Environmental Studies Newsletter

A Publication of Macalester’s Environmental Studies Department
September 2011

Prof. Phadke's Tenure Cake

Prof. Phadke’s Tenure Cake

Senior Seminar Class at Ordway
Senior Seminar Class at Ordway
Water & Power Class Missisippi River Boat Ride
Water & Power Class on a Mississippi River Boat Ride
Senior Seminar EnviroThursday Presentation
Senior Seminar EnviroThursday Presentation

Letter From the Chair

Dear Friends of Environmental Studies,

The 2009-2010 academic year was another success for the ES Department. We had 22 majors graduate in 2011, the same number as in 2010. Of the 2011 graduates, 15 were in disciplinary cores and 7 in interdisciplinary cores. This follows the trend of more students choosing interdisciplinary cores (7, 6 and 3 in 2011, 2010 and 2009, respectively). Of the 15 graduates with disciplinary cores, 3 were in the sciences (down from 7 last year), 11 were in the social sciences (up from 6 last year) and only 1 was in the humanities (compared to 3 last year).

The biggest news for the department was the successful tenure review and promotion of Prof. Roopali Phadke. Roopali was one of the founding members of the ES Department and we are thrilled with the College’s acknowledgement of her superb teaching, scholarship and service to the College and the wider community. Roopali will be on a well-deserved sabbatical during 2011-2012 and Christie Manning will teach some of her courses while others will be taught by Katie Pratt (also teaching in Geography).

This year Prof. Chris Wells will be reviewed for tenure and Prof. Louisa Bradtmiller will undergo her pre-tenure review. Chris has had his book, Car Country: An Environmental History of Car-Dependent Landscapes in the United States, 1890-1956 accepted for publication by the University of Washington Press in 2012. Louisa has received an NSF grant to study the potential impact of future climate change on sub-Saharan Africa by examining the factors that have had the biggest influence on past changes in climate.

Jerald Dosch has been appointed the director of the Katharine Ordway Natural History Area. Working with Louisa’s ES Senior Seminar class, a strategic plan for the future of Ordway has been developed and an interactive guide to the field station has been launched (https://sites.google.com/a/macalester.edu/ordwipedia/). Also Ordway was chosen as the 2011 Minnesota BioBlitz site (held June 10 and 11). Under Jerald’s direction, Ordway is moving forward.

Graduating seniors, Zoe Hastings and Matt Kazinka were acknowledged by the department for their contributions to the department over their 4 years at Macalester. Zoe was awarded the Environmental Studies Scholarship Award. Zoe, from Elkhorn, WI, was an ES and Biology double major, a member of the African Music Ensemble and a grounds sustainability assistant. She will spend 2011 working as a research volunteer at the Virgin Islands Environmental Research Station on St. John investigating the impact of watershed development on sedimentation and fringing coral reefs. Matt Kazinka was awarded the Environmental Studies Citizenship Award. Matt was an ES major with an Urban Studies Concentration. Matt, originally from Iowa City, was a student representative to the department, a member of MacCARES, the student sustainability coordinator in the facilities department, and a campus leader in founding the groups Grand Aspirations and Summer of Solutions. He won an Udall Environmental Leaders scholarship and was chosen as the commencement speaker. Currently, Matt is leading the Twin Cities Summer of Solutions, working more with Grand Aspirations (a non-profit he started with other Macalester students), and working as the Green Business Program Coordinator at the Latino Economic Development Center.

I invite all of you to take a look at our assessment report from 2010-2011 (www.macalester.edu/academics/environmentalstudies/assessment/assessmain.html). The report includes the results of our senior survey and some ideas for how we might improve our curriculum. I encourage any of you to submit ideas for improving our program in the future based on you experiences at Mac and in “the real world.” Our mission statement and rationale states: “Environmental Studies is an interdisciplinary program based on a holistic understanding of environmental issues occurring at the local, national, and global level. The program offers students tools and perspectives from the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences to understand the causes and consequences of environmental problems and the knowledge to develop potential solutions.” You can find out more about our rationale for the major requirements at www.macalester.edu/academics/environmentalstudies/majorsminors.

Our most recent information from the registrar indicates we will be starting the fall with 36 ES majors down a few from last year (41). We look forward to working with another great group of Macalester students!

Dan Hornbach
Chair, Environmental Studies

Prof. Roopali Phadke Receives Tenure

Congratulations to Prof. Roopali Phadke who has received tenure. Roopali started in the Environmental Studies Department in 2005 and teaches the following courses: Environmental Politics and Policy, Water and Power, Science and Citizenship, Sustainable Development and the Global Future, and Environmental Studies Leadership Seminar. Roopali will be on sabbatical for the 2011-12 school year. Read more at www.macalester.edu/news/2011/03/macalester-grants-tenure-to-two-faculty-members

Senior Graduation Pledge

This year 92 Macalester 2011 graduates signed the Senior Graduation Pledge and wore green ribbons at this year’s commencement ceremonies, thanks to the work of ES senior Matt Kazinka. The graduation pledge states, “I pledge to explore and take into account the social and environmental consequences of any job I consider or any organization for which I work.”

This idea first started at Manchester College, Indiana, in 1988. For some students, searching for a job means searching for companies or organizations that do not pollute streams, rivers, or the air; practice discriminatory or unfair business; or create an unfriendly work atmosphere. These students conscientiously go the extra mile in their job searches because they support this nation-wide effort.

Taking the pledge is voluntary; students determine for themselves what they consider to be socially and environmentally responsible.


There were 19 EnviroThursday presentations during the 2010-11 school with with over 550 in attendance.

  • “How Can a Business Increase Profitability and Address Climate Change?” by Kevin Wilhelm ’96, owner of Sustainable Business Consulting
  • “What Next: Life After Your Macalester Environmental Studies Degree” by Mara Ranville ’95, Prof. of Environmental Science at Bard College
  • “What’s Your 12 x 12?” by William Powers, Author, Conservation Activist and World Policy Institute Senior Fellow
  • “Toward a More Sustainable Mississippi River” by Whitney Clark, Executive Director of Friend of the Mississippi River
  • “Globalization, US-SA and the Environment: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly?” by Peter Johnston, Dept. of Environmental & Geographical Science, University of Cape Town
  • “Delhi’s Dammed Water Cycle” by Katie Gillett, Documentary Filmmaker
  • “Dispersal in Common Reed (Phragmites australis) on the Platte River: The Key to Designing Better Management Approaches?” by Travis Henspeter ’02, Ph.D. student in the Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior Program at the University of Minnesota
  • “In a Tidal Wave of Fear and Ignorance, Nov. 2nd … Is There Still Room for Hope and Change?”by Annie Young, Environmental Justice Organizer
  • “Moving Beyond Coal: The National Battle” by Barbara Freese, Senior Policy Analyst/Advocate for the Climate and Energy Program of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS)
  • “Macalester’s Draft Sustainable Landscaping Plan” by Fred Rozumalski, Barr Engineering
  • “Bottlemania” by Elizabeth Royte, author of Bottlemania
  • Regenerative Design Thinking: Reformulating the Human Presence in Eco-Systems” by Doug Pierce, Architect and Sustainable Design Strategist at Perkins + Will
  • “Macalester’s EcoHouse” by EcoHouse Residents Julia Davidson, Maars Beltrandy, Meg O’Halloran, Mickey Davis
  • “Vision 2050: Action 2020 – An Airline Industry Point of View on Climate Change” by Erin Heitkamp, Program Manager in Environmental Policy for Delta Air Lines
  • “The Deep Connections Between the Mississippi and People” by Randy Thoreson and David Wiggins
  • “The Story Behind the Picture: Learning to See Nature Through the Lens of a Naturalist Photographer” by David Astin, Naturalist Photographer
  • “Sustainable Home Design: Form, Materials and Context” by David Wagner, AIA, LEED AP from SALA Associates
  • “Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) Invasion and Impacts: Implications for Management and Restoration” by Laura Phillips-Mao ’99, Ph.D. Candidate in Conservation Biology, University of Minnesota
  • “Ordway 2.0: Reinvigorating Macalester’s Connection to Our Other Campus” by Environmental Studies Senior Seminar Students

You can read more about these presentations at www.macalester.edu/environmentalstudies/envirothursday and click on the Fall 2010 and Spring 2011 links. EnviroThursdays take place every Thursday during the school year in Olin-Rice 250 at 12 noon.

Environmental Studies Faculty News

Prof. Dan Hornbach
Prof. Dan Hornbach, Chair

Last year was a productive and satisfying year for Dan. In addition to teaching Lakes, Streams and Rivers as a first-year course and Environmental Science, Dan chaired the department and administered the Mellon 3 Rivers Center. During the summer, he worked with Sarah Boyer from Biology and Kelly MacGregor from Geology and 5 great students to continue our research on mussel communities in the St. Croix River. The students included Meghan Davies, Karoline Hart, Ho-Ting (Jenny) Liu, Samantha DelSerra, and Margot White. These students will be presenting the results of their research at the St. Croix River Research Rendezvous hosted by the Science Museum of Minnesota in October. During 2011 Dan published three articles. One dealt with mussels (Early Life History and Distribution of Pistolgrip (Tritogonia verrucosa (Rafinesque, 1820)) in Minnesota and Wisconsin in the American Midland Naturalist) while another described the Ecological Research as Education Network of which Macalester is a founding member (Transforming ecological science at primarily undergraduate institutions through collaborative networks in BioScience). The last was a chapter in a publication of the National Council for Science and the Environment Washington D.C. (S. Pfirman [ed.] Interdisciplinary Hiring and Career Development: Guidance for Individuals and Institutions.) The chapter is titled “Macalester College; A cross-cutting case study” and describes the history of the Environmental Studies Department and how it provides a “blueprint” for developing a successful interdisciplinary program.

During 2011-2012, Dan will be teaching Aquatic Ecology in the fall and Environmental Science in the spring. Aquatic Ecology has the highest enrollment in its history. He will continue to chair the department and will also be chairing the College’s Resource and Planning Committee.

The most exciting news for Dan was wedding of his daughter, Kelsey. She was a member of the Macalester class of 2008 and was a Political Science major with an Environmental Studies minor. She currently works in Washington DC for the Alliance to Save Energy.

Prof. Louisa Bradtmiller
Prof. Louisa Bradtmiller

During the 2010-11 year Louisa taught a new course on Climate and Society, a look at the past, present and future of interactions between people and climate. She also taught a new upper-level course in Paleoclimate which included a January lake coring trip (on the ice!) at the Katharine Ordway Natural History Study Area. This summer Louisa started working on a recently funded NSF grant to explore the history of the African Monsoon using ocean cores that span over 15,000 years. She was joined in the lab by a student researcher, and their preliminary results were presented at a conference in Prague in August. This year Louisa is looking forward to teaching some of the same courses for a second or third time, including teaching Climate and Society as a First Year Course.

Prof. Roopali Phadke
Prof. Roopali Phadke

Roopali is on sabbatical this year working on her NSF funded project titled “Landscapes of Power”. This project develops landscape symposia in different regions to better understand the kinds of wind energy development that rural communities support. Last summer her research group, including Prof. Christie Manning and three ES students, worked in Michigan. You can read more about the summer research at www.macalester.edu/understandingwind. Their next research site is here in Minnesota this fall.

Roopali also added to the youngest member of the department – baby Tara was born on April 11.

Prof. Chris Wellls
Prof. Chris Wells

Chris Wells welcomed Meg Milligan-Wells in March 2011, who joins big brother Jack and big sister Annie (who will both turn three in October) in what is becoming a very full—and very lively—household! When he wasn’t at home with the kids, he taught his regular classes, published one article (“The Death of the Model T,” in The Fruits of Demeter), had two others accepted for publication (“Fueling the Boom,” in the Journal of American History, and “From Freeway to Parkway,” in the Journal of Planning History), finished his book (Car Country: An Environmental History, forthcoming 2012), and generally wandered around in a heavily caffeinated, sleep-deprived haze. His courses this year will include American Environmental History, Environmental Justice, U.S. Urban Environmental History, Consumer Nation, and Car Country.

Prof. Jerald Dosch
Prof. Jerald Dosch

During the 2010-11 academic year, Jerald had the pleasure of teaching Ecology and labs for Environmental Science. He completed his first full year as director of Macalester’s Katharine Ordway Natural History Study Area (Ordway Field Station) in June and worked with four wonderful students conducting research at the field station over the summer. Ordway also hosted this year’s annual Minnesota BioBlitz with a preliminary total of over 500 species identified at the site in just 24 hours! This year Jerald will again be splitting his time between teaching and directing Ordway.

Ryan Edgington

Ryan is a Visiting Assistant Professor this year teaching Environmental History and Food, Environment and Society.

Suzanne Savanick Hansen
Suzanne Savanick Hansen

Suzanne is teaching a new class for environmental studies this fall, Cities, Sustainability and the Campus. The class will make connections between global environmental issues and life on our urban campus. As the Sustainability Manager at Macalester, Suzanne spent the summer revising our Sustainability Plan and working on our Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS). Macalester received a “silver” rating for our sustainability efforts.

Prof. Christie Manning
Prof. Christie Manning

During the 2010-2011 academic year, Christie taught several courses in Environmental Studies and one course in Psychology. She also supervised student research projects. In 2011-2012 she will teach her usual courses: Psychology of Sustainable Behavior and Environmental Classics. In addition, Christie is adding a new course in the Spring, cross-listed with Psychology, called “Psychology in the Material World” – a psychological examination of consumerism. Finally, Christie will teach the Environmental Leadership Practicum this fall while Roopali is on sabbatical.

This summer, Christie worked on several research projects with students. One project, a collaborative effort with Roopali and student Natalie Camplair, collected mail surveys from 1200 residents in a Michigan community where a large-scale industrial wind project has been proposed. The surveys examine individuals’ perceptions of wind energy development and how it will affect their community and their quality of life. Christie also worked with student Sarah Horowitz, a geography major, to use GIS mapping to explore land use and food production in the Twin Cities 7-county area.

Prof. Marianne Milligan
Prof. Marianne Milligan

In the fall of 2010, Marianne taught 100 Words for Snow: Language and Nature. She was on parental leave in the spring and welcomed Meg into the Milligan-Wells clan in March. During the current academic year, she will be teaching a new course on Environmental Discourse in addition to two classes in the linguistics department.

Prof. Katie Pratt
Prof. Kathryn Pratt

This year Katie will be splitting her time between the Geography and Environmental Studies departments. She is looking forward to teaching Environmental Politics and Policy both semesters. Last year, Katie developed a new course on Urban Ecology and is thrilled to be teaching it again this spring. She is also busy wrapping up a research project on community-based forest conservation in Southern Chile and starting a new project on urban fishing.

Prof. Chip Small
Prof. Chip Small

Chip is excited to join the Environmental Studies Department as a Visiting Assistant Professor, where he is teaching Lakes, Rivers and Streams this fall. He also works at the University of Minnesota as a postdoctoral researcher studying nitrogen cycling in the Great Lakes. This summer he spent 18 days on a research cruise on Lakes Superior, Huron, and Erie, collecting thousands of samples of water and mud. As the weather gets cooler, he is starting to look forward to his upcoming trip to Costa Rica in February to teach for the Organization for Tropical Studies and conduct stream research.