News Archives


December 29, 2016
Tracey Holloway and Other Leading Scientists Offer Scientific Predictions for 2017 with NBC News

This coming year will bring a huge advance in the monitoring of Earth from space. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA worked together on a new geostationary satellite, called GOES-16, that launched in November 2016. Starting in 2017, GOES-16 will provide data almost continuously, improving weather predictions and environmental management.

Satellites are already able to "see" our life-supporting atmosphere in a way that has transformed weather prediction, emergency response and public health. But for measurements of smoke, dust, lightning and other features, GOES-16 will be the first time we have nearly minute-by-minute data. For example, the new satellite will allow us to track forest fire smoke so that people can take measures to protect their health. This near-real-time data will be a huge step forward from current satellites that provide snapshots of these important features only once or twice a day.

Each new satellite offers a treasure trove of data, publicly available to support decision-making of communities and businesses. I'm working with scientists across the country to help ensure that cities, health professionals, weather forecasters — even kids for the science fair — get the maximum benefit from these amazing eyes in the sky.


December 07, 2016
Tyler Lark, PhD candidate, Quoted in Washington Post Article

Tyler Lark, PhD candidate in SAGE, had some great quotes in the Washington Post on the impacts of recent grassland conversion.


December 06, 2016
M.S. Student Olivia Sanderfoot to Give Brownbag Talk

Olivia is working on an exciting topic - the impact of air quality on birds. While we’ve all heard of the “canary in the coal mine," in fact very little is known about the imapcts of air pollution on birds. With funding from a prestigious NSF Graduate Fellowship, Olivia is on track to fill this surprising gap in environmental research. Come hear her latest! 
When: Friday Dec. 9, 12:00 pm
Where: Room 15 Science Hall
Title: A bird's eye view of air pollution: How avian life may be impacted by common ground-level pollutants
Olivia Sanderfoot is a second-year graduate student at the Nelson Institute. She graduated from UW–Madison in May of 2015 with a B.S. degree in biology, Spanish, and environmental studies and is now a pursuing an M.S. degree in Environment & Resources. Olivia is currently studying how birds are impacted by air pollution at the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE), where she is a member of Dr. Tracey Holloway's research group.

November 30, 2016
David Abel Passes M.S. Thesis Defense

David is completing a joint M.S. in the Nelson Institute Environment & Resources program, and the Department of Mechanical Engineering, with a graduate certificate in Energy Analysis and Policy. Over the course of his M.S., David has lead-authored two manuscripts currently in review: one focuses on the response of power plant air emissions to climate and weather (submitted to Nature Geoscience)’ the other quantifies the potential for solar energy to reduce health-damaging particulate matter (undergoing revisions for ERL).  Congratulations, David!

November 04, 2016
Nemet et al (2010) Selected as One of 10 Milestone Papers in the Journal ERL's First Decade

The paper is entitled “Implications of incorporating air-quality co-benefits into climate change policymaking”" and appeared in the January-March 2010 journal Environmental Research Letters. 

Full Citation: Nemet, G.F.T.A. Holloway, and P. Meier (2010), Implications of incorporating air-quality co-benefits into climate change policymaking, Environmental Research Letters, 5 (January-March 2010) 014007, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/5/1/014007.


November 03, 2016
Holly Gibbs Promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure

Congratulations, Holly, on your promotion to Associate Professor with Tenure at UW-Madison!

October 26, 2016
Mutlu Ozdogan Presents Lecture

Wiscland-II: Updating Wisconsin's land cover map for Forest and Wildlife Applications

Friday, Oct 28, 3-4 PM

Rm 184 Russell Labs

Dr. Mutlu Ozdogan



October 19, 2016
Holloway Quoted in a Study About Greenest States

Tracey Holloway included on Expert's List in study done by


October 05, 2016
Gibbs et al (2008) Selected as One of 10 Milestone Papers in the Journal ERL's First Decade

The paper is entitled "Carbon payback times for crop-based biofuel expansion in the tropics: the effects of changing yield and technology" and appeared in the July-September 2008 journal Environmental Research Letters. 

Full Citation: Gibbs, H.K.M. JohnstonJ.A. FoleyT. HollowayC. MonfredaN. Ramankutty, and D. Zaks (2008), Carbon payback times for crop-based biofuel expansion in the tropics: the effects of changing yield and technology, Environmental Research Letters, 3 (July-September 2008) 034001 doi:10.1088/1748-9326/3/3/034001.


September 27, 2016
Jason Vargo & Jonathan Patz Present Africa at Noon Lecture 9/28/16

The lecture “Bike Friendly Bahir Dar” will feature Jason Vargo and Jonathan Patz, Wednesday, Sept 28 at noon, 206 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Drive

September 09, 2016
Holloway Gives Invited Talk at International Atmospheric Chemistry Meeting, 9/26/16

The International Global Atmospheric Chemistry (IGAC) Project 2016 Science Conference is a high profile event that will attract approximately 600 top international scientists, industry leaders, early career scientists from around the world, and representatives from all of the major U.S. funding agencies. The program will include cutting edge results from international atmospheric chemistry research activities. SAGE Professor Tracey Holloway will be speaking on the first day of the conference on “Energy, Air Quality, and Urbanization”.  


August 10, 2016
Let them eat bugs! Sustainability and the future of food -- MIGHTi quoted on NPR

Valerie Stull, SAGE graduate student and co-founder of MIGHTi, holds a fresh plate of mealworm stir-fry.  MIGHTi, a collaborative UW research project, investigates the potential for edible insects such as mealworms to provide a sustainable year-round protein source for food insecure populations that already consume insects.  Stull and her research partner, Rachel Bergmans, are also working to encourage Americans to consider insects.  NPR's Goats and Soda blog recently reached out to MIGHTi during their "Worm Week" to discuss edible worms as a human food source.


August 09, 2016
Congratulations to the Newest SAGE Ph.D., Dr. Alex Karambelas!

Alex’s thsis is entitled “ Examining Energy-Sector Impacts on Ambient Air Pollution in the United States and India Using Models and Observations” and her advisor is Professor Tracey Holloway. Alex earned her B.S. and M.S. in AOS here at UW-Madison, and continued for a Ph.D. in Environment & Resources in the Nelson Institute. She has worked at SAGE as a researcher since she was a junior in college and she has also been a student leader in the Energy Analysis and Policy Certificate Program. Later this month, Alex will be moving to NYC to begin a post-doc at the Columbia University Earth Institute. Congratulations, Alex!

August 08, 2016
Annie Lord Passes Master's Thesis Defense

Congratulations to Annie Lord, who received her MS Degree in Environment and Resources with her thesis entitled, "Precipitating Factors: Examining San Antonio's Water Conservation Success." She is part of the Kucharik lab group. 

July 26, 2016
Tyler Lark Passed his Preliminary Exams!

Tyler successfully defended his prelim proposal today, and is now ready to embark on finishing his PhD research.

July 21, 2016
NASA Names Holloway as National H-AQAST Leader

Tracey Holloway was selected as the Team Lead of a new NASA initiative, the Health and Air Quality Applied Sciences Team (H-AQAST). H-AQAST is a national team, funded by NASA to connect advanced Earth observations with decision-maker needs. 


Tracey will be working with UW-Madison colleagues Jonathan Patz and Steve Ackerman on the project, along with Madison-based NOAA scientist Brad Pierce, and leaders in air quality management at EPA (Kirk Baker) and the Lake Michigan Air Directors Consortium (Rob Kaleel). The mission of H-AQAST is similar to AQAST (for which Holloway served as Deputy Lead), and summarized in this short video.



July 20, 2016
Tyler Lark awarded "Best Oral Presentation” student award at the North American Congress for Conservation Biology (NACCB) meeting

Tyler presented his dissertation research:  Mapping grassland and cropland conversions across the United States. This is a highly competitive award with only one given out for all the student presentations during the entire meeting. Congratulations, Tyler!

June 09, 2016
Holloway Attends Leshner Leadership Institute

Tracey Holloway spends week in June as part of the AAAS Leshner Leadership Institute, kicking off a year-long public engagement fellowship. The new Leshner Leadership Institute and fellowship program convenes mid-career scientists who combine demonstrated leadership and excellence in their research careers with interest in promoting meaningful dialogue between science and society. The intent is to help build their capacity for public engagement leadership. 


May 31, 2016
Capstone Students Create Food Waste Cookbook

Students in an Environmental Studies capstone course taught by Holly Gibbs and Tyler Lark created a recipe book to help people cook with food scraps and leftovers. The cookbook includes 50 recipes and features practical tips to reduce food waste in the kitchen.


May 23, 2016
PhD Student Mallika Nocco Featured in Graduate School Article

Read about Mallika, her journey, and current work in the WI Central Sands where she studies evapotranspiration.


May 10, 2016
Holly Gibbs and Tyler Lark Receive 2016 UW Administrative Improvement Award

Holly Gibbs and Tyler Lark are part of the "UW-Madison Receipt Reduction Team" that was selected to receive the UW's 2016 Administrative Improvement Award. 

In 2013, when cash registers were set to automatically print paper receipts, transactions generated 550 miles of receipts for University Housing’s Dining and Culinary Services and 275 miles of receipts for the Wisconsin Union. However, many customers refused their receipts, which piled up in messy heaps or blew off customer trays to become unsightly litter.

These concerns led former student Rachel Feil to develop a research project on receipt reduction for an environmental studies capstone course before she graduated in 2014. A survey distributed through Associated Students of Madison found that 62 percent of respondents preferred optional receipts and 35 percent wanted no receipts.

Dining and Culinary Services launched a receipt-optional pilot project in Smith Residence Hall. The roll-out required adjusting register settings to no longer print receipts automatically and training student employees to print receipts only for customers who requested them.

Registers in all Dining and Culinary Services facilities and most Wisconsin Union restaurants, markets and cafes are now receipt optional. In the seven months since implementation, the Wisconsin Union has reduced receipt paper usage by 37 percent compared to the same period the previous year, while Dining and Culinary Services has cut its receipt paper purchases by 93 percent.


May 09, 2016
Ticiana Amaral Passes MS Thesis Defense

Ticiana has been studying the evolving role of the Federal Prosecutors in reducing deforestation from expansion of cattle pastures in the Brazilian Amazon. She has made significant contributions to our understanding of these new public policy approaches that leverage supply chain pressures to induce change. Congratulations, Ticiana!

April 07, 2016
Jake Munger Promoted to Assistant Researcher

Jake has been leading cutting edge spatial analysis in the Gibbs Lab at SAGE for the last five years, including finding new ways to track cattle supply chains. He will now take on an even larger leadership role with his promotion to Assistant Researcher!  Congratulations, Jake!

April 07, 2016
Lisa Rausch Promoted to Associate Researcher

Dr. Lisa Rausch joined SAGE three years ago and has been developing novel ways to integrate data from farmer surveys and remote sensing, especially around soy production.  She will no doubt break new ground in her role as Associate Researcher! Congratulations, Lisa!

April 01, 2016
Tracey Holloway Awarded a Vilas Faculty Mid-Career Investigator Award

The Vilas Mid-Career Investigator award is a campus-wide award that recognizes exceptional scholarly accomplishments. It is funded by the William F. Vilas Trust Estate. Congratulations, Tracey!


March 29, 2016
Alex Karambelas Awarded Post-Doc at Columbia University

Almost-complete E&R Ph.D. student Alex Karambelas was recently awarded a post-doc at Columbia University through the Earth Institute. She’ll be working at the intersection of air quality, land use, and public health in India, with the dream-team of advisors of Arlene Fiore (air), Ruth DeFries (land), and Pat Kinney (health). Alex will graduate this summer and move to the Big Apple in August or September. 

March 29, 2016
Olivia Sanderfoot Awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

E&R M.S. student Olivia Sanderfoot awarded the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship! This award will support her research on the response of birds to air quality. The idea of the “canary in the coal mine” suggests that birds are more senstive to air pollution than humans, but we actually know almost nothing about their sensitivity to ambient chemical exposure. Olivia will change that! 

February 29, 2016
Tyler Lark Passes Ph.D. Qualifying Exams

Congratulations to Tyler Lark who passed his Environment & Resources Ph.D. qualifying exams with flying colors today! Tyler will now dive even deeper into his dissertation research focussed on recent and potential agricultural land use change in the U.S.! (aka “Our Future Food- and Fuel-Scapes)


February 10, 2016
Lisa Rausch to Present Talk in Land Tenure Center's Spring Lecture Series

On Tuesday, February 16 at noon in room 301 Agriculture Hall, Lisa  will present "Property arrangements and soy governance in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso: Implications for deforestation-free production". She will discuss her novel field-based observations, shedding light on increases in soy-cattle integration, use of rental properties, and multiple property ownership in the Brazilian Amazon.  Her research highlights how these new, more complex property arrangements may challenge our current approaches to private-sector governance, such as the Soy Moratorium.


February 09, 2016
Jason Vargo Coordinates New "UniverCity Year" Program

The UniverCity Year Program aims to help understaffed municipalities on projects by tapping into faculty expertise and creating educational opportunities for students. UniverCity Year will also examine options to expand senior housing, provide a city-wide Internet service and make the city better for public transit, pedestrians and bicyclists. All of those study needs are currently being incorporated into classwork for the 2016-17 school year. The city of Monona will be the first partnership in the program.


January 15, 2016
Gibbs Receives the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award

The Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award is given annually to six outstanding teachers at the UW-Madison. Prof. Gibbs teaches Geog/EnvSt 309: People, Land and Food, the Environmental Studies Capstone, and an annual graduate seminar on interdisciplinary topics around land change science. Congratulations, Holly!

January 05, 2016
Holloway Honored for Promoting Public Dialogue

Tracey Holloway is the winner of a AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) Public Engagement Fellowship. She is one of 15 chosen to participate in a week of intensive public engagement and science communication training, networking and public engagement plan development in Washington, D.C. in June 2016.