Initiative Awarded $400,000 Grant

Few places on the planet offer the complexity of environmental and economic governance as does China. Competing and overlapping bureaucracies with environmental officials at the prefecture, county and township levels often answering to local officials rather than superiors in the central environmental bureaucracy, create opposing perspectives on the balance between economic development and environmental sustainability.

A $400,000 grant from the New York City-based Henry Luce Foundation will support Lawrence University’s long-standing commitment to engaging students with East Asia through the college’s distinctively integrated, multi-disciplinary initiative “Sustainable China: Integrating Culture, Conservation and Commerce.”

The four-year implementation grant builds on two previous Luce Foundation planning grants for $50,000 and $30,000 that helped Lawrence lay the groundwork for the development of courses, study-abroad opportunities and collaborative research projects examining critical issues in sustainability.

Awarded through the Luce Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment (LIASE), the grant also will enable Lawrence to expand partnerships with two Chinese institutions. Guizhou Normal University, located in the provincial capital city of Guiyang, is home to the Institute of China South Karst. Lawrence and the Karst Institute have successfully collaborated previously to improve understanding of how culture, conservation and commerce must be integrated for true sustainability. The award-winning Linden Centre in Yunnan province serves as a retreat for those studying how traditional Chinese culture meshes with modern economic development in an ecologically responsible way.

The Linden Center was created by Brian and Jeanee Linden, who also operate the Linden Gallery in Ellison Bay, which specializes in Asian art. The gallery is not far from Lawrence’s Door County Bjorklunden estate.

A Three-Prong Approach

Associate Professor of Chinese Jane Parish Yang

Lawrence’s “Sustainable China” initiative is a multi-disciplinary collaboration among the college’s East Asian Studies and Environmental Studies programs, including faculty in biology, Chinese and Japanese language and culture, economics, government and history. As China and its environmental concerns loom larger on the world stage, the program provides opportunities for student engagement with issues of economic growth, environmental sustainability and a shifting cultural landscape.

The program’s mission is threefold:

broaden and deepen Lawrence student engagement with China through the curriculum

diversify and expand opportunities for students to gain first-hand experience with China

promote mutually beneficial partnerships with organizations in China.

“This grant offers our students first-hand experiences in China with study tours to both rural and urban sites as well as research opportunities on environmental and cultural issues, such as ethnic minorities and economic development, ” said Jane Parish Yang, associate professor of Chinese at Lawrence, who will co-direct the “Sustainable China” program for the first year. “Our students also will be able to study at Guizhou Normal University and receive internships, including post-graduate positions. We hope these opportunities encourage students to pursue Chinese language study in conjunction with coursework related to China in environmental science and the social sciences.”

Three “Cs” of Sustainability

The program approaches China’s competing and conflicting perspectives on development and the environment by focusing on three ” Cs” of sustainability:
•  Culture — language, history and the roles of ethnic minorities.

  Conservation — the importance of establishing governance systems and social institutions that encourage both public and private actors to be good stewards of natural resources.

  Commerce — an alliterative substitute for economic vitality, reflecting the perspective that environmental sustainability should be pursued in ways that also drive broader prosperity and economic sustainability.

Professor of Economics Marty Finkler

“In today’s world it is vitally important students grapple with the complexity of sustainability, transcending the purely scientific and environmental issues to encompass economic, political and cultural factors as well and China offers an ideal context for such study,” said Merton Finkler, professor of economics and John R. Kimberly Distinguished Professor in the American Economic System who will co-direct the program its first year. “The interdisciplinary nature of our program offers a distinctive lens through which our students will study China, one based on the assertion that sustainability must address various perspectives for how scarce resources are allocated and managed.”

Last November, a Luce Foundation grant supported a 19-day study tour to China for 13 students and four faculty members for an investigation of water resource management issues.

The Henry Luce Foundation was established in 1936 by Henry R. Luce, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Time Inc., to honor his parents who were missionary educators in China. The Foundation builds upon the vision and values of four generations of the Luce family: broadening knowledge and encouraging the highest standards of service and leadership.  It seeks to bring important ideas to the center of American life, strengthen international understanding, and foster innovation and leadership in academic, policy, religious and art communities.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2013 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,450 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries. Follow Lawrence on Facebook.

 

Geologist Marcia Bjornerud Selected for National Outstanding Educator Award

Teaching, mentoring and research contributions to the study of geology have earned Lawrence University’s Marcia Bjornerud the 2011 Outstanding Educator Award from the Association of Women Geoscientists. She will be recognized Monday, Oct. 10 at the national meeting of the Geological Society of America in Minneapolis, Minn.

Presented annually since 1988, the award honors college or university teachers “who have played a significant role in the education and support of women geoscientists both within and outside the classroom,” including encouraging women to pursue careers in geoscience, providing field and laboratory experiences and serving as a positive role model.

Marcia Bjornerud

Honorees also are selected on the basis of their professional contributions to the study of geology, their involvement with professional societies and participation in science education programs in their community.

“This award is especially meaningful because so many current and former Lawrence students — both women and men — worked together to nominate me,” said Bjornerud, a structural geologist who joined the Lawrence faculty in 1995. “Teaching is a pleasure when one has such wonderful students.”

Professor of geology and the Walter Schober Professor in Environmental Studies, Bjornerud has honed her craft through more than 20 years of teaching experience, adopting the mantra “Teach less better,” with a focus on a more organic and deeper approach to the subject material, integrating and connecting concepts along the way. For more than 10 years, she has contributed to community science outreach programs for Fox Valley elementary and middle school students.

The recipient of Fulbright Senior Scholar Fellowships in 2009 and 2000 for field research in New Zealand and Norway, respectively, Bjornerud was instrumental in the creation of Lawrence’s environmental studies program in 2000 and served as its director for six years.

She is the author of the science textbook “The Blue Planet” and the 2005 book “Reading the Rocks: The Autobiography of the Earth,” in which she provides a tour of “deep time,” chronicles the planet’s changes and examines the toll human activity is exacting on Earth. She was elected a Fellow of the Geological Society of America in 2003 and was recognized with Lawrence’s Excellence in Scholarship or Creative Activity Award in 2007.

In addition to her award, Bjornerud also will make a presentation at the meeting on the question of when modern-style plate tectonics began on Earth. She will be one of seven Lawrence presenters at the national conference. Joining Bjornerud in research presentations will be associate professors of geology Jeff Clark and Andrew Knudsen, 2010 Lawrence graduate Katherine Cummings and current students Katharine Gurke ’12, Adam Kranz ’13 and Breanna Skeets ’12.

Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges, it was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,520 students from 44 states and 56 countries.

Riverwalk Opened to the Public

The beautiful new Lawrence Riverwalk opened today, May 14, 2010. The quarter-mile-long trail is the innovative idea of 12 Lawrence students who participated in an environmental studies symposium with Associate Professor of Geology Andrew Knudsen.

The two-level trail loop, located just east of S. Lawe St. between the Warch Campus Center and the Fox River, features a crushed stone surface on its upper tract (designed to be bicycle and wheelchair accessible) and a natural wood-chip surface on the lower trail next to the riverbank.

The trail includes interpretive signs composed by Lawrence students on three subjects: the historic relationship between Lawrence and the Fox River; the early people who lived in the area; and the geological history of the Fox River. Professors Peter Peregrine, Carol and Ron Mason, Jeff Clark and Monica Rico in the anthropology, geology and history departments, respectively, assisted the students in developing the signs.

Highlighting the trail are two African sculptures created from serpentine stone by members of the Shona tribe of Zimbabwe. The two art works were part of a gift from Milwaukee art gallery owner David Barnett and his wife, Susan, a 1981 Lawrence graduate.

The trail also includes several large limestone benches for repose and reflection.

Crossing Lawe Street, the trail continues past the Sustainable Lawrence University Garden, visitors will notice several improvements including gated entrances to the garden, a new garden shed and arbor, and improved landscaping. Progress on the Gilboy Council Ring continues. A gift from Steven ’62 and Joan Gilboy P’90, it features a fire pit surrounded by a stone floor and limestone benches. When completed, the Gilboy Council Ring will add a picturesque meeting place to the Lawrence campus.

The Riverwalk adds a new dimension to the Lawrence campus. The proximity to the river and the restful quality of the trail, benches and art are welcome amenities to be enjoyed by members of the Lawrence and Fox Valley communities for years to come.



Environmental Series Presentation Looks Relationship Between the Arts, Sustainable Development

Amara Geffen, professor of art at Allegheny College, discusses the economic impact of the arts and their capacity to stimulate civic and community engagement in the second installment of Lawrence University’s 2010 Spoerl Lectures in Science and Society series, “The Greening of Higher Education.”

Geffen presents “The Role of the Arts in Sustainable Community Development,” Tuesday, May 18 at 7 p.m. in Thomas Steitz Science Hall Room 102. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Using examples of endeavors in Allegheny’s hometown of Meadville, Pa., and other locales, Geffen will discuss ways arts initiatives have stimulated creative economies and helped create healthy, vibrant communities.

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Amara Geffen

A member of the Allegheny art department since 1982, Geffen specializes in projects that emphasize community collaboration and creative reuse and repurposing of materials and sites to illustrate the role of arts-based and sustainable community and economic development. Projects she has been involved with include an initiative that merges Earth art with best management practices in the environmental mitigation of stormwater runoff as part of an interstate highway interchange.

Geffen also directs Allegheny’s Center for Economic and Environmental Development and serves as the project director of the center’s Arts & Environment Initiative. She has been the recipient of grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation’s Artists and Communities program for collaborations with students and artist colleagues on behalf of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the greater Meadville community.

The environmental lecture series is sponsored by the Spoerl Lectureship in Science in Society. Established in 1999 by Milwaukee-Downer College graduate Barbara Gray Spoerl and her husband, Edward, the lectureship promotes interest and discussion on the role of science and technology in societies worldwide.

Spoerl Environmental Series Focuses on the “Greening” of Higher Education

A scholar on the integration of environmental studies and sustainability programs in higher education opens Lawrence University’s 2010 Spoerl Lectures in Science and Society series. The theme for this year’s three-part series is “The Greening of Higher Education.”

Nan Jenks-Jay, dean of environmental affairs at Vermont’s Middlebury College, presents “Sustainability and the Liberal Arts,” Wednesday, May 12 at 7 p.m. in Thomas Steitz Science Hall Room 102. The presentation is free and open to the public.

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Nan Jenks-Jay

As dean of environmental affairs, Jenks-Jay had been instrumental in raising Middlebury’s nationally recognized environmental academic program to new heights and integration. She will examine Middlebury’s success in integrating sustainability as a visible aspect of the culture of the college, present examples on how sustainability is integrated into the academic program and discuss the importance of empowering students.

For nearly three decades, Jenks-Jay has been involved in environmentally related work as an administrator, educator, ecologist and consultant. She has been associated with the two oldest undergraduate environmental studies programs in the country, spending 15 years at Williams College and the past 14 at Middlebury. She also has developed new undergraduate and graduate environmental programs for the University of Redlands in California.

Her extensive experience has earned Jenks-Jay invitations to chair external review committees for more than a dozen college and university environmental programs. She has served on several international and national committees, state governmental boards and numerous commissions and lectures frequently on topics related to the environment, sustainability and transformational change within higher education.

Other presentations on this year’s series include:

• May 18, “The Role of the Arts in Sustainable Community Development,” Amara Geffen, professor of art and director of the Center for Economic and Environmental Development, Allegheny College.

• May 19, “Education in Action for a Sustainable Future,” Debra Rowe, president, U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development and professor, sustainable energies and behavioral sciences, Oakland Community College.

The environmental lecture series is sponsored by the Spoerl Lectureship in Science in Society. Established in 1999 by Milwaukee-Downer College graduate Barbara Gray Spoerl and her husband, Edward, the lectureship promotes interest and discussion on the role of science and technology in societies worldwide.

Green Roots Sponsoring “Community Read” Spring Term

Farm City BookTaking a page from Freshman Studies, Green Roots is sponsoring a special 1-unit course for Term III under the umbrella of Topics in Environmental Studies that will feature a campus community read of the 2009 book “Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer.” The book’s author, Novella Carpenter, will visit campus in April in conjunction with Earth Day and the Fox Cities Book Festival.

The book chronicles Carpenter’s efforts to operate a sustainable farm 10 blocks from the ghetto of downtown Oakland, Calif., utilizing a vacant lot to grow pumpkins and artichokes and the scraps in dumpsters to feed her collection of chickens, turkeys, ducks, rabbits and pigs.

Registration for the one-hour-per-week, five-week-long class is currently open to all students and will feature 16 faculty from across the curriculum team-teaching the course with a colleague.

“I am thrilled to see such a positive campus-wide response to this initiative,” said Associate Professor of Geology Andrew Knudsen, who spearheaded the community read course with Jason Brozek, assistant professor of government and Stephen Edward Scarff Professor of International Affairs. “We have students and instructors from all across the university signed up to participate in this program. It will be very exciting to be a part of a campus-wide discussion of this book. If you can run a farm on a vacant lot in Oakland, it seems like the possibilities are limitless.”