Weekly Update: Elephant Poaching, Nic Presents in DC, Blue Devil of the Week and more ...

February 23, 2017
nancy kelly blue devil of the week.jpg

Our own Nancy Kelly is Blue Devil of the Week!
(Photo credit: Duke University)

Hi Everyone,

The stories this week say a lot about the strengths of our school along multiple dimensions: faculty-student collaboration on research that helps the policy community address critical environmental issues both abroad (#1) and in the U.S. (#2); Duke University’s recognition of the achievements of two of our outstanding staff members (#3, 4); and a community-wide initiative by the Marine Lab to foster a safer and more inclusive campus environment (#5). Congrats to all who are featured this week! You are Duke Environment.
Get out and enjoy this nice weather!


  1. Forest elephant populations in one of Central Africa’s largest and most important preserves have declined 80 percent because of poaching, new research led by John Poulsen shows. More than 25,000 elephants in Gabon’s Minkébé National Park have been killed for their ivory since 2004, the study suggests. With nearly half of Central Africa’s estimated 100,000 forest elephants thought to live in Gabon, the loss of so many from this key sanctuary underscores the urgent need for increased international cooperation to prosecute poachers, shut down the illegal trade in ivory and protect these magnificent animals before it’s too late. We’ve posted a video and story about John’s group’s new study here.    
  2. Jay Golden, MEM students Lina Khan, Emily True, Taylor Brennan and Master of Public Policy student Ben Agsten traveled to Washington, D.C., recently to present preliminary findings from their research on bioindicators of the U.S. economy to leaders at the USDA and Department of Energy. The project is part of a Nic School sponsored project with the two agencies. You can learn more about the work Jay and his colleagues at the Center for Sustainability & Commerce are doing here.   
  3. Nancy Kelly has been named Duke’s Blue Devil of the Week for her work to promote sustainability and civic responsibility, enhance diversity and inclusion, and – in general – foster a greater sense of community at the Nic School. She was also cited for her role as a driving force behind our Team Matthew outreach project to assist North Carolina communities affected by the devastating floods that followed Hurricane Matthew last year. Please join me in thanking her for all she does to make our school, and state, a better place. Way to go, Nancy!
  4. Kudos, also, to Robert Pitts, our assistant dean for strategic reporting and analytics, who has completed Duke’s rigorous 30-hour Financial Certification Program. Robert and his colleagues in our Business Office work tirelessly to ensure the fiscal sustainability of our school, provide vital guidance in our strategic planning, and help us maintain a high standard of excellence in all that we do. I can’t say enough about the contributions he and his team make to the Nic School’s success. 
  5. The Marine Lab hosted two days of training by Duke’s Center for Sexual & Gender Diversity on Feb. 15 and 16 to identify ways to foster a safe and inclusive campus environment for students, staff, faculty and alums with marginalized sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions. Twenty-seven Marine Lab staff members and students took part in the training, which included a 4-hour workshop on PRIDE (Pursuing Respect, Inclusion, Diversity and Equity) and two hours of Trans 101 training. To learn more about the commitment to diversity and inclusion at DUML, go here

 Keep me up to date on what you are doing so I can share your news. Submit your items here.