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Department News

Grad returns to liberal arts roots:
Elaine Durr
(2004) has been hired by Elon College (North Carolina) to lead their sustainability initiative.  A certified LEEDS ("green" building) consultant, Elaine will bring her enthusiasm and hard work to this liberal arts school to help them meet sustainability goals in resource and energy use across the campus.  After graduating summa cum laude in environmental science and biology, Elaine completed her Master's degree at the University of South Carolina. 

Recent Grad working in Environmental Education:
Aleks Forsman (2007) appears to have found her niche in environmental education at a 4-H center in Georgia. Aleks has recently completed her training in herpetology (the study of reptiles and amphibians) and ornithology (birds).  From hognose snakes to alligators to gopher tortoises, she is learning how to handle and care for them all while educating the public.  Her latest treat has been learning from the staff how to apply operant conditioning (get our your psychology or animal behavior textbook!) to training wounded raptors such as red-tailed hawks to catch food in flight. 

New "Green Initiatives" course offers students chance to solve environmental problems:
A new course developed by Dr. Cramer for Monmouth College's senior "Citizenship" requirement gives students the opportunity to be directly involved in solving local environmental problems.  Last fall, students in the course researched the feasibility of wind power to partially or completely supply the College with electricity.  Based in part on their research and advocacy, the College may soon sign up to receive nearly all of its electrical power from a new wind farm under development by Warren County that should be up and running by 2010.  Future projects include green buildings, campus-wide expansion of recycling programs, and green/local food initiatives in the cafeteria.

Desert Trip to Grand Canyon and Death Valley:
Dr. Cramer will be leading 8 students on a spring break trip to the Mojave and Great Basin deserts of Nevada and Arizona. A 3-day backpacking excursion down into the bowels of the Grand Canyon will be the highlight of this course while camping and day hiking in Death Valley and Zion National Parks will showcase the diversity of desert landscapes. Designed to give students a true wilderness experience, they will also learn about some of the threats and challenges to managing desert ecosystems in the United States. Explore the Grand Canyon with a slide show.

Recent grad news:
Tom Nagawiecki (2007) entered graduate school at the University of Idaho in the fall of 2007.  Among other things, he'll be working on a campus master plan to reduce their carbon emissions to zero. Emily Zvolanek (2006) completed a one-year post-baccalaureate study at Monmouth learning and teaching others about Geographic Information Systems, or making maps using satellite technology and ARCGIS mapping software.

Environmental Science students travel to fall Bioneers conference:
Emily, Aleks, and Tom accompanied Dr. Cramer to an environmental conference at Southern Illinois Univ. in Carbondale, IL.  Sacrificing half of their fall break was worth it to hear some superb speakers broadcast via satellite to Bioneers locations all over the U.S. Speakers such as Bill McKibben (The End of Nature), David Orr (Ecological Literacy), Michael Ableman, Thom Hartmann, Carolyn Raffensberger (The Precautionary Principle) and other environmental activists and educators inspired the audience. Topics included renewable energy, reforesting Los Angeles, energy efficient buildings, organic farming, public relations, and more. Students also enjoyed staying in rustic cabins in the beautiful hills of the Shawnee forest and dining on great vegan and vegetarian meals from local producers. Cramer enjoyed it so much this will probably become an annual event!  

Changes in the Environmental Science Major implemented fall 2004:
The Environmental Science major has undergone a major curricular overhaul. Now, students will choose from two tracks or concentrations offered in the major, one in science and another in policy. The science concentration offers a full array of introductory and upper-level science courses in biology, chemistry, physics, and math for those students interested in applying science to solving environmental problems. For example, a student would learn the basic chemistry and physics necessary to alleviate groundwater pollution.  Another example would be learning the population biology and ecology essential to constructing a management plan for an endangered species or a commercial fisheries. The policy concentration enables students who are more interested in the social, economic, political and ethical issues surrounding environmental problems and their solutions to prepare for positions in business, government and non-profit groups. More details on the course requirements for the new major and its concentrations can be found under the "Courses" link.

Students participate in summer internships:
Alyson Gary (2004) spent a summer working at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. In addition to maintaining many of the aquaria, she recorded the first observations of captive reproduction in an exotic fish.

Stay up all night listening to bats? That's what Elaine Durr did one summer in Tennessee. Well, actually, a machine did most of the listening while Elaine tried to use the nocturnal calls to identify which species were in the area. Many eastern bats are endangered, and these efforts will help to establish the whereabouts of these vision-impaired bug catchers.

 

 
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