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The 2019 Environmental Excellence Awards were presented during the finishing ceremony for graduating students at Antioch University New England on May 3, 2019. The Alumni Award and the Community Award are given annually by Antioch’s Environmental Studies Department to an alumna or alumnus and to a community member who have made outstanding contributions to the sustainability of the environment through professional or personal action.

Jennifer Kretser, a graduate from the Environmental Studies master’s program in 1998, was the recipient of the Alumni Award. Kretser holds youth summits on climate change at the Wild Center, a living Natural History Center in her native Adirondack, NY, and around the world, including Finland, Sri Lanka, and Germany. She is the Director of Climate Initiatives at the Center leading the Center’s youth Climate Program which has been recognized by the White House, the EPA both regional and nationally, and NY State for this work which includes taking part in the United Nations Climate Change Conferences and being a leader in the Climate Reality Project.

“I feel like I use my education from Antioch every day in the work that I do to empower young people on climate change,” said Krester in her acceptance video, which can be viewed here and below.

Sy Montgomery, a naturalist, author, and scriptwriter, was the recipient of the Community Award. She has authored 28 books for children and adults, including The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness, which was a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award for Nonfiction and was on the New York Times Best Seller list. Her most popular book is The Good Good Pig, the bestselling memoir of life with her pig, Christopher Hogwood. Her other notable books include Journey of the Pink Dolphins, Spell of the Tiger, and Search for the Golden Moon Bear. The New York Times describes Sy as “equal parts poet and scientist,” and The Boston Globe describes her as “part Indiana Jones and part Emily Dickinson.”

“I want to thank you for all that you do for the environment, for each other, for a very special community of all the friends that I have made thanks to Antioch University New England,” said Montgomery in her full acceptance video, which can be viewed here and below.

The Environmental Excellence Awards spotlight individuals who exemplify vision, pragmatism, and interdisciplinarity in advancing environmental justice and sustainability. They are based on nominations from department members and determined by a selection committee of faculty and staff, which was chaired this year by Dr. Rachel K. Thiet, Director of Antioch’s Conservation Biology ES master’s of science concentration. The awards highlight the Department of Environmental Studies’ mission to educate visionary, pragmatic leaders in a collaborative interdisciplinary setting that is founded on academic excellence and the principles of environmental justice and sustainability.

 
AUNE’s Jim Gruber: On serving as a Delegate to the UNEA Assembly, the importance of communicating science to policymakers, and his forthcoming book
Plenary Meeting on March 14th.Over 4,500 attended the UNEA4

This past March, long-time Environmental Studies Faculty and former Department Chair, Jim Gruber, served as a National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) Delegate to the fourth United Nations Environmental Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya. Other delegates included the Ministers of the Environment from one-hundred and seventy countries, other government representatives, and civic participants from business and academic sectors.  UNEA is recognized as the world’s most important, highest level, international decision-making body on the environment.

“A key goal of the science delegates was to inform the international environmental decision-makers on the importance of integrating scientific knowledge into global environmental governance,” Gruber wrote in a reflection piece on the event. “We were also able to gain unique insights into UN processes and were able to explore opportunities to identify and engage in new partnerships and collaborations.” For Gruber, the assembly provided an opportunity to develop deeper working relationships with other NCSE senior scientists and explore potential international partnerships— such as with the Climate Adaptation Center at the University of Nairobi.

The reported outcomes of the assembly included twenty-three environmental resolutions, a Ministerial Declaration, and three decisions addressing emerging global environmental issues. Amidst the areas of focus for the assembly, which included resource efficiency (chemical and waste), ecosystems and biodiversity management and protections, and environmental governance; it became clear that a global priority lies in eliminating single-use plastics worldwide.

Meetings with global environmental policy leaders and with the US State Department delegation helped Gruber recognize “the critical importance and timeliness of the work of Antioch’s Environmental Studies Department.  This includes not only educating the next generation of environmental scientists and leaders, as well as developing knowledge but also actively engaging with policymakers to integrate scientific knowledge into national and global environmental policies and governance.”  

Delegates of NCSE(L. to R.) Dr. Alan Gertler, Dr. Veera Mitzner, Dr. Esther Obonyo, and Dr. Jim Gruber

What made Gruber a good choice as a delegate to the UNEA? He has been focused on the importance of communicating science to policymakers for decades and has given workshops on the subject to NCSE during their summer meetings. “My area of focus for many years has been on developing public policy through broad citizen and stakeholder engagement processes,” he said. When NCSE solicited interest from members about representing the organization at the assembly, Gruber expressed interest and was invited to attend. He has been involved with NCSE and their affiliated Council of Environmental Deans and Directors for many years.  

Gruber has a book coming out next spring with New Society Publishers, Building Community: Twelve Principles for a Healthy Future. It explores in depth the need for communication between citizens, scientists, and policymakers.  It also discusses the importance of looking to successful grassroots efforts to increase sustainability in local communities, with the hope that these communities and others like them could help to promote specific critical actions to address climate change and our global environmental crisis.

The Introduction reads, “The contributors to this book believe that strong local communities are the foundation, the tap roots, of a healthy participatory and resilient society. (…) National leaders and global corporations are failing to address this growing crisis. However, throughout the US and many other nations, local communities are finding innovative ways to thrive while protecting natural resources, enhancing the livelihood of community members and growing social vitality.”

First image: Plenary Meeting on March 14th. Over 4,500 attended the UNEA4.
Second image: Delegates of NCSE (L. to R.) Dr. Alan Gertler, Dr. Veera Mitzner, Dr. Esther Obonyo, and Dr. Jim Gruber.

  Antioch University New England Environmental Studies graduate students at Goldman Environmental Prize ceremony

Antioch University New England Environmental Studies graduate students, Ellie Leaning, Flick Monk, Shaylin Salas, and faculty member, Abigail Abrash Walton, recently attended the 30th annual Goldman Environmental Prize ceremony in Washington, DC. The Goldman Prize, known as the Nobel Prize for the Environment, goes annually to winners from six regions of the world in recognition of their outstanding grassroots environmental leadership and achievement.

The invitation-only ceremony is attended by more than 4,000 people each year and features short documentary films to provide an introduction to the Prize recipients and their accomplishments. Antioch students were able to network with the six prize winners and with the DC environmental advocacy community, including AUNE ES MS alumna Kira Heeschen ‘18, who now serves as Education Coordinator at Earth Day Network.

Former Secretary of State and Senator John Kerry was the keynote, and Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai’s daughter was the emcee.

Learn more about The Goldman Prize

 

Welcome to Xtreme Research 10.0, better known as Introduction to Research Design with Jimmy Karlan, EdD, Core Faculty in the Environmental Studies (ES) program at Antioch University New England and AUNE alum (1981). In his 25th year of teaching at Antioch, Karlan brings high-intensity energy and a “gamester’s” approach to this 7-day intensive doctoral level ES course. “At the doctoral level we are training folks to be scholars and as such to be able to create new knowledge,” said Karlan. “The course lays the foundation for students to understand different ways of creating knowledge at the paradigmatic level before they begin to get into the nuts and bolts of specific types of quantitative and qualitative research methods.”

An excerpt from Karlan’s syllabus, which details every activity and expectation of the course and includes instructions to watch “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” & “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” is perhaps the best way to convey the tone of the class:

Get Xtreme! Information X-Games

Challenge 1: Build your search muscles

Find faster, think harder, write farther, & climb higher. 50 pts.

Weeks before the class meets, students begin translating readings on research paradigms and jumping into their new research adventure through the “Information X-Games,” a game invented by Karlan and National Librarian of the year awardee, Jean Amaral. The game prepares them to “hit the ground running”— and they win prizes to boot. By the time students have finished playing they will have demonstrated their ability to master all sorts of new library research skills.

The text translation pushes them to consider provocative questions and answers in preparation for playing “The Newly Partnered Game.” By the fourth day of their intensive, they’ll apply what they’ve learned during the course to predict how their randomly assigned paradigm-partners would answer questions like “Which advertising slogan or ad campaign would your partner choose?” or “Which of the following vacations would be most interesting to your partner?” On day one they play a research-based card game intended to deepen student’s understanding of the main class text, The Paradigm Dialog by Egon Guba. “Intro to Research Design is such a fun class—but more importantly, it’s fun with a purpose! I love that Jimmy uses games to reinforce our knowledge of the course content,” said student Lindsay Ratcliffe.

During each day of the intensive, students work with a different set of peers to create and conduct an original research project from start to finish that reflects one of the four research paradigms and their corresponding methodologies and tools. Students have conducted positivist quick studies on “The Effects of Caffeine on Doctoral Students’ Blood Pressure,” post-positivist studies on “What qualities or behaviors of a pedestrian correlate with a driver stopping to let them cross?,” constructivist studies on “How does Antioch University community define the concept of sustainability?,” and critical theorist studies on “How are the impacts of gender imbalance in the ES department community affecting students’ learning experiences?”  

“Through Jimmy’s explanation of the different research paradigms I was able to refine the scope of my research area, develop paradigm guided research questions, and understand my strengths and need-for-improvement areas with respect to advanced doctoral research,” said current doctoral student, Jaques Kenjio. 

Addressing a research paradigm per day is an opportunity for students to consider deeply each one’s opportunities and constraints.

Introduction to Research Design is a great way, according to Jimmy, to meet new students’ future faculty who may also become their advisor, dissertation chair, committee member and/or colleague. “All of the ES faculty are always open to helping doctoral students develop their research ideas, no matter its proximity to their own research interests,” said Jimmy. “The design of this course helps create a wonderfully collaborative learning community and invites folks to relax into their new academic adventure together,” said Jimmy. “Who in the world ever suggested that learning can’t be playful and rigorous?”

“The course encourages students to experiment and take ownership of their learning in a fun and dynamic way,” said student, Lisa Boragine. “Students perform and compete in teams to embody the various research perspectives in the course. It is a memorable class!”

by Malia Gaffney

 

 

Portrait of Antioch Alumna, Dr. Claudia Ford (PhD ’15, MHA ’86)Double Antioch Alumna, Dr. Claudia Ford (PhD ’15, MHA ’86), has been awarded both the John R. Frazier Award for Excellence in Teaching at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), and the Environmental Excellence Alumna Award at Antioch University New England (AUNE), both honors in 2018. “I was completely surprised,” admits Dr. Ford, mother of four, and a well-traveled intellectual and ecological adventurer whose doctoral thesis was entitled, “Weed Women, All Night Vigils, and the Secret Life of Plants,” and currently lives on a working farm.

If you think that’s exhausting just to read, Dr. Ford is apparently barely breaking a sweat. “I’m nearly at retirement age, but I have no plans to retire. I currently have four jobs as adjunct faculty at RISD, Antioch, Salve Regina University, and a visiting lecturer at New Hampshire Institute of Art.” So where do you go from there? “I love teaching, I was raised by a teacher, and I got my PhD so that I could teach at university level. I had a three-decade career in international development and international public health, spanning the globe. My four children went to school in 11 different countries on four continents. Right now I live on a working farm where I want to run an artist retreat center and grow herbs for medicine. I want to work a little less and write a little more. I never want to stop teaching.”

A writer at heart, Dr. Ford has worked for more than thirty years as a health and environmental educator around the world, whether it’s with the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg working with AIDS orphans, or teaching the next generation of socially conscious educators, dedication to the vocation of “teaching” remains the constant in Ford’s life; “I am now teaching undergraduate students who are motivated to do something about environmental problems and injustices, and that is a privilege. I enjoy being in the classroom where I get to work alongside my students in investigating how to comprehend complex social justice issues, and then exploring how to make a difference in their communities and in the world.” And she gives much of the credit for that passion to her double time at AUNE. “I chose Antioch twice because it encouraged me as a scholar and social justice worker to think out of the box, allowed me to shine in my difference, and expected me to adhere to academic rigor and produce top quality work. I also chose Antioch both times because I’m a single mother of four with a complex family life, and I needed the flexibility and compassion that the institution allows.” Her Master’s work dovetailed especially well with her passion for social justice and her desire to make a difference in the world, “The Antioch degree in health administration gave me the skills to train government and private sector administrators, practitioners, and teachers globally, which I hope, in turn, allowed them to provide top quality care to their communities.

Claudia Ford holding Child

Now at “retirement age” and winning multiple awards a year, Dr. Ford is simply getting her second wind, and still has challenges she wants to tackle, “I would like to write and publish more. I am on a number of boards of directors for important social and environmental justice organizations (Soulfire Farm, Orion Magazine), which is a great way to expand my work at this point in my career.” And what words of wisdom would she offer to the next generation on a similar trajectory?

Claudia J. Ford standing in a beautiful striped robe.“Always choose to be kind. Commit to being a lifelong learner. Find the difficult balance between hope for change and despair at the seriousness of the challenges that face us. Seek both inner and community peace, but continue to walk with a hint of motivating unrest.”

 

Tom WesselsTom Wessels, professor emeritus of Environmental Studies at Antioch University New England, was recently profiled in the New York Times. He was interviewed during a visit to Woodlawn Museum, Gardens & Park in Ellsworth, ME, which is located a few miles from Acadia National Park. At Woodlawn, Wessels talked about the landscape with the reporter, Joshua Campbell Torrance, the museum’s executive director, and Todd Little-Siebold, faculty at the College of the Atlantic who serves as a Woodlawn trustee.

Wessels has written a number of books, the most recent is Granite, Fire, and Fog: The Natural and Cultural History of Acadia. He also has a video playlist on the New England Forests YouTube channel.

Read the full article here

 

AUNE Alumna and now faculty member, Abigail Abrash Walton (’16, PhDLC), recently published a research article in the Elsevier Journal of Energy Research and Social Science. Based in her doctoral research while at AU, the article focuses on the need for global institutional leaders to divest from fossil fuels.

Entitled, “Positive Deviance and Behavior Change: A Research Methods Approach for Understanding Fossil Fuel Divestment”, Walton’s article maps out the emergence of climate change in the Anthropocene Epoch and how the predominant contributor to this environmental disaster has been combustion of fossil fuels by humans.

Yet while the present times are still most definitely dire, Walton sees much to be optimistic about. “Since 2011, a worldwide climate change action movement has emerged focused on fossil fuel divestment and reinvestment of those resources in clean energy technologies. Pledged and/or already-divested global institutional assets are estimated at $5.5 trillion (Divestinvest.org, 2017) or 8 percent of global stock market value and U.S.-based philanthropic foundations have emerged as leaders in this change movement, the fastest growing in history.” Walton continues, “My research reveals how and why institutional leaders stewarding hundreds of millions of dollars are ready to commit their organizations to fossil fuel divestment.”

Her research also found that “leaders engaging in divestment may experience higher levels of satisfaction, pride, happiness, and engagement with organizational roles.” Walton emphasizes that the article is both topical and telling and “should be of interest to a wider audience, particularly in light of the recent success of Ireland’s fossil fuel divestment bill.”

Read the full article

 

Antioch University New England’s Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience is launching a series of online courses focused on the fundamentals of climate change resilience.

With the ever-increasing and visible impacts from a changing climate, this series of courses is designed to prepare professionals to incorporate resilience strategies into planning, implementation, and evaluation within any domain of resource management and environmental protection. These courses were developed within the Sustainable Development and Climate Change concentration of the MS in Environmental Studies program at Antioch University New England.

Students can expect to increase their skill set in climate resilience for better outcomes and work to discover solutions to local issues faced on the job or in communities. Each course is held online for a period of 4-weeks and may be completed for either graduate credit or continuing education.

Learn more

 

Roy Moffitt, AUNE Science Teacher Cert grad, was selected out of over 400 applicants for the Teacher At Sea program through National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). He currently teaches Science at Maple Street Elementary School in Contoocook, NH. Roy will sail aboard USCGC HEALY while scientists conduct an Arctic Distributed Biological Observatory (DBO).

Remarking on this opportunity, Roy shared, “It is a unique opportunity to sail to the Arctic Ocean this August aboard the icebreaker USCGC HEALY. We will be sailing out of Nome Alaska into the Bering Strait into the northern portion of the Bering Sea, the Chukchi Sea to the Barrow Canyons north of Barrow Alaska on the border of the Beaufort Sea.”  DBO scientists use instruments deployed off the side of the USCG HEALY to take oceanographic samplings. It can operate in conditions of -50⁰F, while supporting up to 50 scientists. Shedding more light on their route, he shares, “The area we will be sailing through will be clear of ice by August. One of the main goals of the trip would be to detect changes in the Arctic through an annual survey called the Distributed Biological Observatory. Other tasks will be to conduct seabird and Marine mammal observations, sediment grabs, atmospheric measurements, and measurements of Arctic Ocean currents and salinity.”  The DBO has designated eight “hot spots” areas that have been chosen because of their high concentrations of ecosystem productivity, biodiversity, and overall rates of change.  The DBO is collaboration between multiple U.S. federal agencies and academic institutions as well as from other Arctic nations.

Talking about the NOAA Teachers At Sea mission, Roy says, “The mission of the NOAA Teacher at Sea Program is to provide teachers hands-on, real-world research experience working at sea with world-renowned NOAA scientists, thereby giving them unique insight into oceanic and atmospheric research crucial to the nation. The program provides a unique opportunity for kindergarten through college-level teachers to sail aboard NOAA research ships to work under the tutelage of scientists and crew.” Adding further about his plans to incorporate the field experience into his classrooms, he shares, “Many of these research topics are covered at an introductory level in my 6th-grade classroom.  I am excited to gain some real-world experience on the topics and bring it back to my classroom and colleagues.”

Summing up his thirst for on-field experience, Roy shares, “I am a strong believer in hands-on experiential learning and look forward to learning through my Arctic experience.  Part of the Teachers at Sea opportunity is to share my adventure in real time with students and public.”  The plan would also be to incorporate the experience and NOAA data into his classroom and to share the information with others. You can follow Roy’s Teachers at Sea blog at: https://teacheratsea.noaa.gov/#/2018/Roy*Moffitt/blogs

 

Antioch University New England’s Master of Science in Environmental Studies, Environmental Education program is now one of only nine NAAEE-Accredited environmental education programs in the United States and the only accredited program in the Northeast.

The designation comes following a recent accreditation by the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE).

NAAEE Accreditation formally recognizes high-quality college and university programs that consistently prepare well-qualified environmental educators who possess the understanding, skills, and attitudes associated with environmental literacy, as well as the ability to apply them in their educational practices. Antioch’s program does just that with a diverse EE faculty who support students with innovative coursework, a culture of collaboration, and small class sizes.

The accreditation review process encourages and recognizes excellence in the preparation and professional development of environmental educators, and facilitates the in-depth, continual assessment and improvement of environmental education preparation and professional development programs. The review was conducted by a nationally recognized panel of environmental education experts.

 

 

 

New technologies give conservationists abilities that would have been unimaginable in the past. Using remote sensors, satellite mapping, and drones, scientists and activists can now monitor deforestation and endangered wildlife in real time. Assessing habitat loss is another area of conservation in which new technologies might be put to use. Remote sensing, which uses satellites or aircraft to scan large areas of land, can be used to monitor changes in land cover that result in habitat loss, such as deforestation.

Technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral. It can be seen as ambivalent, empowering, and hindering at the same time, but conservation efforts can benefit from incorporating many types of technology, including social media and analytical software programs. Geographic Information Systems, or GIS, is a type of technology that manages and analyzes spatial or geographic data. Countless conservation organizations and their efforts have employed GIS in recent decades, for a broad range of purposes,“ shares Steven Lamonde, Conservation Biology (MS) student at Antioch University New England.

Sharing the applications of GIS explored at the Antioch University New England campus, Steven says that it models potential habitat areas for endangered wildlife species, to benefit conservation work between non-profit organizations and private landowners. GIS monitors potential wildlife corridors to benefit conservation groups looking to purchase land. It aids in mapping animal movement using telemetry data and assessing impacts of climate change on the distribution of bird populations. Additionally, AUNE students have taken advantage of using an online application called Story Maps, to convey conservation issues using interactive maps. Two examples include mapping watershed characteristics along a river to benefit the place-based education of students in Minnesota and sharing the migration story of birds that depend on threatened habitat in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.

But like many technologies, these new tools have risks. Tracking devices in the hand of poachers, for example, could prove devastating to endangered elephants.

Exploring the challenges involved in incorporating new technology into conservation, Steven shares, “Often, as with GIS, users need to overcome a steep learning curve before mastering the software. Therefore, there may be some delay between obtaining new technology and benefitting from its use. This challenge comes with an associated risk, that information may potentially be presented inaccurately, if users do not fully understand the new technology.”

Infrastructure is essential to the effective implementation of new technologies. Steven also identifies infrastructure as one of the prerequisites for incorporation of the latest technology and shares, “From a practical standpoint, the use of GIS requires computers that are more advanced than a basic laptop. These computers generally cost more money, so a financial investment must be made in the technology. Additionally, new technology can more effectively be implemented when new users undergo rigorous training by an experienced professional. A lack of training may lead to limited or erroneous use of the technology.”

Antioch currently offers three GIS courses, where students are introduced to ArcGIS, arguably the most advanced GIS software package available. Students who take the Introductory, Advanced, and Applied GIS courses are eligible to receive Antioch’s Certificate in Applied GIS, which is offered at the New England and Los Angeles campuses.

 

Children have an innate sense of curiosity to know more about their surroundings, which is often revealed as a plethora of questions bombarded at an adult. How can we nurture this spark of enthusiasm and scientific inquiry in a child as teachers?

Kristine Burke, Science Teacher Certification student in Environmental Studies at Antioch University New England, has some ideas to offer. She identifies the starting point as “cognitive dissonance” and offers a few suggestions:

Reflection is the key,” Burke says. “This isn’t just about asking them to think back on their opinion of the topic. It’s about creating a time and a place for students to reflect on the process itself.”

“Thinking about how they learned, not just what they learned, will allow them to apply this experience to future problem-solving challenges,” she adds. Creating time for “embedded assessment” will go a long way in keeping a child’s unique sense of wonder for the scientific world alive.

 

 

The faculty and students in the Environmental Studies department have expanded the opportunities for outdoor learning by building a Pavilion at Glover’s Ledge, one of two Antioch University’s forested properties in NH. A Pavillion Raising was held on October 23, 2017, which included Antioch students, faculty and alums. A gathering to celebrate this accomplishment will be held in April.

The Glover’s Ledge team also held a Bridge Building Workshop in September on the property. Antioch students worked with a local contractor to build a bridge over a recently removed culvert, resulting in a natural flowing stream that is no longer a barrier to wildlife.

Learn more about Glover’s Ledge

 

Rachel Thiet and her collaborators at Cape Cod National Seashore have been awarded a grant for $151,471 from the National Park Service for a project titled, “Assessing the benthic community in a partially restored lagoon to improve management decision-making.” The grant will allow Rachel to continue her on-going ecological assessment of benthic and epi-benthic invertebrate recovery in East Harbor back-barrier salt marsh lagoon, where she has been documenting invertebrate and biogeochemical responses to tidal restoration for the past 14 years. Her upcoming work at the site includes shellfish population and habitat modeling, and Rachel will involve an ES doctoral student in the project beginning in 2018.

Rachel noted, “I love involving my AUNE Environmental Studies students in my coastal research on Cape Cod National Seashore. Students gain important skills and experience in coastal ecology, while also learning how ecological research, decision-making, and management function in the National Park Service. This new funding will allow me to pay a doctoral student Research Assistant for the next two field seasons, so we can deepen and expand our long-term data set about this intriguing and unique restored Gulf of Maine salt marsh.”

Photo caption: Dr. Rachel Thiet (left) and ES student Heather Conkerton sampling shellfish and invasive green crabs in East Harbor back-barrier salt marsh lagoon, Cape Cod National Seashore.

 

AUNE faculty member Dr. Joy Whiteley Ackerman recently presented a webinar entitled, “Why Study Conservation Psychology? What it offers for practitioners and researchers.” In this interactive webinar, she offered an overview of conservation psychology and what practitioners and researchers can gain in terms of strengthening conservation and sustainability outcomes.

The webinar presentation included:

Conservation psychology can support enhanced understanding of the powerful social and psychological aspects that influence group and individual environmental actions and attitudes.  CP theory and practice can help to more effectively design programs, craft messages, and engage individuals and organizations in conservation, sustainability, and climate change action.

View a video of the webinar here:

Download the accompanying slides

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE CONSERVATION PSYCHOLOGY INSTITUTE

 

Tom Wessels’ new book, “Granite, Fire and Fog: The Natural and Cultural History of Acadia,” was released in May 2017. The book offers a natural and a cultural history of Acadia National Park, a popular national park located on Mount Desert Island in Maine.

“In this beautifully illustrated book, Wessels invites readers to investigate the remarkable natural history of Mount Desert Island, along with the unique cultural story it gave rise to. This account of nature, terrain, and human interaction with the landscape will delight those who like to hike these bald summits, ride along the carriage roads, or explore the island’s rugged shoreline. Wessels concludes with a guided tour of one of his favorite hikes, a ten-mile loop that will acquaint the reader with the diverse ecosystems described throughout his book.” – UPNE

Read more

 

Antioch University New England ES PhD student Karen Saunders has been accepted to the LacCore/CSDCO Drilling and Coring Summer Institute (DCSI). Karen is researching the long-term climate, environmental, and human history of New England and the Northeast US by examining geological records (last 12,000 years) of changes preserved in cores of organic materials in ideal locations determined by her and her committee via searches of existing literature and independent surveys and coring.

The applicant pool for the institute was extremely competitive, and it was noted that Karen’s application stood out as excellent “because of its thoughtfulness, detail, and specificity, and how her stated needs align with what the DCSI offers.”

LaCCore is a highly regarded analytical laboratory housed at the University of Minnesota. LacCore and the associated Continental Scientific Drilling Coordination Office (CSDCO) provide infrastructure for scientists utilizing core samples from Earth’s continents in their research, through integrated support for coring and drilling projects, from project inception through curation.

 

Michelle Heaton, a doctoral student in AUNE’s Environmental Studies dept, has been named the next Head of School at Teton Valley Community School. Michelle’s award-winning action research project on boys as global citizens was published in 2016, and she brings TVCS 18 years’ experience as a teacher and administrator in New England schools, as well as experience as an Executive Director of a farm-based education program.

In the Teton Science Schools newsletter, Chris Agnew, Executive Director of the Teton Science Schools wrote, “Michelle is uniquely positioned to lead TVCS in the coming years. An innovative educator, Michelle is committed to teaching and learning that promotes agency, social justice, and sense of place.”

 

 

 

AUNE’s Engaging Conservation Psychology for Effective Action Webinar Series recently presented a webinar entitled, “Applying Conservation Psychology Theories & Principles.”  During the webinar, past Conservation Psychology Institute participants shared how they are applying conservation psychology theory to practice. Each presented discussed specific projects that were informed by their work at the Institute.

Presenters included: Amy Weidensaul, Director of Community Conservation and Education for Audubon Pennsylvania and Dr. Kim Langmaid, Founder, Vice President, and Director of Sustainability & Stewardship Programs for Walking Mountains Science Center.

View a video of the webinar here:

Download Presenter Slides from the Webinars

K. Langmaid Presentation slides
A. Weidensaul Presentation slides
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE CONSERVATION PSYCHOLOGY INSTITUTE

 

Antioch University New England recently held its 12th annual CTEC Symposium, “New Approaches to Conservation Conflicts.” Keynote Dr. Adrian Treves presented on rethinking biodiversity preservation and conservation conflicts, and talked about human-wildlife relations in the Bandipur Tiger reserve, the Dakota Access Pipeline conflicts and indigenous rights, and collaboration in environmental management.

The Annual CTEC Symposium brings together researchers, professionals, educators, and students to learn about and become involved in the application of new approaches to conservation conflicts. Participants learn about conservation conflict transformation, bridging conflicts between agriculture and conservation, managing human-wildlife conflicts, reducing conflicts over land use and biodiversity, and reducing human conflicts that undermine conservation and wildlife management.

Learn more about AUNE’s Center for Tropical Ecology & Conservation

Learn more about the Conservation Biology concentration of the MS in Environmental Studies at Antioch University New England

 

Learn more about our upcoming free webinar on Applying Conservation Psychology Theory & Principles on April 26

AUNE faculty member Dr. Abigail Abrash Walton recently presented a webinar entitled, “Why Study Conservation Psychology? What it offers for practitioners and researchers.” In this interactive webinar, she offered an overview of conservation psychology and what practitioners and researchers can gain in terms of strengthening conservation and sustainability outcomes.  The webinar presentation included:

Conservation psychology can support enhanced understanding of the powerful social and psychological aspects that influence group and individual environmental actions and attitudes.  CP theory and practice can help to more effectively design programs, craft messages, and engage individuals and organizations in conservation, sustainability, and climate change action.

View a video of the webinar here:

Download the accompanying slides

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE CONSERVATION PSYCHOLOGY INSTITUTE

 

Antioch University New England (AUNE) and the U.S. Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) have selected Meghan Hoskins and Alex Rosen to serve as AUNE’s 2017 U.S. Congressional Progressive Caucus Fellows. This fellowship opportunity, now entering its 10th year, is for master’s degree students in AUNE’s Advocacy for Social Justice and Sustainability (ASJS) concentration in the Department of Environmental Studies.

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) write, “The Congressional Progressive Caucus is excited to welcome Alex Rosen and Meghan Hoskins as our Summer Environmental Fellows. Both of these students have a passion for protecting the environment and leading the fight against climate change. We’re grateful to have these young leaders with us in a time when the environment and the EPA are coming under attack by the Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans.”

“This will be a great opportunity for Alex and Meghan to experience the legislative process. With the CPC, our fellows are able to work with Members of Congress from across the country on policies to protect the environment and combat climate change. We look forward to these fellows helping the CPC lead the resistance in Congress.”

Hoskins’ and Rosen’s portfolio will include work with the House Natural Resources Committee, of which Rep. Grijalva is Ranking Member.

“We are proud to be sending these two outstanding emerging leaders to serve on Capitol Hill, as Antioch’s unique program with the Congressional Progressive Caucus celebrates its 10th year,” said Abigail Abrash Walton, who directs Antioch’s Advocacy for Social Justice and Sustainability master’s concentration and heads the fellowship selection committee.

About Meghan Hoskins
Meghan Hoskins is an Environmental Studies Masters Student at Antioch University New England, with a concentration in Advocacy for Social Justice and Sustainability and a Certificate in Conservation Psychology. Hoskins grew up in Mooresville, IN, and graduated from Indiana State University in May of 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, minors in Women’s Studies and Spanish, a Global Perspectives focus in the University Honors Program, and a Certification in Sustainability Leadership. She is currently interning with Cultural Survival, a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing indigenous peoples’ rights and cultures worldwide, where she is researching and writing human rights violation reports and news articles for their quarterly magazine and website. Hoskins serves as Teaching Assistant for Antioch’s Advocacy Methods course and also as the Education Coordinator for Antioch’s Center for Tropical Ecology and Conservation, where she is organizing a research symposium on “New Approaches to Conservation Conflicts.” From October 2015 – May 2016 she served as a Community Fellow with NextGen Climate NH. During that time she organized community events focused on raising awareness about climate change and environmental degradation. She also conducted a Get Out the Vote campaign, during which NextGen Climate NH mobilized 11,975 college student voters. In the summer of 2015, Hoskins also served as a Field Canvasser with Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving democracy, conserving natural resources, protecting the environment, and providing affordable access to essential human services in Indiana.

About Alex Rosen
Alex’s passion for social justice brought him to Antioch as an Environmental Studies master’s student, concentrating in Advocacy for Social Justice and Sustainability; he is also part of the Masters International program, with a view toward entering the Peace Corps. Since coming to Antioch, Alex has partnered with the Southwest Regional Planning Commission, serving as a graduate research assistant in Antioch’s Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience, to develop a Climate and Health Adaptation Plan for New Hampshire’s Monadnock Region. Alex grew up in Skokie, Illinois (part of Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky’s congressional district) and earned a BA in Political Science with a concentration in Environmental Studies from Grinnell College. While attending Grinnell, Alex interned with Project Vote Smart, a non-partisan nonprofit devoted to voter education. He also studied abroad in Queensland Australia, where he worked with the Barron River Integrated Catchment Management Association to promote environmentally friendly local ordinances. After graduating from Grinnell, Alex worked as a Program Instructor with the Close Up Foundation, an organization dedicated to instilling a sense of political efficacy in high school and middle school students, where he facilitated positive dialog on domestic policy with students from across the country. Alex also worked as a Strategic Account Manager for K12 Insight, a consulting firm that assists local school districts engage with stakeholders.

 

In honor of Jonathan Daniels, and in response to a dialogue at a community forum, local organizations, individuals, and youth have come together to create and install ten banners on Main Street, featuring images of Jonathan Daniels and quotes from local youth about the privilege of voting.

The Center for Civic Engagement at Antioch University held two deliberative dialogue sessions in the Spring, around the topic of voter participation. During the April forum, “Democracy Depends on Voter Participation,” a number of ideas and initiatives were generated by community member participants. One idea generated was to honor Jonathan Daniels and his fight for voter rights more intentionally throughout the community during the election process.

This idea was brought to the St. James Episcopal Church youth group, which engaged with a number of community members and organizations – Keene Rotary Club, Elm City Rotary Club, Keene State College, and others – to create the banners for Downtown Keene.

“The young people who walked in Jonathan Daniels footsteps want to encourage the community to honor one of our own, Jonathan Daniels, by voting. The Center for Civic Engagement is excited and proud to have participated in this collaborative effort. This is what the Center is all about,” said Molly Kelly, Center for Civic Engagement Co-Director and NH State Senator.

The Antioch University Center for Civic Engagement’s mission is to engage a broad and diverse group in deliberate dialogue forums about issues that are important to this community, resulting in collective decisions for community action and sustainable civic engagement.

 

 

AUNE is hosting the annual Conservation Psychology Institute (CPI), June 12-15, 2016, on campus.  The 3-day annual event is an interactive workshop with some of the leading researchers in the field. Its focus this year is on promoting human and environmental health across multiple scales—individual, organizational, community, and ecosystem—through the application of psychological research on behavior change, connection with nature, and effective communication.

CPI 2015

Dr. Louise Chawla works with past CPI participants.

The Institute faculty are experienced in education and training, and have practical experience in working with organizations, communities, and individuals.  Throughout the workshop, they’ll draw on a range of didactic and interactive strategies designed to foster collaborative learning, team problem-solving, and the development of clear ‘takeaways.’ Attendees can expect a participatory and dynamic mix of pre-reading, presentation, small group discussion and application, Q&A, one-on-one coaching, and team planning time. Sessions will be held both indoors and outdoors at the AUNE campus.

Participants who register as teams, wanting to work on a specific organizational challenge, find the Institute particularly effective. Additionally, the event is well-suited for communication and education practitioners in community and non-profit organizations; students and educators interested in a working knowledge of the field of conservation psychology; or individuals from a range of organizational settings interested in learning about conservation psychology principles.

For more information or to register, visit: Conservation Psychology Institute

 

 

Antioch University New England (AUNE) has named the recipients of the 2016 Horace Mann Spirit of Service Awards.  Each year winners are selected in three categories: the Citizens Award, the Staff/Faculty Award and the Alumni Award with this year’s awards going to Jim and Judy Putnam, Michael Simpson, and Carmela DeCandia, respectively. The awards were presented at the sixth annual Horace Mann Spirit of Service Awards event on Friday, September 16, at the Keene Country Club. Proceeds from the event benefit the AUNE Horace Mann Spirit of Service Scholarship Fund.The Horace Mann Spirit of Service Awards

The Horace Mann Spirit of Service Awards are named in honor of Horace Mann, Antioch College’s first president and a noted abolitionist and educator. The award program recognizes individuals “who have won victories for humanity,” through their work and volunteerism. By celebrating these individuals and honoring Mann’s ideals, AUNE continues its commitment to public service, community engagement, diversity, lifelong learning, sustainability, and social justice.

2016 Citizen’s Award: Jim and Judy Putnam – Keene, New Hampshire
James A. (Jim) and Judith (Judy) Putnam’s life of service began as Peace Corps volunteers in Libya and Thailand where they taught English as a Second Language for three years. They are dedicated to the Monadnock region, giving selflessly of their energy, ideas, leadership, collaborative spirit, enthusiasm, time, talent and treasure.

Jim and Judy have served on boards, advisory councils, visioning sessions, and political and fundraising campaigns in the Monadnock region. They have supported nonprofit regional and statewide organizations including the Colonial Theatre, Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music, Historic Harrisville, Monadnock Conservancy, New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, Cheshire Health Foundation, Stonewall Farm, St. James Episcopal Church, Franklin Pierce University, Keene State College, Arts Alive!, Keene Public Library, Ashuelot River Park, AUNE, and more.

Retiring as president from MARKEM, his family’s business, when it was sold to New York-based Dover Corporation (NYSE: DOV), Jim and Judy have maintained a family legacy of care, concern and commitment to the environment, economic vitality, health, the arts, education, and social justice.

2016 Staff/Faculty Award: Michael H. Simpson, Chair of the AUNE Environmental Studies Department – Norwich, Vermont
Michael Simpson earned his Master of Science in Resource Management and Administration 1980s from Antioch University New England.  Since 1985 he’s been a faculty member in the Department of Environmental Studies and currently serves as chair and as director of the Resource Management and Conservation program, and director of the Sustainable Development and Climate Change concentration. As founder and co-director of the Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience, Michael helped establish AUNE’s reputation as national experts in climate change and preparedness. He also earned a Master of Arts in Science from Dartmouth College and certification as a wetland scientist from New Hampshire.

Presently, he serves on the boards of the New Hampshire Association of Natural Resource Scientists and the Corporate Wetlands Restoration Initiative, and as chair of the New Hampshire Association of Natural Resource Scientists. He has also served on many advisory committees and conservation commissions.

In addition to his research, teaching, and publishing, Michael consults internationally on climate change, wetlands ecology, watershed management, and energy and materials sustainability. He co-authored an award-winning report to the United Nations.

2016 Alumni Award: Carmela DeCandia, PsyD 1999 – Newton, Massachusetts
Carmela J. DeCandia, PsyD, is a licensed clinical child psychologist with specialties in child and adolescent development, family homelessness, trauma, program development, and assessment. As the director of Child and Family Initiatives with the Center for Social Innovation and a t3 faculty, Carmela advocates for and develops evidence-based, best practices to serve vulnerable children and families. For more than 25 years, she worked on the ground with children and families struggling with a variety of life adversities. A strong advocate for trauma-informed, family-centered services, she lent her voice to inform the national dialogue as the Director of The National Center on Family Homelessness.  As clinical director and vice president of St. Mary’s Center for Women and Children in Dorchester, Massachusetts, for 12 years, she led the way in translating research on trauma and resiliency into quality programs for young families. In addition, Carmela brings her expertise as a child psychologist trained in neurodevelopmental assessments to inform service delivery for young children. She has taught courses on child assessment, counseling young children, and traumatic stress in the lives of children and adolescents as adjunct faculty at Lesley University, and is currently on the faculty of Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions, Harvard Medical School where she lectures on psychological development throughout the lifespan. Carmela has a doctorate in psychology from Antioch New England and a mastery certificate in trauma and recovery from the Harvard program in refugee trauma.

Carmela DeCandia, PsyD has dedicated her career to advancing best practices and policies to support vulnerable children, families, and individuals, and to improve the systems which serve them.  She has led direct service and national agencies including St. Mary’s Women and Children’s Center and The National Center on Family Homelessness. Recently, she helped launched The Bassuk Center on Homeless and Vulnerable Children and Youth. She is now establishing an independent consulting practice.

Carmela is an expert in program development, assessment, family homelessness, and trauma-informed implementation and training.  She is a compassionate clinician and an effective advocate for disempowered and underserved people.  She is nationally recognized as a writer, advocate and public speaker on family homelessness, child and adolescent development and trauma, and policy. An engaged alumna, Dr. Candia has volunteered as a panelist and as a guest lecturer at AUNE, sharing her experiences and expertise with students and faculty.

 

beavers away! thumbnailBeaver’s Pond Press has published Beavers Away!, a children’s book written and illustrated by Jennifer Lovett, MS Environmental Studies ‘14. Based on a true story about Elmo Heter, a game warden for Idaho Fish and Game, Beavers Away! chronicles his effort in the 1950s to relocate beavers  who had become a nuisance to a remote area in Idaho where their activity would be beneficial to the habitat. The plan had a major obstacle: The beavers’  destination was not accessible by road.

He devised a plan to safely reintroduce beavers into the area by parachuting them from the sky. Ultimately, the relocated beavers were able to quickly restore the eroded and barren landscape and create lush habitat that provided food and shelter for many other types of animals. Nearly seventy years later, the story of Elmo Heter and a beaver named Geronimo is particularly significant, highlighting the importance of protecting and conserving wetlands to mitigate  the effects of climate change.

Lovett, a former art museum curator and art teacher, is a conservation biologist who lives in Stamford, Vermont with her family. She learned about the amazing true story of Idaho’s parachuting beavers while working on her master’s degree in environmental studies with a concentration in conservation biology at Antioch University New England. Her research led her to the topic of her master’s thesis, The Role of North American Beaver (Castor canadensis) in the Mitigation of Climate Change: A Literature Review and a Book for Young Readers.

“This rousing story reminds us that beavers are not just the animal world’s great engineers but its great environmentalists, busy building buzzing wetlands season after season,” said Bill McKibben, noted educator, environmentalist, and author of Wandering Home, The End of Nature, The Global Warming Reader, and many other books about the environment. “I’ve lived near beavers my whole life, and few sounds make me happier than that slap of tail on water; this book will make you happy too, I think.”

Written for students in grades 5 to 6, Beaver’s Away!, will also interest others, as well as younger children.

The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals praises Beavers Away! as “a charming book that will provide youth – and even adults – insight into creative thinking, the spectacular eco-engineering of beavers, and the importance of ecological protection.”

Beavers Away! can be purchased from Itasca Books , Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Water Street Books and Where Did You Get That? in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

 

Toni Murdock Student Innovation Award – Apollinaire William, PhD candidate

William’s path to AUNE and his doctoral dissertation research exemplifies the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship. William was an integral member of a team that designed BSc and MS programs and brought, for the first time, conservation biology to the University of Rwanda with MacArthur Foundation funding. He received a scholarship to study GIS and Remote Sensing MS at University of Redlands. His thesis documented access to fresh water in rural Ethiopia using GIS applications. As a PhD student, William stayed connected to the Regional Network of Conservation Educators in the Albertine Rift (RNCEAR), a network he helped create while working at University of Rwanda. William voluntarily developed and taught GIS workshops to network members at universities in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, and DR Congo. In Burundi he organized a workshop for Francophone women because he saw they were left behind due to gender and language issues. William’s vision and passion for education and the possibilities of GIS were not lost on a Board member at Antioch who ultimately donated funds to initiate a GIS and spatial analysis lab on the AUNE campus. In his role with the GIS lab William visited every department on campus to discuss GIS. William recently designed a certificate option in GIS for AUNE and taught himself innovative audio-visual methods to scale up for availability across all AU campuses. William’s dissertation research implements innovative solutions to complex social, economic, or environmental challenges: he worked with rural farmers, combining participatory mapping with interviews and GIS modelling to gauge farmer perceptions about climate change and adaptation. These are examples of how he identifies and designs new ways to bring about positive change.

William R. Ginsberg and Thomas K. Wessels Environmental Studies Scholarship 2016 –
Cynthia Espinosa Marrero, MS candidate, and Edward Sinnes, MS candidate

Cynthia is an excellent fit with the intent of this award, deeply committed to educational efforts in the Holyoke, MA area, especially among Latina/o community members. She’s been an active community member at Antioch and within her Holyoke community throughout graduate school, particularly around issues of food justice/access, permaculture (she’s a certified permaculturalist), and empowerment. Her master’s project is an evaluation of Latino Outdoors, with a particular focus on participant motivations to inform future programming. While at Antioch, she’s been an excellent student; student government leader; and Community Garden Connections Co-Coordinator for the past 5 semesters. Her leadership roles have gone beyond AUNE. For example she is the East Coast Ambassador for Latino Outdoors, a national network of Latino Environmental Professionals. Cynthia currently serves as Community Education Manager for Growing Places,Fitchburg MA.

Edward Sinnes earned his MS in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Ecological Anthropology, through the Self-Designed Studies concentration. His M.S. thesis research focused on exploring the links between local knowledge and environmental values through an ethnographic study of hunters, foresters and foragers in upstate New York. As an ES MS student, Edward was actively engaged in both the campus and Keene communities, serving as Student Alliance Co-Chair, Community Bicycle Advocate, and Research Assistant for Advocacy for Social Justice and Sustainability. He was active with Westmoreland community garden, the Keene Community Kitchen, Keene Clean-Up Day; and promoted and advocated for a range of social and institutional changes to improve student life, access to services, and communications. Edward currently serves as the Assistant Coordinator for Family and Adult programming at the Chincoteague Bay Field Station.

The Philip H. Faulkner Jr. Research Grant 2016 Recipient – Janine Marr, PhD student
Dissertation Research: The Impact of White Pine Blister Rust on Forest Health

Center for Tropical Ecology and Conservation (CTEC) Scholarship – Nicole Wengerd, PhD student
Dissertation research in Tanzania: Research on a new approach to support local stakeholder participation in protected area planning and management using participatory methods from asset-based community development and biocultural diversity, including asset and biocultural mapping.

Center for Tropical Ecology and Conservation (CTEC) Scholarship – Katie Kibler, PhD student
Dissertation research in Rwanda: A study exploring agroecologically intensified Rwandan shade coffee for agroecosystem-level biodiversity and food security using an indigenous co-research framework.

Center for Tropical Ecology and Conservation (CTEC) Scholarship – Phoebe Gooding, MS candidate
MS Project in Mexico: Community Water Quality Monitoring in the Amanalco Basin of Valle de Bravo, Mexico using citizen science.

Center for Tropical Ecology and Conservation (CTEC) Scholarship – Dianne Dubois, MS student
MS Thesis research in Costa Rica: The effect of slope and edaphic qualities on seedling survivorship in abandoned pastureland on the Pacific slope of Costa Rica

CENTER FOR TROPICAL ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION (CTEC)

2015-2016 Travel Grant Recipients:

Kayla Cranston, PhD candidate – to attend the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC). The title of Kayla’s presentation is The psychology of human wellbeing as a predictor of long-term capacity for conservation.

Ayshah Kassamali-Fox, MS candidate – to attend the 2015 Society for Marine Mammalogy 21st Biennial Conference in San Francisco. She is presenting an oral presentation on her thesis research: Evaluating the effects of dolphin watching boats on bottlenose dolphins in Bocas del Toro, Panama: using Markov chains to model the impacts of tourism on a genetically distinct community.

Lynn Kimmel, MS candidate – to attend the Pathways Kenya 2016: Integrating Human Dimensions into Fisheries and Wildlife Management, sponsored by Colorado State University. Her oral presentation is entitled Conservation Conflict Transformation in Action: Addressing Human-Wildlife Conflict Affecting the Endangered Grevy’s Zebra in Kenya.

Erasme Uyizeye, PhD student – to participate in the African Freshwater Entomology Workshop (AFRESH) in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa from 1 to 7 February 2016. The training involves identifying and applying dragonflies and other freshwater insects in environmental monitoring, and his dissertation research will explore using dragonflies as indicators of environmental change in Rwanda.

Phillip Dugger, PhD candidate – to train in the lab of Dr. Matthias Schleuning of the Biodiversity and Climate Research Center in Frankfurt (Main), Germany on network analysis techniques.

Luke Dolby, PhD student – to attend the NASFAM GIS Workshop in Lilongwe, Malawi. Luke’s research is focused on how new, affordable smart phone services can connect smallholder farmers and increase conservation agriculture.

COMMUNITY GARDEN CONNECTIONS EDUCATION GRANTS

Benjamin Currotto, MS student
Assistantship: CGC Westmoreland Garden Project Manager & Education Coordinator

Michelle Stewart, MS candidate
Internship Support: CGC Horticulture Therapy Education Coordinator

GLOVER’S LEDGE RESEARCH AND EDUCATION GRANTS

Arianna Ferrario, MS candidate
MS Research: Inventory of Migratory and Breeding Avian Abundance at Glover’s Ledge Langdon, NH

Janine Marr, PhD student
PhD Project: Forest Health Assessment Glover’s Ledge, Langdon, NH

Kyle Rodd, MS candidate
MS Research: Winter Tracking of Medium and Large-sized Mammals Glover’s Ledge, Langdon, NH

DOCTORAL STUDENT FELLOWSHIPS

C&S Workplace Organic Gardens Doctoral Fellowship – Jessica Gerrior, PhD student
Jessica Gerrior has been awarded this year’s fellowship to serve as Project Director. Her leadership roles as Sustainability Coordinator at Franklin Pierce University, Project Manager at the Monadnock Food Co-op, and President of the Monadnock Farm & Community Coalition Board speak to her deep commitment to this work.

Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience Fellowship – Christa Daniels, PhD student
Christa Daniels AICP is the first fellow for the Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience. She specializes in climate mitigation and resilience as well as citizen engagement strategies. She is also working with Climate Access on an innovative visualization engagement project in Marin County, CA.

Center for Tropical Ecology and Conservation International Student Scholarship – Erasme Uyizeye, PhD student
Erasme Uyizeye has the position of Program Manager for CTEC, which is funded by this scholarship created to support an international student for a non-work study position through a generous donation. In this role Erasme has efficiently and effectively supported and managed the daily functioning of CTEC.

Conservation Psychology Fellowship – Ruth Kermish-Allen, PhD candidate
Ruth Kermish-Allen serves as the Executive Director of the Maine Mathematics & Science Alliance, as well as developing environmental STEM education programs. Her current research focuses on defining design elements for non-hierarchical online learning communities for use in citizen science projects fostering environmental action.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Fellowship – Apollinaire William, PhD candidate
Apollinaire William has been using online teaching tools to teach GIS and advanced spatial analysis training workshops to students and faculty in New England and East Africa, as well as equipping the many GIS labs for Antioch campuses, including New England, Los Angeles and Seattle. He has also developed a Certificate in Applied Spatial Analysis, which provides a theoretical foundation along with the technical skills required for a career in GIS.

Master’s International Program Fellowship – Jason Rhoades, PhD candidate
Jason Rhoades has been working with Dr. James Gruber as coordinator to promote and develop the Masters International Program at AUNE, and to enhance its ongoing partnership with the Peace Corps. This partnership offers students the opportunity to combine Peace Corps service with their degree studies, as part of the Masters International Program.

ENVIRONMENTAL EXCELLENCE AWARDS

Alumni 2016 Award Recipient – Steve Chase
Steve Chase lives his values with passion, compassion, and kindness. Steve is a dual ES alum, having graduated from Antioch in 1996 with a master’s degree in Environmental Studies and — again — in 2006, with a PhD in Environmental Studies. Steve’s doctoral dissertation, Activist Training in the Academy: Developing a Master’s Program in Environmental Advocacy and Organizing, created the foundation for the Department’s Advocacy for Social Justice and Sustainability master’s concentration.

The Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation recognized Steve’s environmental advocacy leadership, awarding him with a Switzer Environmental Leadership Grant. Steve subsequently received an Ella Baker Fellowship to support and promote dialog between leaders in the business, academic, and non-profit arenas in the interest of positive social change.

As a student, faculty member, and concentration director, Steve was an indefatigable champion of Antioch’s social justice mission. He inspired many Antioch students to pursue their path of purpose and to be effective change makers for justice and sustainability. He conceptualized and taught widely popular courses in Organizing Social Movements and Campaigns; Corporate Power, Globalization, and Democracy; Organizational Leadership in the Nonprofit World; and Environmental Justice in the Mississippi Delta. Prior to joining the Antioch faculty, Steve served on the editorial boards of Orion magazine, Terra Nova, South End Press, and More Than Money Journal.

Community Member 2016 Award Recipient – W.S. Badger Co., Inc.
Company mission: “We believe that a healthy business is like a well-tended garden. Our business, which began as a seed, has been nourished over the years with good intentions. To us, money is a fuel not a goal, just as sunlight is the fuel that allows a garden to grow and flourish but is not the purpose of the garden. As we grow, we seek to build our good intentions into the DNA of our business so that each person we touch, from our suppliers to our extended Badger community, experiences something good and beautiful. And just as a garden is rooted to the earth, our business is connected to the natural world around us. This connection informs our product development and inspires us to create powerfully pure organic body care made from fresh, whole botanicals.”

 

jason_rhoadesStudent Speaker–Jason Rhoades, PhD, Environmental Studies

I am well aware of the passion, the experience, and the expertise found among all of you within this room. It is a humbling honor to have the chance to speak with you today.  I appreciate you sharing your time with me for these moments.  To begin, congratulations graduates for what you have accomplished.  I am excited about what lies ahead for each of you as you continue down your paths.

Dr. Melinda Treadwell, vice president of academic affairs, asked me to talk about a life of service today. Within that context, I will discuss the importance of both success and failure as we endeavor to win victories for humanity and for the larger natural world.

If we set out with the goal of creating meaningful positive change for society and the environment, it is not going to be easy. It is not going to happen quickly, or as planned, and it will not be without disappointments and setbacks.  In so many other aspects of our lives we exercise remarkable control and are accustomed to having things go according to our expectations. But often, our efforts to effect change will rarely follow our planning.  These failures might make us feel unsuccessful. How shall we find the resilience to keep the fight?  How will we be willing to take the big risks needed to create change?  I think we need to do something different than just being okay with failure. We need to completely change the way we think about success and failure.

Currently we might consider the outcome of a single initiative relative to its intended outcome as an indication of success or failure.  This has value, but is also insufficient and misleading in the context of the sort of change we are working for.  I propose that we would be better off thinking along the lines of the movement of tectonic plates.  Slow incremental movements over great periods of time.  Building of pressure, grinding away.  And then in an instant you have an earthquake.  Now it would be foolish to label the intervening building of pressure a failure.  And it would be equally foolish to highlight the moment of the earthquake and call that singular event a success.

It is this intervening time in which ostensibly so little happens that we could easily consider our efforts as failing.  Certain initiatives may be defeated.  Projects may fall short of their goals.  Funding may dry up.  Collaborations may collapse.  But during this time, awareness builds, small victories are achieved, networks grow, strategies get tested and refined, alliances are created, momentum and pressure builds. And as a result you get an earthquake.  The earthquake may be dramatic, but it would simply not exist without prolonged effort and adaptability and resilience through that long time when outwardly little progress was being made and so called failures were evident.

Following this thinking, I am convinced that, in terms of fostering positive social and environmental change, success lies less in the outcome of any one project than it does in our reactions to those outcomes.  And that the most important attributes we can bring to our effort are resilience, passion, and unending creativity.

With this in mind, I hope you go forward with clear eyes of the challenges we face, but courageous in your willingness to take them on. I know what you are capable of and I am counting on you.  To be clear, I don’t mean to suggest that we all must work at the highest level to create change at a grand scale. Work in your niche, but know that you are contributing to the building pressure and that your contribution makes all the difference.  For if we are not going to work to create the world we wish to see, I don’t know where else we could direct our hope.

In this, I wish you all the best, and, to close on a additional metaphor, if we picture ripples emanating from multiple points on a pond, how they expand and then intersect, I am excited for the day when our collective efforts will meet each other once again to create tangible and positive change for the environment and humanity.  Thank you and all the best.

 

 

In late April, the Peace Corps made the difficult decision to retire the Master’s International program and focus its resources on other partnership opportunities. Established in 1987, the program pairs graduate studies with Peace Corps service. The partnership between Peace Corps Master’s International and Antioch University New England  had been established in May 2014. Currently, there are 15 students enrolled as Master’s International students at AUNE.The last cohort of students will start classes this fall. AUNE is dedicated to supporting these exceptional students throughout their graduate program and Peace Corps service.

Prospective Master’s International students may still apply for fall, 2016. Applicants admitted to the program must start classes on August 27, 2016, the beginning of the fall 2016 semester. This will be the last opportunity for students to participate in Master’s International.

“Combining graduate study with Peace Corps service changed my life,” said Jason Rhoades, AUNE’s Master’s International program coordinator who served in the Peace Corps from 2006 to 2008 in the Republic of Armenia. “It is disappointing that the program won’t continue, but I am excited that there is one last chance for individuals to take advantage of this exceptional opportunity to combine scholarship, service, and adventure. I encourage any person who is interested in this outstanding program to apply for the fall 2016 semester.”

Prospective students can apply to the following AUNE graduate degree programs to be part of the last Master’s International cohort:

Environmental Studies

Management

The University is also part of the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program and offers scholarships for students who have completed their Peace Corps service.

 

Meet the Mountain“Meet the Mountain Day 2016” on April 23 was a great success. MERE and event partners had the chance to interact with several hundred park visitors throughout the day. With the wonderful weather, many participants summited Mt. Monadnock and spoke with Jennifer Dickinson, a MERE summit steward. Peter Palmiotto, AUNE professor and MERE director led an enthusiastic group of hikers to the summit. Many visitors stopped by to check out informational tables and activities at the base of the mountain before and after their hikes.

The most popular activity was learning about the live hawks. Diane Welch, a licensed falconer with the Massachusetts Falconry and Hawk Trust, along with Rita Tulloh, a licensed falconer with the New Hampshire Falconers Association, educated visitors about birds of prey with the help of their two red-tail hawks.

The event was a great way to kick off the hiking season as it offered visitors a variety of opportunities to learn about, and gain a greater appreciation for the mountain and its natural resources.

Meet the Mountain Day was possible thanks to the support and involvement from partners including Antioch University New England, Community Garden Connections, Eastern Mountain Sports, falconers Diane Welch and Rita Tulloh, Monadnock State Park, the Center For Tropical Ecology and Conservation, the Monadnock Food Co-op, and the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests.

 

The AUNE Center for Tropical Ecology and Conservation (CTEC) in the Department of Environmental Studies has issued grants totaling $3,400 to help support students in their capstone projects. Four students were awarded funds this year, supporting conservation work in the neotropics and in Africa, in biodiversity hotspots, and in tropical forests, agricultural systems, and aquatic systems. Projects include working with community members, citizen scientists, birds, and trees. CTEC funding will contribute to tropical forest regeneration, food security, improved water quality, and more effective protected areas management.

The awards were granted to:

 

Apollinaire William, a doctoral student in Antioch University New England’s Environmental Studies PhD program, is the recipient of the 2016 Toni Murdock Student Innovation Award for his doctoral research and dissertation on land use issues in Rwanda, one of the many poor, developing countries that are the most vulnerable to climate change and climate variability. The award is given annually to a graduating student whose academic work implements innovative solutions to complex social, economic, or environmental challenges and helps to advance AUNE’s purpose of innovation for a just and sustainable society.

Apollinaire William-724x300Growing up impoverished and often malnourished in Northern Rwanda, nearly 7,000 miles from Keene, in part, drives Apollinaire’s passion for returning to his homeland and his belief that an interdisciplinary approach to solutions is paramount.

While considering doctoral programs, he chose Antioch University New England for its interdisciplinary focus realizing that to come up with a solution to a problem, many different viewpoints must be considered.

“I looked at programs in Europe, and other programs in the United States,” he said. “Some are good, but none are so interdisciplinary.  AUNE’s program touches on science, economics, environmental issues, and the human dimension. You need to bring in different disciplines, people with different skills, in order to work together and come up with strong, robust, and durable solutions. Every year rivers in the north and west of Rwanda flood. There is damage to crops and houses, cattle die, and people die. I hope my research will represent a voice for those farmers whose policy is forced on them without their engagement.”

Apollinaire views his work as service to the planet and its people. Having lived through the Rwandan genocide, he never lost sight of his dreams. In his heart and mind he retained the desire to continue his education, to contribute to humanity and to help make the world a better place.

“I used a participatory approach to conduct my study,” Apollinaire says. “I came to realize that the community has a body of knowledge that we never tap into.  Most of the time scientists go into the field, collect data, and publish articles. No one from the community collaborates or reads the articles, yet the community are the ones to pay the bill, the ones who suffer those disasters.”

To gather his dissertation research, Apollinaire worked directly with farmers in Rwanda, combining participatory mapping techniques with interviews and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) modeling to ultimately improve the sustainability of agriculture and environmental stewardship. His research results are being formulated into recommendations to policy makers. He hopes this research will represent a voice for those farmers whose policy is forced on them without their engagement.

While completing PhD coursework and developing his dissertation proposal, Apollinaire volunteered his time and energy to develop and teach GPS, basic GIS and advanced GIS to Ugandans, Rwandans, Burundians, Tanzanians, and Congolese, all members of the RNCEAR and lecturers or students at Universities in these countries.

In addition to conducting his doctoral his research, Apollinaire also made a tremendous impact at Antioch University.

Apollinaire’s vision and passion for education resulted in the creation of a GIS and spatial analysis lab on the AUNE campus. He used the funds made available to put together a well-functioning lab, where he assists students and faculty on GIS, remote sensing, poster and map printing, and where he offers workshops on evenings and weekends.

He also taught an elective class, Practical Map Making, to a group of second-year students in the Urban Sustainability program at Antioch University Los Angeles.

“Apollinaire did a masterful job of delivering what could be received as very dry material, with a very steep learning curve, to a room full of students who were riveted by his infectious enthusiasm, his expertise, and his deep conviction in the discipline,” said Dr. Donald Strauss, MFA chair and core faculty at Antioch University Los Angeles. “In reviews from his students, he received the highest praise across the board.”

Given the complexities of social, economic, and environmental challenges, Apollinaire is now collaborating with the MBA program at AUNE to develop a project aiming at bringing students from business/economics together with those from environmental studies to develop green energy initiatives within communities in Cheshire County, NH.

“This is a step toward long-term collaboration across departments in a multidisciplinary fashion,” says Apollinaire. It exemplifies his innovative and conceptual thinking and collaborative approach to problem solving, connecting multiple academic disciplines to understand an issue.

“Apollinaire William is an extraordinary human being,” says his advisor Dr. Beth Kaplin, core faculty and director of the Conservation Biology concentration at AUNE. “In his rather quiet and humble way, Apollinaire leads an inspirational life that creates positive change around him. He is a generous, kind, wise, and innovative individual.”

Apollinaire’s achievements will be recognized and the 2016 Toni Murdock Student Innovation Award will be formally presented to him at Antioch University New England’s commencement on Saturday, May 14.

# # #

About the Award: Tullisse (Toni) Murdock served as chancellor of Antioch University from 2005 to 2012 and as president of Antioch University Seattle from 1998 to 2005.  During her tenure, Dr. Murdock presided over a period of significant change in the University.  Chancellor Murdock led the University’s efforts to create an integrated and distinctive national university with five regional campuses that serve the unique needs of their respective regions.  She consistently focused her leadership on the University’s mission to provide learner-centered education to empower adult students with the knowledge and skills to lead meaningful lives and advance social, economic, and environmental justice.  The Toni Murdock Student Innovation Award was established by the AUNE Board of Trustees to honor Dr. Murdock’s extraordinary tenure as an academic leader and Chancellor of Antioch University.

 

 

 
Print by Martin Droeshout

Print by Martin Droeshout

FRIDAY CLASS

During two of my teaching preps today I was facilitating a biology test… again. (I hate how many tests we give.) In one of my preps everything went according to plan, but that is like lightning striking and it wasn’t going to happen again. Inevitably then I had an issue in the other prep taking the test.

In the first of the two I had an accommodation issue which I didn’t know about ahead of time. I had to quickly find a staff member to read a test aloud to a student. A quick enough solution, but the issue happened when I was setting that teacher and student up in the lab next door. To do so I popped my head out from the test I was overseeing and into the lab to explain something to the teacher.

When I stepped back into the room there it was. A student in the front was sitting with his body turned completely around and signaling to a student at the back of the class. The expression of the student must have warned my front row student because he whipped around to find me right in front of his desk. “Oh,” he said. It was more like “Oh [insert expletive]” on his face. I wanted to say something but his “Oh” had caused several students to look up and I didn’t want to distract from the test anymore, so I waited, walking the room until students had settled back in. Then very quietly I came round and said, “Shiloh please talk to me after class”. Then I made my way to the back of the class and whispered the same to Yuri.

Okay good, I found myself thinking. I’ve avoided any humiliation, so hopefully no power-struggle but now what am I going to do?

I paced. A quote from Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing popped into my head.

“Brave punishments!” Tempting, I thought. But no, though, there should be some consequence.

As for “thinking,” I’m wasting too much of my time trying to devise a consequence. What do I really want to affect here? Character. The importance of trust.

Class was over and tests handed in. Yuri and Shiloh were in front of me. Everyone else had gone to lunch.

FRIDAY AFTER CLASS

Me: “Thanks for staying back for a minute guys. I wanted to talk to you about what happened when I stepped out of the room during the test. I totally get how tempting it is to communicate during a test when the teacher leaves, especially when it’s so quiet and –

Shiloh: Oh we weren’t talking or anything.

Me: Hmmm.

Shiloh: I mean it wasn’t to do with the test.

Me: Hmmm.

Shiloh: Anyway I was just responding to what Yuri said.

Yuri: Hey I didn’t –

Me: Guys, what I saw when I came in was both of you facing and communicating with each other.

Yuri: Yeah, but it had nothing to do with the test.

Me: That’s not what matters to me.

Shiloh: Pssshh. But if it doesn’t have anything to do with the test it doesn’t matter.

Me: those were my expectations about how each person conducts themselves during a test.

Yuri: Oh.

Me: So from what I saw, you both broke my trust and now you’re going to have to figure out how to rebuild it. I don’t want to take up anymore of your lunch, so you guys figure that out and get back to me on Monday. See ya.

MONDAY AFTER CLASS (Ten minutes before the end of class, I asked them to hang back.)

Me: Hi guys, I’m so sorry to cut into your lunch time again. I know that line gets long and quick! It’s just that neither of you got back to me about how you were going to rebuild my trust.
Yuri: Oh man, I completely forgot.

Me: That’s okay. I have so much to remember I forget things all the time. See over there, I forgot to hand back your papers!

Shiloh: I’m confused; I don’t know what you want me to do to build your trust. Should I stay after school or something?

Me: No I don’t want to take up your time. When I learn to trust somebody I guess it is because I learn I can rely on them. Does that make sense?

Yuri: Yeah, there are some friends I can trust for a ride and others I can’t.

Me: Good, so you get the idea. So go ahead to your lunch and let me know tomorrow how you are going to rebuild my trust.

TUESDAY BEFORE CLASS

Shiloh: Mrs. R?

Yuri: We figured out how to rebuild your trust

Me: Oh?

Shiloh: You know those papers you always forget to hand back to us?

Yuri: We’re going to remind you to pass them back.

Me: Oh! Great! It will be a load off to be able to rely on someone to remind me.

WEDNESDAY DURING CLASS

Shiloh: Mrs. R., don’t forget those papers!

Yuri: Can I pass them back?

Me: Sure! That would be really helpful!

Shiloh: May I help?

Me: Of course!

So much better than brave punishments, don’t you think? And they did all the thinking!

 

So I had a bit of a challenging case yesterday. Henry is a student in my class who has given up. He has decided he has an E grade, cannot bring it up to a pass and therefore isn’t planning to do anything for the rest of the term since he won’t pass regardless. Henry is a challenge across classrooms but my cooperating teacher observed that he will actually do some things for me that he won’t do for her. I try to give him as many choices as possible so he doesn’t feel backed into a corner. I also try to just notice things about him without any judgment, so he knows I see him and haven’t written him off.

But today I managed to get into a power struggle with him. I had a class where half was working silently on test corrections and the other half was still taking the test. Henry of course was doing neither but instead was working very hard on being distracting and disruptive.

I tried my usual tactics. I walked near his desk without saying anything to be a “reminding presence.”

“What!” he would bellow when did this.

I attempted being empathetic, whispering, “I know it is really hard to be quiet when you don’t have anything to help you focus. Let me know how I can help.”

“No, I’m good!” he half shouted.

“Oh,” I said. “Would you mind trying to keep quiet so that others can work?”

“Can’t do that” he responded.

I wanted to send him out but knew he’d refuse. He had some students giggling and others muttering ‘could you just shut up!’ Every time I went to another student to answer a question, he’d pop up. It was like playing whack-a-mole. And I was exasperated. Finally I walked over, looked him in the face and said, “Henry, do you have any idea, how much I care about you?” He was embarrassed as any adolescent boy would have been, but he was listening.

“I care hugely. I wish I could give you all my time today. I wish I knew how to help, but I don’t know what to do right now. I also care about every other student in here and most of them are trying exceptionally hard to work and are being distracted by you. I think I’m too upset to know what to do about these outbursts right now, so I’m going to have to think about it later, maybe tonight while I’m at home. I’ll get back to you tomorrow.”

Henry was quiet for a full five minutes after that, but started up again. The class was nearly over by this time so I let it go. Soon after the class was finished, I was able to talk with my cooperating teacher and we made a plan.

The next day I apologized to the class for not giving them enough time to work quietly and gave them 15 minutes to finish their work before lab. As they worked I went over to Henry before he had done anything.

 
Image courtesy of Einstein2

Image courtesy of Einstein2

After all the housekeeping issues for the day were taken care of, I scanned the faces of the first period biology students looking at me. They were at the same time both incredibly still and quiet, and also clearly unsettled. Their dreaded TEST was upon them, and I know that feeling well. I glanced quickly at the clock and then leaned over to whisper in my cooperating teacher’s ear. “Do you mind if I say something to them? It will take three minutes?” She glanced at the clock, looked curiously at me and said, “Sure, okay, three minutes.”

“Hi guys,” I said. “Can you show me on your hand, how you’re feeling on a scale of 1 to 5 about taking this test? 1 would be like, ‘pbshh, I got this’ and 5 would be like rocking yourself in a ball under your desk saying, ‘There’s no place like home….”.

Slowly hands went up, a few 2s changed quickly to 3s and I saw a lot of 4s and even some 5s. Sadly, it was what I had expected. I didn’t want them to be all tense like this. How could they be expected to think under so much anxiety? “Okay, that’s a little more anxious than I’d like,” I said. “Let me tell you something about my brain under stress.”

“A couple mornings ago I was leaving my house at 5:30 and it is completely dark outside at that time. On this shoulder I have my lunch bag, another bag with my computer in it, and a third bag with your bio book in it – which I can tell you is waaay too heavy! I’ve got my keys around my neck and in this hand I’m holding cup of coffee and on my pinky finger is my bagel. As I approach my car I reach for my keys to unlock it and hit black ice. What do you think happened?”

Grinning, a student called out, “You fell!”

“Oh no I didn’t! You see my brain helped me; it told me to grab the car door, which I did. So what happened to my bagel?”

A couple students responded, “You dropped it!”

“That’s right. The dog was already running away with it! What about my coffee?”

They called out, “Oh it’s all over you!” And another student added, “And you dropped your bags!”

“Exactly, my brain went into high gear! It told me to survive, to protect myself, which is great. But when it does that, it makes you forget everything else! So I dropped my food and coffee and bags. I don’t want you to be so stressed right now that your brains drop everything else, because then you won’t be able to recall all the stuff you’ve been working so hard to learn. ”
“So before we take this test, try mustering the deepest, most empathetic, heart-feeling voice and turn to your partner and say with sincerity in your eyes, “Aw”, I tutted and sighed and shook my head a little. “I’m so sorry you have to take this test.

And so it happened. They started to giggle which steadily built into laughter as the students tried it on each other. A couple of basketball players solemnly gripped each others’ shoulders as they said it. Another with her head bowed, took her friend’s hand. One boy pretended to sob, “I-I-I’m so suh-sorry” and then hugged his friend.

“Thank you,” I said. “Sometimes just laughing at your problem can help give you a little perspective, and calm your brain down. All the best now guys.”

End Note:
So clearly laughing is no fix all. It won’t suddenly release information from your brain that wasn’t there. But it does help with test anxiety as well as other tense situations and it may help with studying too.

I used to freeze up during tests. I’d get so stressed out that I couldn’t remember anything. Learning how not to freeze up was part of my STUDENT vs. TEST battle. Laughing helped me. I used to come up with acronyms before my exams to make myself smile and help my mind relax.

TEST – Total Execution of Student Time

GCSE – God’s Curse Spread Everywhere

SAT – Saturdays Annihilated Totally

Please have at these smiling prompts and add your own tools/suggestions that help!

 
Image courtesy of State Library of Queensland

Image courtesy of State Library of Queensland

Do you know what’s exhausting? Rules and students. And why? Because teachers are on the side of the rules, and therein, already one step behind.

You see students are smart, much smarter than I think the average adult gives them credit for (which often exacerbates the issue). No sooner has a teacher presented a rule to a smart person who does not wish to obey it, than that person finds a loophole – some way of obeying the letter of the law while completely disregarding the spirit of it. And thus, the long-standing unholy war between student and teacher is continually perpetuated. As I sit in classrooms observing students from behind what I hope is a good poker face, I find myself admiring these brilliant, masters of civil disobedience.

Case Study: “Student D (hereafter Brilliant Master D) vs. The Quiet Rule”

A teacher’s overused voice pierces the friendly chatter between students, “I want it quiet. No one should be talking.” I watch students turn their faces away from each other and look down at their papers. No one is smiling anymore. “Yes Warden!” I find myself thinking before I can check the thought guiltily, I look around but in doing so I realize it does feel a little like a prison. I watch them in silence for a while. Most of the students look like kids who have been told to finish soggy vegetables before they can have dessert. A couple of the students have a complacent resigned expression. One student looks at the clock. I too feel miserable sitting here and have a huge desire to leave. Then, in the silence, one student stoically stands up from his desk. I watch students look up at him as standing, he consumes the last few drops of chocolate milk from a bottle. The final sip he takes is slow and exaggerated and I realize, also calculated. With overstated relish he finishes his drink and with apparent nonchalance, slowly makes his way towards a tall metal trash can at the front of the room. He stops in front of the can and lifts his arm to eye level above it. Every eye watches, waiting in anticipation as from a height he drops the bottle.

It clangs like a medieval summoning bell five times before hitting the empty bottom with a bouncing ripple of noise. The teacher’s head snaps up from her desk. The boy is waiting, not saying a word. They appear to be sizing each other up like two animals about to brawl. Each stares at the other. Everyone is waiting. Finally, the teacher smiles, a sickeningly sweet grimace at the boy. He smiles back and all too slowly returns to his desk. His smile was genuine but for himself. I wonder to myself why she smiled. Every student had seen she was angry. I realize in that moment that I don’t want to be the teacher in this battle; this is clearly a fight you can’t win. Her smile stays in my mind. That smile would have made me hate her as a student and now as her peer, I feel sorry for her. She is miserable too; she has made enemies with her student. And this enmity I realize, has been going on year after year, student after student, rule after rule, in classroom after classroom.

I have to find a better way.

Post Script: For my fellow Antiochees who upon reading this were as disturbed by the fate of the milk bottle as by the teacher’s grimace, I want you to be rest assured that I moved it into the recycle bin.

 

thinkingIt strikes me that students often live in a world that is akin to your boss walking by you saying, “Theresa, what are you doing right now?”

Then two seconds later:
“When you are done with that, I need you to finish this. Contact this person. Deliver this. Brainstorm that. Make sure x is on my desk by 5. Don’t forget you’re late with z, so if you can’t get that to me by the end of the week, it will be too late to matter.”

This reality was driven home to me this week when I had the opportunity to follow a student for a day. The kid I followed – we’ll call him Tray – went from class to class all day having teachers ask this, that, and the other of him. It struck me that teachers do a lot of management. They take the state standards and then come up with deliverables showing them that Tray has met the state standard. Then one by one they give Tray those deliverables and tell him how they should be done and by when, so that class after class, assignment after assignment Tray goes through his day.

I noticed that, though not obvious one class at a time, over the course of the whole day Tray is not doing much thinking for himself. His education is managed for him; he’s not entrusted with any of the responsibility for it except what is immediately in front of him. And he’s just been spoon fed the answers.

In an institution which is about learning, Tray is hardly thinking. We (the teachers) want students to understand concepts like leadership, but most of what is modelled for them by us is management, sometimes micro-management.

Tray doesn’t like school, and I’m inclined to agree with him. Living in his life for a day made me feel like a paper pusher, handing back assignment after assignment. There is no feeling of ownership of the work he submitted. It was just something he had to do because someone else wanted it done. So how do we change this? How do we get students invested in their own education? And I don’t mean on a nebulous level but rather giving students opportunities to lead parts of their own education and not merely have it managed for them.

Why not have Tray do part of the thinking? Why not have him create ways to show his grasp of a standard?

Thoughts?

 

mcdonaldsI realize that McDonald’s is one of those choice topics that my fellow Antiochians immediately get up in arms about. By the end of my first week at Antioch I understood that hearting McDs was a blasphemous statement. The second year Antioch student I befriended warned me about the looks she received for using a paper Starbucks cup instead of reusable travel mug and for going to Starbucks in the first place instead of a local joint. But McDonald’s was the ultimate outlaw. This warning was accurate. Even a staff member re-enacted a scene where he wore a fully hooded balaclava so he wouldn’t be recognized while eating his McDonald’s fries.

After driving for an hour in full darkness with only white flakes in my high beams for company, I approached the entrance of the school and saw a McDonald’s on the corner of the street. It was the first day of my student teaching internship. All the nagging doubts I thought about during my commute—like what business do I have teaching or will I get eaten alive on Day 1—fled my mind as I stared at the golden arches. This vision triggered some memories from Antioch: the feeling of hope Antioch had given me; the encouraging, motivating professors and fellow students; our meaningful conversations about social change. And I thought about how much I had learned. As I pulled into the school parking lot, I thought about a metaphorical question my professor asked us during one on our last classes: Is seeing the harvest a goal for you as a teacher or will you be satisfied if you’re only able to plant the seed.

Harvesting means seeing your work with students come to fruition. The question seemed rudimentary because I understood that the impact of a lesson on a student is firstly a case by case response that belongs to each student individually and secondly, may not become apparent for perhaps years.

I carried the question with me throughout the first day as I met a hundred new students whose names I needed to learn in a week. On top of that I wanted to get to know these students as individuals. I hoped to share my passion for life and learning the way my Antioch professors had shared with me. Somewhere in those overwhelming first moments, the question I had found so rudimentary reformed itself in my mind: What if all I get to do is plant seeds?

What if that is all I have time for? What if the soil – the fertility of their minds, the watering – the reflection and reinforcement, even when you plant seeds, is not up to you?
I came into my first day thinking I could do more than just plant seeds. But, heart-wrenchingly, I had to adjust my thinking. There were two reasons for this. The first I’ll call the system.

The second is simply time. The system in my case is a fundamental pedagogical difference with my cooperating teacher. However, before I got on my Antiochian soapbox, I realized the issue didn’t begin and end there. My cooperating teacher is subject to curriculum, team teachers, the principal, the school, the community, the district, the state, the NCLB law, and so on. She has found a way that suits her to work within these circumstances.

Though my thoughts and ways regarding education were profoundly different, I realized that somewhere in that list, even if not with my cooperating teacher, I would have come up against a contrary pedagogical approach. So for now, my objective must be to honor those with years of more experience than me, learning where I can. I hope to build enough trust so that there is a foundational relationship for when I want to do a different kind of teaching, cultivating what I hope is the most fruitful circumstance for seeds of knowledge to grow into deep understanding and eventual application.

 

share-fairOn March 25, the students of AUNE’s Civic Ecology Practices & Community Resilience  class shared skills that have the potential to enhance personal and communal well-being in the face of climate change, food insecurity, energy descent, and other associated challenges.

The AUNE community was invited to try their hand on activities like arm-knitting, trail building, using an axe, and learn more about beekeeping, mending clothing, and uses for old vegetables.

 

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Ninety-three community members participated in the On the Farm evening event held at Stonewall Farm on February 18, 2016. Attendees represented an array of organizations and stakeholders in sustainable farming, equity and conservation including farms, health providers, agricultural agencies, academic institutions, locally-owned businesses, social service agencies and other nonprofits.  The event was co-sponsored by Antioch University New England (AUNE), Stonewall Farm, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Healthy Monadnock 2020; AUNE’s Community Garden Connections, Monadnock Farm and Community Coalition; and the Cheshire County Conservation District. The evening’s local farm-to-table catering was provided by Pisgah Farm in Spofford, NH.

The evening was primarily a celebration of the book, On the Farm: The Uncertain Future of an American Legacy, with both the author, Ron Dodson, and artist, Adriano Manocchia, participating.  This event  was also an opportunity to network, identify strengths in the Monadnock Region related to the book’s themes; and gain participant input to inform Antioch’s future directions in service to this shared work.

After initial comments from AUNE’s president, Dr. Stephen Jones, the author and artist provided an overview of their publication. The following 30 minutes were spent in small groups discussing themes highlighted in On the Farm, including: Health, Environment & Economic Prosperity; Conservation & Stewardship; Equity & Sustainable Communities; Civic Engagement & Education. Eight regional leaders in sustainable agriculture, conservation, higher education, health, local economies, social services and education served as conversation facilitators. These individuals were all AUNE graduates from environmental studies (6), management (1) and education (1) departments. An additional eight current AUNE graduate students served as table hosts and note takers for these conversations. This facilitated process helped generate conversations related to community strengths, visions for the future and potential roles Antioch could play in effecting positive change toward a sustainable food system for all.

Community strengths identified highlighted an array of cultural, social and natural resources of the Monadnock Region. These ranged from recreational and natural resources to programmatic (e.g., garden and farm education programs, health providers, etc.) and organizational assets (e.g., agricultural commissions; universities, hospital; social service agencies, local farms, etc.). Social capital like various collaborations, as well as motivation and interest in issues and purchasing local goods, were identified as additional strengths. Key barriers highlighted included insufficient time, money and resources to leverage change, alongside issues of poverty and livable wages for all; jobs that attract young people to the region; need for capacity building and education across the lifespan; gaps in understanding and research; and need for enhanced communications across sectors and entire region/state.

Themes across all conversations identified the following key roles for Antioch:

  1. Education and Outreach. Connect people and resources.
  2. Research and Evaluation. identify trends, interests and community needs
  3. Collaboration and Partnerships. Enhance existing—and develop new partnerships—with stakeholders/organizations across spheres (economic, conservation, social, political, educational) such as colleges, non-profits, and health providers, among others.
  4. Civic Leadership. The general theme was for Antioch community members to serve in community leadership roles across contexts (e.g., planning boards; non-profits) and to model good citizenship through our efforts, including sponsoring these sorts of community events and purchasing local products.
  5. Enhance Communications with the Greater Community. Suggestions included serving as an “anchor organization,” advertising programs and resources offered through Antioch, and creating shared resources like an informational database.

Overall, the event was well-received. Sample feedback included:

As one participant stated in terms of AUNE’s continued role:

Be the intersection point and help all the people, organization[s], and small businesses work collectively to achieve more. I think this evening is a perfect example of the expertise and energy in this region to make real change- this would be strengthened by an organization that served to connect and create a collective energy.”

 

Thanks to an anonymous donor, local government employees and representatives of small- and medium-sized businesses are eligible for special funding to cover the full registration cost of attending Local Solutions: Eastern Regional Climate Preparedness Conference April 4-6 in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. This capacity-building conference, hosted by Antioch University New England’s Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience in partnership with EPA, aims to help communities build resilience for climate-related challenges and severe weather events. It includes dedicated business continuity and education summits, tours of hallmark projects in the Baltimore area, and numerous resources for local government decision-makers, businesses, and others.

This is a great opportunity for: city and town administrators, managers, and elected or appointed officials and decision makers; regional planning councils; emergency preparedness personnel; public works, planning and parks and recreation staff; county government employees; conservation commissions; and code and zoning personnel, and representatives of small- and medium-sized businesses.

Featured speakers include: Stan Meiburg, acting deputy administrator, US EPA; Avis Ransom, Commission on Sustainability, City of Baltimore; Bob Perciasepe, president, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions; Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org; and Mark Jacobson, professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of the Atmosphere/Energy Program, Stanford University, who will discuss how communities can convert to 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2050.

To learn more and apply, visit communitresilience-center.org. Connect with the Center and Conference on Twitter at @ClimatePrepCenter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Funding will be awarded on a first-come basis with preference given to municipal employees.

 

Antioch University New England and U.S. EPA Regions I – IV co-present Eastern Regional Climate Preparedness Conference April 4-6 in Baltimore

Keene, NH and Baltimore–Educators and students will explore how to build community resilience through education on April 6, the last day of Local Solutions 2016: Eastern Regional Climate Preparedness Conference. The Education Summit’s keynote speaker is Bill McKibben, a founder of the grassroots climate campaign 350.org and the recipient of the Right Livelihood Prize, known as the “alternative Nobel” in some circles.

“We want attendees to have the resources they need to take action on climate change in the face of uncertainty,” said Julia Feder, LEED Green Associate, and Director, Education of U.S. Green Building Council and a member of the Local Solutions 2016 Education Summit Advisory Committee.

The Education Summit agenda includes information sessions and professional training workshops designed to empower formal and non-formal educators at all levels along with middle school, high school, college and graduate students to build resilience in their communities. Information sessions follow two tracks: How can your school contribute to community resilience? and How can we educate in our local communities to build resilience? Individual sessions are focused on a variety of topics, including student identity and agency relative to climate change, a case study with sixth-grade learners; an oyster restoration project that involves collaboration between a high school and other community partners; a place-based video game for high school students; and a review of community climate change education programs across the East Coast. Following several professional training workshops, the summit will close with a collaborative forum for all attendees.

New this year, the agenda also leverages the expertise of the local area and offers guided activities at Towson University’s Center for STEM Excellence at the Columbus Center.

The three-day Local Solutions 2016 Conference, which builds off of the success of the initial convening in 2014, is tailored for any community that has, or will, address the multiple potential impacts associated with a changing climate. These approaches apply to any community, not only throughout the East Coast and coastal regions, but also across the U.S.

Local Solutions 2016: Eastern Regional Climate Preparedness Conference is Monday, April 4, to Wednesday, April 6 at the Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel, 300 S. Charles Street, in Baltimore, MD. Visit communityresilience-center.org for registration information, lodging discount rates, and the full agenda. Stay up to date with conference news at facebook.com/climatechangepreparedness or on twitter @ClimatePrepCtr.

For more information, contact Susan Jane Gentile, Department of Environmental Studies at Antioch University New England, at sgentile@antioch.edu.

About Antioch University New England’s Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience

The mission of AUNE’s Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience is to prepare, respond and recover in the face of climate impacts and other disruptions through collaborative, innovative solutions. The center delivers applied research, consulting, and education and training. Through a solutions-oriented, pragmatic, participatory, and inclusive approach based on change leadership best practices and systems thinking, its focus is on stakeholder capacity building at the local scale (watershed, municipal, county, and region) of preparedness and resilience nationally and internationally, with an explicit awareness of social and climate justice.

 

 

AUNE welcomes its first post-doctoral fellow, Yu-Chi, who’ll be spending time on campus through March. Her visit has been coordinated through the University of Florida. Yu-Chi received her doctorate from the Graduate Institute of Environmental Education, College of Science, National Taiwan Normal University.  She has a scholarship from the Taiwanese government to further her dissertation research about a sense of connection to nature and its influences on environmental sensitivity, particularly among children.

aune fellow

Yu-Chi is at head of the table, surrounded by AUNE faculty and students.

“I know AUNE is an important base for place-based education and conservation psychology which is closely related to my focus in the post-doctoral research program,” Yu-Chi says. “With help from professors, researchers, graduate students, and instructors in related environmental education programs, I hope to conduct interviews, and revise and pilot test the research instrument that will help educators to measure children’s and teenagers’ connection to nature.  I would love to cooperate with anyone who is interested in my research and wishes to try using this tool for program evaluation.”

While on campus, Yu-Chi is working closely with the Department of Environmental Studies to explore regional environmental education sites to further her research.

So, how is Yu-Chi enjoying her first weeks here in New Hampshire?  “AUNE is just like a big, warm academic family.  In my first week here, I spent at least an hour walking around the building because I needed to stop, greet, and talk to people I met in every corner. I felt surprised by the warmth of the AUNE family! I’ve attended some classes and found the teaching is high quality and I have a lot of fun in the learning process. Just yesterday, I met a group of lovely people here to help review my research instrument and they provided so much wonderful feedback.  I believe these excellent experiences will become important references in my future teaching and research. Thank you all for taking care of me.”

 

 

UPDATE, March 3, 2016: All of the travel grants have been awarded. Thank you for your interest.

Keene, New Hampshire – A limited number of travel grants are available to offset the cost of attending the 2016 Local Solutions: Eastern Regional Climate Preparedness Conference to be held April 4-6, in Baltimore. $25,000 worth of travel grants disbursed in awards of up to $750 per person is available for local leaders and residents from Maryland. Additional travel grants are earmarked for attendees from other states. Organizers will award funds based on a first-come, first-served basis.

The conference is ideal for teams of municipal, county and regional planning officials and staff, community leaders and local business leaders directly responsible for preparedness at the local level to strengthen their capacity to develop and implement solutions to climate-related challenges within their communities.

“Major U.S. cities are pursuing adaptation planning and vulnerability assessments, but many smaller communities do not have the resources to send staff,” Abigail Abrash Walton, co-director of the Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience at AUNE and member of the conference’s steering committee. “These are the types of communities with the greatest need to develop partnerships and to tap into resources to help them plan, build capacity, and act, and we hope to support them with these travel grants.”

“State and local governments are the first line of defense in responding to climate change challenges because they determine how we use land, how we design and construct infrastructure, and how we maintain ecosystems for resilience,” said Michael Simpson, chair of the Environmental Studies Department at AUNE, co-director of the Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience, and member of the conference’s steering committee. “They are also the first responders to disasters that disrupt a community’s social and physical infrastructure, so for both public safety and fiscal reasons, local and regional governments must plan how to prepare for changing climate. The 2016 Local Solutions conference is designed to help them do just that.”

The upcoming conference is hosted in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regions 1-4, which comprise about 40 percent of the U.S., throughout New England and the East Coast, as well as inland areas throughout the Midwest and Southeast. It is spearheaded by Antioch University New England’s Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience, which was established as a direct and initial commitment to the White House Climate Data Initiative in March 2014.

For more information and to apply for any of the available travel grants, please visit www.communityresilience-center.org/grants/or contact Marilyn Castriotta at mcastriotta1@antioch.edu or 617-576-0810.

About Antioch University New England’s Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience

The mission of AUNE’s Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience is to prepare, respond and recover in the face of climate impacts and other disruptions through collaborative, innovative solutions. The center delivers applied research, consulting, and education and training. Through a solutions-oriented, pragmatic, participatory, and inclusive approach based on change leadership best practices and systems thinking, its focus is on stakeholder capacity building at the local scale (watershed, municipal, county, and region) of preparedness and resilience nationally and internationally, with an explicit awareness of social and climate justice.

 

 

 

Keene, NH — In order for scientists to effectively research climate change, they must collaborate with and positively reinforce input from local stakeholders, according to a new study conducted by a team of researchers that includes Antioch University New England’s Dr. Sandra Pinel. Pinel is a research scholar at AUNE, a Fulbright NEXUS Scholar and a member of the leadership team at the Mountain Social Ecological Observatory Network (MtnSEON).

“The rules we follow to ensure that our climate change research and methods are sound were developed for scientists and view the role of community stakeholders as participants for research, rather than as researchers,” Pinel said. “We suggest that we — as a scientific community — need to revise the rules to encourage a more collaborative model.”

The study, “Stakeholders in climate science: Beyond lip service” features research from AUNE’s Center of Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience. The Center has compiled, summarized, and shared the results of the road test with Federal agencies for a spring 2015 conference and report to inform ongoing efforts to improve usability of the Obama administration’s Climate Resilience Toolkit for decision makers and planners on the ground.

The study, which was funded by the Fulbright NEXUS Regional Scholars Program, was published in the November 13, 2015, issue of Science. It helps define the ways climate change research is conducted in partnership with local stakeholders – from farmers, fishermen and hunters, to people living in areas especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Along with collecting valuable information that will assist others with conducting their own research, the study brought to light the ethical considerations, lack of compensation and intellectual property policies and positive reinforcement that local partners receive for their work. Pinel also drew on the work of her PhD student mentee, Paulina Viteri, who is documenting her research with community members on the Andean bear and arguing for science co-production with stakeholders. Many concerns should be addressed by academic institution to develop public-private partnerships and research alignment with unaffiliated organizations.

Changing the rules of the game for collaborative climate change research

Pinel, along with colleagues from the University of Oregon, Universidad del Valle, Metropolitan Autonomous University and UC Berkley, catalogued 27 climate change research networks from across the globe to understand and categorize the many ways local stakeholders investigate the effects of climate change in their communities. The research team captured the information in an interactive database that also lists the various functions that local partners perform to illustrate the essential role collaboration must play in this important research discipline.

“Climate change is an issue that nobody can afford to ignore, so we must champion the contributions and do everything we can to encourage collaboration across geographic boundaries, cultural ethos, and academic disciplines,” Pinel said. “I’m honored be a part of research that will help bring together the many people working on arguably one of the most important social, environmental and economic issues of our age.”

Antioch University New England’s (AUNE) Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience, with co-sponsorship from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regions 1-4, will convene the 2016 Local Solutions: Eastern Regional Climate Preparedness Conference April 4-6, in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Antioch University New England’s Center for Climate Change and Community Resilience convenes local practitioners bi-annually for peer learning and networking on adaptation strategies. To learn more about Antioch University’s Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience visit www.communityresilience-center.org.

 

 
SASims (1)

Sally Ann Sims

The thesis research conducted by Sally Ann Sims (2012 MS, Environmental Studies, Conservation Biology) is referenced in the Vulnerable Habitats, Maritime Beaches/Beach Strand section of the 2015 Rhode Island Wildlife Action Plan. Her research modeled the consequences of sea level rise (SLR) over the next 100 years for the piping plover nesting habitat in the state, focusing on five mainland beaches used by the birds as breeding sites. Sally says, “In my thesis, I wanted to study birds and climate change in a way that would advance understanding of down-scaled climate impacts, effects on wildlife habitat, and implications for management across different land ownership types.”

Today, Sally is a an independent conservation and climate change adaptation consultant working with public agencies and NGOs on issues related to: wildlife/biodiversity conservation in a changing climate, salt marsh migration modeling relevance to management issues, and sea level rise and coastal resilience planning. Sally explains,  “I use what I learned from doing my thesis in my current work.” She credits the AUNE Conservation Biology program, “It encouraged me to put my piping plover and sea level rise research interest into a broader landscape ecology and global change science perspective, which launched my career direction.”

Piping plover and wave, Weekapaug Coast, Rhode Island, USA copyright Sally Ann Sims)

A piping plover on the Weekapaug Coast of Rhode Island.

 

 

The Conservation Psychology Institute (CPI), scheduled for June 12-15, 2016, at AUNE, is currently accepting registrations (discount available until April 1).  The 3-day annual event is an interactive workshop with some of the leading researchers in the field. Its focus this year is on promoting human and environmental health across multiple scales—individual, organizational, community, and ecosystem—through the application of psychological research on behavior change, connection with nature, and effective communication.

CPI 2015

Dr. Louise Chawla works with past CPI participants.

The Institute faculty are experienced in education and training, and have practical experience in working with organizations, communities, and individuals.  Throughout the workshop, they’ll draw on a range of didactic and interactive strategies designed to foster collaborative learning, team problem-solving, and the development of clear ‘takeaways.’ Attendees can expect a participatory and dynamic mix of pre-reading, presentation, small group discussion and application, Q&A, one-on-one coaching, and team planning time. Sessions will be held both indoors and outdoors at the AUNE campus.

Participants who register as teams, wanting to work on a specific organizational challenge, find the Institute particularly effective. Additionally, the event is well-suited for communication and education practitioners in community and non-profit organizations; students and educators interested in a working knowledge of the field of conservation psychology; or individuals from a range of organizational settings interested in learning about conservation psychology principles.

For more information or to register, visit: Conservation Psychology Institute

 

 

Franklin Pierce University Provost Kim M. Mooney, in partnership with Antioch University of New England (AUNE), announced two new sustainability fellows, Adriana Casillas and Francis Xavier. This past fall the new fellows began working with the faculty and staff on a variety of sustainability projects and initiatives at Franklin Pierce.

“Franklin Pierce is fortunate to benefit from the expertise and enthusiasm our sustainability fellows, Rocky and Francis, bring to this partnership,” said Dr. Kim Mooney, Provost of Franklin Pierce University. “Our mutual expectation is that their teaching experiences at FPU will enhance their future professional opportunities.”

Earlier this year the two universities, who share a commitment to the environment, partnered to offer a new way for students to seamlessly earn a bachelor’s and subsequent master’s degree in Environmental Studies and complete both programs in just five years.

Adriana “Rocky” Casillas will serve as the Sustainable Education Fellow at Franklin Pierce where she will work with Environmental Science and Environmental Studies faculty to provide students with engagement opportunities outside of the classroom as well as working with University constituencies to identify and support sustainability teaching and awareness. Casillas, who is a native of Baja, Mexico, received her bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Biology from the University of Minnesota in 2012. She is currently a master’s student in Environmental Studies at Antioch University New England in her second-to-last semester in the Conservation Biology concentration.

“As a Sustainability Fellow at Franklin Pierce University, my hope is to get people interested and involved in some of the environmental projects and events we are designing including a rebirth of the ECO Club, more accessible trails, activities in the garden, and a huge celebration of Earth Day,” said Casillas.

Francis Xavier will serve as the Sustainable Policy Fellow at Franklin Pierce University. Xavier’s work will focus on the collection and reporting of data for Climate Neutrality Commitment and monitoring the University’s overall progress towards sustainability. He will also work with the University to develop plans to reduce environmental impacts of campus operations and to increase awareness of sustainability issues as well as working with Residence Life to coordinate sustainability efforts in the residence halls.

Xavier is a finalist for the Mandela Washington Fellowship for African Young Leaders, an initiative of President Barack Obama. Francis also serves as the Editor-In-Chief of the PhD Newsletter of the Department of Environmental Studies at AUNE’s Graduate School where he is pursuing a doctorate in Environmental Studies. Xavier hopes his fellowship with Franklin Pierce University will create better knowledge and awareness around energy conservation as well as helping the university to achieve its sustainability goals.

Franklin Pierce University’s commitment to the environment is deeply rooted in the rich natural setting of the main campus in Rindge. With over 1000 acres of undeveloped forests, fields, wetlands and lake shore, the land provides excellent opportunities for experiential learning about ecology as well as the impacts of humans on the natural world. The Sustainability Program Fellowships aims to continue to make Franklin Pierce sustainable in all areas of operation while providing an enriching experience for the program participants.

 

For communities throughout the eastern United States, historic warm temperatures, rain and flooding closed out 2015 and ushered in 2016. To prepare for and to share strategies for becoming resilient to these climate impacts, Antioch University New England’s (AUNE) Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience, with co-sponsorship from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regions 1-4, will convene the 2016 Local Solutions: Eastern Regional Climate Preparedness Conference April 4-6, in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

“State and local governments are the first line of defense in responding to climate change challenges. Too few state and local governments have adequate research and plans in place,” said Michael Simpson, co-director for AUNE’s Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience.” For public safety, fiscal and environmental reasons, the best opportunities local and regional governments, organizations and businesses have to recover from severe weather-related events are to prepare for them in advance.”

Addressing coastal and inland severe weather events

The 2016 Local Solutions conference will build the capacity of local, regional and state governmental decision-makers, business and organization leaders to prepare for, withstand, and respond to severe weather events that impact both coastal and inland communities.  In addition to more than 20 interactive workshops and walking tours, the convening also features an Education Summit and a Business Continuity track.

“EPA is regularly helping States and communities respond to major weather events, and we are acutely aware of the need to increase capacity in the east coast to build infrastructure and protect natural environments that will help increase the resiliency of communities as we adapt to the impacts of a changing climate.  This conference will convene experts and those with planning and response experience to educate us all,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England (Region 1) office.

Building on success

The 2016 conference builds on the success of the May 2014 Local Solutions conference in New Hampshire, and the affiliated webinar series, which Antioch produced in partnership with EPA. The three-day gathering will bring together local elected and appointed decision makers, state and regional energy, environment, public health and planning personnel, climate change and emergency preparedness professionals, business leaders and the academic and research community to share vetted and effective strategies for ensuring their communities are ready to face a host of environmental issues. The conference is designed to serve decision makers throughout the Eastern United States.

The conference programs build on the expertise of the event’s Steering and Advisory Committees, representing a broad and diverse mix of federal, state and municipal officials, climate experts, environmental organizations, educators, and private businesses. The cities of Baltimore, Hoboken, New York, Norfolk, and Philadelphia have contributed leadership in shaping the program as well as the Atlanta Regional Commission, Broward County (Fla.), the Washington Council of Governments, the Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments, National Trust for Historic Preservation, The Nature Conservancy, and the U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development, among other leaders.

Renowned energy scientist and researcher Mark Jacobson to deliver keynote address

Cutting-edge clean energy researcher and atmospheric scientist Dr. Mark Jacobson will deliver one of the conference keynote addresses and an interactive hands-on workshop. Featured in National Geographic’s 2015 climate change special issue, Jacobson is a leading voice in eliminating fossil fuels to rely solely on renewable energy – a goal he says is possible by 2050. He is co-founder of The Solutions Project, which combines science, business, and culture to develop and implement science-based clean-energy plans for states and countries. Jacobson serves as Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Director of Stanford University’s Atmosphere/Energy Program.

Registration for the conference is now open, with discounted lodging information available online. The conference also features a poster session for student-submitted applied research related to topics that support any of the conference track or session themes, from all disciplines and methodologies. Graduate or undergraduate students from the U.S. and Canada are eligible to submit an abstract for consideration. The poster submission deadline is February 28. To view the agenda, learn more about speakers, or to register for the conference, visit: communityresilience-center.org/conference-2016.

For more information, including available sponsorship opportunities, contact Christa Daniels, AICP at cdaniels1@antioch.edu. The 2016 Local Solutions conference is sponsored by The Bay and Paul Foundations and Stantec.

 

 

The AUNE Center for Tropical Ecology and Conservation (CTEC) in the Department
of Environmental Studies has issued travel grants totaling $5400 to six student. The grants are issued to defray the cost for students to attend training workshops related to their capstone research projects, or to present their research at a professional conference. The funds are drawn from the CTEC endowment.

As a tuition-driven institution, AUNE students are ultimately responsible for funding themselves through student loans, work, and other resources. The travel fund is designated to support student travel to/from a field site, and/or with participation in a professional conference or training workshop. The small awards (between $500-$2000) are dispersed on a competitive basis and are intended to encourage and support student involvement from the Center in regional, national, and international conferences and symposia.

The travel awards were granted to:

1) Kayla Cranston, PhD candidate  – to attend  the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC) 53rd conference entitled “Tropical Ecology and Society: Reconciling Sustainable Use of Biodiversity and Conservation” on June 19-23, 2016, in Montpellier, France, and present her dissertation research.  Two AUNE alumni, Kelly Biedenweg and Nicole Gross-Camp organized a symposium for the ATBC which was accepted, and invited Kayla to present her dissertation research findings at this symposium.  The title of the symposium is “A Brave New World: Integrating Well-being and Justice in Conservation,”  and the title of Kayla’s presentation is “The Psychology of Human Well-being as a Predictor of Long-term Capacity for Conservation. ”

​ 2) Ayshah Kassamali-Fox, MSc candidate – to attend the 2015 Society for Marine Mammalogy 21st Biennial Conference in San Francisco, California, at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square Hotel, December 13-18.  She’s presenting an oral report on her thesis research which involves evaluating the effects of dolphin watching boats on bottlenose dolphins in Bocas del Toro, Panama, and using Markov chains to model the impacts of tourism on a genetically distinct community.  She is also attending a pre-conference workshop for the Network of Marine Mammal Specialists of Central America and the Caribbean (RIEMMCA), on Saturday, December 11, and giving an oral presentation on the Markov chain analysis of dolphin behavior in Bocas del Toro.

3) Lynn Kimmel, MSc candidate – to attend “Pathways Kenya 2016: Integrating Human Dimensions into Fisheries and Wildlife Management,” sponsored by Colorado State University. The conference will be held at the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club in Nanyuki, Kenya, from January 10-13.  The sessions concentrate on issues that arise as people and wildlife struggle to coexist in a sustainable manner in sub-Saharan Africa and beyond. Her oral presentation is  entitled “Conservation  Conflict Transformation in Action: Addressing Human-Wildlife Conflict Affecting the Endangered Grevy’s Zebra in Kenya.” This is also the proposed title for her Master’s thesis, which integrates the fields of Conservation Biology and Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding to address issues of human-wildlife and social conflict.

4)  Erasme Uyizeye, PhD student – to participate in the African Freshwater Entomology Workshop (AFRESH) in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, February 1-7, 2016. The training involves identifying and applying dragonflies and other freshwater insects in environmental monitoring, and his dissertation research will explore using dragonflies as indicators of environmental change in Rwanda.  The workshop is organized in conjunction with researchers of Stellenbosch University and Rhodes University in South Africa.

5) Phillip Dugger, PhD candidate – to train in the lab of Dr. Matthias Schleuning of the Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre in Frankfurt (Main), Germany, studying network analysis techniques.  The outcome will be a collaboration with Dr. Norbert Cordeiro of the Chicago Field Museum and Dr. Schleuning on a network analysis project to analyze a large database on African fig (species of the genus Ficus) and their interactions with animal species (seed dispersers, pollinators, seed predators, and herbivores) resulting in a publication. The network analysis techniques will be applied to his dissertation research, and both Drs. Cordeiro and Schleuning are working with Phillip on his dissertation committee.

6) Luke Dolby, PhD student – to attend the NASFAM GIS Workshop in Lilongwe, Malawi, March 16-18, 2016.  Luke’s research is focused on how new, affordable smart phone services can connect smallholder farmers and increase conservation agriculture.  GIS mapping is vital in measuring the progress of the adoption of the new practice.  This workshop will bring together the key players (AirTel, EMAPSite and NASFAM) to build the online network with GIS mapping tools to enable Luke to collect his data.  The workshop will allow Luke to explore the integration between App (with GIS component) and NASFAM Facebook pages including privacy issues and benefits to NASFAM members through publishing of public data (including conservation agriculture information).

 

The North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) announced the recent Senate passage of the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaces No Child Left Behind. The much-anticipated bill includes language that, for the first time, supports opportunities to provide students with environmental education and hands-on, field-based learning experiences. A companion bill overwhelmingly passed the House last week.

“The inclusion of environmental education language in the Every Student Succeeds Act signifies an important step forward for teachers and school systems who know what a rich and engaging context the local environment is for learning,” said Judy Braus, Executive Director of NAAEE. “We congratulate Congressional leaders for recognizing the role that environmental education can play in providing students with a well-rounded, 21st century education and preparing them for a lifetime of success.”

Under Title IV of the new bill, environmental education would be eligible for funding through grants to states for “programs and activities that support access to a well-rounded education.” Environmental literacy programs are now also included among eligible programs for funding through 21st Century Community Learning Center grants. Additionally, the inclusion of Title IV funds for hands-on, field-based, or service learning to enhance understanding of science, technology, engineering and math subjects provides a potential boost for environmental science education programs.

The gains for environmental education come as a result of years-long work by champions of the bipartisan No Child Left Inside (NCLI) Act, which sought to secure federal dollars to support states’ efforts to implement environmental literacy plans in K-12 public schools.

***

NAAEE serves as the backbone organization for the field of environmental education and is dedicated to advancing environmental literacy and civic engagement through the power of education. For more information, visit: naaee.net.

 

Jahdiel Torres-CabáJahdiel Torres-Caba, MS in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Conservation Biology, attended the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21/CMP11), which was held in Paris, France, from  November 30 to December 11, 2015. The conference’s goal was a new international agreement on climate change, applicable to all, to keep global warming below 2°C.

Jahdiel is the regional field director based in Keene for NextGen Climate, a San Francisco-based environmental advocacy organization. He is also a member of the Sierra Club Coalition Climate Team. As a member of the SSC since 2008, Jahdiel has held various roles as a national leader including serving as a youth delegate to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change in Qatar, Poland and France.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted during the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit in 1992. This Framework Convention is a universal convention of principle, acknowledging the existence of anthropogenic (human-induced) climate change and giving industrialized countries the major part of responsibility for combating it.




 

 

MSimpsonMichael Simpson, department chair and core faculty in the Antioch University New England (AUNE) Department of Environmental Studies, and director of the AUNE Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience (CCPCR), will present the keynote at the Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts (MAWD) annual meeting and tradeshow December 3-5, 2015, in Alexandria, Minnesota.  The MAWD meeting offers a strong seminar program and is a must for watershed district officials, and key watershed district partners.

Simpson will incorporate the Center’s recent research project on municipal storm water vulnerability in the Minneapolis and Victoria, Minnesota, areas as part of his keynote, “Preparing Communities for an Uncertain Future in Light of a Changing Landscape and Climate.”  Much of Simpson’s decades of research has focused on working with local stakeholders to identify potential risks from projected climate and land-use change, followed by developing an adaptation strategy for communities to build for projected impacts.

Visit the AUNE Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience for more information, or view the MAWD meeting agenda packet.

 

Several Antioch University New England students, alumni, and faculty attended the New England Environmental Education Alliance conference held November 8-10 in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire. Many of the AUNE attendees also led workshops. The New England Environmental Education Alliance (NEEEA) has a 46-year history of leading, convening, and advancing environmental education in New England. This year’s conference was titled, “Climate of Change.”

Andrew Graham, Cynthia Espinosa Merrero, Dr. Jean Kayira, Jen Trapani (in front), Dave Chase, MEd (in back), Jess Gerrior, Dr. Libby McCann

AUNE is represented at NEEEA Conference by: Andrew Graham, Cynthia Espinosa Merrero, Dr. Jean Kayira, Jen Trapani (in front), Dave Chase, MEd (in back), Jess Gerrior, Dr. Libby McCann

Dr. Libby McCann and Dr. Jean Kayira, both core faculty in the AUNE Department of Environmental Studies, teamed with students Andrew Graham, Jess Gerrior, and Cynthia Espinosa Merrero for two sessions. “Everyone Eats: Community Gardening as a Practice of Civic Ecology & Resilience,” offered tools, practices, and programming approaches to empower people, increase food security, mitigate climate change, and build community resilience through garden-based education. “Climate Justice and Environmental Education: An Open Space Dialogue” was a participatory session for educators to engage with each other around issues of equity and justice in the face of climate change impacts.

Dr. McCann paired with Dave Chase, affiliate faculty in the AUNE Department of Environmental Studies, for the workshop, “What’s Change Got to Do with It? Evaluation Strategies 101,” a hands-on, interactive session providing ideas and resources, as well as helpful evaluation terminology, logic models, data collection methods, and evaluation planning strategies.

Visit NEEEA for more information.

 

Katryna nov15Katie Kibler, a graduate student in Antioch University New England’s PhD in Environmental Studies program, was invited to attend the Socio-Environmental Synthesis Research Proposal Writing Workshop hosted by the Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), in Annapolis, MD, from September 28–30, 2015.

“I’m thrilled that Katie was invited to attend this workshop. It’s such a wonderful opportunity,” said Dr. Beth Kaplin, Kibler’s advisor and core faculty in the Department of Environmental Studies. “Katie is in her first semester of her second year of the PhD program.  The selection process for this workshop is very competitive. However, she came to our program with a clear aim for her dissertation research and we began working right away on her research ideas. This focus allowed her to submit her proposal very early in her PhD program and made her a successful candidate for SESYNC.”

Specially designed for graduate students interested in the complex interactions between human and natural systems, the program offered by SESYNC is intended to support current PhD students in the natural, social, and computational sciences; liberal arts; communications; and business studies in their pursuit of novel, independent synthesis research at SESYNC in Annapolis, MD.

“I was honored to be chosen to attend this workshop. It was an incredibly valuable experience to network with other doctoral students and professionals engaged in this exciting, emerging, and innovative field of inquiry,” said Kibler. “As an interdisciplinary environmental studies program, I hope that other Antioch University New England students will learn about SESYNC and the important work they’re doing in fostering socio-environmental synthesis.  I am grateful for the experience and the opportunity to grow as a socio-environmental scholar. It would not have been possible without the support I’ve received from the Antioch community.”

The Socio-Environmental Synthesis Research Proposal Writing Workshop (Tier 1) provided Kibler with:

  • introductions to SESYNC, socio-environmental synthesis research, team science, and actionable science;
  • networking opportunities to build professional relationships with other students, particularly those from different disciplines; and
  • training sessions on the methods, challenges, and strategies associated with writing successful proposals, especially those related to the type of work SESYNC supports.

Katie Kibler is a second year environmental studies doctoral student at Antioch University New England.  Before coming to AUNE, she served as an Environmental Action and Food Security Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa. For her dissertation she is planning to work alongside traditional Rwandan communities to study the implications of diversified agriculture for both biodiversity and food security.

 

 

 

Vermont Women in Higher Education (VWHE) honored Tiffany Keune with the Jackie M. Gribbons Leadership Award at VWHE’s annual Leadership Dinner, on Wednesday, October 21, 2015 at the Kirk Alumni Center at Middlebury College. Keune earned her MS from Antioch University New England and serves as the Director of Workforce Education at the Community College of Vermont (CCV). Her work in corporate training and workforce development at CCV includes curriculum design, business outreach, workshop facilitation, course instruction, and instructor training. She also works with trainers, teachers, graduate, and undergraduate students to improve instructional practices and assessment strategies.

The Jackie M. Gribbons Leadership Award is presented to a woman who has demonstrated leadership abilities and effectiveness, served as a model and mentor for aspiring professionals, developed innovative programs or activities in higher education, and contributed significantly to her institution or profession.

“It is an incredible honor to receive the Jackie Gribbons Leadership Award,” said Keune. “Jackie made an impact on the lives of so many people, and was an advisor and guide for several of my own mentors. I hope that my work can reflect the qualities Jackie lived every day, including a sense of humor, a love for people and the environment, and a strong independent nature balanced by a desire to help others succeed. I am equally honored to have been nominated by my institution, as CCV has given me the ability to grow as a leader and mentor both through the freedom to explore new ideas, and by showing me what strong, supportive leadership looks like. I am humbled and deeply thankful for this award.”

“The CCV community is so proud that Tiffany has received this well-deserved honor for her strong leadership,” said CCV President Joyce Judy. “Tiffany’s tireless work to expand educational opportunities for Vermonters and to develop excellent workforce development programs is inspiring. She is a wonderful role model at CCV, in Rutland County, and throughout the higher education community in Vermont.”

A strong community member, Tiffany also serves on the Executive Board of Vermont Women in Higher Education, and has been a member of the Vermont Public Radio Community Forum Steering Committee and the Creative Economy Steering Committee. She speaks at various conferences and has designed and delivered workshops at the National Workforce Conference, Antioch New England Graduate School, Vermont Career and Technical Education Conference, Educating the Whole Student Conference, and various staff and faculty conferences statewide. Tiffany holds a BA from Castleton University, and an MS from Antioch New England Graduate School.

 

 

Dr. Jimmy Karlan, core faculty for Antioch University New England (AUNE) in the Department of Environmental Studies, was a keynote speaker and presenter at the 2015 Institute of Teaching the Hudson Valley this past summer. Entitled Teaching for Engagement, the Institute took place July 28-30, 2015 at the Henry A. Wallace Education & Visitors Center and Franklin D. Roosevelt Home & Presidential Library in Hyde Park, New York.

Though a wide-ranging topic, Teaching for Engagement focused on a fairly straightforward concept: How communities, the region, and the world fare over the next 100 years depends on our children and students. They need knowledge and tools to engage with big questions about culture, environment, and history. The program was designed to help hone the skills needed to teach for such engagement.

Karlan’s keynote, “Science Education Must Have a Plot” and workshop, “Wild Treasures: Sustainability, Naturally” focused on plot-based science curriculum. Teaching the Hudson Valley recently highlighted some of Karlan’s teachings from the event in a blog post.

As director of Science Teacher Certification at AUNE, Karlan leads the only such program in the country that is completely embedded within a department of environmental studies.  To access free Wild Treasures: Sustainability, Naturally curriculum visit:  http://www.antiochne.edu/wildtreasures.

 

 

 

 

Keene, New Hampshire – Last January, three students enrolled at Antioch University New England (AUNE) as part of the Master’s International program and soon they will be leaving for over two years abroad as Peace Corps volunteers. All three students are pursuing a Master of Science in Environmental Studies; Niambi Mercado, whose concentration is in advocacy for social justice and sustainability, will take steps toward positive, sustainable environmental change in Ethiopia; Melody Reese, whose concentration is in environmental education, aspires to impact the world by working with individuals in Jamaica; and Jason Brown, whose concentration is in sustainable development and climate change, is currently completing his Peace Corps application with hopes of traveling to Africa or Southeast Asia to become part of the movement to change how people think of the environment.

Peace Corps Masters 600

L to R: Jason Brown, Niambi Mercado, Melody Reese, and her husband, Jesse Reese. Melody and Jesse will be serving as a couple with the Peace Corps.

Along with making a difference in the global community, Brown, Mercado and Reese will each earn 12 credits toward their master’s degrees as a result of the partnership AUNE has with the Peace Corps, at no cost to them, before returning to New England to complete their degrees with a final semester on campus.

“Melody and Niambi’s Peace Corps placements are a celebratory moment culminating from the tremendous support and effort from faculty, administration, and staff to establish this opportunity for our students,” said Jason Rhoades, AUNE’s Master’s International program coordinator. “We are excited for Jason to join them and our job now is to best support our students so they can be highly effective as Peace Corps volunteers and have immensely rewarding educational, service, and personal experiences.”

While abroad, the students will conduct research for their master’s thesis or project while serving their host communities. The Master’s International program gives students customized curriculum and training in technical skills and community development while they gain experiential knowledge to complement their master’s coursework. Students in the 42-credit program spend two semesters on campus at AUNE followed by three months of training and two years of service in the Peace Corps. Upon completion of the program, they will have a very strong resume, a large network of international and domestic contacts, as well as non-competitive eligibility for federal jobs.

“It is my hope that this program will help me gain the necessary knowledge and skills to be highly competitive while advancing my career to meet the needs of the 21st century,” said Brown, who worked as a middle school science teacher before enrolling in AUNE’s Master’s International program. “After completing the program, I hope to work with communities to help them become more resilient as well as adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change.”

Through the program, students may choose to pursue a Master of Science in Resource Management and Conservation or Master of Science in Environmental Studies, with concentrations in advocacy for social justice and sustainability, conservation biology, environmental education, and sustainable development and climate change. The program is currently accepting students for fall and spring semesters; prospective students first apply to AUNE’s Department of Environmental Studies master’s program and after acceptance, apply to the Peace Corps.

“The future of humanity and the planet motivates me; we have the tools, the means and the methods to do and be more than just survivors,” said Mercado, who has an undergraduate degree in general science and wildlife management. “I want to help push us towards a future that will be safe and functional for generations to come. AUNE has provided a pathway for me to do so.”

Through the Peace Corps partnership, students can apply to the country where they wish to serve, enabling them to tailor their experience based on their aspirations.

“I have been teaching English as a second language for the past few years, but I wasn’t sure if it was something I wanted to do forever, so I decided that the Peace Corps would be an excellent way to jump start a second career in Environmental Education – something else I am passionate about,” said Reese, who plans to travel to Jamaica with her spouse. “Like most others at AUNE, my life goal is to change the world, and I truly believe that the best way I can do this is through educating and empowering others.”

And from Rhoades’ perspective, Brown, Mercado and Reese are all on track to do just that.

“These three students have my great admiration and respect for choosing such a challenging and meaningful path for their graduate education,” he said. “Their academic work and service reflects Antioch University’s commitment to engaged scholarship, as well as social and environmental justice. The work that they will be undertaking in collaboration with their partner communities overseas will be putting our values into action and creating tangible positive change across the globe.”

To learn more about AUNE’s Master’s International program and its partnership with the Peace Corps, visit antiochne.edu or email jrhoades@antioch.edu.

 

 

 

kirby's journal Columbia, SC— Young Palmetto Books has released its newest title by Charlotte Caldwell, Kirby’s Journal: Backyard Butterfly Magic. Caldwell earned her master’s degree in environmental studies from Antioch University New England.

On an eventful summer spent in Charleston, South Carolina, eleven-year-old Kirby, Grandma, and Grandpa plant a butterfly garden, and Kirby documents the wondrous adventures in learning that follow. Their observations, excitement, and curiosity are vividly captured through Kirby’s journal and newly acquired hobby of photography as together they discover an abundance of life just outside their own backdoor.

Including more than one hundred color photographs and a helpful glossary, Kirby’s Journal inspires children of all ages to go outdoors, to watch and listen inquisitively, and to share in the magic of nature. With a playful attitude and a love of learning new things,
Kirby discovers a whole new world of caterpillars, butterflies, spiders, snakes, squirrels, and more—as well as the importance of identification, classification, and conservation in learning about flora, fauna, and their natural habitats.

Kirby’s Journal is the latest offering from Young Palmetto Books, an educational children’s and young adult book series publishing in partnership between the University of South Carolina Press and the South Carolina Center for Children’s Books and Literacy, a unit of the USC School of Library and Information Science. www.youngpalmettobooks.com

Praise for Kirby’s Journal

“To a child, nearby nature can be a universe. Through Kirby’s Journal, Charlotte Caldwell provides children with a portal into their own backyard galaxy.”—Richard Louv, journalist and author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

Kirby’s Journal is an exciting, personable introduction to the study of butterflies and entomology. With digital cameras and online information, it is easier than ever for children to become backyard scientists. This book is a good way to get them started.”—Dwight Williams, entomologist and director, Cyprus Gardens

Kirby’s Journal blew me away with its seamless combination of pertinent information on butterfly gardening, life cycles, and habitats mixed with other tidbits about insects and backyard wildlife in an interesting, well-rounded story of one child’s summer. The result is a wonderful guidebook, resource, and story.”—Amanda Segura, horticulturalist and garden education coordinator, Riverbanks Zoo and Garden

“The life cycle of butterflies is presented in detail through this attractive and readable fictitious journal. Watching butterflies in the backyard, Kirby learns about gardening, photography, and scientific observation. The photographs will attract browsers, especially images depicting the fascinating, minute-by-minute views of a monarch butterfly cracking its way out of its chrysalis. Kirby is a personable and likable character whose diary will appeal to kids. VERDICT: An entertaining and enlightening addition.”—School Library Journal

“Eleven-year-old Kirby records close observations of butterflies made in [Kirby’s] grandparents’ Charleston, South Carolina, backyard during a summer vacation that is as good as a safari. The grandparents provide background, beginning with body parts and going on through classification, identification, the food web, and survival strategies. Kirby makes notes on oversized journal pages and adds color photographs. This pseudo-journal makes a clever invitation to a possible lifetime passion.”—Kirkus Reviews

Author and photographer of Visions and Voices: Montana’s One-Room
Schoolhouses, The Cow’s Boy: The Making of a Real Cowboy, and The Cow’s Girl: The
Making of a Real Cowgirl, Charlotte Caldwell has been a member of the North
American Butterfly Association, the Xerces Society, the Society of Children’s
Book Writers and Illustrators, and the North American Nature Photographers
Association. Ten photographs from Kirby’s Journal were chosen through a jury of
professional photographers for presentation at the 2010 North American Nature
Photographer’s Annual Summit Show. She holds master’s degrees in
environmental studies from Antioch University New England and in special
education from the University of Hartford. Caldwell divides her time between
Charleston and her family’s ranch in Clyde Park, Montana.

 

Dr. Beth Kaplin, core faculty in the Department of Environmental Studies (ES) at Antioch University New England (AUNE), and two ES doctoral students, Kayla Cranston and Marcy Sieggreen,  each presented research during the 27th International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB) which took place from August 2 to 6, 2015 in Montpellier, France. More than 3,000 attended the meeting.

The Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) hosted this year’s meeting with the European Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB-ECCB). ICCB serves as a forum for addressing conservation challenges and for presenting new research and developments in conservation science and practice.

In keeping with the conference theme, “Mission Biodiversity: Choosing New Paths for Conservation,” Kaplin presented her research on matrix and land use type and protected areas conservation, highlighting the role of buffer zones in chimpanzee conservation.

“This conference represents the prime professional conference in our field of conservation science, and it was a great opportunity to meet and network with other scientists and conservation practitioners from all over the world,” said Dr. Kaplin. “I am really proud of the presentations our students made.”

Cranston discussed her dissertation research in a talk which centered on conservation psychology in action, both fostering and evaluating durable motivation in capacity building programs.

Marcy Sieggreen presented a poster about her dissertation research on population trends of three amphibians from the Rio Napo River in Peru and how they compared with climate change vulnerability assessments.

For more information on the ICCB visit:

 

Fash Farashahi, MS 2003 in Environmental Studies, is  the geographic information system (GIS)/information technology (IT) director for the Town of Peterborough, New Hampshire. In this role he oversees all GIS and IT functions. During his tenure, he has transformed the GIS department from “just maps” to an integral part of daily operations, particularly for the Office of Community Development and the Department of Public Works.

Farashahi’s work for the Town of Peterborough was honored with a Special Achievement Award (SAG) in GIS at the 2015 Esri International User Conference in San Diego, Calif. This award acknowledges vision, leadership, hard work, and innovative use of Esri’s geographic information system technology.

The Town of Peterborough uses Esri ArcGIS technology to manage Public Works Assets; comprehensive land use planning activities; publish dynamic web maps for the general public and municipal staff; and development of mobile apps for the public and municipal field crews.

In addition to Peterborough, Esri honored more than 170 organizations from around the world and across a variety of industries including agriculture, cartography, climate change, defense and intelligence, economic development, education, government, health and human services, telecommunications, and utilities.

“The SAG Awards identify the organizations and people who are using the power of geography to make our world a better place,” says Esri president Jack Dangermond. “At Esri, we are always deeply inspired by the passion and innovation of our users. They deserve recognition for their invaluable contributions to their communities and the continued evolution of geographic science.”

For more information about the 2015 Special Achievement in GIS Award winners, including project information and photos, please visit esri.com/sag.

About Esri
Since 1969, Esri has been giving customers around the world the power to think and plan geographically. The market leader in GIS, Esri software is used in more than 350,000 organizations worldwide including each of the 200 largest cities in the United States, most national governments, more than two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies, and more than 7,000 colleges and universities. Esri applications, running on more than one million desktops and thousands of Web and enterprise servers, provide the backbone for the world’s mapping and spatial analysis. Esri is the only vendor that provides complete technical solutions for desktop, mobile, server, and Internet platforms. Visit us at www.esri.com.

Copyright © 2014 Esri. All rights reserved. Esri, the Esri globe logo, esri.com and @Esri are trademarks, service marks, or registered marks of Esri in the United States, the European Community, or certain other jurisdictions. Other companies and products or services mentioned herein may be trademarks, service marks, or registered marks of their respective mark owners.

Press Information
Contact: Fash Farashahi
Tel.: 603-924-8000 x. 120
E-mail: fash@peterboroughnh.gov

 

The first Philip H. Faulkner Jr. Forest, Wildlife and Cultural Conservation Research Grant awarded to master’s student Amanda Melinchuk to study bats

Keene, New Hampshire – To honor their father’s appreciation of forests and efforts to preserve the Monadnock Region’s natural ecosystem, the sons of Philip H. Faulkner Jr. established a new five-year scholarship program for students pursuing Environmental Studies at Antioch University New England (AUNE). The Philip H. Faulkner Jr. Forest, Wildlife and Cultural Conservation Research Grant will be awarded to an Antioch University New England (AUNE) student whose research project best promotes the forest, wildlife and cultural conservation of the 400-acre Philip H. Faulkner Jr. Forest Preserve in Walpole and Westmoreland, New Hampshire. Amanda Melinchuk, a Master of Science in Environmental Studies student, received the first scholarship in the spring of 2015.

Amanda Melinchuk readies the materials needed to construct the bat houses. (Photo: Cat Thomson)

Faulkner Jr., a prominent businessman involved in the establishment of the Monadnock Conservancy, was born in Keene in 1924. He graduated from Philips Exeter Academy and Amherst College, and earned a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School in 1949. He was dedicated to land conservation and the preservation of open space, and was named 1993 Citizen of the Year by the Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce. He passed away on June 16, 2014.

To commemorate Faulkner Jr.’s commitment to the environment and preserving the cultural, natural and wildlife resources of New Hampshire’s forests and beyond, AUNE’s Department of Environmental Studies will award the grant to deserving students such as Melinchuk, whose work explores New Hampshire’s declining bat populations and its impact on the local environment. She recently led a team of researchers and volunteers who built and study bat houses in three locations on AUNE’s campus.

Building bat houses or bat boxes and educating the community about the importance of bats in the environment are important ways to help bats, an important part of the region’s ecosystem, survive the dangers of wind farm collisions, White-nose Syndrome and habitat loss – contributing factors for declining populations of bats in the Northeast.

“All bats found in the Northeast are important to ecosystem function and humans because they are insectivorous and consume large quantities of pest insects such as mosquitos, beetles, stinkbugs, and leafhoppers,” Melinchuk said. “Bat Conservation International reports that a single little brown bat can catch and consume a thousand or more mosquito-sized insects in an hour.”

New Hampshire is home to eight of the 45 species of bats in North America. Five of them, the eastern red bat (Lasiurus borealis); the hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus); the northern long-eared myotis (Myotis septentrionalis); the silver-haired bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans); and the tricolored bat (Perimyotis subflavus); are classified as “Near-threatened Species of Special Conservation Concern” in New Hampshire. The small-footed bat (Myotis leibii) is a threatened bat species in the state. The Granite State is also home to the big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus) and the little brown myotis (Myotis lucifugus).

For more information about Melinchuk’s research, please contact Dr. Peter Palmiotto, faculty supervisor for the Philip H. Faulkner Jr. Research Grant, at ppalmiotto@antioch.edu.

To contribute to the Philip H. Faulkner Jr. Forest, Wildlife and Cultural Conservation Research Grant, please contact Cindy Rodenhauser Stewart, AUNE’s director of institutional advancement, at crodenhauserstewart@antioch.edu.

 

 

 

 

Antioch University New England (AUNE) announces a new collaboration with The Caterpillar Lab (TCL), a nonprofit program that features native New England caterpillars in educational programs, research initiatives, photography and film projects. Executive Director Sam Jaffe launched The Caterpillar Lab while a graduate student at AUNE through a Kickstarter campaign to foster greater appreciation of the natural world.

The Caterpillar Lab's Executive Director Sam Jaffe

The Caterpillar Lab’s Executive Director Sam Jaffe

The alliance between AUNE and TCL recognizes their shared goals to develop and deliver educational and scientific programming. AUNE will serve as a fiscal agent and provide grant management and event promotion support. The Caterpillar Lab will support AUNE’s scientific and educational work through presentations, demonstrations, and by promoting citizen science in the community. Jaffe, who was appointed as a member of AUNE’s research faculty, will supervise AUNE graduate students through an internship program at TCL.

“AUNE offers a truly transformative learning experience to our students,” President Jones said. “What better way to symbolize that educational transformation than through Sam’s hands-on caterpillar lab, where metamorphosis is the MO! Sam Jaffe brings passion, deep knowledge, and an artist’s eye to the innovative learning vehicle he’s created. Antioch University has been defining and refining creative education since 1852. The Caterpillar Lab holds tight to that spirit of entrepreneurial learning and discovery.”

TCL’s reach and prominence has grown steadily since Jaffe launched it in 2013. He’s fielded requests for exhibits at the MIT Center for Theoretical Physics and at the Boston Children’s Museum. Recently the BBC filmed his caterpillars for a documentary now in production. Jaffe and his team travel throughout New England to museums, camps and classrooms to educate people about caterpillars and nature.

“We raise thousands of caterpillars at an open-to-the-public lab facility and bring them to museums, nature centers, camps, schools and universities, where we present these under-appreciated, but undeniably awesome creatures,” Jaffe said. “During our programs we demonstrate the amazing diversity and value of our own local ecosystems. We encourage open exploration and natural discovery. We teach detailed and unexpected lessons in insect biology, evolution and metamorphosis. We stress the need for environmental respect and conservation, and we change people’s minds about ‘creepy’ insects.”

Since childhood, Jaffe has been fascinated by the natural world. He studied evolutionary biology at Brown University. As a graduate student at AUNE, he wanted to learn how to help people better see the world around them. As an accomplished natural history photographer, naturalist, and biologist, he’s achieving his goal by using these talents to do just that through the Caterpillar Lab.

The Caterpillar Lab is located at the Colony Mill Marketplace at 222 West Street in Keene on the second floor. It is open to the public from noon to 5 pm on Sundays in May, June, September and October; from noon to 5 pm on Mondays and Wednesdays in May through November 1; and from 6 to 8 pm on Wednesdays in May through November 1. The exhibit includes film, photography and more than 800 live caterpillars. When the caterpillars become moths, butterflies, or winged insects, they are returned to their habitat. Donations are accepted but there is no charge for entry.

About The Caterpillar Lab and Antioch University New England

The Caterpillar Lab fosters a greater appreciation for the complexity and beauty of our local natural history through live caterpillar educational programs, research initiatives, and photography and film projects. Antioch University New England serves as a fiscal agent for The Caterpillar Lab. The partnership between AUNE and TLC jointly supports both organizations’ educational and scientific work. Founded in 1964, Antioch University New England’s commitment to social, economic, and environmental justice serves as a foundation for all certificate, master’s and doctoral degrees. Coursework integrates practice with theory in an environment that fosters scholarship and activism. Academic departments include Applied Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Education, Environmental Studies, Management, and Self-Designed Studies. Based in Keene, New Hampshire, AUNE is within a two hour drive from Albany, Boston, and Hartford. For more information, visit antiochne.edu.

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Five-year program blends credits from universities’ separate programs

Rindge, New Hampshire – Two New England universities who share a commitment to the environment have partnered to offer a new way for students to seamlessly earn a bachelor’s and subsequent master’s degree in Environmental Studies. Franklin Pierce University (FPU) and Antioch University New England (AUNE) have formalized an agreement that offers students from FPU majoring in Environmental Science or Environmental Studies the option to enroll into AUNE’s Master of Science in Environmental Studies program and complete both programs in just five years.

Franklin Pierce University President Andrew Card (l) and Antioch University New England President Stephen Jones (r) sign an articulation agreement between the two institutions which allows students from FPU to earn a MS in Environmental Studies from AUNE.

“This agreement with Antioch University provides significant value to our students,” says Franklin Pierce University President, Andrew H. Card, Jr. “It offers our students a high quality education from two outstanding institutions. More, it does so in a discipline, environmental science, that is critical to our national well being.”

The program works through a collaborative teaching model where coursework in the senior year is designed to award credit from both universities toward both degrees. Students will spend the first three years of the program at FPU fulfilling general education and most bachelor’s degree requirements; during the fourth year of study, students will take classes at both universities, and the fifth year will be spent at AUNE, fulfilling all requirements for the Master of Science in Environmental Studies from Antioch University. The goal of the program is to streamline and align coursework making it easier and more affordable for students to earn advanced degrees in the growing field of environmental science.

“Our partnership with Antioch University represents the new realities in higher education, today,” says Franklin Pierce Provost Kim Mooney, who negotiated the arrangement with Antioch University Provost Melinda Treadwell. “This collaboration ensures that our environmental science students have an affordable path to an advance degree with an outstanding partner like Antioch University.”

Franklin Pierce University offers a BS in Environmental Science and a BA in Environmental Studies. The Environmental Sciences program prepares students for careers in more heavily science oriented fields, while Environmental Studies examines solutions to environmental problems through social and policy studies. The National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Ecology Program has recognized FPU on two occasions for its efforts in preservation and sustainability. FPU was noted for its work to protect the most critical forest and wetlands on the Rindge campus, and for an assessment of its progress toward environmental sustainability.

“This partnership is a new approach to helping adults further their education while highlighting the importance of the environmental science and sustainability-focused fields,” said AUNE President Stephen B. Jones. “Antioch University New England’s environmental studies programs are recognized on a national level, and we welcome the opportunity to partner with Franklin Pierce University, our neighbor in the Monadnock region, to educate and empower tomorrow’s environmental leaders.”

To apply, FPU students must declare their wish to enroll into the five-year bachelor’s/master’s program during the fall semester of their junior year and meet admission requirements that include letters of recommendation, academic performance, and student interest and vision statements. Students may begin enrolling in the combined program immediately, and tuition costs will remain separate with the exception of during a student’s fourth year, where a $5,000 program fee will be assessed to cover the cost of 24 AUNE credits earned while a student is still formally enrolled at FPU but taking courses at AUNE.

To learn more about Franklin Pierce University and its Environmental Studies bachelor’s degree program, please visit franklinpierce.edu. For more information about Antioch University and its Masters of Science in Environmental Studies, please visit aune.edu/environmental-studies.

About Franklin Pierce University

Franklin Pierce University is an accredited university that achieves outstanding student success through the integration of liberal arts and professional programs. The University consists of the College at Rindge and the College of Graduate & Professional Studies with locations throughout New Hampshire and in Goodyear, Arizona. Degrees are offered through the doctoral level. Franklin Pierce empowers each student to discover and fulfill their unique potential, so that they enter the professional world with the confidence and knowledge to be leaders of conscience. Franklin Pierce graduates are well prepared for the professional, personal, and social demands required for success in the 21st century.

About Antioch University New England

Founded in 1964, Antioch University New England’s (AUNE) commitment to social, economic, and environmental justice serves as a foundation for all certificate, master’s and doctoral degrees. Coursework integrates practice with theory in an environment that fosters scholarship and activism. Academic departments include Applied Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Education, Environmental Studies, Management, and Self-Designed Studies. Based in Keene, New Hampshire, AUNE is just over two hours from Albany; two hours from Boston; and less than two hours from Hartford.

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Dr. Beth Kaplin, core faculty in the Department of Environmental Studies at (AUNE), and Jahdiel Tores Caba, an AUNE master’s student in Environmental Studies, each gave a talk about their research at Frugivory and Seed Dispersal (FSD) 2015, an international conference hosted by University of KwaZulu-Natal. The conference took place in Drakensburg, South Africa, from June 21 to June 26, 2015.

FSDPhotoallDr. Kaplin discussed research on frugivory and seed dispersal in tropical forests which explored how matrix affects ecological processes such as seed dispersal. According to the abstract, the research team’s hypothesis was that soft or low contrast matrix types will better support ecological processes and biodiversity than hard, high contrast matrix. Research was conducted in Nyungwe National Park, Rwanda, in the Albertine Rift, a biodiversity hotspot over a 12 month period. Ultimately, the findings demonstrated how land use around tropical forests affects seed dispersal processes and forest composition, and how matrix can contribute to ecological integrity in systems facing increasing pressures from human land use in the surrounding matrix.

Caba discussed research about the role of introduced rats as seed dispersers and predators. Invasive species are known to cause significant threats to biodiversity, especially on island ecosystems. According to the abstract, in La Olimpia Forest in Adjuntas, Puerto Rico, a secondary subtropical wet forest, the role of introduced black rats in the dispersal of Sierra palm seeds was studied. The results suggest that dispersal and predation are occurring as an interaction between black rats and the seeds of native Sierra palm in this forest. Through these interactions, rats are probably influencing the distribution of this native palm and the forest communities in Puerto Rico. By understanding such interactions strategic management efforts can be planned for native plant species and the maintenance of ecological processes.

For more information on FSD 2015, visit:

 

Jean Kayira, ES Core Faculty, AUNEDr. Jean Kayira, core faculty in the Department of Environmental Studies at Antioch University New England (AUNE), presented a two day session on Indigenous Knowledge at the 8th Annual Regional Network for Conservation Educators in the Albertine Rift (RNCEAR) Workshop. The University of Rwanda’s Biology Department hosted the workshop which focused on “Enhancing Community Based and Institutional Partnership for Biodiversity Conservation Excellence at the Country Level.” This year’s conference took place at the Credo Hotel in Huye, Rwanda, from June 15 to 20, 2015.

Dr. Beth Kaplin, core faculty in the Department of Environmental Studies at (AUNE), organized the week-long workshop along with colleague Erasme Uyizeye.  Kaplin serves as the technical advisor for the Conservation Biology Education Project at the University of Rwanda. She is also the technical advisor and founder RNCEAR in collaboration with colleagues in the Biology Department at the University of Rwanda. The RNCEAR Network includes universities and research institutions involved in conservation and environmental management.

“I’m so proud of the conservation work we’ve accomplished in the Albertine Rift,” said Kaplin. “In addition, organizing this workshop with my colleagues at the University of Rwanda for the eighth year is just one of many examples that highlights our international work, capacity building work, and the strong collaboration between AUNE and the University of Rwanda.”

Bernadette Arakwiye, a 2014 AUNE alumna who earned an MS degree in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Conservation Biology, hosted a session on remote sensing for biodiversity conservation using ClasLite. Arakwiye is a PhD student at Clark University studying Geographic Information Science.

Binama Blaise, a Rwandan student interns created a short video highlighting some workshops attendees.

For more information about Regional Network for Conservation Educators in the Albertine Rift, visit: http://www.rncear.org/

 

Environmental Studies alumna Caroline Ailanthus will debut her novel, To Give a Rose, on July 23 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at The Colony Mill Food Court Atrium as part of the Atrium Thursdays series. The event will also feature the music of Aura Shards, an experimental fusion project based in Brattleboro, VT, with Anders Burrows, primarily on handpan, and Jed Blume, primarily on tabla.

To Give a Rose’ is a fictional account of human evolution and the wakening of awareness, woven together with a contemporary storyline exploring connection and love. All Atrium Thursdays events are free ($5 suggested donation).

Contact Rowland Russell at rrussell@antioch.edu for more information.

About the Book
Artist Sophie Smith “listens” to fossils to seek inspiration, but her latest subjects, a pair of ape-like human ancestors millions of years old, could give her something else as well. Never has she needed a clear perspective on human descent so much, for now she is unexpectedly pregnant.

As Sophie struggles to make art and make a decision, her speculations frame and introduce the real stories of seventy-five years in a proto-human community, the “foot-ape” Tribe of the River Confluence. There is the community founder who must make a terrible choice to reclaim her power and her dignity. There is the man who defends his family from famine in ways at once human and beastly. There is the woman who crosses a mountain range for a chance at saving her children. And more. Sophie can wonder, draw solace, and make decisions about her own legacy, but she cannot know these stories. She cannot learn why one of her fossil subjects is holding the fossil of a flower.

About the Author
Caroline Ailanthus considers herself a science writer. From blogging about climate change and editing scientific papers, to her meticulously researched fiction, her projects blend science and story. She grew up in Delaware and attended mostly small, private schools there and in New England. She has a BA in Environmental Leadership and an MS in Environmental Studies at Antioch University New England. While researching a certain novel about australopithecines, she served on trail maintenance crews, managed back-country tent sites, collected data on nesting birds, and eventually became a full-time free-lance writer.

To Give a Rose is her first published novel, but prior credits include numerous essays, some short fiction, and two long-running blogs, The Climate Emergency, and The School with No Name. The novel, To Give a Rose, is also the first major publication of her visual art, although she also contributed paintings and collage to the off-Broadway musical, Inappropriate, illustrated some of her own blog posts, and has donated watercolors to fundraisers by Conservación Panamá. She travels often, but usually lives in Maryland with her husband and assorted cats and dogs.

 

Dr. Jimmy Karlan, director of Antioch University New England’s Science Teacher Certification program, reports that 100% of this year’s graduates have been offered jobs! Congratulations.

If you want to start graduate school this fall, there’s still time to apply. Call 800-553-8920 or email admissions.ane@antioch.edu.

 

 

 

group shotKeene, NH—On Tuesday, June 16, 2015, members of Antioch University New England’s (AUNE) Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience hosted a group of eight international environmentalists and discussed climate change and renewable energy topics. AUNE representatives shared an overview of the Center and its extensive current projects. The visitors were invited to the United States under the auspices of the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) as part of a multi-regional project. World Affairs Council New Hampshire organized the portion of the project in the Granite State. The group will spend a total of 21 days in the United States.

The International Visitor Leadership Program is the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program. Through short-term visits to the United States, current and emerging foreign leaders in a variety of fields experience this country firsthand and cultivate lasting relationships with their American counterparts. Professional meetings reflect the participants’ professional interests and support the foreign policy goals of the United States.

The group was specifically interested in learning about AUNE’s Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience best practice recommendations for disaster response and ways cities can better prepare for climate change.

“We appreciated the opportunity to meet with these leaders to share solution-oriented approaches to strengthening climate preparedness and community resilience,” said Abigail Abrash Walton, co-director of the Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience. “We look forward to future communication and collaboration.”

Members of the IVLP included: Mr. Frederick Kenneth Appiah, principal program officer for the Ghana Energy Commission (Ghana); Mr. Karthik Ganesan , senior research associate for the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (India); Ms. Michelle McNaught, national coordinator for C-FISH Initiative and CARIBSAVE (Jamaica); Mr. Jude Isiayei, executive director for Coastal Heritage and Economic Watch (Nigeria); Ms. Agnes Arnadottir, executive personal advisor to the President for Bellona Foundation (Norway); Mr. Syed Shahid Hussain Kazmi, disaster risk reduction and climate change coordinator for Islamic Relief Worldwide (Pakistan); Mr. Randy Ramadhar Singh, renewable energy advisor to the Minister of Energy and Energy Affairs (Trinidad and Tobago); and Ms. Aysu Erdogdu Miskbay, co-founder and CEO of Eşya Kütüphanesi (Turkey).

“We were thrilled to meet with this group of visitors and to have the opportunity to discuss and learn from each other the effects of climate change and initiatives that promote alternative energy,” said Christa Daniels, program manager, Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience. “It’s important to our mission to encourage thoughtful discussions about environmental practices and to explore ideas and solutions to improve industry practices.”

According the Department of State, the professional objectives for this multi-regional project include the following:

For more information about AUNE’s Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience and its 2016 Local Solutions: Eastern Regional Climate Preparedness Conference on April 4-6, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland, visit: www.communityresilience-center.org/conference-2016/. For more information on IVLP, visit: http://eca.state.gov/ivlp.

 

 

Sandra Fischer recommends critical timing of milkweed mowing to extend breeding habitat

Keene, NH – Antioch University New England (AUNE) alumna Sandra Fischer, MS ’07, has discovered important new information that has the potential to help save the monarch butterfly from extinction. The research she conducted for her master’s degree in environmental studies revealed that the timing of milkweed mowing is critical to the monarch’s breeding habitat and survival. Her findings were recently published in the April 2015 issue of the scientific journal, American Midland Naturalist, in an article called “Enhancing Monarch Butterfly Reproduction by Mowing Fields of Common Milkweed.”

Photo: Ernest Williams

The article is co-authored by Dr. Peter Palmiotto, director of conservation biology at AUNE; Dr. Ernest Williams, professor emeritus at Hamilton College in New York; and Dr. Lincoln Brower, professor emeritus at the University of Florida and research biology professor at Sweet Briar College in Virginia. Now 83, Brower has spent his lifetime studying monarch butterflies, and is considered the world’s foremost authority.

“This journal article is derived from Sandra’s master’s thesis research at AUNE,” Palmiotto said. “It provides valuable new information for the conservation of this potentially endangered species and phenomena. That being a species that over multiple generations migrates each year from Mexico to Canada and back. By mowing portions of fields no later than early to mid-July we can sustain a more continuously suitable habitat for monarch reproduction.”

In the past 20 years, the once thriving monarch butterfly population has dramatically declined by 90 percent, and is being studied by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for protection under the Endangered Species Act. Most monarchs are born in the Midwest. In the mid-1990s, they numbered one billion, but only 35 million survived last winter. Their rapid disappearance is attributed, in large part, to genetically engineered soybean and corn crops in their natural Midwest habitat. Those crops are engineered to be resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, which kills milkweed plants, the monarch caterpillar’s only food source. It has destroyed more than 165 million acres of the butterflies’ habitat, including nearly a third of their summer breeding fields. Besides herbicide use, the monarchs are at risk from other pesticides, global climate change, drought and heat waves, urban sprawl, and logging on their Mexican wintering grounds.

In 2006, Ms. Fischer conducted her research in upstate Columbia County, New York. Strips were mowed in fields in early July, late July and mid-August, and compared to an unmowed control. Later, common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) was monitored from July 29 through September 24 for plant height, vegetative stage, herbivory level, condition, monarch eggs and larvae, and the position of eggs on leaves and stems.

Fischer’s study concluded that mowing in July spurred the regrowth of milkweed, and sustained a suitable habitat for monarch breeding and hatching. August mowing proved to be too late. Additionally, more eggs were laid on the resprouted milkweed than on the older, taller control plants, and the overall condition of the milkweed plants varied with the time of the mowing. Her findings proved that timing of mowing is critical to extend the monarch’s breeding season and increase overall monarch reproduction. The timing of field mowing may be a key to sustaining monarch population but would need to be determined for each milkweed species across the country.

The full article, “Enhancing Monarch Butterfly Reproduction by Mowing Fields of Common Milkweed” can be read in the April 2015 issue of American Midland Naturalist, volume 173: pages 229-240.

For details, contact Peter Palmiotto at ppalmiotto@antioch.edu or at 603-283-2338.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keene, NH (May 21, 2015)—Ruth Kermish-Allen of Appleton, Maine, is the 2015 doctoral fellow for Antioch University New England’s Conservation Psychology Institute (CPI), a multi-day workshop featuring some of the leading researchers in the field. Conservation psychology is the science and practice of understanding and promoting human care for nature; appreciating our relationship with the natural world; and encouraging people to act on behalf of that relationship.

This year’s CPI will take place in Keene, New Hampshire, from June 14 to 17. Participants will engage in exploring a range of approaches from individual behavior change to community resilience. They will practice applying conservation psychology research to problems in real-world settings.

“Connecting my expertise as a designer of environmental education experiences with the foundations of conservation psychology has given me far more powerful tools to enable learners and programs to move from just gaining an understanding of environmental problems to taking action on environmental problems to create the change they want to see in their own communities,” says Kermish-Allen.

Kermish-Allen is pursuing a PhD in Environmental Studies at AUNE. She serves as the executive director of the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance.  Her other research interests include developing strategies for incorporating distance learning technology in extremely rural schools, technology-infused environmental education models, and innovative professional development models for rural schools.  Her current research focuses on defining design elements for non-hierarchical online learning communities for use in citizen science projects fostering environmental action.

For more information, visit: http://www.antiochne.edu/2015-conservation-psychology-institute/

 

Toni Murdock Student Innovation Award – Brett McLeod
Brett McLeod is the Director of the Natural Resources Management and Policy Program at Paul Smith’s College.  For his dissertation, Brett asked: What makes a community durable? This dissertation took several approaches to answer this question:  a survey of hundreds of homesteaders; participant observation with a dozen homesteaders; a book about agro-forestry; and the creation of The Center for the Working Landscape, for which he now is the founding director. The book, The Woodland Homestead:  How to Make your Land More Productive and Live More Self-Sufficiently in the Woods, will be coming out this summer with Storey Press.

William R. Ginsberg and Thomas K. Wessels Environmental Studies Scholarship 2015 – Sara Powell
Sara Powell served as Community Garden Connections (CGC) Co-Coordinator for the past four semesters, contributing to this program’s ongoing success, enhancing community resilience and food security in the face of climate change. As the 2014 Garden Manager for CGC’s 1-acre Westmoreland Garden Project, Sara coordinated all aspects of growing, including: collaborating with CGC staff, volunteers, and community partners; planning and facilitating weekly garden volunteer events; implementing on-site educational workshops with partner agencies; tracking budgets, produce donations and project reporting. Under Sara’s leadership, over 3000 lbs. of fresh food was donated to The Community Kitchen in Keene. Sara also designed, implemented and evaluated a “Fair Share” Cooking Education Program for community members in need, partnering with Keene State College’s Dietetic Intern Program and serving as a mentor to undergraduate students. Additionally, she initiated the first-ever external grant secured wholly by a student as part of CGC.  With her focus on community efforts, she represents CGC on the Monadnock Farm and Community Coalition’s Education Working Group. Sara has an exemplary academic record, balancing a rigorous course load alongside her practice-based CGC efforts. She’s also a cycling fiend and plays a mean trumpet!

US Congressional Progressive Caucus 2015 Fellow – Jessica Leonard
Jessica Leonard is a student in our Environmental Studies master’s program, with a Sustainable Development and Climate Change concentration focus.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in neurobiology, physiology and behavior, with a minor in African and African American Studies, from the University of California, Davis.  Her experience includes working on legislative matters at the state and local level, in Dallas, Texas, where she served as a community organizer with the Texas Campaign for the Environment.  Her scope of work included community outreach, education, and mobilization, involving participation at corporate shareholder meetings, community meetings and forums on environmental and health issues.  She also partnered with a range of other local social interest groups to support their change initiatives.

The Philip H. Faulkner Jr. Research Grant 2015 Recipient – Amanda Melinchuk
Funding for efforts to establish maternal bat colonies in constructed bat boxes; monitoring and education in the Monadnock region.

Center for Tropical Ecology and Conservation (CTEC) Scholarship – Alysa Hansen​
Funding for MSc thesis research: Human-wildlife Interactions and Effectiveness of Deterrent Systems on Limiting Livestock Predation by Large Carnivores in Eastern Africa

Center for Tropical Ecology and Conservation (CTEC) Scholarship – Kaushik Narasimhan
Funding for MSc thesis research: The Effect of Disturbance on Bat Species Diversity and Abundance in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest.

Center for Tropical Ecology and Conservation (CTEC) Scholarship – Jahdiel Torres-Caba
Participation at the 6th International Symposium-Workshop on Frugivory & Seed Dispersal in Drakensberg, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa

Doctoral Student Fellowships

C&S Workplace Organic Gardens Doctoral Fellowship – Jessica Gerrior
Jess Gerrior PhD student, has been awarded this year’s fellowship to serve as Project Director. Her leadership roles as Sustainability Coordinator at Franklin Pierce University, Project Manager at the Monadnock Food Co-op, and President of the Monadnock Farm & Community Coalition Board speak to her deep commitment to this work.

Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience Fellowship – Christa Daniels
Christa Daniels, PhD student , AICP is the first fellow for the Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience. She specializes in climate mitigation and resilience as well as citizen engagement strategies. She is also working with Climate Access on an innovative visualization engagement project in Marin County, CA.

Center for Tropical Ecology and Conservation International Student Scholarship – Joseph McArd Mlotha
Joseph McArd Mlotha, PhD student, has the position of Program Manager for CTEC, which is funded by this scholarship created to support an international student for a non-work study position through a generous donation.  In this role Joseph has efficiently and effectively supported and managed the daily functioning of CTEC.

Conservation Psychology Fellowship – Ruth Kermish-Allen
Ruth Kermish-Allen, PhD student, serves as the Executive Director of the Maine Mathematics & Science Alliance, as well as developing environmental STEM education programs. Her current research focuses on defining design elements for non-hierarchical online learning communities for use in citizen science projects fostering environmental action.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Fellowship – Apollinaire William
Apollinaire William, PhD student, has been using online teaching tools to teach GIS and advanced spatial analysis training workshops to students and faculty in New England and East Africa, as well as equipping the many GIS labs for Antioch campuses, including New England, Los Angeles and Seattle. He has also developed a Certificate in Applied Spatial Analysis, which provides a theoretical foundation along with the technical skills required for a career in GIS.

Master’s International Program Fellowship – Jason Rhoades
Jason Rhoades, PhD student, has been working with Dr. James Gruber as coordinator to promote and develop the Masters International Program at AUNE, and to enhance its ongoing partnership with the Peace Corps. This partnership offers students the opportunity to combine Peace Corps service with their degree studies, as part of the Master’s International Program.

Environmental Excellence Awards

Alumni 2015 Award Recipient – Sherry Godlewski
Sherry Godlewski graduated from Antioch in 1992 with a degree in Environmental Communications and Administration. Her Antioch internship with the NH Coastal Program led her to a job within that program. After her work in the Coastal Program she was able to work in the recycling, watershed management, drinking water and land protection fields. She has worked for NH Department of Environmental Services for 18 years, and has experience in waste management, water, air resources, and environmental health programs. Sherry is the Outreach and Education Coordinator for the Air Resources Division. She served on Governor Lynch’s Climate Change Policy Task Force facilitating the adaptation workgroup and co-authoring the adaptation chapter of the NH Climate Action Plan. She currently works on Climate Change Adaptation efforts. Sherry serves as co-chair of both the NH Coastal Adaptation Workgroup and the Upper Valley Adaptation Workgroup. The Upper Valley Adaptation Workgroup focuses in the Upper Connecticut River Valley and is a bi-state initiative. She represents New Hampshire in regional and national adaptation workgroups.   In the field of climate adaptation and preparedness, Sherry is one of the most respected out there. Her critical thinking is always evident, and her awareness of policy approaches and options reflects a depth of knowledge and experience that is commendable.

Community Member 2015 Award Recipient – Dick Ober
Dick Ober has a long history making outstanding contributions to the sustainability of our environment through professional and personal actions.  Early in his career while communications director for the Society of NH Forests he set out to write the stories of people working in the forests of our region.  The book he co-authored with David Dobbs, ‘The Northern Forest’ captured those stories and artfully demonstrated the interconnectedness of the people and the forest.  Over his 30 years of experience Dick has been guided by lessons learned in those stories working to conserve land as Director of the Monadnock Conservancy and currently as the President the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, the largest private provider of nonprofit grants and student aid in northern New England.  He has served on numerous nonprofit boards and public commissions, including several gubernatorial appointments. Dick has written and lectured widely on community philanthropy, civic life, and the connections between people and the places they live. His work has been published in books, book chapters, magazines, and journals. He has been recognized with awards from the Environmental Protection Agency, the State of New Hampshire, and Plymouth State University, and has repeatedly been named as one of the state’s most influential people by Business New Hampshire magazine.  Dick lives with his wife and daughter in Dublin, New Hampshire.

 

jessica-leonard-webAntioch University New England (AUNE) and the U.S. Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) have chosen Jessica Leonard to serve as AUNE’s 2015 U.S. Congressional Progressive Caucus Fellow. This unique fellowship, now entering its ninth year, is for master’s degree students in AUNE’s Advocacy for Social Justice and Sustainability (ASJS) concentration in the Department of Environmental Studies.

“We are thrilled to send our ninth annual Fellow to D.C. this summer,” said Abigail Abrash Walton of AUNE, who created the fellowship and chairs the selection committee.  “We also love the feedback that Antioch uniquely prepares Fellows to make a real impact, advancing change at a national policy level.”

Leonard will work in the Capitol Hill office of Congressman Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ), co-chair of the CPC and ranking member of the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands this summer. The fellowship is a collaboration between AUNE’s ASJS concentration and the 80-plus member CPC.

“The CPC fellows from AUNE’s Advocacy for Social Justice and Sustainability program understand how to organize. It’s a skill invaluable to our caucus members, as we work on issues critical to public policy,” Grijalva said. “Meanwhile, they learn the intricacies of how Congress works and help us to advance meaningful policy initiatives.”

Leonard holds a bachelor’s degree in neurobiology, physiology and behavior, with a minor in African and African American Studies, from the University of California, Davis. Her experience includes working on legislative matters at the state and local level, in Dallas, Texas, where she served as a community organizer with the Texas Campaign for the Environment. Her scope of work included community outreach, education, and mobilization, involving participation at corporate shareholder meetings, community meetings and forums on environmental and health issues.  She also partnered with a range of other local social interest groups to support their change initiatives.

 
Cuba-jackwithboys

Photo: Sue Bickford

When students from Antioch University New England (AUNE) headed to Cuba this March to study agriculture and food systems, it’s no surprise that they returned to New England inspired. They gained a unique perspective about the before-and-after impact the newly-lifted political and trade sanctions have on the country’s people and culture.

“This was a wonderfully engaged group of students, open to learning with and from our Cuban friends,” said Dr. Elizabeth McCann, faculty member and environmental education director in AUNE’s Environmental Studies Department. “We have so much to learn from Cuba’s strong sense of community and innovative approaches to sustainable food systems for all.”

In March, 15 students departed for Havana for AUNE’s Food Systems of Cuba: Implications for Environment, Livelihood and Food Security field study course to visit farms, urban gardens, farmers markets, research stations and other venues to explore Cuba’s food system and sustainable agriculture model. Antioch’s Department of Environmental Studies offers this experience for students to learn first-hand about Cuban culture, sustainability initiatives, and community-based agricultural practices.

“This has always been an interesting and exciting educational and life experience for AUNE students,” said Jessica Sanford, an AUNE alum who co-led the trip with McCann. “For many years, Cuba has had to develop a sustainable way to feed themselves with little help from the global economy. The people of Cuba have many stories and experiences to share with communities who wish to replicate their successes and build a more self sufficient and sustainable agricultural model. This year’s trip was even more noteworthy due to the historical context. It raised many questions for students as to the true sustainability of their agriculture model and whether it can withstand pressure from global economy.”

Agricultural systems aren’t the only area that AUNE’s students considered in the newly-expanded context that opens Cuba to new opportunities in travel, tourism and manufacturing. Caribbean locales are hotspots for tourists, making Cuba a potential hotspot for economic development in the coming years.

“We hope to build upon the wonderful relationships developed with groups and individuals in Cuba for years to come,” said McCann. “We have so much to learn from their lived experiences, which can inform community-based agricultural practices in the U.S. and beyond.”

The trip, which includes a service learning component, is offered to environmental studies students and other Antioch graduate students. To learn more about this unique program and other innovative sustainability research efforts at AUNE, please visit antiochne.edu.

 

 

Hana Kiewicz-Schlansker Core SampleAntioch University New England graduate student Hana Kiewicz-Schlansker, with support from Dr. James Jordan and Dr. Peter Palmiotto, has discovered some really old mud on Mt. Monadnock. Results from radiocarbon analysis show that a small bog near the summit began developing over 8,000 years ago. Further study should provide a record of changes in climate, patterns of natural disturbance and local plant communities since the last period of glaciation in New England.

“This research is very exciting as it will answer many long standing questions on the mountain’s disturbance history and changes in plant communities,” said Dr. Palmiotto, core faculty in the Department of Environmental Studies and director of the Conservation Biology concentration at AUNE. “We will be able to tell a story about Monadnock that others have not been able to tell before.”

In its more recent history, Mt. Monadnock has experienced significant human-caused disturbance. Since European colonization in the 18th century, forests on and around the mountain have undergone drastic changes as a result of agriculture, fire, and logging. Today, Mt. Monadnock is known as one of the most popular hiking destinations in the world, behind Mt. Tai (China) and Mt. Fuji (Japan). Over 100,000 people come to climb the mountain each year. Foot traffic from hikers now poses the greatest threat to Mt. Monadnock’s most sensitive and fragile ecosystems located at and around the summit.

But what did the mountain look like before European colonization? How has fire played a role in shaping its forests?  Kiewicz-Schlansker plans on using paleoecological tools including radiocarbon dating and macrofossil analysis to explore such questions. Paleoecological studies use observations of plant material, insects, charcoal, and pollen preserved in peat and lake-bottom sediments to answer questions about how our climate and forests change over thousands of years. Radiocarbon dating provides fairly accurate estimations of how old the preserved material is.

“I find it fascinating that I am observing organisms that lived thousands of years ago, and that they can give me an idea of how forests have changed on Mt. Monadnock,” said Kiewicz-Schlansker.

CoreSample

Sediments from small bog on Mount Monadnock in Jaffrey, NH, provides 8,000-year-old record of climate and vegetation change.

Studies have been conducted throughout New England and all over the world. Paleoecological studies at higher elevations could offer important insights to contemporary ecological processes since these places are very sensitive to changes in climate and disturbance. The research done by Kiewicz-Schlansker on Mt. Monadnock would add to the ongoing long-term research carried out by the Monadnock Ecological Research and Education (MERE) Program, a collaboration between students and faculty at Antioch University New England and Mt. Monadnock State Park. MERE began establishing and sampling long-term study plots on Mt. Monadnock in 2007, which will enhance our understanding of forest dynamics going forward. And understanding the dynamic nature of our changing forests will help stakeholders make decisions about future management strategies.

 

The President of the United States issued a comprehensive and detailed Executive Order on March 19 which, among many other aspects, requires formal environmental sustainability, climate preparedness, and resilience education and training for federal agency personnel. Antioch University New England’s (AUNE) offerings in these fields, along with its integral role in planning the Local Solutions: Northeast Climate Change Preparedness Conference in partnership with the United States Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA) make the University a key resource for both public and private sector workers committed to sustainability initiatives.

“In readiness to the Paris international climate change negotiations and in the absence of federal legislation, the President’s new comprehensive and detailed Executive Order is decisive leadership action,” said Abigail Abrash-Walton, director of AUNE’s Center for Academic Innovation and the co-director of the Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience. “ We can expect significant ripple effects and opportunities for sustainability professionals from this roadmap for federal sustainability. The plan raises the bar on greenhouse gas reduction and clean energy targets, responsible purchasing requirements, formal environmental sustainability and climate preparedness, and resilience education and training for federal agency personnel.”

Currently sustainability offerings at Antioch University New England include:

Concentration

Concentration

The Executive Order outlines that government agencies consider establishing and implementing an occupational series for sustainability professionals as well as other federal workers involved in sustainability-related positions. It also requires including environmental sustainability and climate preparedness and resilience into Federal leadership and educational programs through multiple methods including online learning and formal classroom settings – especially for those in senior leadership roles.

The President’s requirements come as countries work to develop an international climate change agreement through the United Nations (UN). The new agreement will be adopted at the Paris climate conference in December of this year, with implementation in 2020.

This alignment in mission between the White House and AUNE is not the first. In addition to AUNE’s partnership with the EPA for its climate conference and resulting webinar educational series, AUNE also launched a climate resilience project in March of 2015 to lead the testing effort for the new environmental data analysis “Climate Resilience Toolkit.” These issues, in addition to many sustainability initiatives AUNE is involved with both regionally and nationally, are topics that will be explored at the next Local Solutions conference in 2016.

AUNE plans to explore ways to work with the Federal Government to help implement new programs resulting from the Executive Order. Doing so is a key aspect of AUNE’s department of environmental studies’ vision, which is to “…train effective local, national, and international environmental leaders working to create a sustainable society that embodies respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, social and economic justice, democracy, nonviolence, and peace.”

 

world-549425_1920On Saturday,  April 25,  2015,  Antioch University New England and the Monadnock Food Co-op are partnering to celebrate Earth Day from noon until 4:00 pm. All are invited to attend this free event at the Co-op on Cypress Street in Keene and the nearby Monadnock Makerspace. Local community organizations,  farmers and artisans will be present to talk about environmental issues and to sell environmentally themed products. There will be activities and crafts for children and families. Local residents and Antioch University New England (AUNE) students will host workshops all afternoon. A silent auction will allow participants a chance to bid for items donated by local businesses. Food will be available for purchase.

The following workshops will be offered for free at the Monadnock Makerspace, across the street from the Co-op:

Participants are encouraged to bring their own yoga mats.

Participants are encouraged to bring their own plastic bags and crochet hooks.

 Throughout the day, Aura Shards of Brattleboro, VT,  will play original Fusion and New Age music with Anders Burrows,  primarily on handpan,  and Jed Blume,  primarily on tabla.

AUNE’s Urban Environmental Education class under the leadership of Dr. Jean Kayira,  core faculty for the Department of Environmental Studies,  have organized Earth Day 2015.

 Event Sponsors:

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New graduate fellowship and website serve as resources for other companies

Keene, New Hampshire – C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc. (C&S) and Antioch University New England (AUNE) proudly announce a workplace organic gardens initiative, which includes a formal graduate fellowship at AUNE and a new website launched by the company to serve as a free resource to businesses. Both of these initiatives help improve how communities provide reliable access to healthy, locally grown food.

“Our intention is to share what we’ve learned from the workplace gardens at our corporate headquarters and to inspire other companies to start gardens of their own,” said Gina Goff, C&S senior director of community involvement. “When we established our gardens a few years ago, there were plenty of resources available about home gardening, farming, and growing food in neighborhood lots, but nothing was specific to the workplace. Our website (http://gardens.cswg.com ) offers a rationale around the return on investment, employee engagement, and other tangible benefits.”

The ongoing work of AUNE’s Environmental Studies Department, which includes applying and researching best practices in program planning and communications, community resilience frameworks, and improved community access in food systems, provided a basis for the partnership, which C&S sponsors. The workplace gardens project is spearheaded by Dr. Elizabeth McCann, a professor and director in the department, and endorsed by AUNE President Dr. Stephen B. Jones.

“I am able to connect theory and practice, while creating opportunities to make a real difference in the community,” said Jess Gerrior, the 2015 growing season fellow and AUNE Doctoral student.. “The current food system does not work for everyone when there are people who must choose between what they can afford and what is healthy and sustainable.”

The workplace garden concept and what would become a formal academic initiative began in the fall of 2014 to explore the expansion of the Keene workplace gardens, and to implement garden-based educational outreach at C&S locations in Vermont, Massachusetts, Hawaii, and South Carolina. Each garden includes a community giving component to donate produce to local hunger relief organizations. Over the last two growing seasons, 130 C&S associates at seven garden locations donated more than a half ton of fresh produce to local hunger relief agencies. Collaborations have included NH Cooperative Extension, the NH Master Gardener Program, and Plant-a-Row. The company’s gardens are as large as 65,000 square feet and as small as a couple of small containers.

Gerrior meets regularly with a team at C&S in Keene to build resources, garner feedback and evaluate how the program can best reach its goals, which correspond with the emphasis C&S places on volunteerism and employee engagement. For example, she has helped create a cafeteria gardening resource center for C&S employees to learn about food and sustainability, and researched how employees see themselves in terms of the greater food system.

“The goal is to find out what works here on a local level and scale it to other locations,” Gerrior said. “It’s about improving communities’ capacity to adapt to forces like climate change, economic change, or shifts in leadership in terms of food supply. People can make a big difference even through small actions.”

Garden plots are provided at C&S headquarters on Optical Avenue and on Summit Ave alongside existing farmland, as well as C&S sites in Brattleboro, Vermont, North Hatfield, Massachusetts, South Carolina and Hawaii. For more information about the workplace organic garden initiative, AUNE’s doctoral fellowship, or Community Garden Connections visit http://www.antiochne.edu/cgc/related/.

About Antioch University New England

Founded in 1964, Antioch University New England’s (AUNE) commitment to social, economic, and environmental justice serves as a foundation for all certificate, master’s and doctoral degrees. Coursework integrates practice with theory in an environment that fosters scholarship and activism.  Academic departments include Applied Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Education, Environmental Studies, Management, and Self-Designed Studies. Based in Keene, New Hampshire, AUNE is two and a half hours from Albany; two hours from Boston; and less than two hours from Hartford. For more information, visit: antiochne.edu.

AUNE is part of Antioch University, an accredited, non-profit university and a bold and enduring source of innovation in higher education that serves adult students around the world, online and from its five campuses in four states in addition to its University-wide international and doctoral programs. The University lives by its mission every day by helping students realize their potential and achieve their educational goals through rigorous and responsive learning environment. Antioch University has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools since 1927.

About C&S Wholesale Grocers

C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc., based in Keene, NH, is the largest wholesale grocery supply company in the U.S. and the industry leader in supply chain innovation. Founded in 1918 as a supplier to independent grocery stores, C&S now services customers of all sizes, supplying more than 6,000 independent supermarkets, chain stores, military bases, and institutions with over 150,000 different products.

C&S community involvement programs support initiatives to fight hunger and to promote the health and enrichment of communities that are homes to the company’s employees and facilities. To learn more: community.cswg.com.

 

Twenty members of the Antioch University New England community (AUNE), including current students, alumni, and faculty, are now in Cuba as part of a spring break course scheduled from March 10 – 20, 2015. The course, co-lead by Libby McCann (core faculty and environmental education director in the Environmental Studies Department) and Jessica Sanford, MS ‘11, examines Cuba’s sustainable food production, food security, and their resilience.

While in Cuba, students will visit farms, urban gardens, farmers markets, research stations and other venues to explore the Cuban food system and sustainable agriculture model. Other speakers and site visits will offer additional cultural and historical context.

The trip will also consist of a service-learning component allowing students to both apply knowledge and skills as well engage in critical thinking as to how the Cuban food system and sustainable agriculture model can be adapted to various locales.

Eco Cuba Network is the organizational partner for this trip and has extensive experience working with U.S. colleges and universities to run education and research trips from undergraduate to post-graduate professional development. Eco Cuba Network is licensed by the U.S. Treasury Department to provide educational trips to Cuba.

 

AUNE project to lead testing effort for new U.S. “Climate Resilience Toolkit” and climate data

Antioch University New England’s (AUNE) Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience has launched a project designed to evaluate federal data and resources to help communities become more resilient in the face of climate change. As AUNE”s second commitment in support of President Barack Obama’s Climate Data Initiative, the Center is convening planners, and decision makers from coastal communities throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions to “road test” version 1.0 of the new U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit and share the findings with federal agencies to inform subsequent versions of the toolkit.

“The Climate Resilience Toolkit (CRT) is a compilation of online data analysis tools, modeling software and a range of sophisticated government data on water, ecosystems, and geospatial tools to support decision-makers at the local level make informed choices about climate resilience efforts,” said Abigail Abrash Walton, co-director of the Antioch University Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience. “Our CRT road test initiative is orienting decision-makers and planners at the municipal, county, and regional levels to this new web-based platform and evaluating aspects of its usability as a decision-support tool for building resilience in the context of climate change.”

AUNE has convened participants from Norfolk, Virginia to Rockland, Maine to kick off the testing effort.  These local partners include NJ Future, the Island Institute, the cities of Baltimore, Cambridge, Gloucester, and Yonkers, the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council, the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve, the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, CT Sea Grant, and Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission. The launch session featured an orientation by chief toolkit architect David Herring, director of communications and education for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Program. Next steps for participants include identifying an actual climate resilience challenge and using the toolkit to address it.

“The toolkit provides access to an enormous amount of data. We have designed this project to facilitate participants’ interpretation and use of the data through practice-based, applied research questions while facilitating networking and peer-to-peer learning opportunities within our region and beyond,” Abrash Walton said.

The toolkit is divided into four main areas: coastal flood risk; ecosystem vulnerability; food resilience; and human health. In addition to helping communities be better prepared for climate-related events such as storm water flooding, disease response or access to food, planners hope the collaboration among entrepreneurial businesses, schools and organizations sparks innovative approaches.

“Antioch University New England’s initiative is an exciting project because it has the potential to help community-based decision-makers connect with the support tools they need in order to prepare for changes in coastal storm surge, growing seasons for crops, drainage patterns for floods, and other climate change-related impacts.” said Marilyn Castriotta, AUNE Center project manager. “Partnering with AUNE and its community resilience professionals is a great way to distribute the information and collect feedback from those who can use it to improve their communities’ ability to withstand and recover from climate change-related events.”

To learn more about this initiative, please contact Project Manager Marilyn Castriotta at mcastriotta1@antioch.edu.

 

 

 

by Antioch University New England President Steve Jones

Antioch University New England alumnus Will Broussard, Master of Science in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Conservation Biology, is Outreach Coordinator at the Mount Washington Observatory in North Conway, NH. Mount Washington at 6,288’ reports some of the “world’s worst weather.” Will hosted my wife, Judy, and me last summer when we visited the observatory and the Extreme Mount Washington Museum. Breathtaking describes both the museum and our summit experience. Will invited me to return for a winter visit. On February 12, 2015, Will drove me from headquarters in North Conway to the Snow Cat garage at the base of the Mount Washington Auto Road, closed during the long winter season.

Will-Broussard

AUNE alumnus Will Broussard, Master of Science in Environmental Studies, works as Outreach Coordinator at the Mount Washington Observatory in North Conway, NH.

 

We boarded the Snow Cat, a powerful tracked vehicle with its heated ten-passenger cab and hydraulic plow blade, at 9:30 am for the ascent. Breezy and zero degrees at the base, the summit observers reported 60 mph winds and negative 18, forecasted to intensify to negative mid-20s with gusts to nearly 100 by early afternoon. We could see the spindrift racing across the Presidential Range upper slopes; clouds capped the summits. A series of lenticular clouds 8-10 miles downwind evidenced the powerful winds. The scene spurred our excitement for entering the alpine zone and experiencing a bit of extreme weather.

Photo credit Will Broussard

Photo credit: Will Broussard

 

We enjoyed the rumbling, vibrating ride through the northern hardwood forest, transitioning with elevation to spruce, which gradually gave way to spruce shrub cover. Entering the shrub zone introduced the gusting wind and blowing snow, which yielded as we climbed to a howling gale and near-whiteout. The open tundra that followed exposed us fully to hurricane force winds and nearly continuous whiteout in the ground blizzard. A State Park tracked plow had led our way to this point, slowing often as it pushed through deeper and deeper drifts. We stopped and disembarked to both experience the conditions and give the plow a chance to gain some distance. I wore my Alaska arctic gear, leaving no skin exposed. This proved to be the worst winter weather I had seen or felt across my life. Nature’s fury leaves no doubt of its dominance over us. I felt humility in its teeth and inspiration as I glanced at the tremendous heights still above us.

Returning to the cab, we continued our journey. We stopped at a turn-out clearing to await the State Park plow, which reported by radio that it had encountered impossible conditions not far ahead. We again disembarked to feel the fury. The wind threw one of our traveling companions to the ground. I fought to keep my feet. The State Park plow passed by us on its descent, stopping briefly to report the conditions to our driver, who then advised us that we, too, would head back to the base. He suggested that we first walk a bit further to a point several hundred feet ahead where we could see what brought us to a halt. The wind buffeted us as we rounded a curve. We saw where the plow had stopped; a wall of snow marked the terminus. Huge drifts lie ahead for as far as we could see during brief lulls in the continuing whiteout. We struggled to walk. Blowing snow almost immediately obscured our footprints, and rapidly-growing drifts had begun filling in behind the departed plow.

Photo credit Ryan Knapp

Photo credit: Ryan Knapp

 

So, we failed to summit, forced to turn at ~5,300′ by ferocious winds, total white-out, and drifts up to ten feet blocking the road. The air temperature stood at negative ten with wind chill at negative 45-50. Observers at the summit reported temperatures in the negative 20s, with winds gusting above 100, and wind chill approaching negative 80! I would have been disappointed had we turned with just marginal conditions. However, we faced a no-brainer decision. Outside the Snow Cat from that point upward we would have been in severe peril. Good sense prevailed.

Once again in my life’s journey, the twin lessons of humility and inspiration imparted wisdom for living, learning, and leading. As I braced with back to the wind, my senses sharpened by the sight, sound, feel, and fury, I could only imagine what it must have been like still higher. That we occupy such a hostile environment 24/7 at the MWO for the sake of science and learning is testimony to our hunger for knowing more and more about our place on this Earth.

Steve Jones

AUNE President Steve Jones stops for a rest at the Glen House during his attempt to summit Mount Washington.

 

Yes, we failed to summit, but we did not fail to learn. The lesson? That we are not apart from nature; we are one with nature.

Perhaps one day by understanding the extremes we can better live sustainably within the calmer zones we inhabit. We must remember that this land sustains us. Acting otherwise places us at ultimate peril. Let nature’s extremes remind us of our vulnerability and of our obligation to informed Earth stewardship.

Will’s role as MWO Outreach Coordinator provides him a wonderful opportunity for sharing those lessons and reminders with all whom he touches, young and old, through his outreach and education efforts. Each person he persuades and informs represents a step toward ensuring a brighter tomorrow, and stands as one more potential victory for humanity! Our graduates inspire me, and assure me that I am where I belong.

I am grateful for the chance to attempt the ascent, experience what Robert McGrath described as nature’s “pleasurable terror,” and to return comfortably to the base.

(Note: Windswept: The Quarterly Bulletin of the Mount Washington Observatory published this article in their Winter 2015-2016 edition.)

 

Program Integrates Peace Corps Service with PhD in Environmental Studies

Keene, New Hampshire – Antioch University New England (AUNE) will celebrate National Peace Corps Week and the launch of its new Peace Corps PhD in Environmental Studies program on Wednesday, March 4, 2015 at 6 pm in the Community Room at AUNE, located at 40 Avon Street in Keene, New Hampshire. Dr. Steve Jones, president of AUNE, will share remarks at the ceremony. The public is invited to attend.

Peace Corps Week commemorates President Kennedy’s establishment of the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961. During this annual event, the Peace Corps community celebrates all the ways that Peace Corps makes a difference at home and abroad and renews its commitment to service.

In parallel with national Peace Corps Week, March 1-7, AUNE’s celebratory event will bring together AUNE’s international community, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, and anyone interested in the Peace Corps and the new doctoral program. In addition to President Jones’s formal unveiling of the new doctoral program, the evening’s agenda includes storytelling, multi-cultural potluck- style refreshments and networking.

AUNE’s PhD in Environmental Studies is the first doctoral degree approved for the Peace Corps Master’s International program. Based off of a similar program at the master’s level, this new partnership allows students to integrate their Peace Corps service with doctoral studies. Students earn academic credits for real-world experience gained volunteering in the Peace Corps.

“This type of collaboration between service organizations and academia is exactly what makes Antioch University’s graduates true social change agents,” said President Jones. “There’s no way to convey our appreciation to those who serve others, but recognizing that their work is valuable, important, and interwoven into Antioch University’s mission is an excellent first step.”

AUNE’s Peace Corps PhD in Environmental Studies includes two years of doctoral coursework on campus followed by 27 months of service in the Peace Corps during which students conduct doctoral research. After completing their service abroad, students return to AUNE to finish writing and defend their dissertation. The doctoral program expands AUNE’s existing Peace Corps Master’s International program and partnership launched in 2014.

“Combining graduate study with Peace Corps service changed my life,” said Jason Rhoades, AUNE’s Master’s International program coordinator who served in the Peace Corps from 2006-08 in the Republic of Armenia. “I am delighted to see Antioch University at the forefront of developing new academic partnerships with the Peace Corps and creating new and meaningful academic pathways to learn and serve.”

Both the doctoral and master’s programs offer 12 credits tuition-free for the service and research conducted while volunteering in the Peace Corps. Students also receive specialized training and gain access to AUNE’s extensive network of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) with diverse areas of expertise to help them prepare for their next venture.

Leadership from Antioch University’s five campuses is regularly meeting to discuss and develop ongoing opportunities that are aligned with the mission of both the University and the Peace Corps.

“Antioch University New England has been a ground-breaking partner for the Peace Corps since 2011, and this new partnership is further evidence of their commitment to our strong and innovative collaboration,” Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. “Antioch University students bring unique skills to Peace Corps service, and at the same time, they gain hands-on experience that will give them a competitive edge upon graduation.”

In recognition of the close ties between the Peace Corps and Antioch University, Hessler-Radelet traveled to Keene in May 2014 to deliver the commencement address to AUNE graduates, urging them to consider service as a training ground and launching pad for a 21st-century career.

More information about the program is available online at www.antiochne.edu.

 

Keene, New Hampshire – In partnership with the Peace Corps, Antioch University New England (AUNE) announced a new program where students may combine Peace Corps service with doctoral studies in AUNE’s Department of Environmental Studies. The program will launch summer of 2015 and is the first doctoral level partnership between Peace Corps and a university that allows students and volunteers to complete advanced graduate work during their Peace Corps service.

“The benefits to choosing this route to pursue a doctoral degree are endless,” said Dr. James Gruber, who spearheaded the program and is the director of AUNE’s PhD Program in Environmental Studies. “In addition to the economic efficiencies and exceptional academic structure the program offers, the opportunity to learn from and about those you are helping instills an incredible sense of pride, selflessness and achievement that traditional educational pathways can’t always provide.”

The program consists of two years of doctoral courses at AUNE’s internationally-recognized Department of Environmental Studies, 27 months in the Peace Corps while students conduct doctoral research, and upon completion of their tour of service return to AUNE to finish writing and defend their dissertation. This doctoral program in environmental studies is based off AUNE’s existing Peace Corps Master’s International program – which is also based on a strategic partnership with the Peace Corps – and was launched in 2014.

The program offers 12 credits tuition-free for the service and research conducted while volunteering in the Peace Corps. Students also receive specialized training and gain access to AUNE’s extensive network of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCV) with diverse areas of expertise to help them prepare for their next venture. Students may select the country they wish to apply to from among Peace Corps’ more than 60 host countries. Transportation to and from volunteers’ country of service, housing, medical coverage and a stipend are all provided during service. Further, students will receive more than $8,000 from the Peace Corps upon completion of volunteer service as a readjustment allowance. Graduates of this program also receive special noncompetitive eligibility for federal jobs.

The new program reflects best practices outlined in recent research: Global Trends in Support Structures for Community University Research Partnerships. Its researchers found that students and volunteers working within civil society organizations (such as the Peace Corps) can integrate their research with service more seamlessly, and inspire social change and justice more readily. This model of “engaged scholarship” is a tenet of AUNE’s PhD programs, where all students are required to conduct a service project, regardless of whether they are pursuing a degree.

“We are proud to be the first university in the country to approach service and learning in this way,” Gruber said. “Antioch University emphasizes applying all courses of study – regardless of discipline – to impacting positive change and imparting social justice. The new Peace Corps PhD in Environmental Studies leaves students with global perspective, specialized training and invaluable empathy.”

To learn more about AUNE’s programs and innovative approaches to adult education, visit www.antiochne.edu/peace-corps-phd. To learn more about the Peace Corps, visit www.peacecorps.gov. Applications for the first entering class of 2015 are due by March 15, 2015.

 

 

 

Keene, NHThe Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience at Antioch University New England (AUNE) has launched its inaugural year with a major Northeast regional conference, a topical webinar series, and a funded doctoral fellowship. Its programming is focused on building the capacity of communities to identify and strengthen the interconnected public health, economic, environmental and social aspects that contribute to community preparedness and resilience.

“A healthy community is one that is able to withstand and bounce back from unexpected stresses and shocks,” said Abigail Abrash Walton, the co-director of the program and faculty member at AUNE. “We focus on local level solutions for climate change preparedness and resilience, because the effects of climate change are felt most directly and keenly at the local level. Municipal, county, and regional decision makers and local community members are on the frontlines of building resilience.”

The Center’s first doctoral fellow, Christa Daniels (Koehler), AICP manages the programs and graduate assistants who help advance that mission. Daniels, a city planner and climate adaption professional, specializes in resiliency and sustainability planning, having facilitated strategies in Pittsburg, Penn., Portland, Ore., New Hampshire’s Monadnock region, New York state, New Jersey and Bridgeport, Conn. Her past experience also includes working for the United Nations, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services and as a city planner for Keene, New Hampshire.

“Building social capital is an often overlooked aspect of climate and community resiliency,” Daniels said. “Our research goes beyond exploring structural components to make buildings more efficient or ‘saving the wetlands,’ to really look at how individuals and families respond. Having a community that is able to cope on a personal level and building social capital is an integral part of my doctoral work.”

Daniels was also instrumental in coordinating the conference from which AUNE’s Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience was launched.

AUNE’s Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience was launched at the Local Solutions: Northeast Climate Preparedness Conference in partnership with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) earlier this year. The Center is again partnering with EPA to deliver a webinar series, based on the conference workshop sessions and designed to make this capacity-building programming more widely accessible.

The next webinar, Green Infrastructure and Flood Resiliency-Land Use Management as an Adaptation Strategy in the Built Environment, is on Thursday, January 29 at 12 pm. The webinar will focus on assessment, planning, and adaptation to not only better prepare for the next emergency, but to sustainably manage flooding, and storm water to maintain human health and a vibrant local economy. The following months’ webinar topic is Collaborating for Resilience: Reaching the Most Vulnerable Populations and Getting the Message Out. To register or learn more about these webinars, please visit the Center’s website.

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About Antioch University New England’s Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience: The mission of AUNE’s Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience is to prepare, respond and recover in the face of climate impacts and other disruptions through collaborative, innovative solutions. The center delivers applied research, consulting, and education and training. Through a solutions-oriented, pragmatic, participatory, and inclusive approach based on change leadership best practices and systems thinking, its focus is on stakeholder capacity building at the local scale (watershed, municipal, county, and region) of preparedness and resilience nationally and internationally, with an explicit awareness of social and climate justice.

About Antioch University New England: AUNE offers the first-in-the-U.S. master’s program for climate adaptation professionals. In addition, AUNE delivers a PhD in Environmental Studies and Master’s programs in Resource Management and Conservation and concentrations in advocacy, conservation biology, environmental education, science teacher certification, and Professional Science Master’s Certificates.

Antioch University is an accredited, non-profit university and a bold and enduring source of innovation in higher education that serves adult students around the world, online and from its five campuses in four states in addition to its University-wide international and doctoral programs. The University lives by its mission every day by helping students realize their potential and achieve their educational goals through an innovative, rigorous and responsive learning environment Antioch University has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools since 1927. Antioch University New England is home to the first-in-the-country Environmental Studies and Educating for Sustainability graduate programs and Conservation Psychology Institute, and offers a top-ranked MBA in Sustainability as well as Clinical and Applied Psychology.

 

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AUNE Among Private Sector Organizations Recognized by White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Keene, New Hampshire – Antioch University New England (AUNE) is one of three universities in the United States named in a White House Office of Science and Technology Policy notice released today that outlined responses to President Barack Obama’s call to make our nation’s communities and businesses more resilient to climate change. AUNE’s Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience will convene end-user decision makers and others in the greater Keene community to “road test” version 1.0 of the Obama Administration’s Climate Resilience Toolkit, which was released in November 2014.

The toolkit, which is designed for decision makers and planners and provides resources to help communities use publicly-available climate data and other resources, will be used in tandem with AUNE’s ongoing community resilience efforts. Results of the road test will be compiled, summarized, and shared with federal agencies to inform them of ongoing efforts to improve the Climate Resilience Toolkit in the future.

“Antioch’s initiative, in support of the White House Climate Data Initiative, is part of AUNE’s commitment to strengthen the capacity of municipal and regional planners and decision makers as they build more resilient communities,” said Abigail Abrash Walton, director of AUNE’s Center for Academic Innovation, director of the advocacy concentration for AUNE’s environmental studies master’s degree program, and the co-director of the Antioch University Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience.

The announcement coincides with the release of troves of government data on water and ecosystems, as well as geospatial tools, as part of the President’s Climate Data Initiative.

“The newly released datasets—which include critical information about streamflow, soil, landcover, and biodiversity and are complemented by tools to overlay and visualize them—will be extremely valuable to natural-resource managers faced with day-to-day and long-term strategic decisions about how to operate in the context of climate change,” noted John P. Holdren, assistant to the President for Science and Technology, and director of the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy in a statement posted today on the White House’s blog.

AUNE joins more than a dozen private and public organizations – including NASA and Google – who have committed to work together to combat climate change and support ecosystem and water-resource resilience through data-driven innovation. Antioch University also spearheads and participates in myriad community-focused resilience efforts, including its Weathering Change: Local Solutions for Strong Communities webinar series and conference, presented in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The university offers the first-in-the-U.S. Master’s Program for climate adaptation professionals, a PhD in environmental studies and Master’s Programs in resource management and conservation and concentrations in advocacy, conservation biology, environmental education, science teacher certification, as well as Professional Science Master’s Certificates.

About Antioch University New England’s Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience

The mission of AUNE’s Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience is to prepare, respond and recover in the face of climate impacts and other disruptions through collaborative, innovative solutions. The center delivers applied research, consulting, and education and training. Through a solutions-oriented, pragmatic, participatory, and inclusive approach based on change leadership best practices and systems thinking, its focus is on stakeholder capacity building at the local scale (watershed, municipal, county, and region) of preparedness and resilience nationally and internationally, with an explicit awareness of social and climate justice.

About Antioch University

Antioch University is an accredited, non-profit university and a bold and enduring source of innovation in higher education that serves adult students around the world, online and from its five campuses in four states in addition to its University-wide international and doctoral programs. The University lives by its mission every day by helping students realize their potential and achieve their educational goals through an innovative, rigorous and responsive learning environment Antioch University has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools since 1927. Antioch University New England is home to the first-in-the-country Environmental Studies and Educating for Sustainability graduate programs and Conservation Psychology Institute, and offers a top-ranked MBA in Sustainability as well as Clinical and Applied Psychology.

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Keene, NH—Community Garden Connections (CGC), a non-profit dedicated to increasing the capacity to grow food, is excited to announce another opportunity for local organizations and agencies in Keene to apply to become garden sites. Interested parties should submit an application by January 15, 2015. To download an application, visit: www.antiochne.edu/cgc.

What CGC Offers:
Each garden site will be supported by AUNE graduate students serving as Garden Site Coordinators who offer initial support (through the growing season of 2015) as communication liaisons, project assistants, and informal educators. These student coordinators provide education and guidance that will develop your ability to establish, tend, and enjoy garden harvests. Our goal is to provide everything that you would need to continue to care for your garden in subsequent years. (CGC Coordinators will still continue to provide support in subsequent years, but in a reduced capacity). In addition to this support role, Garden Site Coordinators will:

What CGC Expect of Garden Sites:
For the gardens to be successful and to ensure their continuation beyond the funding period, it is essential that agencies hosting gardens can commit to the following:

CGC has been made possible through the continued funding from the Rashti Foundation. With their generous support, Antioch University New England (AUNE) has partnered with many organizations in the work of developing nine raised bed garden sites in Keene. The sites have been bountiful and our gardeners have been involved in many activities that connect them to their communities.

For more information and to download the application, please visit: www.antiochne.edu/cgc/.

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About CGC: Community Garden Connections (CGC) serves to build our local capacity to grow food. It addresses food insecurity related to climate change, personal and communal health, and resiliency. With the help of a private donation from the Rashti Foundation, CGC supports the installation and cooperative maintenance of raised gardens in partnership with local service agencies, students and community members. These funds also support educational outreach to meet the specific gardening interests of community partners.

 

Abi Abrash Walton has been named the Director of the Advocacy for Social Justice & Sustainability concentration for the Department of Environmental Studies. She replaces Steve Chase who has accepted  the position of Director of Education at Pendle Hill.  Chase has worked at Antioch University New England for 21 years and will continue as affiliate faculty.

“We are excited to have Abi serving our students as an academic and concentration advisor, instructor, coach, networker, and team player,” says Dr. Jimmy Karlan, Core Faculty, Director of the Science Teacher Certification Concentration, and Acting Chair of the Environmental Studies Department. “She brings a powerful background as an advocate and change leader to these roles. Under Abi’s leadership, Environmental Studies’ students will have an opportunity to get involved, as graduate assistants, with Antioch’s 2016 East Coast Climate Preparedness conference in Baltimore, as well as partnership initiatives with the City of Keene.”

Abi is also excited about strengthening the advocacy and leadership skills of all Environmental Studies students, understanding that effective advocacy and leadership skills are core to environmental solutions. Abi welcomes conversations with students interested in applying for Antioch’s U.S. Congressional Progressive Caucus Fellow to serve with the Caucus in DC every summer. The fellowship is a powerful career launch pad for fellows.

Abigail Abrash Walton joined the Antioch learning community in 2003, serving as faculty in the Department of Environmental Studies, where she founded and directed the department’s award-winning Advocacy Clinic, which has served as the model for the Department’s Collaborative Service Initiative capstone course. She returns to the Department to direct its Advocacy concentration and to co-direct AUNE’s new Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience. She brings a powerful background as an advocate and change leader to this role, with specialization in communications, international human rights, leadership, political economy, public policy, and sustainability. Abrash Walton’s publications include “Conservation through Different Lenses: Reflection, Responsibility and the Politics of Participation in Conservation Advocacy,” in the journal Environmental Management, “The Victims of Indonesia’s Pursuit of Progress,” an invited New York Times opinion piece, and “The Amungme, Kamoro and Freeport: How Indigenous Papuans Have Resisted the World’s Largest Gold and Copper Mine,” in Lechner and Boli’s The Globalization Reader. Based on her research and analysis, she has served as a commentator for The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, National Public Radio, and “The News Hour with Jim Lehrer,” among other media outlets. Previously,  Abrash Walton served as program director for the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights and New Hampshire Citizens Alliance, and as a Visiting Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Program.  Abrash Walton is in her final year in Antioch University’s Leadership and Change PhD program. She holds a M.Sc. in Political Theory from the London School of Economics and Political Science, a BA in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Permaculture Design Certificate from the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center.

 

Keene, NH (August 26, 2014) – Antioch University New England (AUNE) has installed a publicly available Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Station on its campus in Keene.  AUNE was chosen to receive one of only five station rebates from Public Service of New Hampshire (PSNH). The station meets OSHA/ADA requirements, is consistent with AUNE’s cutting-edge Responsible Purchasing Policy, and delivers electricity to plug-in electric vehicles and hybrids for recharging purposes and is available for use by Antioch University’s campus community and the public.  The station was produced by EVSE, LLC, of Enfield, Connecticut.

Antioch has made the commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by the year 2020 and the new EV Charging Station is one step in moving our learning community down the road to meeting that goal. said Abigail Abrash Walton, Director for the Center of Academic Innovation.  We’re proud to be creating the structural support for the innovators who are adopting EV technology, and it is an excellent addition to our campus sustainability initiatives.

The Keene campus is dedicated to working towards no longer relying on, or offsetting the impact of, carbon dioxide-emitting fossil fuel-based sources of energy for electricity used, and the new charging station is the latest edition to a long list of sustainability successes aimed at achieving this goal. The success of the station will not only be measured through carbon reductions on campus, but by the awareness it will raise, the way in which it will promote electric vehicle usage, and the way it will connect the campus to the larger community by providing a free service aimed at reducing the overall  collective carbon footprint.

Our commitment to walking our sustainability talk is admirable, said Dr. Jimmy Karlan, Core Faculty Member and Director of Science Teacher Certification for the Department of Environmental Studies.  The sustainable practices that have become part of our infrastructure over the years is a testimonial to our students, faculty, staff, and administrators’ ability to join together to develop a campus rooted in ecological, organizational, and intra-personal sustainable practices, he added. Karlan has been riding his all-electric scooter to Antioch for the last two years in order to commute 60-miles round-trip. He says he looks forward to the day that he is no longer the exception to the rule.

Other sustainability initiatives at AUNE include enhanced composting and recycling infrastructure, a rain garden, and absorbent (porous) pavement sidewalks. The University has also led development and implementation of behavior change campaigns that have yielded substantial reductions in energy use such as Carbon Counts, aimed at raising awareness about leaving lights on in unoccupied rooms; Green Guru, an office energy efficiency audit and training for all employees; and Printer Accounts to reduce paper usage on campus. A more in depth list of sustainability efforts at AUNE can be found by visiting antiochne.edu/ssj/achievements/.

Save the Date: A ribbon cutting for the new EV Charging Station at AUNE is scheduled for Wednesday, October 1 at 4:00 pm. More information to follow.

About Antioch University: Antioch University is a bold and enduring source of innovation in higher education that serves adult students around the world, online and from its five campuses in four states in addition to its University-wide international and doctoral programs. The University lives by its mission every day by helping students realize their potential and achieve their educational goals through an innovative, rigorous and responsive learning environment Antioch University has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools since 1927. Antioch University New England is home to the first-in-the-country Environmental Studies and Educating for Sustainability graduate programs and Conservation Psychology Institute, and offers a top-ranked MBA in Sustainability.

 
Monica Foley MS '13

Monica Foley, MS ’13, winner of Exceptional Teacher Award

The Keene School District has named Monica Foley, MS ’13, as an Exceptional Teacher for 2014.

I was extremely honored, surprised, and grateful to have been chosen after my first year of teaching, said Monica, who teaches biology, chemistry, and anatomy at Keene High School. She graduated from Antioch University New England’s Department of Environmental Studies in the Science Teacher Certification concentration.

The Exceptional Teacher Award is given to ten teachers from the district’s nine schools each year.

 

The American beech is a stalwart of the New England forest and a favorite of wildlife such as bears, deer, and turkeys, who thrive on its mast crop, beechnuts. But today the beech, threatened by disease, often ends up as a scrubby and aggressive competitor, pushing out other tree species.  As an intern for the Monadnock Conservancy, Merrilee Frable, MS ’14, is involved in a project for her master’s thesis, exploring ways to discourage beech regeneration in favor of other hardwood species valuable to wildlife and the timber industry.

Beech management is one of the biggest issues facing New England timberland, said Rick Brackett, MS ’09, land manager for the Conservancy. It used to be useful but now, because it doesn’t reach maturity, a lot of landowners are frustrated. Beech sends up a thicket which shades out other species. If you cut it back, you just make it worse. But it’s the only hard-mast provider in the northern forest for deer and turkeys; bears especially rely on beechnuts to fatten up for winter. So we need something to replace it.

More Chestnut, Fewer Beech
The project will look at various ways to reduce the regeneration of beech so that competing species can get a foothold, in particular, the American chestnut. That’s the goal of another internship Frable is working on for the Conservancystudying whether the chestnut, devastated by blight and overcutting in the last century, can make a comeback  in northern New England and help replace the American beech. With its hard mast, shade tolerance, and affinity for similar soil conditions, the chestnut fills the same ecological niche as the beech. The  American Chestnut Foundation has developed a new hybrid by crossing the American chestnut with a Chinese species highly resistant to blight. The hybrid is being tested in the field, in projects like the Conservancy’s.

Frable and Brackett have set up the beech and chestnut projects in the Maynard Forest in Gilsum, New Hampshire, on land donated to the Conservancy ten years ago. The organization is managing the forest as a long-term timber investment. It took off the first crop of timber in 2010 but since then, little has regrown because of the competitive beech and because a high population of deer browses back everything except beech.

Setting Up the Studies
The Conservancy received a three-year Conservation Innovation grant from the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for the beech regeneration project. It fenced in three harvested plots for a study, designed by Frable and Peter Palmiotto, core faculty in AUNE’s Department of Environmental Studies, and the advisor for Frable’s thesis work, that will compare methods to reduce the regeneration of beechby cutting it, killing it with herbicides, and fencing out deer. NRCS will assess which practices are most successful and cost-effective to cost-share with landowners.

In the other project, the Conservancy planted two plots of chestnuts, each close to an acre in size, and surrounded them with deer fencing. After seven years, the seedlings should be big enough to withstand chewing and antler-rubbing by the deer.  Our goal is to find out how it competes with beech and how it survives, Frable said. She and the Conservancy hope that the American chestnut will someday thrive as part of a more diverse and resilient forest.

This project was made possible through a partnership between the Monadnock Conservancy, Antioch University New England, the American Chestnut Foundation, NRCS, University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension, and C&S Wholesale Grocers.

See photos of planting 130 chestnut seedlings in early May.

 
MI signingJonesHessler

Stephen Jones, AUNE president, and Carrie Hessler-Radelet, acting director of Peace Corps.

Now students can combine their passion for service in the Peace Corps with study for a master’s degree in Environmental Studies from Antioch University New England (AUNE). Through an innovative agreement with the Peace Corps, AUNE will begin offering a Master’s International degree program this summer.  Students would take coursework for a year to help prepare them for their Peace Corps experience, then serve and earn credits at no cost for their service and return to complete their degree.

Students earn twelve credits from AUNE, tuition-free, while serving as Peace Corps volunteers, saving them thousands of dollars. They learn to be successful and effective Peace Corps Volunteers, then graduate prepared to make a real difference in finding solutions to environmental challenges and opportunities around the world.

Peace Corps Partnership
Carrie Hessler-Radelet, acting director of the Peace Corps, signed the Master’s International designation for AUNE on May 16. The Peace Corps is pleased to sign this new partnership agreement with Antioch University New England to enable students to gain important hands-on work experience as they pursue their graduate studies, Hessler-Radelet said. In today’s interconnected world, employers are looking for highly trained and culturally competent professionals now more than ever. She also spoke at AUNE’s Commencement on May 17.

AUNE President Stephen Jones said the University is grateful for the Master’s International designation, and thrilled to have Hessler-Radelet on campus.  ‘Because the world needs you now!’ is a message that lives profoundly in the spirit, intent, and practice of the Master’s International-designated degree, Jones said. The mission and values of our respective institutions are deeply compatible. We are eager to help entering Peace Corps volunteers apply what they will learn in the classroom to directly benefit the global community, and to further refine their knowledge and skills through that service.

AUNE has a history of welcoming returning Peace Corps volunteers into the classroom, due to its focus on environmental studies, sustainability and social justice. The University is also part of the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program and offers scholarships for students who have completed a Peace Corps experience.

How the Master’s International Program Works
AUNE is offering the program through its Department of Environmental Studies, from which students earn an MS degree. Students will first take two semesters of coursework on campus, followed by twenty-seven months of Peace Corps service. They will return to the AUNE campus to complete their degree requirements, leading to a master of science degree in Environmental Studies in one of three concentrations:

•Conservation Biology
•Environmental Education
•Sustainable Development and Climate Change
or a master of science degree in
•Resource Management and Conservation.

Find out more at www.antiochne.edu/masters-international, or contact Jason Rhoades, program coordinator, jrhoades@antioch.edu,  800-552-8380.

 

More than eight hundred participants attended commencement exercises, as Antioch University New England (AUNE) awarded degrees to one hundred thirty-eight graduates and finishers on Saturday, May 17, at Keene Middle School.

Acting Director of the Peace Corps Carrie Hessler-Radelet, the Commencement speaker, noted that the Peace Corps and AUNE have much in common. Our purpose is sparking real change, one person, one connection at a time, she said. She urged the graduates to follow their own lights, without restraint. Live a life of passion;jump in with both feet, she said. Go the distance and then stay a whilethe most important things in life are defined by relationships. And cultivate an attitude of service.

On Friday, Hessler-Radelet signed an agreement to establish a Master’s International program at AUNE, many of whose students and graduates have also been Peace Corps volunteers.

President Stephen Jones welcomed the graduates and guests and awarded the diplomas. I wish you a life focused in the spirit and intent of Antioch, he said. I wish you become your own rock; that your own core principles, value-based character, and the commitment to environmental and social justice constitute your rock.

He also presented the President’s Distinguished Leadership award to Marilyn Castriotta, MS ’14, and chair of student government, who graduated from the Department of Environmental Studies with a master’s degree. The Toni Murdock Student Innovation Award was presented to Walter Chuck Stead, PhD ’14, for his efforts in the campaign to clean up a major Superfund site in the Torne Valley of New York.

The musical performance was a song, Byari Bikwiye (It Was Worth It) written by ES doctoral student Apollinaire William and sung in Kinyarwanda by William, Yves Gakunde, MS ’12, Viola Katusiime, MS ’14, Director of Admissions Laura Andrews, and Jim Gruber, ES faculty member.

 

 

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe and Senior Advisor on Climate Change Innovation, Executive Office of the President, Bina Venkataraman will be keynote program speakers at the LOCAL SOLUTIONS: Northeast Climate Change Preparedness Conference. Antioch University New England (AUNE) will host this major regional conference in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The conference will be held May 19-21 in Manchester, New Hampshire.

New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan will kick off the conference and speak on The State of New Hampshire and Climate Solutions for Communities at the opening lunch on May 19. The conference brings together local planners and decision-makers, from the northern Chesapeake Bay to Maine, to learn how to build healthy and resilient community plans, and how to prepare for the impacts of climate change. Antioch University New England faculty, who have significant national and international expertise in the field of climate preparedness, have led efforts to plan the conference.

Other keynote and plenary speakers at the LOCAL SOLUTIONS conference include:

See other speakers and workshops at the conference.

Join more than 375 attendees and sign up now: on-line registration for the conference will end on May 9. For more information, contact Christa Daniels, AICP, cdaniels1@antioch.edu

 

 

The Department of Environmental Studies will present the 2014 William R. Ginsberg and Thomas K. Wessels Environmental Studies Scholarship Award  to Jahdiel Torres-Cabá, a master’s student in the Conservation Biology concentration, on Friday, May 16, at the department’s Celebration of Accomplishments ceremony.

The scholarship, the highest award given by the faculty of the Department of Environmental Studies to one of its students, goes to a student who has displayed academic excellence and environmental leadership.

About Jahdiel Torres-Cabá
Torres-Cabá, a Conservation Biology student, has demonstrated strong leadership skills internationally, nationally, and on campus. He was an executive committee board member of the Sierra Student Coalition and co-chair of the International Working Group representing the United States and its territories at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Warsaw, Poland, in December 2013. He was a representative to the same convention when it met in Doha, Qatar, in 2012.

In February, Torres-Cabá helped organize a group of AUNE students attending the Keystone XL Pipeline rally at the White House in Washington, D.C.

He is co-chair of the Environmental Studies’ Student Alliance and an active member of the Center for Tropical Ecology and Conservation, for which he organized the second cultural competency workshop last November.  He also led a group of five students from the Advocacy for Social Justice and Sustainability program developing the first anti-oppression training at AUNE.

Torres-Cabá was given the Presidents’ Leadership Award by the Campus Compact of New Hampshire in 2013.