News Archives


December 17, 2015
Congratulations to SAGE's newest PhD - Dr. Caitlin Kontgis!

Caitlin successfully defended her thesis "Land cover, land use, and climate change impacts on agriculture in Southern Vietnam". Her advisor is Dr. Annemarie Schneider.

December 08, 2015
Gibbs Receives $1.7 M NORAD Grant

The grant entitled “The Zero-Deforestation Revolution: Breaking the link Between Commodity Agriculture and Forest Loss”, is in collaboration with the National Wildlife Federation and Climate Advisors that provides ~$8,500,000 total funding with ~$1,700,000 to the Gibbs Lab. This grant will further efforts to better understand the outcomes from supply chain interventions aiming to reduce deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon and Cerrado biomes, as well as across Latin America.

November 30, 2015
Patz Participates in Live Panel Discussion from Paris Climate Summit

Jonathan Patz is in Paris participating in the United Nations Conference on Climate Change where nations are expected to ratify a new universal climate change agreement that will lower carbon emissions.

On Thursday Dec 3, 10:30am Central Time, there will be a panel discussion moderated by Nelson Institute Director Paul Robbins (in Madison) and  Jonathan Patz and other UW professors (in Paris).


November 24, 2015
Gibbs Receives $2.1M Moore Foundation Grant

Holly Gibbs recieves a $2.1M grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation for her proposal “Strengthening Zero-Deforestation Commitments for Beef and Soy in the Brazilian Amazon and Cerrado”. Congratulations, Holly!

November 22, 2015
Nocco wins Oral Lightning and Poster Competition

Mallika Nocco, PhD student in the Kucharik lab, was awarded first place in the Student Oral Lightning and Poster Competition, in the soil physics/hydrology section at the annual Soils/Crop/Agronomy meetings in Minneapolis. The award carries a $300 cash prize and a book of 200 soil physics problems!  Students were judged equally on their lightening talk and their poster. Congratulations, Mallika!

November 11, 2015
Post-Doc Position Available in Gibbs Lab

The Gibbs Land Use and Environment Lab (GLUE) has an opening for a post-doctoral scientist to join a larger project assessing the response to supply chain governance efforts to reduce deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon and Cerrado biomes (e.g., Soy Moratorium and Zero-Deforestation Cattle Agreements).


November 11, 2015
Graduate Student Openings in Gibbs Lab

The Gibbs Land Use and Environment Lab (GLUE) has openings for two graduate students to join a larger project assessing the response to supply chain governance efforts to reduce deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon and Cerrado biomes (e.g., Soy Moratorium and Zero-Deforestation Cattle Agreements).


October 30, 2015
Patz Receives American Public Health Association award

The American Public Health Association (APHA) will recognize University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor Jonathan Patz’s pioneering work in climate change and health when he receives the Homer Calver Award on Monday, November 2, at the association’s annual conference.


October 07, 2015
Tyler Lark Gives Presentation at the American Grasslands Conference, Sept 29 - Oct 1, 2015

Tyler Lark presented "Grassland Conversion Across the United States: Current status, impacts, and poicy implications". The conference was co-hosted by the National Wildlife Federation, Colorado State University, and Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory and brought together researchers, natural resource professionals, farmers and ranchers, policy experts and conservationists to discuss relevant issues related to the conservation of North America’s grasslands.


October 06, 2015
Annemarie Schneider to participate in Flash Talk Event at the 2015 Wisconsin Science Festival

Annemarie Schneider will join an exciting group of university faculty in Global Wisconsin Idea “flash talks.” This event will be held Thursday, Oct. 22, at 2:30 p.m. at the Discovery Building, 330 N. Orchard Street. More than a half dozen scientists working on some of the world's most pressing problems will share their groundbreaking work in five-minute flash talks.

October 06, 2015
Chris Kucharik and Post Doc Jason Schatz Research Featured in UW News

The study, published last week in the journal Environmental Research Letters, found heat waves hit urban areas hardest, shedding light on what a future with more extreme summers might mean for the world's growing population of urbanites.


September 30, 2015
Jason Vargo Presents EPA Webcast "Improving Heat Health Resilience through Urban Infrastructure Planning and Design"

The EPA holds free, national, urban heat island (UHI) webcasts. Prior to 2008, these meetings were held via conference call. Through these webcasts, and former conference calls, stakeholders from around the country inform each other of their urban heat island-related work. Scientists, practitioners, industry representatives, and government officials and staff all participate.


September 29, 2015
Caitlin Kontgis Presents Live NASA Webinar "Mapping Peri-Urbanization in the Greater Ho Chi Minh City Region"

PhD candidate Caitlin Kontgis is part of the Fall 2015 LCLUC (Land Use Land Cover Change) NASA Webinar Series "Urban Transitions" which focusses on detection and monitoring of land-cover and land-use changes. These webinar projects contribute to the revised science questions identified in the Land Use Land Cover Change theme of the 2003 U.S. Climate Change Science Program Strategic Plan: "What observations and methods are needed to quantitatively characterize historic and current land-use and land-cover dynamics - that influence the sustainability of human societies and the environment?" and "What are the primary drivers and processes of land-use and land-cover change - and how do they interact?".

September 08, 2015
Holloway Named Inaugural Fellow of AAAS Leshner Leadership Institute

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) announced Tracey Holloway has been named an inaugural Public Engagement Fellow of the Alan I. Leshner Leadership Institute for Public Engagement with Science. Tracey is one of three fellows announced early to the program. Another 12 will be named in December 2015. Congratulations, Tracey!


September 01, 2015
PhD Student Caitlin Kontgis' paper published in Remote Sensing of Environment

"Mapping rice paddy extent and intensification in the Vietnamese Mekong River Delta with dense time stacks of Landsat data" focuses on the development of a new change detection method involving dense time stacks of Landsat (30-m) satellite data to monitor changes in rice paddy area as well as shifts in the number of annual harvests for two time points (circa 2000, circa 2010) in the Mekong Delta.  The results suggest that  rice has intensified in the region from 2000 to 2010, with triple-cropped fields expanding from approximately 34% to 62% of rice paddy agriculture.


August 19, 2015
Jason Vargo Selected as 2015 "Badger Bioneer"

Congratulations to Jason Vargo for being selected as one of three Sustain Dane Badger Bioneers for 2015 honoring local thinkers and doers actively working to lead the Madison Region to a more sustainable future. Jason will be recognized at the Badger Bioneers November 10th event at Union South.


August 14, 2015
Jason Vargo Publishes "Bicyclist Deaths Associated with Motor Vehicle Traffic — United States, 1975–2012"

The article received press covereage at both and


July 23, 2015
Congratulations to SAGE's newest PhD - Dr. Yang Yang!

Yang successfully defended her thesis "The Impact of Land Cover and Land Use Changes on the Hydrological Cycle of the Tarim Basin, NW China". Her advisor was Dr. Mutlu Ozdogan.  This fall, Yang will head to USDA ARS Remote Sensing and Hydrology Lab in Beltsville MD to start her postdoc. Congratulations, Yang!

July 20, 2015
Mutlu Ozdogan hosted workshop on Global Food Security

Mutlu Ozdogan hosted the sixth workshop on Global Food Security – Support Analysis Data @ 30m (GFSAD30). Using satellite data and special software, the NASA-funded GFSAD30 project will document cropland changes from 1990 to 2017 to provide a record of water use, crop type and productivity, cropping intensity and other information vital to global food security.


June 24, 2015 · uw news
Gary Radloff report released

Radloff, the director of Midwest Energy Policy Analysis at the Wisconsin Energy Institute, says current state and national policies may be inadequate to achieve stated U.S. goals to reduce greenhouse gases and develop sustainable clean energy solutions. His work is exploring a way to identify policies that will best promote a more resilient electric power sector, a cleaner environment, and increased economic opportunity. Read the full version of Radloff's research report


June 19, 2015 · uw news
New Book Edited by Jonathan Patz

A new book "Climate Change and Public Health" edited by Barry S. Levy and Jonathan Patz will be released by Oxford University Press the week of June 22, 2015. This book addresses climate change and its adverse health consequences, and what can be done to adapt to climate change and mitigate the greenhouse gas emissions that are the primary causes of climate change. It is intended primarily for mid-career professionals and students in public health and environmental sciences, although professionals and students in many other fields will find it to be informative and useful.

June 01, 2015
Patz To Hold New John P. Holton Chair in Health and the Environment

“In light of the current climate crisis and its impact on all aspects of health, John Holton’s gift is timely and will accelerate concerted cross-disciplinary work required to confront global environmental health challenges,” says Jonathan Patz.
Donor John Holton is a healthcare entrepreneur who holds degrees from UW-Madison.


May 12, 2015
Gibbs' Study Published in the Journal Conservation Letters

Holly Gibbs' new study published in the journal Conservation Letters highlights the response of JBS slaughterhouses and ranchers to the Zero-Deforestation Cattle Agreements in the Brazilian Amazon state of Pará. These agreements were signed starting in 2009, and now include 2/3 of federally inspected slaughterhouses in the Legal Amazon. The study was led by a team of colleagues in the U.S. and Brazil including the National Wildlife Federation and Imazon.

Summary of findings:

  • Slaughterhouses significantly changed purchase criteria, and now avoid buying from ranches with deforestation (36% of suppliers with deforestation before agreements, down to 4% after the agreements)
  • Supplying ranchers quickly registered their property boundaries with the rural environmental registry (CAR) within months of the agreements (2-3 years prior to neighboring properties)
  • Ranchers selling to JBS after the agreements had 50% lower deforestation rates than those selling only prior to the agreements.
  • Despite these achievements, the outcomes for forest conservation are limited by the narrow scope of the agreements, which opens the door to laundering and leakage.

Among the solutions: i) monitoring systems for all slaughterhouses; ii) expand to include all ranches in the supply chain including including calving and breeding ranches; iii) and continued investment in the quality and transparency of public information by the cattle industry and government.


May 04, 2015 · uw news
Patz: Climate Change is a Health Threat

Jonathan Patz co-authored an op-ed published on "Doctors are already seeing links between climate change and their patients’ health"


April 29, 2015 · uw news
Patz and Vargo Featured on Huffington Post

Read the Huffington Post Blog by Jonathan Patz and Jason Vargo "Sustainable Cities Work for Climate Change"


April 25, 2015
Grabow Awarded SMPH Fellowship

Maggie Grabow has won a fellowship in the UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health to work on mindfulness and climate change (a project linking human behavior and actions toward low-carbon lifestyle).

April 25, 2015
Stull Wins Fulbright

Valerie Stull won a Fulbright Student Award for her dissertation on meal-worms and sustainable agriculture and nutrition.

April 09, 2015
Gibbs Nominated for Teaching Honor

Holly Gibbs was nominated as an Honored Instructor by the University Housing Academic Initiatives for her work in teaching Geog/Env St 309.

April 09, 2015
Schneider Promoted to Associate Professor

Congratulations to Professor Annemarie Schneider on her promotion to associate professor with tenure.

April 06, 2015 · uw news
The Environmental Cost of Corn

Tyler Lark discusses findings about contemporary cropland expansion in the U.S. from a paper co-authored with SAGE's Meghan Salmon and Holly Gibbs.


March 30, 2015
Karambelas to Attend Young Scientist Summer Program in Vienna

Alex Karambelas was accepted into the prestigious Young Scientist Summer Program (YSSP) at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Vienna, Austria. Karambelas will spend three months at IIASA this summer, using computer models of air quality to examine the interaction of rural and urban air pollution sources across South Asia.


March 30, 2015
Karambelas Completes Environment and Resources Qualifying Exams

Congratulations to Alex Karambelas on successful completion of her qualifying exams in the Nelson Institute Environment and Resources program.

March 28, 2015 · uw news
UW Alums' Technology Firm SnowShoe Makes Tracks to Angel Investors

SAGE alumni Claus Moberg and Jami Morton discuss their startup SnowShoe.


March 06, 2015 · uw news
SAGE Alums Honored with Nelson Institute Alumni Award

Jami Morton, Claus Moberg, and Matt Luedke have been named recipients of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies’ second annual alumni awards, established in 2014 to spotlight the accomplishments of the institute’s nearly 4,000 alumni.


March 06, 2015 · uw news
Asia's Cities Swell as Population Surges

Associate Professor, Annemarie Schneider's article on the population boom in Asia was highlighted in Science magazine.