The Robert F. Schumann Foundation has generously awarded the College of the Environment (COE) a 5-year, $2-million grant to focus on the areas of food security, environmental justice, and sustainability. The Schumann Institute of the COE will be adding new positions to enhance teaching, research, and community engagement; building a network of local community organizations that specialize in the areas of food security, environmental justice, and sustainability; providing opportunities for Wesleyan environmental studies students to work with these organizations to help their efforts; and creating a “pipeline” of professional training for graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and professors of the practice so that they will have the skills and knowledge needed to contribute importantly when they leave Wesleyan. Enhanced courses; student immersion in community engagement projects; student internships; campus and community seminars, symposia, and workshops; scholarly output on environmental issues; and other related activities will all be supported with the grant.
Read below for all the good green news that’s fit to print!
- Helen Poulos recently co-authored three new papers: “The North American Tree-Ring Fire Scar Network”; “Low-Severity Wildfire Shifts Mixed Conifer Forests toward Historical Stand Structure in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas, USA”; and “Climate and the Radial Growth of Conifers in Borderland Natural Areas of Texas and Northern Mexico”. Learn more about Helen’s Guadelupe fescue restoration project in the Chihuahuan Desert Borderlands in this Marfa Public Radio segment: Fescue Rescue: An Endangered Grass Embodies the Beauty, and Fragility, of the Sky Islands.”
- New research co-authored by Barry Chernoff shows that the Australian dingo probably descended from a wild dog rather than a domestic breed. Read all about Barry’s research in New Scientist.
- Welcoming Elan Abrell, Raquel Bryant, Kate Miller, and Rosemary Ostfeld to our ENVS faculty! Read more here!
- Rosemary Ostfeld, assistant professor of environmental studies and founder of startup Healthy PlanEat, is running the Entrepreneurship Academy at the new Eastern CT Innovation Center. The center was purchased with $1.3 million from the state Bond Commission and will house the startup ecosystem for a 40-town service area.
- Congratulations to University Professor Antonio Machado Allison, who recently published Alto Orinoco, a new volume of the Academia de Ciencias Físicas, Matemáticas y Naturales (ACFIMAN) collection.
- Rosemary Ostfeld recently received a USDA award for her PlanEat startup. Read more at News@Wes!
- Helen Poulos is featured in a USGS “Eyes on Earth” podcast where she discusses wildfires and her remote sensing research data from ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS). Poulos and her collaborators studied the Arizona Pine Oak forest five years after a severe fire and learned that post-fire landscape had surprisingly high rates of water use.
- Congrats to Helen Poulos and her co-authors of three new published papers, including one with Michael Freiburger ’21: Poulos, H. M., Freiburger, M. R., Barton, A. M., & Taylor, A. H. (2021). Mixed-Severity Wildfire as a Driver of Vegetation Change in an Arizona Madrean Sky Island System, USA. Fire, 4(4), 78; Briggs, M. K., Poulos, H. M., Renfrow, J., Ochoa‐Espinoza, J., Larson, D., Manning, P., … & Crawford, K. (2021). Choked out: Battling invasive giant cane along the Rio Grande/Bravo Borderlands. River Research and Applications; and , & (2021). Wildfire and topography drive woody plant diversity in a Sky Island mountain range in the Southwest USA. Ecology and Evolution, 00, 1– 18.
- Helen Poulos’s NASA-funded research on the 2011 Horseshoe II Fire in Arizona was highlighted on AZ Central. “In the face of increasing wildfire frequency, size and magnitude — due to both fire suppression and climate change — one of the key things we want to understand is how plants recover from fire, specifically high-severity wildfires,” said Poulos, a professor of environmental studies at Wesleyan University and the principal investigator of the study. “Understanding how plants use water is a really important step in understanding ecosystem recovery after a fire.” Read all about it @ NASA-Funded Study Uses International Space Station to Predict Wildfire Effects.
- Congrats to our class of 2021 honors or high honors in environmental studies recipients: Sanya Bery (honors), Rebecca Lopez-Anido (high honors), Gabe Snashall (high honors), and Isabella Whiting (high honors)!
- Awardees have been announced for the 2021 Robert Schumann Distinguished Student Award. Established in 2007 by a gift from the Robert Schumann Foundation, the prize is awarded to an outstanding student or students who demonstrates academic accomplishment and excellence in environmental stewardship through work at Wesleyan or the greater Middletown community. This year’s honorees: Franny Lin, for her work at Long Lane Farm, and Cat Xi, for her work with the Sustainability Office and with the town of Middletown.
- Helen Poulos recently published a paper on Arizona wildfires. Read more about the project in this News@Wes article!
- Congrats to the newest members of Wesleyan’s Gamma Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa: Lizzie Edwards (ENVS & ANTH), Cat Xi (CSS, ENVS), Franny Lin (ENVS, E&ES), Maggie O’Hanlon (ENVS, GOVT) & Cameron Scharff (ENVS, PHIL)!
Check out our ever-updating list of eco-friendly opportunities open to our coexist community. Have an opportunity to add? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!