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Environmental Studies Lunch & Learn Program
View previous lunch & learn
The ENVS Lunch & Learn Program began in the Spring of 2011 to create opportunities for environmentally-minded undergraduate students, faculty, and interested staff to communicate and interact on environmental issues. Tufts University alumni, graduate students, faculty, and undergraduates who are actively participating in interesting research and internship topics give weekly presentations. Non-Tufts speakers have become an integral part of the program as lecturers and by serving as a resource for ideas on future lecture topics. While we originally anticipated a predominantly undergraduate attendance, the program has attracted graduate student, faculty, staff and Medford community visitors as well.
Lunch & Learn lectures take place
every Thursday from 12:00-1:00pm at the Lincoln Filene Center, Rabb Room on the
Medford Campus during the academic year. The Tufts Institute of the Environment
generously sponsors lunch.
If you are interested in participating in the Lunch
& Learn program as a guest lecturer/participant, contact environmentalstudies (@tufts.edu).
Fall 2014 ScheduleSeptember 4, 2014
Find out what is happening in forests now with Global Forest Watch
Nancy Harris, Research Manager, Global Forest Watch
By the time we find out about deforestation, it's usually too late to take action. Forest information can also be difficult to access, hard to understand, or inconsistent when compared across geographies or through time. This all changes with Global Forest Watch, an online forest monitoring and alert system that empowers people everywhere to better manage forests with improved access to high quality information. GFW combines satellite technology, open data, the cloud computing power of Google, and human networks to rapidly analyze terabytes of data and provide actionable information to users in near real-time. GFW shows where and how forests are changing, who is using them, and how we can help sustain them for future generations.
Nancy Harris holds a B.S. in Biology and Environmental Studies from Tufts University in Medford, MA and a Ph.D. in Systems Ecology from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY. Her research focused on the measurement and modeling of forest carbon in a Puerto Rican rain forest.
Nancy is currently the research Manager for Global Forest Watch (GFW) within the Food, Forests and Water program. Nancy works to identify thematic and geographic research priorities for GFW and leads the acquisition and generation of new data and analytical content. She also supports in-country capacity building efforts and collaborates with GFW staff and partners to produce and communicate original, policy-relevant research that further advances global understanding of critical drivers and dynamics of forest change.
September 11, 2014
Community Farms Outreach: A Local Resource for Food Access and Environmental Education
Claire Kozower, Executive Director, Community Farms Outreach/Waltham Fields Community Farms
Join Executive Director, Claire Kozower, in a discussion about the work of Community Farms Outreach/Waltham Fields Community Farm, a nonprofit farming organization serving Greater Boston. Claire's presentation will focus on the farm's initiatives to increase food security, provide farm-to-table programming, offer farmer training, and carry out sustainable land management.
Claire Kozower holds a B.A. in Environmental Science from Barnard College, and earned her M.S. from Tufts University in 1999, through the Agriculture, Food and Environment Program. Before coming to Waltham Fields in 2008, Claire spent the last 7 years working with the Somerville Public School Department to coordinate a farm-to-school program, professional development and wellness opportunities for food service personnel, nutrition education for students and families, and policy implementation. Her hands-on agricultural experience includes over a decade of seasonal work with organic, non-profit farming organizations. Claire describes her central commitment as that of "promoting sustainable agriculture, nutrition education, and community food security."
September 18, 2014
Fisheries Management in Traditional Communities
Andrew Tirrell, Lecturer, Environmental Studies Program, Tufts University
While modern fisheries management policies have the laudable aim of ensuring sustainability of fish stocks, they do not always take into consideration their social, cultural, and economic impacts on traditional communities. In indigenous and small and traditional non-indigenous communities fishing is often not only an economic lifeline, but also a keystone to retaining culture, societal cohesion, language, and even the continued existence of the community. Balancing the economic, ecological, and social legs of sustainability is often a difficult, but worthwhile, effort to ensure the survival of these critically-threatened peoples and places.
Andrew Tirrell holds a BA from Brandeis University, a JD from Columbia Law School and he is a current doctoral candidate at the Fletcher School at Tufts University. His research is supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the Henry J. Leir Foundation, the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy, and the Tufts institute for the Environment.
Initially trained as a human rights attorney, Andrew focuses his research on rights-based approaches to natural resource management, sustainable development, and climate change adaptation. Before returning to academia, his legal practice was predominantly in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and New York City on issues of development, environmental protection, education, and human rights. As a scholar, he has continued to study those regions and issues, but recently he began a new major research project examining the effectiveness of fisheries management regimes in several communities in Arctic Norway, New Zealand, Alaska, and New England.
September 25, 2014
Aviation's carbon neutral growth goals – how do we get there from here?
Kristin Lewis, PhD, Environmental Biologist, Energy Analysis and Sustainability Division, John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
The global aviation community has committed to achieving carbon neutral growth in aviation operations starting in 2020. The U.N. International Civil Aviation Organization is evaluating potential contributors to achieving this target out to 2050. We will discuss the challenges and the current efforts to reach this goal via performance improvements and alternative fuels. In particular, we will focus on issues relating to the environmental sustainability of alternative jet fuels. We will also discuss the integrated efforts across government, private industry, and international governing bodies to evaluate and facilitate development and deployment of sustainable alternative jet fuels.
Kristin Lewis focuses on climate change adaptation and resilience in transportation, alternative jet fuel transportation, availability, and sustainability analyses, and environmental impact assessments. Dr. Lewis received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) from President Obama in 2011.
Dr. Lewis supports Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as the Head Research and Technical Advisor to the FAA sponsored Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI®), and she provides technical expertise to FAA as a member of the U.N. International Civil Aviation Organization Committee for Aviation Environmental Protection (ICAO CAEP) Alternative Fuels Task Force. She also leads the development of the Alternative Fuel Transportation Optimization Tool, a national model for assessing transport of alternative fuels, feedstocks, and co-products, which has been sponsored by the Office of Naval Research and FAA. Dr. Lewis is part of the winning Volpe Innovation Challenge team focusing on supporting the use of Federal tools to address transportation-related climate change adaptation and resilience needs.
October 2, 2014
Obama's Climate Plan: State Action, Grassroots Opportunities
Eban Goodstein, Director and Faculty, Bard MBA in Sustainability; Director, Bard Center for Environmental Policy
Using the authority of the Clean Air Act, Obama's EPA is moving forward with proposed regulations on global warming pollution from existing power plants. The EPA's target is 17% reductions below 20.06 levels by 2020—but the final outcome will be determined as the states actually move to implement the regulations. Today, citizen groups have an unprecedented opportunity to drive the state level dialog, and advocate for deeper emission cuts This talk outlines the avenues for grassroots engagement with state regulators.
Eban Goodstein is an economist, author, and sustainability educator known for his work in the clean energy movement, and for his educational campaigns, which have engaged thousands of schools and universities, civic institutions, faith groups, and communities in solutions-driven dialogues about global warming and global climate change. In 1999, he founded the Green House Network, which spearheaded both the Race to Stop Global Warming, and Focus the Nation. In 2008, he created the National Teach-In on Global Warming Solutions. Since 2009, he has founded and directs two new graduate programs in sustainability at Bard College, an MS Degree in Climate Science and Policy, and an MBA in Sustainability, as well as the C2C Fellows sustainability leadership program. He is the author of three books and numerous journal articles.
October 9, 2014
Fukushima's Forbidden Zone as a Site for Performance Art: Three Years Later
William Johnston, Professor, Wesleyan University; Dancer/Choreographer, Eiko; Photographer
In January and July, 2014, William Johnston traveled to areas affected by the explosions of the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant following the earthquake and tsunami that occurred on March 11, 2011. In this presentation, Johnston will show images of Eiko performing in these places in the context of the ongoing measures to deal with this crisis.
William Johnston received his BA from Elmira College in Elmira, New York, and his MA in Regional Studies East Asia and PhD in History and East Asian Languages, both from Harvard. He is Professor of History, East Asian Studies, and Science in Society at Wesleyan University, where he was also a Faculty Fellow at the College of the Environment for the 2012-13 academic year; during the 2014-15 academic year he is the Edwin O. Reischauer Visiting Professor in History at Harvard and Visiting Artist in the Dance Department and the College of East Asian Studies at Wesleyan University. He has pursued photography seriously since 1993, and his images of Eiko in the Fukushima area are scheduled for exhibitions at the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Art, Colorado State University at Colorado Springs, and at Wesleyan University.
October 16, 2014
Temperate Forest Dynamics on a Grand Scale: the Harvard Forest Global Earth Observatory Plot
David Orwig, PhD; Senior Forest Ecologist, Harvard Forest
In his talk, David Orwig will present current research at Harvard Forest (Petersham, MA), focusing on the integrated study of forest dynamics and ecosystem processes. He will discuss how this type of research helps answering long-term questions and informs forest management.
David Orwig is a forest ecologist for Harvard University’s Harvard Forest in Petersham, MA. He has worked there for the last 19 years. He received a B.S. in Biology from the Rochester Institute of Technology, and he holds a MSc in Ecology and PhD in Forest Resources both from Pennsylvania State University. His research interests encompass various aspects of forest ecology and ecosystem science, with particular emphasis on dendroecology, old-growth forests, and the role of land use history and disturbance on forest composition and structure. He has integrated stand, community, landscape, and ecosystem approaches in examining the ecological consequences of several invasive insect pests in forests of southern New England. He has studied and written extensively on the hemlock woolly adelgid and the impact this pest is having on forests in the region, and within the last several years, began studying the invasive elongate hemlock scale, the Sirex wood wasp, and the Asian Long-horned beetle.
October 23, 2014
Credence by the Cup - Consumer interest in environmental attributes of food and beverages
Sean Cash, Associate Professor, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy
There is an increasing availability of food and beverage products available to consumers that purport to allow them to vote for a cleaner environment with their shopping carts. Often these products come at a price premium, and with a variety of labels and third-party certification schemes behind them to provide assurances that these products really do provide the benefits that are described. What do we know about how consumers respond to what can be a barrage of information, and they make food choices that involve their bellies, minds, hearts and wallets?
Sean B. Cash, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor and food economist in the Agriculture, Food and Environment program at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University; a faculty affiliate of the Tufts Institute of the Environment; and an adjunct professor in the Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology at the University of Alberta. His research focuses on how food, nutrition, and environmental policies affect both producers and consumers. Ongoing and recent projects include the efficacy of food label and price interventions as public health and environmental tools, including linkages to disease incidence; economics aspects of obesity; economic barriers to adherence to diabetes treatments; schoolchildren’s food choices in commercial environments; the role of agricultural policies on nutrition; how consumers value social aspects of food relative to other attributes; and how point-of-sale health messaging impacts consumers’ demand for food. He also conducts research in the areas of environmental impacts in food production, including projects on tea quality and climate change and invasive species management.
Dr. Cash is a past Chair of the Food Safety and Nutrition section of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, and is the Co-Chair of the C-FARE Blue Ribbon Panel on Consumer Concerns about Food, Health and Safety. He has been involved extensively in policy and public-facing work, including testimony to the Canadian Parliament and service on a National Academy of Sciences panel.
October 30, 2014
Biodiversity and land conservation at the Massachusetts Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program
Patricia Swain, Ph.D., Natural Community Ecologist, Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program, Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
The overall goal of the Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program (NHESP), part of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, is the protection of the state's wide range of native biological diversity, particularly the vertebrate and invertebrate animals and native plants that are officially listed as rare in Massachusetts. The talk will focus on conservation through identifying, tracking, managing, and regulating rare species and identifying and mapping NHESP priority natural communities. Land use history, climate change, and other influences on native biodiversity will be part of the discussion.
Patricia Swain's job as natural community ecologist for NHESP means working state wide with the rarest and most imperiled natural communities in Massachusetts and the best examples of the more common types. Patricia is currently revising The Classification of Natural Communities of Massachusetts that was first produced in 2001; since then they have been adding new types and adjusting the original descriptions so that a clean version (with illustrations and a key) seems like a useful product. Patricia has been the Natural Community Ecologist for MassWildlife's Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program since 1987. Before that she was a stay at home mom and part time academic, teaching occasional ecology and biology classes at the local university and technical college. She graduated from Tufts with a Biology major, and obtained her MS and PhD degrees in Ecology from the University of Minnesota.
November 6, 2014
Invasive species: Causes, consequences, and solutions
Rebecca Irwin, Associate Professor, Dartmouth College
Invasive species are a leading component of environmental change. Some of the main challenges in invasive species research are understanding the causes of species invasions, their consequences in the invaded range, and solutions for invasive species management. This talk will combine principles from ecology and economics to understand causes, consequences and solutions to invasive species management.
Rebecca Irwin is an Associate Professor in the Biology Department at Dartmouth College. Dr. Irwin's research focuses on the ecology and evolution of multiple-species interactions, pollination biology, and species invasions. She received a B.A. in Biology from Middlebury College, and she holds a PhD in Ecology and Evolution from the University of Vermont. Her research is well funded, having received numerous grants from the National Science Foundation as well as other organizations. Her impressive publication record includes articles in top journals such as Ecology, Ecology Letters, and PNAS.
November 13 2014
Natural History Informs Conservation: Magellanic Penguins in Argentina
Dee Boersma , Professor, University of Washington
Dee Boersma's academic research is in the area of conservation biology and has focused on seabirds as indicators of environmental change. Since 1982, she has directed the Magellanic Penguin Project at Punta Tombo, Argentina, in her role as a scientific fellow for the Wildlife Conservation Society. Over the past 23 years, she has carried out research on Magellanic penguins in the South Atlantic, assessing their biological characteristics and the effects of human perturbations and policy changes on their survival.
Dr. Boersma received her B.Sc. Honors from Central Michigan University in 1969, and her Ph.D. in Zoology, from Ohio State University in 1974. Her thesis was titled: The Galapagos Penguin: A Study of Adaptations for Life in an Unpredictable Environment." Dr. Boersma holds the Wadsworth Endowed Chair in Conservation Science at the University of Washington, and since 1998 has been a professor of Biology in the Biology Department and an adjunct faculty member in the Women Studies Department. Dr. Boersma has published numerous articles in scientific journals, and is the founder and current Executive Editor of Conservation, an award-winning conservation magazine she launched in 2000. She recently co-edited the book "Penguins: Natural History and Conservation."
November 20, 2014
Volunteerism on the Mystic River
Beth MacBlane, Outreach and Communications Director, MyRWA
The Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) began in 1972 as a grassroots environmental organization and continues to rely upon grassroots support and volunteerism to accomplish its many projects and programs today. Come learn about the work of the association and how MyRWA engages the 22 community watershed through volunteerism and citizen science.
Beth MacBlane is the Outreach and Communications Director at the Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA). In this role Beth manages MyRWA outreach events and the association's electronic and print communications, including social media. She received her B.A. in environmental studies and anthropology at Tufts University, where she volunteered with MA Community Water Watch as the education coordinator. She received her M.S. in environmental studies with a concentration in environmental education at Antioch University New England. Her professional experience comprises various educational and community organizing endeavors including four years of work with the National Park Service as an interpretive park ranger.
December 4, 2014
"Jwal sulul li’be!" Exploring the Muddy Path of Conservation and Development in Central America
Devyn Powell, Development Fund Communications Officer, Ecologic
Anne Elise Stratton, Tufts University (Senior), Intern, Ecologic
EcoLogic Development Fund, based in Cambridge and Guatemala, has worked to empower rural communities to protect and restore tropical ecosystems in Mexico and Central America since 1993. EcoLogic believes that what makes conservation stick is skilled local leadership and enduring community-level commitment. Anne Elise Stratton, a Tufts senior, will present her summer research in a lowland Caribbean Guatemala protected area. She'll explain challenges farmers face with climate change, corn production, and agroforestry as well as her insights and anecdotes from fieldwork. Devyn Powell, Tufts class of 2014, joined EcoLogic's staff before graduating last spring. She will add to Anne Elise's presentation by leading lunch participants in a conversation about career paths, sustainability and climate, and EcoLogic's special role and theory of change applied across the region - especially how a small NGO tackles deforestation and landscape restoration beyond protected areas alone.
Anne Elise Stratton worked as a field intern for EcoLogic this summer in the Sarstún region of Guatemala, where she is also pursuing research about seed selection and exchange in the area. She is currently a rising senior at Tufts, where she is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Biology and Environmental Studies with a focus on food systems. Learn more >
Devyn Powell, EcoLogic Development Fund Communications Officer. Devyn is responsible for the development and implementation of EcoLogic’s communications strategy. Prior to joining EcoLogic, Devyn helped coordinate online communications, website management, and graphic design for the Tufts Institute of the Environment. She spent time in Ancash, Peru, where she conducted field research exploring climate change adaptation strategies for rural farming communities, and has also lived in Costa Rica. Devyn was raised in Portland, Oregon, and earned a BA in International Relations and Environmental Studies from Tufts (Class of 2014). She is proficient in Spanish and knows some Portuguese and Japanese.
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