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Bloom: the Emergence of Ecological Design — a new film in the Bloom series exploring the health of Lake Champlain and overseen by Jon Erickson, professor at the University of Vermont's Gund Institute for Ecological Economics — will open on Thursday, December 15.
In the case of UVM senior Colin Arisman, a natural resources major and Honors College student, his thesis will likely live on to influence farming practices in a place where the impacts of agriculture are of critical importance: the Intag Cloud Forest in Ecuador.
Carl Reidel loved Vermont. He was deeply taken with “the genius of the place,” he would say, quoting biologist René Dubos. In his unlikely trajectory from the south side of Chicago — the first in his family to graduate from high school — to his peaceful farmstead in North Ferrisburgh, where he died last week, Reidel came to understand one of the deep paradoxes of environmental awareness.
Perhaps the most visible installation to date is a field of seventeen photovoltaic panels installed in December 2010 at the U.S. Forest Service on Spear Street. The solar panels supply 20 percent of the electric power needs of the George D. Aiken Center by generating 95,880 kilowatt-hours per year while preventing 35 metric tons of carbon emission. The Aiken solar trackers were among the first projects presented to the Clean Energy Fund’s 11-member committee of students, faculty, staff and alumni when it called for proposals from the campus community in September of 2009.
Growing up in Brooklyn, Joshua Carrera says he didn’t know much about the environment -- or UVM. He certainly didn’t anticipate that after traveling the world studying management and human ecology in Ecuador and Brazil he’d appear on the June 2011 cover of Nature Conservancy Magazine.
William "Breck" Bowden, Patrick Professor of Watershed Science & Planning and director of the Vermont Water Resources and Lake Studies Center. UVM Today: What accounted for the extreme flooding seen in some parts of Vermont? Bowden: What we had was kind of a conspiracy of three conditions. Factor one was that there were several occasions during the month of August when it rained pretty hard. That meant the soils were already wet and their capacity to take up more water was extremely limited. The rainfall, while it didn’t always have the intensity of a summer thunder shower, lasted for 12 to 18 hours and virtually blanketed New England in a massive storm, so that was factor two. And then factor three is Vermont’s topography. So now we’ve got wet soil with a lot of water sitting on top of it, and for a long period of time, and no place for that water to go but downhill. And it accumulates in small rivulets and then bigger streams and then finally hits rivers like the Winooski. And you’ve basically got a bulldozer that just runs rampant through the valley bottoms.
Jason Stockwell, associate professor of aquatic ecology and director of the Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory. Training: Ph.D. in Zoology, University of Toronto. Recent experience: Research scientist at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. Research interests: The impact of environmental change on aquatic food web structure and resultant ecosystem properties.
In May, Lake Champlain hit a record high, 103.5 feet above sea level in Whitehall, N.Y. The previous record, 102.1, was from 1869. Destroyed houses, plumes of sediment and garbage, and swamped roads drew dismay, amazement and worry — and a lot of media attention. Now the floodwaters are receding, clean-up is under way and the TV cameras have turned to other matters. But the causes of the flood — and future prospects for the lake -- remain murky. To get a deeper picture of the 2011 flood, UVM Today spoke with four scientists on the UVM faculty about where the flood came from — and what comes next for Lake Champlain.
Nine students have been awarded Public Research and Civic Endeavors Scholarships by the University of Vermont's Office of Undergraduate Research.
Stephanie Kaza counts her students. Her eye travels around the room and she smiles, making an almost imperceptible nod toward each young woman in the circle as they chat and laugh before class. It’s a cold afternoon in April, exams are looming, and a few stragglers in wool hats rush into the classroom in the Living/Learning Center and flop down in chairs, breathless. Like any good teacher, Kaza, director of UVM’s Environmental Program, is taking attendance. But Kaza also counts her students in a deeper sense — as many alumni wrote in support of her selection for the 2011 edition of the George V. Kidder Outstanding Faculty Award, a teaching honor given each year by the UVM Alumni Association and presented at commencement.
Six University of Vermont students have been awarded prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program Scholarships to pursue independent research or teach abroad – a record number for the university - including University of Vermont graduate student Amanda Egan '12 who has been awarded a Fulbright research grant to Ukraine for the 2011-2012 academic year. Egan, a candidate for a master’s degree in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, will spend the coming academic year working with colleagues at the Institute of Ecological Economics, Ukrainian National Forestry University investigating opportunities for forest carbon projects in the Carpathian region in Ukraine.
Two University of Vermont graduate students and one recent UVM undergraduate were awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships for the 2011 competition. The award is one of the most prestigious and most lucrative for students who wish to pursue a graduate degree in the sciences or social sciences. Allison Neal is a second-year graduate student studying ecology and evolutionary biology. A Vermont native, Neal came to UVM on a Green and Gold Scholarship, joined the Honors College, and started her research career by volunteering in Professor Joseph Schall's lab. Under Schall's mentorship, she wrote her honors undergraduate thesis and continued to win awards and publish her work as a graduate student in his lab. Scott Hamshaw '06 also received a fellowship. He graduated as a civil engineering major and is planning to return to the University of Vermont to pursue a master’s degree in civil engineering. David Seekil '09, a natural resources major and a Rubenstein graduate, also received a fellowship. He is currently pursuing a graduate degree in ecosystems ecology at the University of Virginia.
Two UVM students have been recognized in the 2011 Udall Scholarship competition. Tyler Wilkinson-Ray '12 has been named a 2011 Udall Scholar, and Colin Arisman '12 was recognized with Honorable Mention. This nationally competitive scholarship acknowledges sophomores and juniors who have been outstanding leaders and who have demonstrated excellence in the classroom. It is the most prestigious undergraduate award available for students who are pursuing careers focused on environmental or Native American issues.
Saleem Ali, professor of environmental studies at the University of Vermont, has been selected by the World Economic Forum in Geneva, Switzerland, as a Young Global Leader for 2011. The Forum identified 190 leaders under the age of 40 from 65 countries for their professional accomplishments, commitment to society, and potential to contribute to shaping a better future for the world.
The Jericho Research Forest, a 492-acre tract of former farmland UVM acquired in 1941 and uses for teaching and research, will have an important new job this November, when the renovated George D. Aiken Center, home of the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, officially opens its doors. The forest is contributing 125 sustainably harvested trees to the Aiken renovation, about 24,000 board feet in all. The project will showcase the color and grain of nine different tree species from the forest via extensive paneling throughout the newly renovated building.
The British Observer Magazine, has selected the University of Vermont's Saleem Ali as one of twenty "Green Giants" who "will be setting the global environmental agenda in the coming year." Ali joins the company of Brad Pitt, Prince Charles, Evo Morales, and Arnold Schwarzenegger on the magazine's "Eco Power List" of "the people who will set the tone for how green issues are perceived and how the planet is protected."