The Environmental Studies department is a strong advocate for sustainable use of campus and community resources. The department provides civic engagement opportunities that enable students and faculty to participate in work that supports sustainability initiatives in our community.

The State of Maine: An Environmental Assessment Students on a field trip in Acadia National Park

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 department at Colby College, Maine. These projects are carried out under the guidance of Philip Nyhus, Professor of Environmental Studies
To see the web site and to read student papers, click here.

Atlas of Maine Sampling on Great Pond in the Belgrade Lakes

The Atlas of Maine was developed by students in ES212:  Introduction to GIS and Remote Sensing, taught by 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 here.

Maine Lakes Project

Every year the “Colby Environmental Assessment Team”(CEAT) tackles a major group project in the real world. Problems in Environmental Science, ES 494 (Formerly BI493), 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.

takeback tapTake Back the Tap Campaign

A three-year student led Take Back the Tap campaign to rid the campus of bottled water culminated on Earth Day 2011, when remaining stock was removed from shelves in the student center.  Sarah Sorenson, ES major class of 2011 was instrumental in making the campaign a success.  In addition, Colby athletics announced that their teams will forgo purchasing cases of bottled water for games and road trips beginning in the fall of 2011.

Testifying at the State capitol Untitled

Blair Braverman ’11, Michelle Russell ’11, and Kimberly Bittler ’11 testified at the state house in February 2011 against LD1, which was the Governor’s rollback of the Kids Safe Products Act and other environmental laws.  In addition, Ms. Braverman also submitted written testimony on LD 1796, which designated BPA as a priority chemical under the KSPA.

Environmental Education for Waterville 7th Graders

The ES department helped support Colby’s Environmental Education Day.  This events is designed with the purpose of educating kids on different aspects of the environmental through outdoor activities.

Students Attend National and International Conferences The ES Program supports our students attending PowerShift every spring.

Four students attended the Joint Aquatic Sciences Meeting, Portland, Oregon, Spring 2014

Five students attended the Maine Rivers: Conference on the Kennebec River, Waterville Maine, Spring 2014

Two students to attend the  International Marine Conservation Congress, Glasgow, Scotland, Summer 2014.  They will be presenting their posters: Restoration of historical fisheries and ecosystems services: alewife fisheries in Maine;  Historical baselines for large sharks in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Four students will be attending the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences conference, New York, NY, Summer 2014.  They will presenting was part of the session, Community Forest Governance in a Globalizing World: Opportunities and Challenges in Rural Africa.

For a number of years students have attended the Powershift annual training event/rally in various places along the Eastern seaboard.

Michelle Russell ’11 attended and presented on behalf of Colby, at the Sustainable Foods Conference in New Orleans: Food, Culture, Justice- The Gumbo that Unites Us All.

Five ES Majors attended the Global Health and Innovation Conference held at Yale University in April of 2011.


Community Outreach and Climate Change

During the summer of 2008 student interns Kerry Whittaker ’08, Rob Dillon ’09, and Steve Erario ’10 worked with area governments to reduce energy use and climate change impacts.  These students studied how Waterville, Winslow, and Fairfield, Maine could reduce costs, energy use, and greenhouse gas emissions. Throughout the process, the interns worked 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.

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. See ES Sponsored Conferences