NOVEMBER 14, 2018
New Study Reveals Natural Landscapes Can Help Fight Climate Change
The lush grasslands and natural landscapes of the United States may be the key to fighting climate change, according to a new study that features research from the University of Wisconsin—Madison. Published in Science Advances, the study shows that low-cost, natural climate solutions that encourage the growth and retention of grasslands, wetlands, and forests, can contribute to a significant decrease in carbon emissions. In fact, thanks to the natural carbon absorption and storage properties of the plants found in these natural areas, the study estimates that improved maintenance of this land would allow for the annual absorption of one fifth of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, which is equivalent to emissions from all U.S. vehicles.
NOVEMBER 8, 2018
New faculty team to collaborate with Native Nations
The University of Wisconsin—Madison School of Nursing, School of Human Ecology, and Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies are currently searching for three new faculty members who are interested in creating meaningful and mutually beneficial partnerships with tribal communities and sovereign Native Nations through interdisciplinary research and outreach. While each school has a unique set of requirements for applicants, candidates with diverse academic backgrounds who enjoy collaborative research are encouraged to apply. In fact, the three new hires will join members of the UW-Madison American Indian Studies Program, the Native Nations_UW Working Group, and a number of other faculty and staff in ongoing efforts to develop collaborative programs with Native Nations and tribal communities.
NOVEMBER 6, 2018
Food as a Form of Freedom
Growing up in the city of Detroit, Nelson Institute assistant professor of Environmental Justice, Monica White, can remember the pride she felt for her family’s garden. Whether it was the warm, vine-ripened tomatoes from her Grandmother’s indoor container garden, or the fresh, crisp vegetables from her Father’s backyard plot, White saw that agriculture promoted freedom, health, and a sense of community. For White, this connection between food and the Black community began to grow into a research interest as she watched the urban agriculture movement expand. Throughout her research, she saw that Black communities often used the connection between food production and community-based food systems to bring people together. This fascination led to exploration, which led to a greater understanding of the role agriculture and food plays in a community’s success and their efforts toward community health and wellness. This December, her interest is coming full circle as she releases her first single-authored book, Freedom Farmers: Agricultural Resistance and the Black Freedom Movement.
OCTOBER 29, 2018
Envisioning a Healthy Planet for the Future
In 1992, the Union of Concerned Scientists and more than 1,700 other independent scientists wrote and signed the "World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity” to inform humankind of future environmental harm that would result from anthropogenic changes. Now, 25 years later, over 20,000 scientists have signed onto the second "Warning to Humanity” notice, including Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies Professor Adrian Treves, who felt that future generations were being robbed of their right to a healthy environment.
OCTOBER 25, 2018
Guardian of the Glen
Nearly three hundred years ago, wolves roamed the lush forests and glens of the Scottish Highlands, but today, many of those lush forests are gone as are the wolves that called them home. The loss of this apex predator has led to an upsurge in the red deer population and a cascading effect on the ecosystem balance. While the reintroduction of wolves to Scotland remains a controversial topic, Paul Lister, a conservationist and owner of the 23,000 acre Alladale Wilderness Reserve near Inverness, Scotland has been developing plans to reintroduce the wolf to his property. As a part of this mission, he has enlisted the help of experts and scientists from around the globe, including Nelson Institute Environmental Conservation graduate, Autumn Nielsen. In fact, Nielsen spent her summer working with wolf expert, Cristina Eisenberg and the EarthWatch Institute on a baseline research study at Alladale Wilderness Reserve to determine the impact wolves would have on the property. The project was a part of her final professional project with the Nelson Institute Environmental Conservation Professional Master’s program, which is an accelerated learning program that is working to prepare conservation professionals to solve some of the most urgent challenges in biodiversity conservation and environmental protection.
OCTOBER 17, 2018
A Transformational Education
Growing up in a rural, Liberian village during wartime made it difficult for Emmanuel Urey to secure an education. From a young age, he dreamed of attending school, but he didn’t have the opportunity until the war forced his family into neighboring Guinea, where he was able to begin elementary school at the age of 13. Despite these early challenges, Urey went on to attend college, earning two Master’s degrees and graduating with his Ph.D. in Environmental Resources from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Nelson Institute in May 2018. Today, Urey has returned to Liberia, where he is working to increase educational opportunities and land rights through his work with Landesa, the Salvation Army Polytechnic (T-SAP) school and his own nonprofit, One Life Liberia. Through it all, Urey is determined to use what he’s learned and the connections he’s made at the Nelson Institute to improve the lives of those in his "beloved country” of Liberia.
OCTOBER 11, 2018
This summer, Nelson Institute graduate student, David Abel, strengthened a UW-Madison legacy by joining some of the most celebrated scholars in the world at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria as a part of their Young Scientists Summer Program (YSSP). Since the inception of IIASA in 1972, UW-Madison students and faculty have been participating in its programing and collaborating with the politically independent Institute, which was originally established to promote scientific cooperation between the East and the West during the Cold War. Today, IIASA continues to be free from political or national self-interest, working with scientists from all around the world and conducting policy-oriented research on topics such as global health, greenhouse gasses, and energy, which is the focus of Abel’s work.
OCTOBER 5, 2018
A Wild and Scenic Legacy
From the blue-green pools of the Salmon River in Alaska to the rugged shores of the Rio Grande in Texas, the United States is home to thousands of miles of free-flowing rivers that showcase the natural, cultural, and recreational value of the country’s waterways. Protecting these waterways was a personal and political passion for Nelson Institute namesake and U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, who grew up in Wisconsin near rivers like the St. Croix. In fact, Nelson was the driving force behind the development of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act that sought protection for the country’s most critical rivers. This year, marks the 50th anniversary of the Act, which will be celebrated at the 2018 Nelson Institute Jordahl Lecture on Wednesday, October 17, where photographer, river conservationist and author of Wild and Scenic Rivers: An American Legacy, Tim Palmer will speak about the history of the Act and the significance of this growing river system.
OCTOBER 1, 2018
An Inspirational Education
Nicolle Zellner, (1993) B.S. Physics and Astronomy, Nelson Institute environmental studies undergraduate certificate (ESC), UW-Madison M.S. and Ph.D. in Physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic institute, NY While her professional credits include being a part of the STS-67 shuttle mission ground crew and working with lunar samples that the Apollo astronauts brought to earth, University of Wisconsin-Madison alumna, Nicolle Zellner says some of her most profound lessons occurred during her time as a Nelson Institute environmental studies undergraduate certificate student. It was there that Zellner said she learned how to apply her knowledge of physics and astronomy in solving environmental and societal issues. It was also where Zellner found a community of experts and peers who shared her passion for knowledge.
SEPTEMBER 5, 2018
UW-Madison Climate Expert Receives Prestigious NOAA Grant to Study the Great Lakes Region
The Great Lakes are an epicenter for power production, commerce, recreation, and so much more, but research suggests that they are also becoming a hotbed for climate change. In fact, research from the past two decades has shown intense weather extremes and fluctuations in the area, a trend Michael Notaro, associate director of the Nelson Institute Center for Climatic Research (CCR), will help to investigate through a three-year grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Modeling, Analysis, Predictions, and Projections (MAPP) Program.