University of Vermont

  • environmental leaders

    "I learned a lot while I was in Alaska—everything from identifying tundra vegetation to what to do if a bear attacks." — Genna Waldvogel

    Genna WaldvogelEnvironmental sciences major, intern at Alaska field station, conductor of research project on seasons and streams. More about Genna >>

  • environmental leaders

    "I felt a strong sense of community in RSENR." — Kelsey Head

    Kelsey Head Environmental studies major, student educator with the UVM Watershed Alliance, creator of environmental curriculum for young people, intern, volunteer coordinator. More about Kelsey >>

  • environmental leaders

    "I directly contributed to the outcome of the project." — Joshua Carrera

    Joshua Carrera Natural resources major, social activist, co-creator of online course, participant in travel study to Costa Rica, Brazil, Ecuador and beyond, delegate. More about Joshua >>

  • environmental leaders

    " I was looking to learn and broaden my experience in the wildlife biology and education fields." — Flavio Sutti, Ph.D. student

    Flavio SuttiPh.D. candidate in natural resources, Consultant biologist in Italy, master in wildlife biology, researching landscape context as a framework for agricultural systems. More about Flavio >>

  • environmental leaders

    "I care deeply about forests, and I have come to care passionately about working with horses in the woods." — Ethan Tapper

    Ethan TapperForestry major, horse logging intern studying forest management and impact of horses working in the woods. More about Ethan >>

The Rubenstein School offers exciting, hands-on environmental programs that integrate natural sciences and social perspectives. Our small, close-knit community challenges students to discover knowledge, skills, and values to become innovative, environmentally-responsible leaders. More about our School...

Academic Programs

 Undergraduate Majors
 Undergraduate Minors
  • Environmental Studies
  • Forestry
  • Geospatial Technologies
  • Parks, Recreation and Tourism
  • Wildlife Biology
 Graduate Degrees, Concentrations & Certificates



Monday November 3, 2014
Ken Nolan, Manager of Power Resources, Burlington Electric Department
Jennifer Green, Legacy Project and Sustainability Coordinator, City of Burlington
Emily Boedecker, Executive Director of Local Motion, Burlington

The Story of Burlington, Vermont: Electricity, Transportation, & Housing

Ken Nolan is the Manager of Power Resources, responsible for long range planning, power procurement, load forecasting, rate design, and energy efficiency verification and reporting. He has been with the Department since 1998. Prior to joining the Department, Mr. Nolan spent 11 years at the Vermont Public Power Supply Authority, a joint action agency serving Vermont’s 14 smallest municipal utilities. Mr. Nolan received a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Vermont in 1988, and a Certificate in Public Utility Management from the Northeast Public Power Association in 1995. Presently he is a member of the Board of Directors of Renewable Energy Vermont and VEPP Inc.

Jennifer Green serves as Burlington’s Sustainability Coordinator, which includes facilitating and overseeing efforts related to the city’s climate action plan and greenhouse reduction goals. Jennifer’s background includes over 20 years of community development and environmental management experience, including work on gender and resource use, national and local level environmental planning, and environmental management with the Peace Corps, CARE International, and the World Resources Institute. Shortly after moving to Burlington in 1999, she consulted with the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation and later Efficiency Vermont. Jennifer is a co-founder of the New England Municipal Sustainability Network and an active member on the Urban
Sustainability Director’s Network.

Emily joined Local Motion in March 2014, as the second person to occupy the Executive Director chair vacated by co-founder Chapin Spencer. After growing up in the gentle hills of England, Emily has moved from mountain range to mountain range, from the Alps to the Sierra Nevada’s and now the Greens, pursuing every opportunity to be outdoors. Among the vital equipment she shares with her husband there are four bikes, three boats, multiple pairs of skis and an eclectic range of footwear suitable for all six of Vermont’s seasons. Prior to her arrival at Local Motion, Emily spent the last decade with The Nature Conservancy of Vermont in various marketing, fundraising and managerial capacities including most recently as Acting State Director. During what she describes as her first career, she worked in a variety of marketing, business development and partner management role in France and California for Hewlett-Packard and VeriFone.
Tuesday November 4, 2014
Fixed versus plastic partial migration of the aquatic macroinvertebrate, Mysis diluviana, in Lake Champlain

By Peter Euclide

Seminar: 9:30, 103 Aiken
Defense: 10:30, 103 Aiken

Jason D. Stockwell, Ph.D., RSENR, Advisor
Sara Helms Cahan, Ph.D., Department of Biology, Chair
Ellen J. Marsden, Ph.D., RSENR

Sture Hannsson, Ph.D., Dept. Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences, Stockholm University

Partial migration, whereby populations consist of residents and migrants, is common among migrating organisms. Partial migration of aquatic organisms, however, remains largely under-studied even though many aquatic animals exhibit horizontal and vertical migrations during their lifetime. Macroinvertebrates of the genus Mysis exhibit diel vertical migrations (DVM). Some species have recently been observed to exhibit partial diel migrations where some individuals reside on the bottom throughout the night while others migrate into the water column. To test the hypothesis that individuals are fixed as residents or migrants, we compared demographic information and C and N isotope compositions of M. diluviana caught at night in pelagic and benthic regions of Lake Champlain. Our results suggest there are two distinct ecotypes of M. diluviana separated by migration behavior. The migrating ecotype was smaller than the resident ecotype and enriched in d13C and d15N while the resident ecotype had a higher C:N ratio. Because we did not allow for gut evacuation prior to our analyses, we conducted a follow-up experiment to test the effect of gut content on isotope composition of M. diluviana. The experiments confirmed that differences between benthic- and pelagic-caught M. diluviana were not a result of gut contents at the time of capture. Fixed partial migration behavior in M. diluviana in Lake Champlain in autumn indicates that DVM of M. diluviana may be more complex than previously thought. Additionally, partially migrating Mysis spp. may represent a model study organism to test hypotheses about the causes and consequences of partial DVM behavior in aquatic invertebrates.
Collaboration and Conflict in the Adirondack Park: An Analysis of Conservation Discourses Over Time

By Jeffrey M. O’Donnell

Seminar: 1:30 pm, Aiken 311
Defense: 2:30 pm, Aiken 311

Dr. Patricia A. Stokowski, Professor, RSENR, Advisor
Dr. Kieran M. Killeen, Associate Professor, Education and Social Services, Chair
Dr. Jon D. Erickson, Professor, RSENR

The role of collaboration within conservation is of increasing interest to scholars, managers and forest communities. Collaboration can take many forms, but one under-studied topic is the form and content of public discourses across conservation project timelines. To understand the discursive processes that influence conservation decision-making, this research evaluates the use of collaborative rhetoric and claims about place within discourses of conservation in the Adirondacks. Local newspaper articles and editorials published from January 1996 to December 2013 and concerning six major conservation projects were studied using content analysis. Results show that collaborative rhetoric increased during the study period, and conflict discourses declined, in concert with the rise of collaborative planning efforts. Data also show an increasing convergence between conservation sponsors and local communities regarding the economic benefits of conservation and the importance of public participation. The study has value in examining representations of place and media claims-making strategies within conservation discourses, an important topic as natural resource managers increasingly embrace community-based natural resource management.
UVM Dan and Carole Burack President's Distinguished Lecture Series with

Kelly Clifton, PhD, Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering and Director of the Oregon Modeling Collaborative, Portland State University

Do Local Businesses Cash in from Green Transportation?

Sugar Maple Ballroom, Davis Center

Receptioin immediately following. Hosted by the UVM Transportation Research Center.
Early Adoption Dynamics of Private Governance Initiatives: A Case Study of the Marine Cultured-Pearl Industry

By Julie Nash

Seminar: 5:00 p.m., Aiken 311
Defense: 6:00 p.m., Aiken 311

Saleem Ali, Professor, RSENR, Co-Advisor
Clare Ginger, Professor, RSENR, Co-Advisor
Christopher Koliba, Professor, CDAE, Chair
Jon Erickson, Professor, RSENR

In the last decade, private sustainability governance initiatives have flourished resulting in a diversity of formats including third-party certification, consumer product transparency systems, and industry roundtables. In many industries, these initiatives compete to define the transformation and evolution of sustainability governance. This dissertation draws on a case study of the marine cultured pearl industry to highlight the early adoption dynamics of these initiatives. This industry provides an illuminating case study for adoption of private governance initiatives based on the potential strength of the positive environmental impact and farm presence in ecologically vulnerable coral reefs areas. Yet despite these strengths, no formal initiatives have developed.

This research explores the early adoption of private governance initiatives through a mixed-methodological approach. The first study, a quantitative survey of US jewelry consumers, examines the impacts of environmental messages on perceptions of luxury value. The second study assesses the effect of network legitimacy on producer interest in these initiatives. The final study investigates the impact of value-chain structure on these competing initiatives.

The research results highlight distinctions between the rival initiatives. The US jewelry consumer research shows that consumer messages featuring positive impacts on coral reefs outperform third-party certification on luxury attributes. The marine cultured-pearl producer research highlights the network legitimacy advantages of consumer product transparency systems when compared to third-party certifications. The value chain research indicates that, when compared to third-party certifications, consumer product transparency systems have inherent characteristics that provide an advantage in addressing producer upgrading opportunities and small producer participation. Results from each of the three studies highlight the potential advantages of consumer product transparency systems over third party certifications initiatives.
Wednesday November 5, 2014
The symposium will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the UVM Natural Areas program and will be held on in the Livak Ballroom, at the University of Vermont’s Davis Center. The event is free and open to the public.

The event will feature posters, exhibits, and talks by students, faculty, and scientists — both from within UVM and also from other institutions.

More Events > >

RSENR on the Move

Watch our community in action at UVM, in Vermont, and around the world.

Learn about the George D. Aiken Center, our LEED Platinum home and learning hub for ecological design. Then check out the Aiken Eco-Machine.

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