Ateliers: Problem-Based Field Workshops Around the World
Ateliers are problem-solving workshops conducted in local communities around the world. Ateliers combine guest lectures, case studies, and student-led research on a specific socio-environmental issue in a particular place. Ateliers take students out of the classroom and place them in the field where they are able to study an issue firsthand and develop the measurements, tools, and strategies necessary to resolve it.
- Summer 2015 | Water Quality in Lake Champlain
Students from UVM, McGill and York University participated in a problem-based field course in Vermont looking at water quality issues in the Lake Champlain Basin. The course was part of the E4A program that seeks solutions to real-world problems. Despite efforts to clean up the phosphorous in Lake Champlain in the last couple decades, the levels of phosphorous in the lake has been stable or rising since 2007 (LCBP, 2012). The high levels of phosphorous in the lake have led to large algal blooms, beach closures, and poor water quality (LCBP, 2012). Students met with Vermonters on the front lines of the management and policy decisions surrounding the health of Lake Champlain and are working on three synthesis papers capturing next steps towards transboundary and transdisciplinary solutions. You can read UVM coverage on the class here.
- Spring 2015 | Agroecology, Farmer & Ecosystem: A Travel Course to Brazil
Students from UVM traveled to Brazil's Atlantic Forest to work with local smallholder farmers to identify solutions to protect and restore the Atlantic Forest. UVM partnered with students and researchers at two Brazilian institutions, the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina and the Universidade de Sao Paulo, to explore different conservation and agro-ecology models that can be applied in Santa Catarina state. Santa Catarina is known as the agro-ecology capital of Brazil. There is a rich history in the state of combining small-scale crop production, management-intensive grazing, and agro-forestry to balance the competing goals of preserving ecosystem services with making a financial profit from agriculture. The Gund Atelier worked to contribute to a long-term search for "win-win" solutions that can help restore the Atlantic Forest, preserve its rich biodiversity, and sustain rural livelihoods. Read student blogs from the trip here, here, and here.
- Spring 2014 | From Cows to Sea Cows: A Travel Course to Cuba
Students from UVM, Duke University and the University of Havana joined together to learn about coastal-zone policy and tradeoffs in ecosystem services in Cuba. The overarching goal of the class was to begin generating research to help improve coastal zone management, sustainable fisheries, and marine protected area networks in Cuba. Cuba recently announced plans to raze thousands of houses, restaurants, hotels and improvised docks to restore the natural coastline, in part to prepare for sea-level rise and climate change. It is a dynamic time for this country, and this class engaged in land use planning that spanned from Cuba's ridges to its reefs.
- Spring 2014 | Alternative Indicators
This course put ecological economics into practice by contributing to the ongoing development of the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI). Students reviewed the historical development, current critique, and proposed advances of GPI. The class built on recent work in Vermont and Maryland and created the first 50‐state GPI table, contributed to methodological improvements in an emerging "GPI 2.0", and outlined policy applications of state-level GPI studies.
- Fall 2013 | Vermont Climate Assessment
Students produced the first Vermont Climate Assessment (VCA) that furthered the scientific understanding of global change impacts in the state of Vermont focusing on agricultural production, forests, and recreation industries. Students used econometric and ecosystems models to estimate future changes to these sectors given a range of climate scenarios. For each sector, an in-depth analysis of historical climate variability and its impacts on production, revenue or relevant indicators was conducted.
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Have an Idea or Need for an Atelier?
Gund ateliers occur wherever there is a need for the solutions they provide. There are no strict guidelines that qualify an issue or a community for an atelier. Working in intimate collaboration with local institutions and other stakeholders, each atelier leaves behind a legacy of hope as it provides a unique learning experience for all involved. If interested, please contact us today.
Last modified June 30 2015 12:25 PM