Weekly Update: Contest Winners, Roof Garden, Graduation and more...

May 4, 2016

A weekly roundup of what's new and noteworthy around the Nicholas School

Hi Everyone

Been up on the roof of Environment Hall lately? If not, you should go. Not only are the views good, you can see the results of hard work from Elissa Tikalsky, Alex Klonick, Laura Marie Davis, Eleanor Johnstone and everyone else involved in the GROW team this year.There is even a group of community plot members headed by Ann ThurstonNancy Kelly and Jeanne Ryan. The rooftop gardens look terrific, and make for a nice place to hang out, whether you just need a break or want to hold a meeting outside. Maybe take your portable screen of choice and go read the rest of this week’s news up there! 


  1. Colby Loucks MEM'96 took the grand prize in the "I am Duke Environment" spring contest. His photo (shown above), taken by James Morgan/WWF US, shows Colby training Mara Conservancy staff in how to prevent nighttime poaching. Colby is senior director of the WWF's Wildlife Conservation Technology Project. See our other winners here.
  2. A new study by Ana Barros shows that hurricanes promote carbon uptake in Southeastern forests. Using a hydrological computer model to simulate the ecological effects of rainfall from tropical systems that struck the Southeast between 2004 and 2007, Ana and her team found that the increase in forest photosynthesis and growth made possible by the storms captured hundreds of times more carbon than all vehicles in the United States emit in an average year. You can learn more here.
  3. MEM students Brianna Elliott MEM ’17 (CEM) Janet Larsen DEL-MEM ’17, and Nathan Walker MEM’17 (ESC) have been named this year’s Alumni Council Fellows. The competitive $4,000 fellowships are awarded annually by our Alumni Council to students who demonstrate exemplary leadership, character, and career preparation. As fellows, Brianna, Janet and Nathan will work with the Alumni Council to develop activities that promote greater engagement between alums and students in the coming year.  
  4. Student Services has launched a new go-to site for graduation info that brings together the most current news and details – including graduation requirements, action items and schedules – that graduating students need to know relating to the upcoming big day. Also, when you post your graduation photos on social media, remember to use the tag #NewNicAlumni so we can share them on our Instagram and Facebook feeds.
  5. A contingent of Nic School faculty and students are heading to Duke Kunshan University this week to take part in the third major environmental conference we’ve organized there this year. The topic is biodiversity conservation. Researchers, conservationists, business leaders and policy experts from China, the U.S. the U.K. and Singapore are slated to present at the conference, which runs May 7-8. Learn more here
  6. Student teams recently competed in the finals of two national competitionsHoel Wiesner, Mike DeNoia,  Kate Buczek and Eleanor Johnstone won 2nd  place in the Future of Transportation Case Competition on April 29 in San Francisco for their proposal to use e-vehicle and e-highway technologies to shift the U.S. transportation system toward a cleaner and more efficient fuel economy. Devon BonneyAmanda Duggan, Andrew Seelaus, Xander Kent and Melissa Hodges competed in the Patagonia Case Competition on April 22 in Berkeley. Their proposal for developing a biotoxin-free alternative to the chemical water repellent currently used in most sportswear earned them a spot among the top eight teams out of 111 that entered. 
  7. MEM student Rui Shan was one of five youth representatives from China selected to take part in the 18th Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting on April 27 in Shizuoka, Japan. The meeting brought together environmental managers and policymakers from China, Korea and Japan. 
  8. The DEL Executive Education program has partnered with Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies to provide working professionals with new opportunities to enhance their environmental communications skills. Through the partnership, students in some Documentary Studies Continuing Education classes can now apply their course credits toward earning a DEL Certificate in Environmental Communications. You can learn more here.

There's one more Weekly Update before we start the summer schedule, so get your news in now by submitting it here.