Tag Archive for COE

New Environmental Film Series to be Presented by COE, CFA

Beginning this month, Wesleyan’s College of the Environment, Center for the Arts and other outside partners will present “The Elements: An Annual Environmental Film Series.”

The first film, Elemental, will be screened at 7:30 p.m. March 30 in the Center for the Arts Hall. The award-winning film follows three activists as they work to protect air, water and earth around the world, and offers a call for global action.

The second film in the series, WATERSHEDwill be screened at 7 p.m. May 4 in Middlesex Community College’s Chapman Hall, 100 Training Hill Rd. in Middletown. Executive produced and narrated by Robert Redford, this film tells the story of threats to the “once-mighty Colorado River, now dammed and diverted and struggling to support 30 million people.” The film offers solutions for “meeting the competing interests of cities, agriculture, industry, recreation, wildlife, and indigenous communities with rights to the waters, and the future of the American West.”

Admission to the screenings is free. For more information about the film series, call 860-685-3733. More information is available on the College of the Environment’s website.

The series is presented in partnership with The Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District, Middlesex Community College Environmental Science Program and The Rockfall Foundation.

COE Scholar Presents Multi-Media Exhibit on “Colony Collapse”

Joseph Smolinski, visiting scholar at Wesleyan's College of the Environment, is a guest artist at the Green Street Arts Center this month. His exhibit, Colony Collapse, explores the recent disappearance of millions of honeybees.  The work focuses on the notion of collapse in relation to human impacts on the environment in drawing, video and 3D printed sculpture forms.

Joseph Smolinski, visiting scholar at Wesleyan’s College of the Environment, is a guest artist at the Green Street Arts Center this month. His exhibit, Colony Collapse, explores the recent disappearance of millions of honeybees.  The work focuses on the notion of collapse in relation to human impacts on the environment in drawing, video and 3D printed sculpture forms.

The mysterious disappearance of millions of honeybees – known as colony collapse disorder – has frustrated and worried scientists around the world for more than seven years. The visiting scholar at Wesleyan’s College of the Environment explores this mystery in a new exhibit at the Green Street Arts Center that opened Sept. 4.

Joseph Smolinski, a noted artist who has exhibited in many venues ranging from MASS MoCA in North Adams, Mass. to the Cleveland Institute of Art , uses 3-D printing, video and other media to show the scale of the honeybee crisis – and note that environmental stressors

Poulos Studies Changing Perceptions of Whales Aboard World’s Last Wooden Whaling Ship

Helen Poulos climbs the rigging aboard the Charles W. Morgan, the last wooden whaling ship in existence.

Helen Poulos climbs the rigging aboard the Charles W. Morgan, the last wooden whaling ship in existence.

On June 15, Helen Poulos, a postdoctoral fellow in the College of the Environment, set sail aboard the Charles W. Morgan, the last remaining wooden whaling ship in the world. Built and launched in 1841, the Morgan embarked on 37 voyages up until 1921, roaming every corner of the globe in pursuit of whales. She had been docked at the Mystic Seaport in Connecticut since 1940, and underwent major restoration work in recent years. This month, she took one final commemorative voyage in order to call attention to the importance of historic ships and America’s maritime heritage, as well as raise awareness about changing perceptions of whales and whaling.

Helen Poulos

Helen Poulos

Poulos is one of 79 individuals—including artists, historians, scientists, journalists, teachers, musicians, scholars and whaling descendants—selected to take part in this unprecedented public history project. Together, the group will produce a creative work for the Mystic Seaport to share online, and through exhibits, publications and public programs. On nine different legs of the journey, they will work alongside staff from the Mystic Seaport museum to “examine every aspect of the journey, and to better understand the past experiences of those who sailed this ship and others like her,” according to the project’s website. The ship will stop in a number of historic ports in New England, including Martha’s Vineyard, Provincetown and Boston. The journey wraps up August 9 with a homecoming celebration at Mystic Seaport.

Chernoff Photographs Fish to Accompany Scientific Journal Article

On June 5, Professor Barry Chernoff photographed two new species of dwarf silverside fish from the Caribbean.

On June 5, Professor Barry Chernoff photographed two new species of dwarf silverside fish from the Caribbean. Chernoff is the director of the College of the Environment, the Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies, professor of biology, professor of earth and environmental sciences.

Chernoff photographed the fish for a scientific paper that he's submitting for publication. The paper will describe the two new species and their two new, formal names.

Chernoff photographed the fish for a scientific paper that he’s submitting for publication.

The paper will describe the two new species and their two new, formal names.

The paper will describe the two new species and their two new, formal names.

COE, Musician/Fellow Launch Online Environmental Teaching Tool for Kids

College of the Environment fellow Rani Arbo is working with COE Director Barry Chernoff, the Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies, professor of biology, on a project called "Earth Out Loud: Stories from Our Habitat." Earth Out Loud is designed for elementary school-aged children and educators, and offers a short story in audio and/or video format, as well as ideas for exploring the topic further in the classroom or at home.

College of the Environment fellow Rani Arbo is working with COE Director Barry Chernoff, the Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies, professor of biology, on a project called “Earth Out Loud: Stories from Our Habitat.” “Earth Out Loud” is designed for elementary school-aged children and educators, and offers a short story in audio and/or video format, as well as ideas for exploring the topic further in the classroom or at home.

The College of the Environment has teamed up with local singer/songwriter (and mother) Rani Arbo to debut the pilot version of “Earth Out Loud: Stories from Our Habitat” — an educational-but-entertaining online project where second and third graders can hear, explore and respond to stories from their habitat. It uses a straightforward interface to provide accessible audio and video clips for kids and their teachers that relate to their schools’ curriculum in an exciting way.

In the "Earth Out Loud" episode "Radical Raptors," children lean about the great horned owl and ways it adapts to its environment.

In the “Earth Out Loud” episode “Radical Raptors,” children lean about the great horned owl and ways it adapts to its environment.

Arbo, COE director Barry Chernoff and Wesleyan student interns are still brainstorming and developing the content, but the infrastructure is now live and is being built upon.

“It started with a conversation Barry and I were having about science literacy in media and kids, about this time last year,” Arbo said. “I was a science major, and now I have a kid who is happiest outdoors, finding bugs and tadpoles. I’d been wishing he could do more with science in school, but in the younger grades, the focus is really on reading and math. So, Barry and I started talking about an environmental radio show for kids. Something that would help ensnare kids’ imaginations about environmental topics at a young age.”

While the concept still revolves around featuring radio-show-like audio tracks, it’s becoming clear that video may be equally important. So far there’s an episode on raptors and a segment on recycling, available in both audio and video formats. Upcoming episodes will touch upon the nature of bees, soils, and phases of matter, as applied to sweet treats like maple syrup, chocolate and Italian ice.

“If we’re going to make any progress in the world getting an environmental ethic into people, we have to get them excited at a young age,” said Chernoff. “We’re also interested in reaching communities that don’t have a single economic basis or ethnic or social structure — to be able to reach really broad audiences that include both inner city kids and rural kids.”

“Re-Envisioning the Commons” Theme of COE Think Tank

The College of the Environment think tank met on Oct. 10 to discuss the year-long theme of "Re-Envisioning the Commons." Scholars and students in the think tank are expected to produce scholarly works on the theme by the end of the academic year.

The College of the Environment think tank met on Oct. 10 to discuss the year-long theme of “Re-Envisioning the Commons.” Scholars and students in the think tank are expected to produce scholarly works on the theme by the end of the academic year.

Humanity is called to imagine an ethic that not only acknowledges but emulates the ways by which life thrives on Earth. How do we act, when we truly understand that we live in complete dependence on an Earth that is interconnected, interdependent, finite, and resilient? – The Blue River Declaration

COE faculty Fellows Frédérique Apffel-Marglin and Nicole Stanton introduced themselves at the Oct. 10 think tank meeting.

COE faculty Fellows Frédérique Apffel-Marglin and Nicole Stanton introduced themselves at the Oct. 10 think tank meeting.

Every year, the College of the Environment gathers a group of Wesleyan faculty, scholars of prominence from outside Wesleyan and undergraduate students into a year-long academic think tank on a critical environmental issue. This year’s theme is “Re-Envisioning the Commons.”

On Oct. 10, the group began engaging with the “Commons” theme as a way to think about moral ecology. The original “commons” was a physical social space, but in the years since biologist Garrett Hardin’s much-cited 1968 essay, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” the phrase “the Commons” speaks to the impossibility of liberal visions of freedom in the face of population growth that inevitably exhausts common resources.

Whether taken as a place with physical reality or taken as metaphor, the Commons serves as meeting ground – of living things and ideas.

As a metaphor, the group discusses the interdisciplinary discourse between economists, political scientists, environmental scientists, ecologists and ethicists on the management of common property resources

Produce, Bands, Farm Tours at Pumpkin Fest

The College of the Environment hosted its annual Pumpkin Festival Oct. 5 at Long Lane Farm.

Long Lane Farm Club members offered tours of the farm and sold apples, pumpkins and baked goods. Guests attended a small vendor market while listening to the tunes of student and faculty/staff bands. Bon Appetit and the COE provided complimentary veggie burgers and cider.

(Photos by Ryan Heffernan ’16)

Pumpkin Fest at Wesleyan University.

Gift from Bailey ’66 Endows Visiting Faculty Position in COE

At right, College of the Environment Director Barry Chernoff graciously accepted a $3 million gift from history major Essel Bailey ’66, pictured at left. Bailey's gift will ensure a continuing robust visiting scholar program at the COE.

At right, College of the Environment Director Barry Chernoff graciously accepted a $3 million gift from history major Essel Bailey ’66, pictured at left. Bailey’s gift will ensure a continuing robust visiting scholar program at the COE.

If anyone can appreciate humankind’s connection to the Earth, it’s a farmer. Essel Bailey ’66 grew up on farms in the South and Michigan, his early years shaped by the rhythms of planting and harvesting and his father’s careful stewardship of the land.

The lessons of his farming boyhood stay with Bailey, a lawyer and executive in Ann Arbor, Mich., in his work with the Nature Conservancy and other groups, and informed, in part, his gift to Wesleyan’s College of the Environment. The nearly $3 million commitment from Bailey and his wife, Menakka, will endow a visiting professorship and bring the COE close to full funding.

“What’s very appealing is the idea of knowledge-based policy on the environment,” Bailey said. “That’s what the COE can do, providing a scientific basis, academic basis to solutions on the environment. And (visiting faculty) are a valuable part of a Wesleyan education, bringing different ideas to campus.”

Their generous gift represents the Baileys’ strong commitment to Wesleyan and to the COE, which was founded in 2009 to “change the trajectory of humans on the planet for the better.”

“The most important challenge facing current and future generations of humans will be the quality of the environment

Chernoff Speaks about River Biodiversity during Canoe, Kayak Paddle

On June 22, Barry Chernoff, the Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies, professor of biology, spoke to more than 60 paddlers about river biodiversity during the annual Jonah Center Canoe and Kayak Paddle. Paddlers left from Harbor Park in Middletown and explored the Connecticut River and Wilcox Island, the lower Mattabesset and Coginchaug Rivers, as well as the "Floating Meadows" where those two rivers converge. Pictured here, Chernoff is speaking about fish who live in a 90-foot hole located in the Mattabesset River.

On June 22, Barry Chernoff, the Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies, professor of biology, spoke to more than 60 paddlers about river biodiversity during the annual Jonah Center Canoe and Kayak Paddle. Paddlers left from Harbor Park in Middletown and explored the Connecticut River and Wilcox Island, the lower Mattabesset and Coginchaug Rivers, as well as the “Floating Meadows” where those two rivers converge. Pictured here, Chernoff is speaking about fish who live in a 90-foot hole located in the Mattabesset River.

Chernoff, Royer Co-Author Paper on Diversity, CO2 in Neotropical Forests

Barry Chernoff and Dana Royer are the co-authors of “Diversity in neotropical wet forests during the Cenozoic linked more to atmospheric CO2 than temperature,” published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, B, in 2013. Proceedings B is the Royal Society’s flagship biological research journal, dedicated to the rapid publication and broad dissemination of high-quality research papers, reviews and comment and reply papers. The scope of the journal is diverse and is especially strong in organismal biology.

Chernoff is the director of the College of the Environment, the Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies, professor of biology, professor of earth and environmental sciences. Royer is associate professor of earth and environmental sciences, associate professor of environmental studies.

COE Graduates May be Admitted to Vermont Law School through New Partnership

Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth signed an agreement between Wesleyan and Vermont Law School that guarantees admission for College of the Environment graduates meeting GPA and LSAT thresholds into Vermont's Environmental Law Program. At left, Sonia Mañjon, vice president for institutional partnerships and chief diversity officer, and at right, Barry Chernoff, director of College of the Environment, accompanied President Roth at the signing on April 3.

Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth signed an agreement between Wesleyan and Vermont Law School that guarantees admission for College of the Environment graduates meeting GPA and LSAT thresholds into Vermont’s Environmental Law Program. At left, Sonia Mañjon, vice president for institutional partnerships and chief diversity officer, and at right, Barry Chernoff, director of College of the Environment, accompanied President Roth at the signing on April 3.

Thanks to a new partnership, graduates from Wesleyan’s College of the Environment who meet certain academic standards will be guaranteed admission to Vermont Law School’s prestigious JD (Juris Doctor/Doctor of Law), JD/master’s or master’s degree programs. Vermont’s Environmental Law Program, the largest in the country, is widely considered to be one of the best environmental law programs in the United States.

President Michael S. Roth signed the agreement between Wesleyan and Vermont Law School on Wednesday, April 3.

“We’re excited to provide this option for students in the College of the Environment to take their interdisciplinary exploration of environmental issues to the next level through advanced study of the law, policy and regulation,” said Roth. “The COE was conceived of as a place where scholars can think about translating their research into action in the public sphere. Vermont Law School offers superb programs in environmental law and policy. Earning a JD or master’s degree there certainly will empower our graduates to make an even greater difference in the world.”

“We are delighted to sign this agreement with Wesleyan University and look forward to welcoming qualified graduates from its College of the Environment to the Master’s and the JD degrees offered at Vermont Law School,” said Marc Mihaly, President and Dean of Vermont Law School. “Students from Wesleyan fit the profile of our most successful students – they are smart and committed to making a difference in their communities and, indeed, in the world.”

“In my mind, Vermont Law School is the premier school for environmental law in the country,” remarked Barry Chernoff, director of College of the Environment and Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies. “Pursuing further study in environmental policy, regulation and law will enable our students to influence critical environmental issues facing our country—and the world—over the next century.”

Under the agreement, graduates of Wesleyan’s College of the Environment will be guaranteed admission, with a waiver of all application fees, into Vermont Law School’s JD, Master in Environmental Law and Policy (MELP), or Master in Energy Regulation and Law (MERL) programs. Qualified applicants must complete all requirements to earn a Bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan; complete a minimum of 15 credits for a JD, or 16 credits for a master’s, at Wesleyan; have a cumulative grade point average of 3.2 or higher; earn an LSAT score of 150 or higher for the JD; and present a letter of recommendation from the director of the College of the Environment. The agreement applies to those who have graduated from Wesleyan within four years.

College of the Environment students are especially well-prepared to pursue this type of work after graduation, said Chernoff, because Wesleyan requires them to do their primary scholarship in a particular discipline, and then examine environmental issues from multiple lenses for the Environmental Studies linked major. Majors are also required to complete a capstone project on an environmental topic, principally from the perspective of their primary major, which offers good practice in real world environmental research. The emphasis on critical thinking from an interdisciplinary perspective, which takes into account the viewpoints of all stakeholders, gives “our students a great basis for doing environmental policy work in the future,” Chernoff said.

He added that a significant number of COE graduates currently go on to earn law degrees. Current students he consulted about a partnership with Vermont Law School gave universally positive feedback.

Chernoff said he has, and will continue, to promote the partnership among faculty, students, alumni and prospective students. “I really think it’s important for young people to have interesting opportunities available to them after graduation, and for Wesleyan to provide gateways for students into careers,” he said.

In addition, Chernoff is exploring the development of other partnerships to provide COE students with different avenues for post-graduate education in areas such as public health, environmental management, sustainability and sustainable design.

Students, COE Fellow Participate in Climate Change Convention in Qatar

Chloe Holden '15, Samantha Santaniello '13, Sophie Duncan '13 and Michael Dorsey, fellow of the College of the Environment, visiting professor of environmental studies, participated in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Doha, Qatar.

Chloe Holden ’15, Samantha Santaniello ’13, Sophie Duncan ’13 and Michael Dorsey, fellow of the College of the Environment, visiting professor of environmental studies, participated in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Doha, Qatar.

Three Wesleyan students joined hundreds of climate change activists from around the world to strategize with fellow youth, discuss climate change policy, engage with delegates and participate in a climate change march during the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP18) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Doha, Qatar.

The convention began Nov. 26. Sophie Duncan ’13, Samantha Santaniello ’13 and Chloe Holden ’15, accompanied by Michael Dorsey, fellow of the College of the Environment, visiting professor of environmental studies, obtained entry badges and jumped right into a panel discussion on equitable climate policies with representatives from the Third World Network.

“We were initially struck by the variety of people at the conference center, from young people much like us to VIP diplomats from different countries and generations, all of whom seem anxious to get started and work hard for the interests they represent,” Holden said.

Although youth participants were not able to participate directly in negotiations, the Wesleyan students quickly teamed up with about 150 youth delegates from around the world. Many youth represented civil society organizations including Climate Justice Now, Earth in Brackets, the Arab Youth Society, the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition, Climate Action Network, the Taiwan Youth Climate Coalition and the global youth constituency YOUNGO.

“After attending a YOUNGO meeting and conversations with a few students, I realized that this conference is an opportunity for we, the youth, to exchange ideas and strategies with activists, delegates,