Alton C. Byers, Ph.D. is a mountain geographer, conservationist, and mountaineer specializing in applied research, high-altitude ecosystems, climate change, glacier hazards, and integrated conservation and development programs. He is a senior research affiliate at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the 2021-22 Menakka and Essel Bailey ’66 Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the College of the Environment.
The COE shares faculty from across departments and programs at Wesleyan, including government, history, art, dance, computer science, English, philosophy, environmental science, biology, African American studies, physics, classical studies, chemistry, Science in Society, theater, religion, economics, archaeology, and more. Katherine Brunson is a zooarchaeologist and assistant professor of archaeology at Wesleyan who studies the origins of China’s domesticated animals and the environmental impacts of animal domestication in China. She is currently investigating the genetic relationships between domestic cattle and the extinct East Asian wild aurochs. She also codirects the online Oracle Bones in East Asia project on Open Context.
The COE shares faculty from across departments and programs at Wesleyan, including government, history, art, dance, computer science, English, philosophy, environmental science, biology, African American studies, physics, classical studies, chemistry, Science in Society, theater, religion, economics, archaeology, and more.
Jennifer Raynor is assistant professor of economics at Wesleyan. Her research focuses on natural resource management, with an emphasis on measuring the unintended consequences of rules and regulations. In fall 2021, she is teaching ECON210/Climate Change Econ and Policy. She joined the faculty of the COE in spring 2021.
Elizabeth A. Byers is the 2021-22 visiting scholar in the College of the Environment. She is a senior wetland scientist with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. During the last five years at WVDEP she has worked to create and implement an assessment tool that will become the law of the land in West Virginia in early 2022. Prior to joining DEP, she worked for 11 years as a Natural Heritage Ecologist and for 20 years as a hydrologist and conservationist in the Himalayas, East African rift, Andes, Rocky Mountains, and Appalachians. In 2020, Elizabeth published the first-ever field guide to the flora and ethnobotany of Mount Everest National Park.
This spring, Wesleyan will offer its first-ever ENVS course taught in Spanish, ENVS283/LAST383, Venezuela: The Effect of Oil Discovery on People, the Environment, and Democracy. The course will be taught by Antonio Machado-Allison, former Menakka and Essel Bailey ‘66 Visiting Scholar in the College of the Environment and current research fellow in the College of the Environment. He was recently named a member of the Academia de Ciencias de América Latina.
Tell us about ENVS283. Why are you focusing on Venezuela?
Antonio Machado-Allison (AMA): Being a Venezuelan scholar and witnessing what is happening in my country, one way I think I can help my people is to let citizens of other countries know how Venezuela arrived at these conditions. In the course we will discuss the key factors that have affected the development of Venezuela and its environment from the pre-colonial period to the present through the reading of interdisciplinary literature that includes anthropology, religion, sociology, environmental sciences, law, and history. Ultimately, we will examine the factors that have led to the collapse of democracy in Venezuela.
Meaning and language are commonly thought to be the exclusive province of humans. But is this thinking simply our own anthropocentric conceit? On November 2, 2019, Menakka and Essel Bailey ‘66 Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the College of the Environment Charles Siebert led a discussion about the nature of meaning in the world, the myriad of forms in which it manifests, and the many ways in which they inform our place in the world. The discussion, What on Earth Are They Saying: Listening and Learning Beyond the Human, was the 17th Annual Where on Earth Are We Going? seminar sponsored by the Robert F. Schumann Institute of the College of the Environment.
- Watch a recording of the seminar here: Where on Earth Are We Going?
Charles Siebert is the author of three critically acclaimed memoirs, The Wauchula Woods Accord: Toward a New Understanding of Animals, A Man After His Own Heart, and Wickerby: An Urban Pastoral, a New York Times Notable Book of 1998, as well as a novel, Angus; an e-book Rough Beasts: The Zanesville Zoo Massacre One Year Later; and a children’s book, The Secret World of Whales. A poet, journalist, essayist, and contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, he has written for The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, Vanity Fair, Esquire, Outside, Men’s Journal, National Geographic, and numerous other publications. He presently teaches creative writing at NYU Abu Dhabi.
Siebert’s seminar was followed by a panel discussion with COE Think Tank members Camille Britton ‘20; Anthony Hatch, associate professor and chair, Science in Society Program; Antonio Machado-Allison, visiting scholar, College of the Environment; Sara McCrea ‘21; Helen Poulos, adjunct assistant professor of Environmental Studies; Charles Siebert,; Courtney Weiss Smith, associate professor of English; Melissa Thornton ‘20; and Kari Weil, University Professor of Letters.