Back in 1970, Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, proposed the “radical idea” that Americans from all backgrounds and ideologies – Democrats and Republicans, hawks and doves, city slickers and farmers, business leaders and labor activists – should (temporarily at least) put aside their differences to celebrate a new national holiday known as Earth Day every April 22.
Skeptics thought he was nuts. America was a deeply divided nation, with entrenched partisanship on just about every major issue of the day.
But history has validated Nelson’s vision.
This week – at an equally divided time in our history – billions of people worldwide will take part in events or activities marking the 47th annual Earth Day celebration.
Here at the Nic School, we’ll be celebrating Earth Day tomorrow (April 21) with an event that promises to be bigger and better than ever, with lots of new activities and educational opportunities, alongside returning favorites like the faculty dunk tank. Kudos to all the students, staff and faculty who have helped make it possible.
Many members of our community also will be taking part in the March for Science this Saturday in Raleigh, or boarding a bus for Washington, D.C., to lend their voices to the national March for Science taking place there.
Fun or serious, large or small, these gatherings – along with the tens of thousands of other Earth Day events taking place worldwide – send an important signal that we value the progress that’s been made over the past 47 years on global environmental challenges and are calling on our elected leaders to continue that progress.
What a radical idea.
Now, on with this week’s news.
- MEM students Brianna Elliott and Diego Calderon-Arrieta will receive Forever Duke Student Leadership Awards at a ceremony later today. They are among only 18 students campuswide selected for the honor this year. The awards recognize graduating students who embody the Duke spirit and have made a significant contribution to the university during their time here. Way to go, Brianna and Diego!
- Joel Meyer and Emily Bernhardt have been inducted into Duke’s Bass Society of Fellows in recognition of their exemplary research and undergraduate teaching. This is a high honor and one that is richly deserved. Joel and Emily are two of Duke’s top scholar-teachers. We’re fortunate to have them as colleagues. Please join me in congratulating them!
- President Richard Brodhead will present Nic School staff members Nancy Kelly, Eve Marion and Shirley Miller with Meritorious Service Awards today at the annual Presidential Awards Luncheon. These awards recognize staff members who have made outstanding contributions to the university’s success. Nancy, Eve and Shirley are true Nic School all-stars. Kudos to all three on this honor.
- Hopefully, Nancy Kelly still has some empty space on her trophy shelf … because she’s also being recognized today by Duke’s Office of Student Affairs with a 2017 Star Advisor Award for her tireless work with, and advocacy for, Nic School students and student groups. You can read some of the amazing things the students who nominated Nancy for this award said about her here.
- MEM/MBA alum Courtney Lareau shares her insights about careers in corporate sustainability – and how her time at Duke helped prepare her for success – in a great Q&A that appeared in GreenBiz.com this week. Courtney is global sustainable sourcing insights manager at Mars Petcare. She earned her MEM/MBA in 2012.
- Erika Weinthal has received a grant from the Gerda Henkel Foundation in Germany to fund new research on the role environmental infrastructure plays in Middle East politics, conflicts and peacemaking. Erika will conduct the research with her longtime collaborator Jeanne Sowers of the University of New Hampshire.
- Ten MEM students have received awards to help underwrite the costs of international internships this summer. Caitlyn Cooper, Gina Daniel, Chuwen Liang, Roosevelt Mesa, Megan Nicholas-Harper, Rajah Saparapa, Tara Stout, Bella Tan, Celeste Whitman and Emilia Hull each received awards of more than $1,000 to cover the costs of travel associated with their internships. Support for the awards comes from the Nicholas School International Internship Fund, the David Brower Endowment Fund, and the Kuzmier-Lee-Nikitine Fund.
- Our Executive Education program is offering a timely new course, “Drones for Conservation Research” June 26-28 at the Duke Marine Lab in Beaufort, N.C. The course, which will be led by Dave Johnston, taps into the growing interest in using drones and robotic remote sensing systems for environmental research and monitoring. Seats are filling fast, so if you know someone who might be interested, let them know ASAP.
- The Spring “I am Duke Environment” Photo Contest is now open for submissions. The grand prize winner gets a new iPad; and the top photos submitted in each of four categories – work, learn, fun and People’s Choice (to be voted on via our Facebook page) will each get a $100 Amazon gift card. The contest is open to all Nic School students, staff, faculty, alums and friends, but the deadline for getting your photos in is April 28.
- The new issue of Dukenvironment magazine just hit the stands. This issue features profiles of Lori Bennear, MEM student Eleanor Johnstone and alum Joel Dunn, along with lots of other great articles. The online version has been totally redesigned, with lots more photos, embedded videos and hyperlinks, and easier navigation. Check it out.
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