University of Vermont

Rubenstein School Community Notes

HONORS AND AWARDS

International Education Week is a time to celebrate initiatives small and large that contribute to the global education of our students at the University of Vermont.  As a special project for International Education Week 2012, the Office of International Education asked international students at UVM to nominate those individuals who have made a meaningful impact on their time in the U.S. Students were encouraged to think of faculty, staff, and fellow students who have gone "above and beyond" in supporting them during their time in Vermont.  Continuing Education student Yingzi Chen nominated Professor Tom Hudspeth as someone who has positively contributed to her international experience in Burlington. Whether through additional academic support, strong mentorship, or a meaningful friendship, he has made a real difference in her life, and for that, he is thanked wholeheartedly.

Interim Dean Jon D. Erikson has been appointed to the Governor's Council on Energy and the Environment for a two year term.

The Fall 2012 Kate Svitek Memorial Award winner is Eric Donnelly (FOR '13). Eric is working as a silviculture stocking intern at the Jericho Research Forest.  For this internship, Eric is reestablishing boundaries and determining growth parameters for a group of older experimental plots.  Additionally, Eric will write a long-term management plan for these areas.  Congratulations to Eric!  Spring and summer Svitek Awards will also be available so please be on the look-out for those announcements!

Corey Tondreau (WFB '15) was recently awarded a Gilman Scholarship.  Corey will be studying in Madagascar through the School for International Training (SIT) next semester and will be supported by the scholarship.  The Gilman Scholarship Program is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State. The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs fosters mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries to promote friendly, sympathetic, and peaceful relations.

Professor Taylor Ricketts is part of a broad collaboration that was just awarded a 5-year, $9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  The grant, led by Rufus Isaacs at Michigan State University, is entitled "Integrating Native Bees into Sustainable Pollination Strategies for Specialty Crops."  A group of researchers and practitioners from Michigan State University, University of California-Davis, Rutgers University, University of California-Berkeley, University of Vermont, Chicago Botanic Garden, the Xerces Society, and others will focus on conserving and restoring pollinator habitat on agricultural landscapes across the U.S.  Taylor and colleague Eric Lonsdorf will lead a modeling effort within the overall program to predict the ecological and economic impacts of habitat restoration.  These models will help guide field trials of actual restoration projects and will result in a user-friendly tool to help farmers locate restoration projects to maximize conservation and yield returns.  The grant will fund a post-doctoral researcher to lead this modeling team.

Rebecca Cushing, a graduate student in the UVM Field Naturalist program who is partnering with the Rubenstein School, has achieved the high honor of being selected as a Switzer Environmental Fellow by the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation.  This year, the Switzer Foundation awarded 20 fellowships for emerging environmental leaders who are pursuing graduate degrees and are dedicated to positive environmental change in their careers.  Becky is exploring land management collaboration strategies in her research. By understanding how environmental and human systems fit together, she hopes to work alongside communities to create site-specific management frameworks that can adapt to changing ecological, economic and social conditions. Currently, Becky is working with RSENR to design a new student-driven model for managing the University-owned Natural Areas system. The goal is to challenge students to practice hard field skills on these 2000 acres of land while wrestling with larger conservation questions like “what are the major threats to these landscapes” or “what will this site look like in 100 years”? She hopes to empower young leaders with the tools to grasp complex environmental problems and confidence to generate solutions.


PUBLICATIONS

Becker, M., R. McRobb, F. Watson, E. Droge, B. Kanyembo, J. Murdoch, and C. Kakumbi.  2013. “Evaluating wire-snare poaching trends and the impacts of by-catch on elephants and large carnivores.” Biological Conservation 158:26-36.


Clare Ginger and Marla Emery recently published a paper in Society and Natural Resources with co-authors Michelle Baumflek (MS-NR ’09) and David Putnam, a colleague at the University of Maine, Presque Isle. The paper reports findings from a project funded by the Northeastern States Research Cooperative:

Ginger, C., M.R. Emery, M.J. Baumflek, & D.E. Putnam. 2012. “Broadening definitions of access to natural resources on private property: Dimensions beyond right of entry.” Society & Natural Resources 25(7):700-715.

Other products from the project included a technical report on culturally and economically important non-timber forest products in Maine, a set of curricular materials for levels K-12, and a website for dissemination of project results: http://nrs.fs.fed.us/sustaining_forests/conserve_enhance/special_products/maine_ntfp/

 Managing Outdoor Recreation by Robert Manning and Laura Anderson

Professor Bob Manning and Postdoctoral Associate Laura Anderson of the Park Studies Laboratory published Managing Outdoor Recreation: Case Studies in the National Parks published by CABI, Oxfordshire, England. The book begins by examining 1) the potential impacts of outdoor recreation on park resources and the quality of the visitor experience, and 2) management actions that might be applied to minimizing these impacts.  It then builds a series of matrixes to help guide identification and application of management actions to specific types of problems.  The matrices are illustrated with a series of twenty case studies in diverse units of the national park system in which outdoor recreation is successfully being managed. The final chapter extracts a series of principles or best practices to guide outdoor recreation management in parks and related areas.

Bob Manning and doctoral students Peter Pettengill and Nathan Reigner of the Park Studies Lab published a manual titled Using Indicators and Standards of Quality to Guide Transportation Management in Parks and Public Lands: A Best Practices Manual.  The manual was commissioned by the Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in Parks and Public Lands Technical Assistance Center (TRIPTAC) with funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation.  The manual describes ways in which the framework of indicators and standards is being used to guide management of parks and related areas and how this approach can be used to plan and manage transportation in parks and public lands. The manual is posted on the TRIPTAC website.

 

Associate professor, Austin Troy published his book The Very Hungry City: Urban Energy Efficiency and the Economic Fate of Cities, Yale University Press, 2012. The following article that appeared in Slate magazine about biking in Denmark is adapted from Chapter 7 of Austin’s book:

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/the_efficient_planet/2012/11/green_wave_can_the_u_s_embrace_biking_like_denmark_has.html


CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS

Chenin Limback and Arielle Arsenault, both graduate students in Kimberly Wallin’s laboratory, participated in the Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting from November 11-14, in Knoxville, TN.  Chenin presented a poster entitled, "Invertebrate diversity and distribution on the invasive plant garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) and native plants in Vermont campgrounds" and Arielle presented a poster entitled, "Behavioral responses of Laricobius nigrinus (Coleoptera: Derodontidae) and Laricobius nigrinusxLaricobius rubidus hybrids to Adelges tsugae (Hemiptera: Adelgidae) and host tree odors in a 4-way olfactometer."

PhD student, Karen Nordstrom, presented “Action Research in Education for Sustainability at the University of Vermont’s GreenHouse Residential Learning Community” at the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education Conference: Investing In The Future on October 15, 2012.  She also presented “From Local to Global: Immersion Courses for Food Systems and Sustainability at the University of Vermont” at the Association for the Study of Food & Society Conference: Global Gateways and Local Connections: Cities, Agriculture, and the Future of Food Systems on June 22, 2012.

Members of the Rubenstein School and U.S. Forest Service contributed six presentations at the Eastern CANUSA Forest Science Conference at the University of New Hampshire, November 1-3, 2012. This international conference emphasized forest science at the rural-urban interface. Oral presentations related to this topic were made by RSENR faculty members, Jennifer Pontius, William Keeton, and Paul Schaberg, as well as PhD students Joshua Halman and Ali Kosiba. RSENR graduate student Robin Orr also attended. Additionally, the Rubenstein School was elected to host the Eastern CANUSA conference of 2016.

Faculty members Clare Ginger and Marie Vea-Fagnant presented their model for incorporating diversity in the RSENR curriculum at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences in Santa Clara, CA. The title of their presentation was: “Diversity, power, & privilege in a natural resources and environment curriculum.”

Lecturer Amy Seidl presented the keynote lecture "Making Art from Science" at Antioch New England University's Communicating Science Conference in October. The conference is designed to motivate and enable individuals and organizations to more effectively communicate complex scientific information and environmental issues, influence policy initiatives, and foster a just and sustainable society.

Graduate student Katherine Ostroot presented a poster at the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) 2012 Investing in the Future conference in Los Angeles in October.  Her poster was titled "Interpreting Sustainability Initiatives: The ‘Greened’ Aiken Center at the University of Vermont."  Its purpose was to share the objectives and philosophies of a Fall 2011 class taught by Professor Tom Hudspeth.  The class explored interpretive communication skills and developed an interpretive master plan for the building to aid with education.  The poster demonstrated how UVM is a leader in sustainable campus practices and green building design and exhibited the potential that buildings have to be learning tools and hands-on classrooms.

At this fall’s Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education conference, faculty members Walter Poleman and Tom Hudspeth presented on “Place-based Landscape Analysis and Community Engagement.”  At this conference, Tom also presented on “Effectively Interpreting and Communicating about Campus Sustainability Initiatives” (with numerous examples from the “Greened” Aiken Center).  At this fall’s North American Association for Environmental Education conference, Tom presented on “Sustainability Education Combines with Place-based Education in UVM Graduate-level Team-taught Service-learning Integrative Course.”  In November, he also gave a talk entitled “Ecotourism as a Means of Working for Sustainability: Travel-study Courses Emphasizing Community-Based Conservation and Interpretation as a Key Element of Ecotourism Initiatives in Latin America” at Antioch University New England Center for  Tropical Ecology and Conservation Symposium on Ecotourism: Can Tourism, Biodiversity Conservation, and Sustainable Community Development be Merged?

Darrell Ross, Kimberly Wallin, G. Kohler, S. Grubin, and S. Gaimari presented “Leucopis spp. associated with hemlock woolly adelgid in the Pacific Northwest: Potential biological control agents in the East” at the Entomological Society of America Annual meeting in November 2012 in Knoxville, TN.

Kimberly Wallin co-organized with N. Havill and R. Hofstetter to coordinate the Forest Entomology in an Era of Globalization symposium at the Entomological Society of America Annual meeting in Knoxville, TN. Invited national and international scientists presented their research showcasing how forest entomology has proven to not only be critical for preserving natural resources around the world but has also contributed substantially to broad scientific disciplines.


CLASS NOTES

Senior Leahy Aide Visits Class to Discuss Environment

On Monday, October 22nd, students in ENVS 195, Military and the Environment Seminar, were treated to a special visitor. Tim Reiser, senior aide to Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, joined the class to discuss the senator's efforts to address the environmental and human impacts of war, in particular the devastating impacts of landmines around the world and the toxic legacy of Agent Orange in Vietnam.  Senator Leahy has worked tirelessly to address the human and environmental impacts of military activities, in particular through the Leahy War Victims Fund, which he founded in 1989, to support civilians disabled by landmines, unexploded ordnance, and other conflict-related causes. The War Victims Fund expands access to affordable prosthetics and strives to advance the social and political integration of civilian war victims. Senator Leahy also played a critical role in the Ottawa Process that led to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Treaty, which has been signed by 144 nations. Although the U.S. has not joined this treaty, Senator Leahy worked with the Department of Defense to stop the export of mines by the U.S. In addition, the Senator has funded de-mining programs and efforts to assist mine victims. Senator Leahy has also worked to provide funding for efforts to clean up areas in Vietnam contaminated with Agent Orange, as well as provide medical and disability programs for victims.

Mr. Rieser discussed his work on addressing the environmental and human legacies of war with the students, and spoke about the challenges he faced dealing with a recalcitrant Department of Defense, as well as difficulty in making tough calls about budgetary issues. Given Tim Rieser's jam-packed schedule, the students and instructor, Rebecca Pincus were delighted that he was willing to make the trip to UVM to speak, and grateful for the opportunity to get a peek inside the legislative process that addresses important environmental issues.


Biomass to Biofuels Course Student Team Sets up Bioenergy Project at UVM
(cross-listed as ENSC 285, NR 285 & PSS 296)

By Tad Cooke & Erick Crockenberg (CALS '14)

We enrolled in Biomass to Biofuels the spring semester of 2011 as first year undergraduate students. At the time, we were engaged in a grant application to study compost as an energy source for diversified farms. Biomass to Biofuels helped us in several ways. It introduced us to a spectrum of industry experts, provided a framework from which to pursue our grant application and offered us access to faculty and area professionals we might not have otherwise been able to meet or collaborate with.

Two years later, we're working on another biothermal energy project, this time at UVM's Miller Research farm on Spear Street. We're currently in the pilot study phase, sponsored by UVM's Clean Energy Fund, looking at the heat and gas return from aerated static pile compost in closed cell containers. Our ultimate goal is to provide carbon negative greenhouse heat from existing farm feedstocks, but we're at least a year of testing and energy modeling away from constructing a full model.

As we go forward with energy systems research, we continually reference the broad-spectrum of energy technology we were exposed to in the Biomass to Biofuels course. Beyond the content and range of technology covered in the course, the introduction to prominent individuals, businesses and organizations in the Vermont energy community is an invaluable opportunity for UVM students and anyone interested in pursuing the field.

Contact the course Lead Instructor Anju Dahiya (adahiya@uvm.edu) for details about the course and other projects in progress.  The course website is: http://learn.uvm.edu/?Page=biomass_to_biofuels.html