Environmental Studies in Action
The Environmental Studies Program is a strong advocate for
sustainable use of campus and community resources. The program
provides service learning opportunities that enable students and
faculty to participate in work that supports sustainability
initiatives in our community.
Community Outreach and Climate Change
During the summer of 2008 student interns Kerry Whittaker ’08, Rob Dillon ’09, and Steve Erario ’10 are working with area governments to reduce energy use and climate change impacts. These students are studying Waterville, Winslow, and Fairfield, Maine to provide recommendations to reduce costs, energy use, and greenhouse gas emissions. Throughout the process, the interns will be working closely with organizations including: ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability; Environmental Protection Agency; Maine Department of Environmental Protection (Governor’s Carbon Challenge); Maine Sierra Club (Maine Partners for Cool Communities); and Efficiency Maine, among many others. This work has been funded by a grant from the Prepare for the Future Fund. An article about the work can be downloaded here.
Conservation, Development, or Both? Alternative perspectives on the future of the Moosehead Lake
Plum Creek, a real estate investment trust, which owns almost a million acres in Maine, submitted plans for housing subdivisions, two recreational resorts, and rezoning of more than 400,000 acres in the Moosehead Lake region. After studying the region as part of a State of Maine's Environment 2007 project the ES 493 course, native Mainer and ES major Emmie Theberge ‘08, wanted to learn more about this proposal. She organized a moderated panel discussion in October to hear about the proposal from Plum Creek officials and concerns raised by environmental groups, represented by NRCM. The event was attended by nearly 200 people and provided a introduction to the spring, Livelihoods and Landscapes in Northern Maine conference.
Focus the Nation
A dedicated group of students, many ES majors, organized Focus the Nation, a national teach-in and action day about global warming held on February 6th. The purpose of the Focus the Nation event was to raise awareness about the threat of climate change and the need to take action against it.
Students Attend National Council for Science and the Environment Conference
Five ES majors, Anna Barnwell ‘08, Steve Erario ‘10, Jamie O'Connell ‘08, Kerry Whittaker ‘08, and Alaina Clark ‘08, traveled to Washington, DC on January 16th – 19th to attend the 8th Annual National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) conference. This year, the conference focus was, "Climate Change: Science and Solutions". This was an opportunity for our students working on climate change projects to interact with leading scientists, policy makers, industry leaders, educators, and others who are also working on the climate crisis.
On November 2, thousands of young adults converged on Washington, D.C. for Power Shift 2007, the first national youth summit to solve the climate crisis. Among the thousands were 35 Colby students, who traveled to DC to rally for building a clean energy economy, achieving energy independence, creating millions of green jobs, increasing global equity, and revitalizing the American economy. The group brought this energy back to campus and they along with others continue to be engaged in environmental initiatives at Colby.
Atlas of Maine
The Atlas of Maine was developed by students in ES212: Introduction
to GIS and Remote Sensing, taught by new Assistant Professor of
Environmental Studies Philip Nyhus. In this new Environmental
Studies course, students use geographic information systems (GIS) to
develop maps highlighting the unique natural and human resources of
Maine. Students also developed their own research projects that
covered topics as diverse as habitat suitability modeling of south
China tigers and viewshed analysis of land in the Belgrade Lakes and
presented the results at Colby's Undergraduate Research Symposium.
The students' maps can by viewed using an innovative and dynamic
internet map server that allows viewers to click on and off different
layers, to zoom in and out, to pan across the various layers, and
even to query different map elements. To see hard copies of the
students' maps and to explore the maps using the map server, click
Maine Lakes Project
The two basins of Long Pond were studied in 2006 and 2007.
Every year the"Colby Environmental Assessment Team
Watershed Studies" (CEAT) tackles a major group project in the real world. Problems in Environmental Science, BI 493, investigates the factors that affect water quality in an area lake. Treated as a consulting firm, the CEAT students not only have the opportunity to conduct research, but also to present their results at local, regional and national meetings, to lake associations and the state Department of Environmental Protection. These organizations not only value the data but almost always act on it to mitigate pollution and improve lake water quality. Using the research they gathered over the course of the semester,
members of the BI 493 class presented their study of Long Pond and recommendations on December 6th, 2007, in the village of Belgrade Lakes . This study, combined with that of the previous year provided the data for a TMDL study submitted by the Maine DEP to EPA in 2008.
The State of Maine: An Environmental Assessment
The State of Maine: An Environmental Assessment is an occasional series of reports written by senior environmental policy majors enrolled in the Environmental Policy Practicum in the Environmental Studies Program at Colby College, Maine. These projects are carried out under the guidance of Philip Nyhus, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies
To see the web site and
to read student papers, click here.