MAY 16, 2019
Inaugural Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies Issue Brief focuses on nitrates
The Nelson Institute Issue Brief summarizes and conveys up-to-date scholarship from across the UW-Madison campus on key issues of environmental concern. This inaugural edition focuses on research related to high nitrate concentrations in groundwater, an issue that impacts rural and urban residents across much of the state. Read more.

MAY 15, 2019
Native Nations_UW Leadership Summit highlights directions for partnerships
Native Nations_UW Leadership Summit highlights directions for partnerships

MAY 14, 2019
Nelson Institute researcher Seth Spawn discusses land-use change and carbon emissions
UW-Madison Geography graduate student and Nelson Institute Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE) researcher, Seth Spawn was recently featured in the Physics World article, Expanding US cropland emits same as 36 new power plants. The article highlights Spawn’s research into land-use change and its impact on carbon emissions. In particular, Spawn has been studying the impact of grassland loss on carbon levels. Grassland can contribute to a significant decrease in carbon emissions as the plants have natural carbon absorption and storage properties. In fact, in 2018 Spawn participated in a study led by The Nature Conservancy which showed that improved maintenance of grassland 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. Read more.

MAY 13, 2019
Nelson Institute Dean helps to lead the Chancellor’s Improving Surface Water and Groundwater Quality event
On Friday, May 3, 2019, Nelson Institute Dean Paul Robbins, Division of Extension Dean Karl Martin, and Director of Extension’s Natural Resources Institute, Tricia Gorby led UW–Madison researchers and Extension representatives in a discussion of water quality during the Chancellor’s Improving Surface Water and Groundwater Quality event. This event included presentations from researchers and leaders across the disciplines, including Nelson Institute Water Resources Management Program Chair Anita Thompson. Read more.

MAY 8, 2019
Leah Horowitz named a 2019 recipient of the Vilas Early Career Investigator Award
Assistant Professor, Leah Horowitz, who holds a joint appointment at the Nelson Institute and School of Human Ecology, has been named a 2019 recipient of the Vilas Early Career Investigator Award. Made possible through the generosity of the Vilas Trust, the award recognizes research and teaching excellence in faculty who are relatively early in their careers. The award will provide Horowitz with $100,000 in flexible funding over two years to be used towards her research with tribes in North and South Dakota, who are facing concerns about their drinking water supplies and sacred places due to multi-million-dollar oil pipelines that pass underneath waterways on their traditional lands.

MAY 8, 2019
Elizabeth Hennessy selected as a 2019-2021 Vilas Associate
Nelson Institute Assistant Professor of History and Environmental Studies, Elizabeth Hennessy has been selected as a 2019-2021 Vilas Associate. Made possible by the Vilas Trustees, this appointment will provide Hennessy with research funding for two years to support a new project on the social and ecological costs of palm oil production in Ecuador. Hennessy plans to study the impact that palm oil production has on the land, labor, and ecology of Ecuador, the sixth largest global producer of palm oil. In particular, she will examine how global markets have reshaped patterns of land tenure, what the local concerns are regarding palm plantations, and how these issues can be addressed. "This is a generous grant that will allow me to do a great deal of preliminary research and gather data,” Hennessy said. "Most of the research that has been done on palm oil has focused on large plantations in Southeast Asia, which is where the majority of palm oil is produced, but I am interested in palm oil production in Ecuador and how it differs from these large-scale palm oil plantations. Eighty-seven percent of palm oil production in Ecuador is done by small holders, which has major implications for peasant livelihoods in addition to ecological impacts.”

MAY 7, 2019
Nelson Institute graduate student receives a Graduate Student Summer Fieldwork Award
Nelson Institute graduate student, Deepika Guruprasad recently received the Graduate Student Summer Fieldwork Award, from the UW-Madison Institute for Regional and International Studies (IRIS). This $3,000 award will support Guruprasad’s fieldwork in India along the Nethravathi River basin.

MAY 6, 2019
Nelson Institute associate professor featured in the Fueling Discovery series
Holly Gibbs, an associate professor in the Department of Geography and the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, was featured in the Wisconsin State Journal series Fueling Discovery: A closer look at the UW College of Letters & Science. The article, titled, "The Wisconsin Idea reaches into rainforests worldwide,” discusses her research into how human land-use change has transformed the world. In particular, Gibbs highlights her research into how energy policies and food needs have impacted land in the U.S. and areas such as the Brazilian Amazon rainforest.

MAY 1, 2019
Nelson Institute graduate student to assist with international BioBlitz Event
Event Details: From May 11 through June 23, 2019 citizen-scientists and golfers from around the world will participate in the Audubon International’s annual BioBlitz, a species counting competition open to the public. The Blackhawk Country Club Golf Course will host a BioBlitz event on Saturday, June 1, 2019. The free event is open to Shorewood Hills Residents, as well as country club members, and students from the Nelson Institute of Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. There will be two sessions on the day of the event: Sunrise- 7:30 a.m. and 5:30-7:30 p.m.

APRIL 30, 2019
The Year of the Environment Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Nelson Institute and Earth Day
The Year of the Environment Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Nelson Institute and Earth Day On Monday, April 22, 2019, the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies launched the Year of the Environment, a year-long celebration recognizing the 50th anniversary of the Nelson Institute and the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. The launch took place at the annual Earth Day Conference, where former Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold and former Wisconsin Congressman Thomas Petri opened the event with a special conversation regarding the bi-partisan efforts that led to the development of Earth Day, including those of Earth Day founder and Nelson Institute namesake, Gaylord Nelson. Former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson also addressed the audience via a pre-recorded video message. Over the next year, the Nelson Institute invites you to join us in commemorating these milestones by participating in celebrations, special events, and public lectures, which can be viewed here. We also invite you to become a part of the Earth Day legacy by making a gift in honor of the upcoming 50th anniversary. Your support will ensure that the Nelson Institute remains a vibrant, active, intellectual, and community-centric hub. It will also allow us to continue to pursue new opportunities, address strategic priorities, and enhance and expand our teaching, research, and public service roles, including the Earth Day Conference. Gifts in any amount are needed and appreciated!

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