Environmental Studies Lunch & Learn Program
Spring 2012 Schedule
(All Lunch and Learns are held from 12-1pm in the Rabb Room,
Lincoln Filene Center, Medford, unless otherwise noted.)
January 19, 2012
One Hundred and Six Ways to Change the Landscape: Habitat
Restoration at the Trustees of Reservations
Julie Richburg, Regional Ecologist for
The Trustees of Reservations - Western Region
The Trustees of Reservations is a Massachusetts based land trust
founded in 1891 by landscape architect Charles Eliot. The Trustees
currently own and manage 106 reservations across the Commonwealth ranging from
barrier beaches, to floodplains, to mountaintops, as well as historic homes and
working farms. Ms. Richburg will speak about some of the habitat restoration
projects that the ecology program at the Trustees has worked on over the years
to increase the resiliency of native habitats and protect rare species.
Julie Richburg is currently the Regional Ecologist for The
Trustees of Reservations - Western Region in Massachusetts. She works on natural
resource inventory and management for the 40 properties owned or managed by The
Trustees west of Route 495 (approximately totaling 9,000 acres). Julie has a
Masters degree and PhD in forest ecology from the University of Massachusetts,
Amherst where she studied the impacts of road salt on plant species within a
calcareous basin fen natural community in Stockbridge and control of woody
invasive plants using mechanical and prescribed fire treatments across the
Northeast. In 2008, she wrote Invasive Plant Management: Guidelines for
Managers, which includes guidelines for prioritizing invasive plant
management by property or region. In 2009, she organized a partnership of
individuals, organizations, and agencies interested in invasive species control
within the Westfield River Watershed.
February 2, 2012
GIS in Environmental Health Research: Improving Exposure and Cluster
Kevin J. Lane Jr., Doctoral Candidate, Boston University
School of Public Health
The integration of GIS into environmental health studies has
allowed for novel approaches to improve exposure and cluster modeling that
allow researchers to better understand the relationship between exposure to
toxicants and adverse health effects. This talk will use two ongoing
studies as examples:
1) How Global Positioning Systems (GPS) can be used to develop
time-activity pattern data that can improve exposure modeling as part of the
Tufts University Community Assessment of Freeway Exposures and Health (CAFEH)
2) How cluster modeling can integrate space and time through
generalized additive models in longitudinal health studies as part of the Cape
Cod Breast Cancer and Birth Cohort study.
Lane received his BS in biology and political science from
Saint Michaels College in 2002. After graduation, he began his career in
Environmental Health (EH) as a research assistant at the Harvard School of
Public Health on the Trucking Industry Particle Study. He attended Tufts
University and received his MA from the department Urban and Environmental
Policy and Planning, where he was a 2007- 2008 Tufts Institute for the
Environment fellow for his research on "Asthma in Connecticut Schools Study:
An Examination of Proximity to Environmental Triggers at School and Prevalence
of Asthma." Currently, he is a Doctoral Candidate in the Department of
Environmental Health at the Boston University School of Public Health, but
continues to collaborate with Tufts as a 2011 EPA STAR Graduate Fellow
researching the association between ultrafine particulate matter and
cardiovascular health on Tufts Community Assessment of Freeway Exposure and
Health Study (CAFEH). Kevin has worked in the GIS field for a decade in the
academic, non-profit and government sectors and now is an adjunct GIS professor
at the Boston University Metropolitan College in the department of City
February 9, 2012
Sustainability Policies and Programs in U.S. Cities: What City
Governments are Doing and Why
Kent E. Portney, Professor of Political Science, Tufts University
What do cities do when they try to become more sustainable? Why
do some cities in the U.S. do so much more than others? This presentation
looks at the character of "civil society" and public engagement as a key
Portney is a Professor of Political Science who
has been conducting analysis of city sustainability policies and programs for
more than 10 years. He teaches courses on the politics of environmental
policy in the U.S. and the politics of sustainable cities. He has
authored and co-authored several publications, including
Taking Sustainable Cities Seriously: Economic Development, the
Environment, and Quality of Life in American Cities (MIT Press,
2003) and of
Acting Civically (Tufts University Press,
Dr. Portney has also written numerous journal articles and
book chapters including, "Civic Engagement and Sustainable Cities in the U.S."
which appeared in Public Administration Review (2005) and his co-authored
article, "Mobilizing Minority Communities: Social Capital and Participation in
Urban Neighborhoods," which appeared in American Behavioral Scientist, (1997).
February 16, 2012
Wind-Wildlife and Climate Change: The Trajectory of a Career in
Taber Allison, Director of
Research and Evaluation, American Wind Wildlife Institute
Dr. Allison will discuss the transition in his career from an academic
plant ecologist to the Director of Research and Evaluation for AWWI and his role
in leading research efforts on wind energy and wildlife.He will engage
students in a discussion of the challenges facing conservationists as we reduce
fossil fuel use to mitigate climate change and the difficult choices this will
Allison is the Director of Research and Evaluation for the
American Wind Wildlife Institute (AWWI) where he oversees AWWI's research
program and the development of wind-wildlife assessment tools.
Taber has an M.S. in forest ecology from the Yale School of Forestry and
Environmental Studies, and a Ph. D in Ecology from the University of Minnesota.
He has served on the faculty at Ohio State University, was Director of
the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in Crested Butte, Colorado, and was a
Program Officer in Ecology at the National Science Foundation.
Prior to coming to AWWI, Mr. Allison was chief scientist and Vice
President for Science, Policy, and Climate Change at Mass Audubon.
Taber was a member of the USDOI Wind Turbine Federal Advisory Committee
and is a technical advisor to the Bats Wind Energy Cooperative.
AWWI is a unique collaboration of wind industry, nonprofit, and state
agency leaders, joined in a shared mission to facilitate timely and responsible
development of wind energy while protecting wildlife and wildlife habitat.
AWWI's purpose is to help lay the scientific groundwork and best practices for
wind farm siting and operations, through
initiatives including sponsoring wind-wildlife research, the
development of assessment tools, review and implementation of mitigation
strategies, and education and outreach.
March 1, 2012
Groundfishing in New England: Have the Managers Finally Gotten it Right?
Peter Shelley, Esq., Vice President and Senior
Counsel, Conservation Law Foundation
Mr. Shelley will talk about how New England got itself into a
groundfish collapse in the 1990s and the steps that have been taken to
recover from that management disaster. He will also make some observations and
predictions about potential future outcomes in New Englands regional fisheries.
Shelley, Esq. is Vice President and Senior Counsel with
Conservation Law Foundation, where he has worked for 30 years on a variety of
land, water, and air matters in court, legislatures, and in the policy arena.
He now works extensively in CLF's Ocean Conservation Program with a focus on
fishery management, public trust law, special marine area protection, and
coastal pollution and restoration. He was awarded a Pew Fellowship in
Conservation and the Environment in 1996 and the David B Stone Medal by the New
England Aquarium in 2003. Before CLF, Peter served for five years as an
Assistant Attorney General for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental
Resources. Peter has a BA from Hobart College (1969) and received his JD
with honors from the evening division of Suffolk University Law School (1978).
March 8, 2012
The Use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in the Conservation of the
World's Big Cat Species
Lisanne Petracca, Geospatial Analyst, Panthera
In this talk, Ms. Petracca will describe some of
her latest work with the NGO Panthera, which is dedicated to the
conservation of the world's big cat species. She will discuss the current state
of four of the world's most imperiled cats (the jaguar, lion, tiger, and snow
leopard) and the various conservation measures Panthera is
employing to ensure their survival. One key aspect of her work with
Panthera is the Jaguar Corridor Initiative, a groundbreaking effort that
aims to conserve jaguar habitat from northern Mexico to northern Argentina.
Petracca graduated from Tufts University in 2006
with degrees in Environmental Studies, Psychology, and Biomedical Engineering
Systems. Following two years in the Marshall Islands as a science and
english teacher, Ms. Petracca attended Duke
University to achieve a Masters Degree in Ecosystem Science and Conservation.
During her time at Duke, Ms. Petracca was able to spend two field
seasons with the conservation NGO Panthera (http://www.panthera.org)
directing a jaguar conservation project in Belize. This project
consisted of collecting hundreds of interviews with local hunters and farmers
regarding the presence of jaguars and their main prey species, which were then
used to identify two key jaguar corridors as part of Panthera's
Jaguar Corridor Initiative (http://www.panthera.org/programs/jaguar/jaguar-corridor-initiative).
Pathera formally hired Ms. Petracca as a Geospatial
Analyst following her graduation from Duke in 2010. Her current role is mainly
to use the interview data collected throughout Central America to identify new
jaguar corridors, as well as to manage a database of Panthera's
collared snow leopards and jaguars.
March 15, 2012
The Influence of Habitat Complexity, Prey Quality, and Predator Avoidance
on Sea Otter Resource Selection in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska
Nathan L. Stewart, Independent Researcher and Lecturer, Tufts Experimental College
In the early 1990's, a rapid sea otter population decline in
the central and western Aleutian Islands released sea
urchins from predation and caused a shift to an urchin dominated state. Despite
increases in urchin abundance, sea otters continued to decline and
currently exhibit restricted habitat use.
Causes for sea otter restricted habitat use have manifested in a
debate involving two different processes, bottom-up and top-down forcing.
Bottom-up hypotheses argue that changes in the availability or nutritional
quality of prey resources have led to the selective use of habitats that support
the highest quality prey. In contrast, top-down hypotheses argue that increases
in predation pressure from killer whales have led to the use of habitats that
provide the greatest refuge from killer whale predation. A third hypothesis
suggests that habitat use is mitigated by the need for protection from storms.
Dr. Stewart will discuss his research exploring these three
hypotheses for restricted habitat use.
L. Stewart has a PhD in marine biology from the School of
Fisheries and Ocean Sciences at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He was a
visiting lecturer at the Experimental College in fall 2011 where he taught a
class on change and resilience in the Arctic, titled: "When the Snow has Not
Frozen: Damage and Resilience in the Arctic." His academic focus is on resource
selection in animals, in particular on marine mammal benthic foraging site
selection. He is a scientific diver and has worked for the Partnership for the
Interdisciplinary Study of Coastal Oceans (PISCO), Stanford's Hopkins Marine
Station, and Columbia University's Biosphere 2 Reserve. He is currently in
preparation for a 2012 research season in New Harbor, McMurdo Sound,
March 29, 2012
Ecological Restoration in Massachusetts
Tim Purinton, Director of the Division of Ecological Restoration,
Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game
Massachusetts has a deep and rich environmental conservation tradition.
The state is home to the oldest land trusts in the nation and pioneered
legislative safeguards to protect wetlands and rivers. With the recent creation
of the Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration (DER), the first
state-based ecological restoration program of its type in the nation, the
Commonwealth is breaking ground again.
Ecological restoration is a growing and important component of the
environmental conservation movement. Restoration not only holds the line against
environmental degradation, but also creates opportunities to address past harms
in order to gain ground. Tim Purinton will describe recently
completed projects including the multi-million dollar Eel River Restoration in
Plymouth and other aquatic habitat based projects aimed at restoring ecosystem
functions and values to build resiliency in light of climate change.
Purinton is the Director for Massachusetts
Department of Fish and Games Division of Ecological Restoration. DER was
created in 2009 with the merger of the Riverways and Wetland
Restoration Programs. Prior to being appointed the Director, Mr. Purinton
was Riverways Program Acting Director and Restoration Planner.
Before he worked for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, he was a community
outreach coordinator for the Massachusetts Audubon Society.
Mr. Purinton oversees a Division that coordinates over
eighty river, wetland and flow restoration projects across the state including
over twenty active dam removal projects from the Berkshires to Buzzards Bay. He
served for many years on his local planning board and is on the Massachusetts
Association of Conservation Commissions Board of Directors.
April 5, 2012
Building US Public Understanding of Climate Risks and
Choices in a Distracted Age
Peter C. Frumhoff, Director of Science and
Policy, Union of Concerned Scientists
C. Frumhoff is the Director of Science and Policy
at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), and chief scientist of the UCS
Climate Campaign. There, he guides organization-wide initiatives to bring robust
science to bear on strengthening public policies, with a particular focus on
A global change ecologist, Dr. Frumhoff has published and
lectured widely on topics including climate change impacts, climate science and
policy, tropical forest conservation and management, and biological
diversity.He is a lead author of the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report of the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the 2000 IPCC Special
Report on Land Use, Land-use Change and Forestry, and the Chair of the 2007
Northeast Climate Impacts Assessment (NECIA). He serves on the Board of
Directors of the American Wind Wildlife Institute, the Scientific Advisory
Committee of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations, and is a member of the
Harvard University Center for the Environment.
Dr. Frumhoff has taught at the Fletcher School of Law and
Diplomacy at Tufts University, Harvard University and the University of
Maryland. He also served as an AAAS Science and Diplomacy Fellow at the U.S.
Agency for International Development, where he designed and led conservation and
rural development programs in Latin America and East Africa. He holds a Ph.D. in
Ecology and an M.A. in Zoology from the University of California, Davis and a
B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego.
April 12, 2012
The Priorities and Accomplishments of the Obama EPA
Avi Garbow, Deputy General Council, US
Environmental Protection Agency
From the lens of the Agencys Office of General Counsel, the discussion
will focus on Administrator Jacksons priorities for the Agency, and its
accomplishments over the past three years.
In September 2009, Avi Garbow was appointed by President Obama
to serve as the Environmental Protection
Agency's Deputy General Counsel. With nearly two decades of
environmental law experience in both the private and public sectors, Mr.
Garbow is primarily engaged in the significant legal and related policy
issues confronting the Agency in its media programs, including air, water,
waste, and toxics. From 1992 to 1996, he served in EPA's
Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, and then served with distinction
as a federal prosecutor in the Department of Justice Environmental Crimes
Section. In private practice, Mr. Garbow was a
litigation partner and junior partner at two major international firms.
Garbow has served on the boards of directors, and in other
capacities, for various environmental and international human rights
organizations, and previously held leadership positions in the American Bar
Association's International Human Rights Committee. He is the
recipient of the University of Virginia School of Law's Robert F. Kennedy Award
for Public Service, holds a Masters degree in Marine Affairs, and is a former
April 19, 2012
Tufts Institute of the Environment Fellows Presentations
Water consumption patterns and enteric infection transmission in
rural and urban settings of Vellore, India
Negin Ashoori, Tufts Institute of the Environment Fellow and Masters
Candidate in Civil and Environmental Engineering
According to the World Health Organization, one in three people in the
world are affected by water scarcity and the problem is intensifying with
population growth, urbanization, and rise in industrial water use. This
collaborative, inter-disciplinary study analyzes the correlation between the
distribution of water in households and the incidence of water-borne diseases in
rural and urban populations in Vellore, India. The data is from a survey of 72
homes, 36 of which were selected using a simple random sampling technique to be
directly observed. Water sources, water quality levels, and daily water use were
linked with recorded enteric disease incidences. The preliminary findings, shown
through GIS, have discovered various flaws in the distribution of water given
that urban slums, which have access to water only once a week, had a higher risk
of enteric diseases compared to rural villages that have daily water supply. The
average daily water use observed for the areas are 74.4 liters per capita (95%
CI: 66.22, 82.65) with the range
being 20L-167L. Water consumption was also
found to be significantly correlated with specific water sources since
households that utilized public and private taps had more access to water than
those that used alternative water sources. Providing access to adequate
quantities of safe water, establishing proper disposal facilities of excreta,
and educating the public on hygienic practices are of upmost importance in
reducing the burden of enteric diseases in India.
received her BS in Biological Sciences and
BA in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
She is currently in the second year of her MS in Civil & Environmental
Engineering. Her research interests are in primary prevention of water-borne
diseases by integrating public health with engineering. She has received both a
WSSS and TIE fellowship to help support the research she conducted in India.
The Transmission of Diarrheal Diseases Through the Land Surface: A
Comparison of Rural and Urban Slum Areas in Southern India
Andrea Brown, Tufts Institute of the Environment Fellow and Masters Candidate in
Civil and Environmental Engineering
The rate of diarrheal diseases is high in Indian rural villages and
urban slums, contributing to malnutrition and death in young children.
These diseases are contracted through contact with faecal matter or
from contaminated drinking water. Lack of closed sewage drainage and open-field
defecation increase the likelihood of the transport of enteric pathogens through
the subsurface into the groundwater, the sole source of the public drinking
water, and the probability of direct contact with pathogen contaminated soil.
In this preliminary study, we applied GIS and spatial analysis to explore
whether land surface characteristics such as soil properties and land coverage
are related to water quality and enteric infections. We linked soil
characteristics to geocoded locations of 300 households in rural and urban study
sites, their main source of drinking water, coliform counts in nearby public
drinking water taps,
and recorded diarrheal disease occurrences. Initial
analysis revealed the distinction between rural and urban ammonia and water
content in soil and the amount of nitrites and fecal coliform counts in public
drinking water. The preliminary mapping indicates the potential role of
land surface features in the transmission of pathogens and exposes the
vulnerability of rural areas to ground water contamination. Uncovering
variation in diarrheal disease routes of transmission becomes important as a
growing population moves from rural to urban areas.
Brown graduated from UCLA in 2010 with a BS in Civil
Engineering and minor in Environmental Engineering and is now in the second year
of an MS in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering. She chose to
integrate public health into her thesis project and is, therefore, working with
the Community Health Department at the Christian Medical College in India to
contribute to their goal of determining the environmental predictors of enteric
diseases in India. She received both a WSSS and TIE fellowship to help
support her research.
April 26, 2012
Renewable Energy in Our Communities: Local and International
Energy Policy Impacts on Community Economic Development
Community-based renewable energy projects have taken hold across the US and
Europe as a means to increase local wealth, create green jobs, and encourage
community economic development opportunities. To succeed, community-based energy
projects require a mix of entrepreneurial leadership, local support, as well as
sound energy policies. Neil Veilleux, Tufts UEP alumnus and
consultant at Meister Consultants Group, discusses planning and policy
approaches that have led to successful community-based energy projects in Europe
and the US, focusing in particular on Germanys leading biogas market and
opportunities for community-based biogas projects in Massachusetts.
Veilleux is a consultant at Meister Consultants
Group (MCG), a Boston-based sustainability consulting firm. He
works with both public and private sector clients on clean energy strategy,
policy, and program development. In past work, Neil has focused on US and German
approaches to renewable energy markets, including transatlantic assessments of
biogas, wind, and renewable heating markets and policies. He recently served as
the Heinrich Böll Foundations 2011 Midwest Renewable Energy
Fellow, collaborating with farmers, policy experts, and decision makers to
assess potential for renewable energy and conservation policies to increase
local economic opportunities for rural communities. He has additionally authored
energy planning strategies for states and cities across the Northeast.
Before joining MCG, Neil worked with the Conservation Services Group (CSG) and
the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER). He served as a
Rappaport Public Policy Fellow at Harvards Kennedy School of Government and a
Fulbright scholar in Germany. Neil holds an M.A. in Urban and Environmental
Policy & Planning from Tufts University and a B.A. from The University of the
May 3, 2012
Tufts Institute of the Environment Fellow Presentation
Baseflow Recessions and Changing Hydrology
Brian Thomas, Tufts Institute of the Environment
Fellow and Masters Candidate in Civil and Environmental Engineering
This lecture will discuss streamflow
recession behavior and its relationship between land use, human water use and
limitations of traditional analysis methods. In general, recession curve
exhibits behavior, which may be attributed to the relationship between aquifer
formations and the associated groundwater outflow to the stream channel.
Increased attention has focused on the quality and quantity of groundwater
because it sustains surface water flow during drought periods and because it is
recognized as a significant component of the global freshwater budget.
This lecture will discuss 1) principles of baseflow, 2) why
baseflow matters and 3) how baseflow is changing over time.
F. Thomas is a doctoral candidate in civil and environmental
engineering specializing in water resources engineering. His current
research focuses upon hydrologic statistics and hydromorphology,
the study of dynamic morphology of hydrologic systems such as human influences.
In the past, Brian worked with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
and as a senior hydrogeologist in Massachusetts. He has a
Master's in Hydrology from the University of New Hampshire and a B.S. in
Environmental Geology from the University of North Dakota. He is currently in
his third year of his MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering.
current Lunch & Learn schedule >