Faculty trio named Leopold Leadership fellows

February 24, 2011

Three Nelson Institute professors are among only 20 academics from across North America chosen this year to participate in a prestigious environmental leadership and communications training program.

Tracey Holloway, Jake Vander Zanden, and Jack Williams have been awarded Leopold Leadership Fellowships for 2011. They will participate in two weeklong training sessions " the first in June, the second in September " on working with policymakers, journalists, business leaders and communities confronting complex decisions about sustainability and the environment. The sessions include mock media interviews and meetings with policymakers in Washington, D.C.

Holloway, an associate professor of environmental studies, atmospheric and oceanic sciences, and civil and environmental engineering, directs the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment. Her research focuses on air quality and links with energy planning, international development, climate change and public health.

Vander Zanden is an associate professor of zoology and environmental studies affiliated with the Center for Limnology, where he studies ecology and management of aquatic invasive species.

Williams is a professor of geography and the Bryson Professor of Climate, People and the Environment in the Nelson Institute Center for Climatic Research. He explores the responses of plant species and communities to the environmental changes of the late Quaternary to understand the sensitivity of vegetation to 21st century climate change.

A fourth Leopold Fellow, Elena Bennett, is a 1999 M.S. alumna of the Nelson Institute's Land Resources Program. She is now an assistant professor of natural resource sciences at McGill University's School of Environment in Montreal, Canada, where she studies ecosystem services and management of agricultural landscapes.

Based at Stanford University's Woods Institute for the Environment and funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Leopold Leadership Program selects up to 20 mid-career academic environmental researchers as fellows each year. They are chosen for their outstanding qualifications as researchers, demonstrated leadership ability and strong interest in communicating beyond traditional academic audiences.

"Academic scientists work hard to understand environmental problems and develop potential solutions, but to actually solve problems requires communication and a two-way flow of information between scientists and decision makers," says Pamela Matson, dean of Stanford's School of Earth Sciences and senior fellow at the Woods Institute. "The Leopold Leadership Program trains academics to close the gap between knowledge and action."