Thought-Provoking Conversations on the Environment
Based out of Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, the mission of the Environmental Academy is to inspire our alumni, friends and the broader Duke community through environmental thought leadership discussions on issues affecting our planet. It includes lecture series, podcasts and discussions on the Nicholas School’s interdisciplinary environmental academic and research initiatives.
UPCOMING LIVE EVENTS
Wildfires and Climate Change, a conversation with Dean Steelman
Stanback Dean and President of the International Association of Wildland Fire, Toddi Steelman, will be sharing her thoughts and insights on wildfires and climate change as the planet continues to adapt and we seek opportunities for climate progress.
September 29 at 7:30 PM
Complexities of African Wildlife Conservation and Management: Defining the human and environmental challenges to wildlife movement and survival
Human impact on essential wildlife movement is multifaceted, including manmade barriers to food and water sources, direct conflict of animals with nearby communities, and the expanding impact of climate change. Join the Environmental Academy for a conversation with John Poulsen, Associate Professor of Tropical Ecology, Jennifer Swenson, Associate Professor of the Practice of Geospatial Analysis, and Marc Jeuland, Associate Professor, Public Policy and Global Health, as they share how their research on Forest Elephant movement, the impact of ephemeral water on African wildlife migration, and the potential power of policy in a changing landscape.
October 27, 7:30 -- 9:00 PM
Carbon Farming Part I: Improving Soil Health and Farm Profitability while Sequestering Carbon
Join Nicholas School of the Environment faculty Curt Richardson, John O. Blackburn Distinguished Professor of Resource Ecology, for a discussion on climate smart agriculture, including carbon sequestration on agricultural lands, and innovative farming practices designed to support agricultural growth and stability.
November 17, 7:30 -- 8:45 PM
Carbon Farming Part II: The Role of Markets and Policy in Enhanced Carbon Sequestration
Join Nicholas School of the Environment faculty Brian Murray, Interim Director, Nicholas Institute & Duke University Energy Initiative and Lydia Olander, Director, Ecosystem Services Program at the Nicholas Institute for a discussion on the role of markets and policy on hastening and improving carbon sequestration.
December 1, 7:30 -- 8:45 PM
Belugas and Bears: Sentinels of the New Arctic
Join the Environmental Academy for a conversation with Nicholas School faculty Andy Read, Dave Johnston and Dean Steelman as they share more about their research as they prepare for their upcoming travel to the Arctic and Alaska. This talk focuses on their research and connection to the region.
The Climate Initiative: Duke’s Emerging Plan for Maximizing Global Impact
Join Dean Steelman for a conversation on Duke’s commitment to the environment through the new Duke Climate Initiative. Learn more about how climate and data science, climate resiliency, and energy transformation will form the foundation for the environmental solutions of tomorrow.
Duke Forest: Celebrating 90 Years of Research, Teaching, Forestry, and Conservation
Maybe you know its hiking trails. Maybe you cited research on it when you were here at Duke. But do you know the whole story behind the Duke Forest Teaching and Research Laboratory?
Tune into this presentation with Director Sara Childs to learn more about this unique land base and how it has evolved – from the thousands of years of human history prior to Duke’s ownership, to birthing the first graduate school of forestry in the American South, and now as a dynamic outdoor classroom, living laboratory, and a regional hub for ecosystem services.
Founded in 1931, the Duke Forest is part of the university’s origin story, and it endures in the Duke DNA. As we celebrate its 90th anniversary, all Blue Devils will enjoy learning about this unique land base and why Duke is known as “the university in the forest”.
Drones are Revolutionizing Marine Science and Conservation
Unoccupied aircraft systems (UAS, also known as drones) are game-changing tools used for on-demand aerial surveys and mapping. Join Dave Johnston, Associate Professor of the Practice in Marine Conservation Ecology at the Nicholas School of the Environment for a dive into the innovative ways UAS are advancing marine science research and conversation work.
Baja Communities & Sustainability
Join Nicholas School of the Environment faculty Xavier Basurto, Associate Professor of Sustainability Science for a discussion on his research and large-scale collaborations between academia, practitioners, and fishing organizations in Baja California.
A native from Mexico, Xavier has almost 30 years of experience exploring and doing research in the Baja California and Northwest Mexico. As an undergraduate student Xavier studied the unique island biology and ecology of the Islands of Baja California. As a graduate student Xavier lived in several fishing communities and was exposed to the complex ways in which coastal communities interact with these beautiful and rich marine ecosystems. One of the enduring questions his research explores is: why some communities in the Baja peninsula can organize and succeed at using their resources sustainably while others fail?
This event was held Wednesday, May 12, 2021.
Join Nicholas School of the Environment faculty Brian Silliman, Rachel Carson Distinguished Professor of Marine Conservation Biology, with guests Jeff Vincent, Clarence F. Korstian Professor of Forest Economics and Management, Nicholas Institute faculty, Lydia Olander, Director of the Ecosystem Services Program and John Virdin, Director of the Ocean and Coastal Policy Program, for an interdisciplinary discussion of innovative approaches to global ecosystem restoration. Using examples from marine and terrestrial systems, they will explore opportunities and challenges associated with using ecological and economic knowledge and technology to support the sustainability and scaling of restoration initiatives.
This event was held Wednesday, April 28, 2021.
Amplifying Environmental Justice
The concept of environmental justice can provide a useful means for communities disproportionately impacted by environmental degradation or lack access to environmental benefits to examine, explain and fight for fair treatment and meaningful involvement in defining and implementing solutions.
Join the discussion with environmental professionals as they share the challenges and opportunities they face, both personally and professionally, as they engage on issues of environmental justice.
- Sherri White-Williamson, Environmental Justice Policy Director, North Carolina Conservation Network
- Melanie Allen, Co-Director, Hive Fund
- Yesenia Cuello, Executive Director, NC Field
This panel was held on Thursday, April 1, 2021.
Impact Investing in Water Infrastructure
Join Nicholas School of the Environment faculty Martin Doyle, Professor of River System Science and Policy, with guests Emma Rasiel, Teaching Director of the Duke Financial Economics Center and Professor of the Practice of Economics, and Nicholas School alumnus Jason Lee F’17, Associate Director at Quantified Ventures, for a discussion on water as an investable asset. These leading research faculty and Duke alum will discuss finance and the environment, sharing insights on the rising number of opportunities at the intersection of impact investing and environmental conservation.
This event was held on Wednesday, March 24, 2021.
Managing Your Organization's Footprint
Most of us think about how our personal behaviors can be modified to lighten our impact on the planet. But, we sometimes neglect to fully consider how the organizations we work for play a role in setting environmental leadership behaviors. Join the discussion with leading Nicholas School alumni from the public, private and non-profit sectors work to learn how they manage their organizations’ environmental footprint.
- Katya Hantel MEM‘12, Senior Director, Sustainability at Conagra Brands
Cam Sholly MEM’10, Superintendent, Yellowstone National Park
Dale Threatt Taylor MEM’11, Executive Director, The Nature Conservancy – South Carolina Chapter
This event was held on Thursday, March 18, 2021.
Environmental Rollbacks and the Impacts
Recently, on behalf of the Nicholas School Board of Visitors, members Dorry Kee T’74, Jim Fuechsel T’76, and Dr. Mamie Parker, participated in a thought-provoking conversation on the current challenges and approaches to environmental rollbacks and their impacts on the energy sector and climate change along with Nicholas School faculty members through a new program called 'Nic@Night'.
Impacts in the Energy Sector
The first event was a discussion with Lori Bennear, Juli Plant Grainger Associate Professor of Energy Economics and Policy; and Tim Johnson, Professor of the Practice of Energy and the Environment and Chair of Energy & Environmental Programs where they discussed environmental rollbacks impact in the energy sector.
Impacts on climate change
The second event was a discussion with Megan Mullin, Dan and Bunny Gabel, Associate Professor of Environmental Politics; and Drew Shindell, Nicholas Distinguished Professor of Earth Science, where the conversation shifted to environmental rollbacks impact on climate change.
More Ways to Engage
Professional Trainings & Workshops
The Nicholas School Executive Education programs are designed with the working environmental professional in mind, focusing on courses that will hone your skills and develop your ability to spearhead environmental change in your organization.
Environmental OLLI Courses
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Duke is a learning community of more than 2,270 members offering more than 400 courses annually. Upcoming courses include:
Journey along with Duke alumni, parents and friends to fascinating places to learn and connect with Duke faculty and host leaders. The Nicholas School has partnered on four programs starting in March 2022 traveling to Magdalena Bay (Mexico), Alaska, Galápagos and Antarctica.
OCeans Webinar Series
The Future of Our Oceans is an event series created to share new research-based insights, explore complex and contested questions, and ultimately shed new light on how to balance human demands and ocean health.
The series was created by Oceans@Duke, an interdisciplinary network of faculty and students at Duke University.
Professional development Series
The Leading the Change speaker series connects students with the Nicholas School's broad network of alumni and friends to develop well-rounded graduates equipped to enact needed organizational changes to advance environmental and social pursuits in the world.
Building a Sustainable Future
Getting to a more sustainable future will not be easy. The threats faced by current and future generations are monumental. Climate change is altering our environment and disrupting crucial food and water systems. To stop destructive processes and create sustainable solutions, we need knowledge, vision and leadership.
We need to be bold. And we need your help.