Scenes of Green Mountain College
Home > Environmental Studies > News & Events

News & Events

ES Students Hold Seminar on Wind Power
Environmental Studies Senior Seminar students will be hosting a symposium dedicated to the change of attitudes surrounding wind power in Vermont on Wednesday, April 15th at 6 p.m. in the East Room. The title is "Who's Got the Power? A Wind Power Discussion." Speakers include GMC community members José Galvez Contreras and Prof. Steven Letendre (environmental studies), as well as Annette Smith, the Executive Director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment, Inc. There will be a community conversation after the talks. The event is free and open to the public

Environmental Studies Senior Seminar students will be hosting a symposium dedicated to the change of attitudes surrounding wind power in Vermont on Wednesday, April 15 at 6 p.m. in the East Room. The title is "Who's Got the Power? A Wind Power Debate." Speakers include GMC community members José Galvez Contreras and prof. Steven Letendre (environmental studies), as well as Annette Smith, the executive director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment, Inc. Speakers will present for 30 minutes each. The event is free and open to the public.

Prof. Laird Christensen, (English and environmental studies), presented his talk, "The Idea of Vermont" in Manchester, Vt., on March 24th. The presentation, held in Manchester's new public library, was sponsored by the Green Mountain Academy for Lifelong Learning. In addition, this week the journal Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment published Laird's review of the 2014 book Distant Neighbors: The Selected Letters of Wendell Berry and Gary Snyder, edited by Chad Wriglesworth.

Prof. Steven Letendre (economics and environmental studies) will lead a discussion titled “How Do We Encourage Renewable Energy in Vermont?” on Tuesday, February 3, at the Energy Innovation Center, 68-70 Merchants Row in downtown Rutland. The free public event begins at 5:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be served. Steven’s talk is part of the monthly GMP College Connections lecture series.

The Prof. Steven Letendre (economics and environmental studies) will lead a discussion titled “How Do We Encourage Renewable Energy in Vermont?” on Tuesday, February 3, at the Energy Innovation Center, 68-70 Merchants Row in downtown Rutland. The free public event begins at 5:30 p.m. and will last approximately an hour. Light refreshments will be served. Steven’s talk is part of the monthly GMP College Connections lecture series created as part of an agreement between GMP and all four Rutland County colleges to work together to bolster economic, educational and community development.

Prof. Sam Edwards (environmental studies) gave the keynote lecture to open the International Education Week celebration at Morehead State University last month. Sam’s lecture was titled “Digital Revolutions.” He also participated in the panel session “International Learning” for students, faculty and staff. International Education Week is an initiative of the U.S. Department of Education highlighting the benefits and value of a high-quality education and study abroad opportunities. This year's theme was "International Education: Learning Matters Around the World."

Bill McKibben,
author, educator, environmentalist, and founder of, will deliver a public talk "Life on the Border: Vermont, New York and the Future" in Ackley Auditorium at 7 p.m. this evening. McKibben is the author of the book Wandering Home, summer reading for first-year students in the college's Images of Nature classes. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, McKibben was the 2013 winner of the Gandhi Prize and the Thomas Merton Prize, and holds honorary degrees from 18 colleges and universities. Foreign Policy named him to their inaugural list of the world's 100 most important global thinkers, and the Boston Globe calls him "probably America's most important environmentalist." McKibben is Green Mountain College's Master of Science in Resilient and Sustainable Communities 2015 Scholar in Residence.

Jacob Park
(business) and Chris Brooks (environmental studies) co-authored and presented their paper ("Local Flood Resiliency in an Era of Global Climate Change: Understanding the Multi-Sectoral Policy Dimensions") at the Vermont Law School Annual Colloquium on Environmental Scholarship (October 4, 2014). The paper will be published in a special issue of a forthcoming issue of the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law.

Prof. Steve Letendre
(environmental studies) presented at the Renewable Energy Vermont Annual Conference on Thursday, Oct. 16 and Friday Oct. 17 in Burlington. The presentation on Thursday was titled “Predicting Solar Power Production: Forecasting Models, Applications and Future Prospects” and was based on research Steven did during his 2013-2014 sabbatical leave. On Friday, he presented “V2G: The National Perspective,” based on the work he has done over the past 15 years on developing the Vehicle to Grid concept.

On Saturday, October 11 prof. Sarah Mittlefehldt (environmental studies) was invited to Williams College to present her research on the Appalachian Trail and to play original music with her partner, John Gillette. This multifaceted presentation was the culminating event for the Appalachian Trail Museum’s Symposium, which is held every year in conjunction with the gathering of the Appalachian Trail Long-Distance Hikers Association. You can sample Sarah and John’s music at

Professor Sarah Mittlefehldt and GMC alumna Codie Tedford '14 recently had their co-authored paper published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Justice. The paper, "Benefit or Burden? Environmental Justice and Community-Scale Biomass Systems in Vermont," examines how particular biomass technologies and associated power relations have structured environmental burdens and social benefits throughout the state. This study reveals the importance of decentralizing energy systems—not only in terms of energy technologies, but also of technological decision-making processes.

Prof. Steven Letendre (environmental studies) was the lead author of an article published in the May 2014 edition of the Electricity Journal, the leading journal in electric power policy. The article titled "Back to the Future: Assessing the Fuel Potential Displacement Using Electricity in Vermont for Residential Space and Water Heating" was co-authored with Bruce Bentley and David Dunn of Green Mountain Power. The article presents research findings on the potential economic and greenhouse gas benefits of using new, high-efficient heat pump systems in Vermont for space and water heating. While most homes in Vermont heat with fuel oil, moving back to electricity could save Vermonters millions of dollars in fuel costs and at the same time reduce carbon emissions resulting from home heating. Read the article here .

. 9/1/14:
Biologist and author Bernd Heinrich is the visiting scholar for the Master of Science in Environmental Studies (MSES) residency September 10 -13th. Heinrich’s wide range of research includes temperature regulation in insects, energetics and foraging in bees, and social and foraging behavior of ravens to name just a few. He has published 18 books including Ravens in Winter, The Winter World, The Geese of a Beaver Bog, and Racing the Antelope: What Animals Can Teach Us About Running and Life (re-issued as Why We Run). Heinrich has won much acclaim for his work, both scholarly and popular, including Guggenheim and Harvard Fellowships, the Alexander von Humboldt Senior Scientist Fellowship, the John Burroughs Medal for Nature Writing (for Mind of the Raven), where he joins other distinguished authors such as Aldo Leopold and Rachel Carson. Educated at the University of Maine, Orono and The University of California, Berkeley, Bernd Heinrich has been a faculty member at UC Berkeley and the University of Vermont, where he is currently Professor Emeritus. He will give two public talks during his GMC visit: on Thursday, September 11 from 7-8:30 p.m. in Ackley Hall he will present "The Potential Conflicts of Getting Close to Animals and Getting Close to Nature." On Friday, September 12 from 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m., he will speak on "Behavioral Ecology: From Bees to Birds" in the Gorge. Both programs are free and open to all GMC students, faculty and staff.

Green Mountain College students will make a public presentation on flood resiliency today from 1-2 p.m. at Green Mountain Power’s Energy Innovation Center (68-70 Merchants Row in Rutland). With the support of a Northern New England Campus Compact/Environmental Protection Agency community service learning grant, and working in partnership with the Rutland Regional Planning Commission, the presentation will identify and discuss flood resiliency as a community development priority for Rutland County communities almost three years after Hurricane Irene. Students from four spring semester classes including Sustainable Development: Theory and Practice, Climate Dynamics, Climate Change Law and Policy and Media Advocacy and Communication have been working together over the past semester, meeting with climate scientists, city planners, government officials, and others to develop key recommendations.

GMC students from the biology and environmental studies programs will be presenting their research from recent courses on Wednesday, May 7th in Withey Hall. Biology students will present their research in the Booth Lounge from 1-1:50 p.m. From 2-2:30, students in the California Field Course will present their posters in Withey Lobby. Environmental studies students will present their research in the Booth Lounge from 2:30-3:30.

Carolyn Raffensperger
, environmental lawyer and executive director of the Science and Environmental Health Network, will give a public address "Earth Guardians: Approaches to Building Sustainable and Resilient Communities" on April 10th at 7p.m. in Withey East Room. The event is free and open to the public. In 1982, Raffensperger left a career as an archaeologist to join the environmental movement. She worked for the Sierra Club where she addressed a wide array of environmental issues including forest management, river protection, pesticide pollutants and disposal of radioactive waste. As an environmental lawyer she specializes in fundamental changes in law and policy necessary for the protection and restoration of public health and the environment.

Prof. Steven Letendre
, (economics and environmental studies), served as the lead author on a recently completed report on the state-of-the art in solar energy system forecasting for the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA), a Washington, D.C.- based membership organization helping utility companies make smarter solar decisions. The report is titled "Predicting Solar Power Production: Irradiance Forecasting Models, Applications and Future Prospects." The report is free for SEPA members and can be accessed for a fee by nonmembers. Solar energy forecasting is a key strategy to help utilities anticipate and manage the variable nature of solar energy output. This is the second major report on which Dr. Letendre served as the lead author as part of his sabbatical research. The first report was released in January and focused on analyzing data on charging behaviors and charging station utilization for over 6,000 electric vehicle owners across the country. The most recent report can be purchased here.

Prof. Steve Letendre
(environmental studies) will give a talk tomorrow on the impact of electric vehicles on Vermont during the third presentation of the Green Mountain Power Lecture Series at Rutland's Green Mountain Power Energy Innovation Center. Steve says the electrification of Vermont’s vehicle fleet presents an opportunity to decrease dependence on imported fuels. The lecture, originally scheduled last week but postponed due to weather, takes place Feb. 11 at 5:30 p.m.

Prof. Steve Letendre
(environmental studies) is the lead author of a Department of Energy (DOE) report on electric vehicles titled “Intelligent Vehicle Charging Benefits Assessment Using EV Project Data.” The report was recently released by the DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). As part of Steve’s recent sabbatical leave he contracted with PNNL to analyze data from the U.S. DOE’s Electric Vehicle (EV) Project, the largest electric vehicle and charging infrastructure deployment in the nation. The report concludes that the potential economic benefits of an intelligent vehicle-to-grid (V2G) infrastructure are substantial and will only increase as electric vehicles become increasingly popular. The authors call for more aggressive policies to coordinate communication standards that allow electric vehicles to be directly controlled through smart grid systems. Two other electric vehicle-related grants Steve is a part of were selected for funding by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. One is a six-vehicle V2G demonstration at Queens College in New York with NRG Energy and the other is with the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation. Steve will be speaking about electric vehicles and the Vermont gird on Wednesday, Feb. 5 at 5:30 p.m. at Green Mountain Power’s Energy Innovation Center in Rutland.

Prof. Steve Letendre
(environmental studies) will give a talk on the impact of electric vehicles on Vermont during the third presentation of the Green Mountain Power Lecture Series at Rutland's Green Mountain Power Energy Innovation Center. Steve says the electrification of Vermont’s vehicle fleet presents an opportunity to decrease dependence on imported fuels. The lecture takes place Feb. 5 at 5:30 p.m.

The images of the ship Akademick Shokalskiy held captive in the thick Antarctic icepack caught the attention of people around the world last month. For Prof. John Van Hoesen, it also raised recollections of research expeditions to Antarctica. "The opportunity to explore an extreme and foreboding but fascinating environment such as Antarctica with minimal risk is why many people choose it as a destination, and why so many go back," he writes in an article that appeared in The Conversation. John also wrote an account of his travels in the journal Earth.

Prof. John Van Hoesen
(geology and environmental studies) has received the 2013 Biggs Award for Excellence in Earth Science Teaching. The award, presented annually to one person by the Geological Society of America, recognizes innovative and effective teaching of earth science among early career faculty.

Prof. Sam Edwards
(environmental studies) recently presented his research “Free Speech and the Digital Right to Assemble: The Digital Revolution and Constitutional Law" at the 67th Annual Conference of the New York State Political Science Association. His research focuses on how the US legal system is struggling to adapt 1st Amendment doctrine to the rapidly changing world of digital communications. This research is part of his upcoming book Revolutionizing the Interaction between State and Citizens through Digital Communications.

Green Mountain College will welcome William Schlesinger to campus as the 2013 Visiting Scientist and Sophomore Plenary speaker on March 26 at 7 p.m. in Ackley Auditorium. His lecture is titled “Climate Change: Causes, Impacts and What to Do.” All students, faculty, staff, and residents in the surrounding community are invited to attend.

Few scientists today can match the intellectual and geographical breadth of Schlesinger’s research, from plant transpiration in the Chihuahuan Desert to the biogeochemistry of phosphorus in soils in Krakatau.

Schlesinger investigates chemical pools and fluxes in Earth’s biosphere, and the environmental chemistry behind global change. Among the first to estimate the global pool of carbon in soils, he has led research on the influence of soils on atmospheric carbon dioxide. Similarly, he has estimated the influence of trees (through carbon storage in wood) on atmospheric carbon dioxide.

His peer-reviewed publications number more than 200 and he has been featured in numerous media outlets including the New York Times, Scientific American, NOVA and CNN.

Currently president of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Schlesinger has served as the James B. Duke Professor of Biogeochemistry and the dean of the Nicholas School of the Environmental and Earth Sciences at Duke University.

Profs. Sam Edwards
(environmental studies) and Vance Jackson (psychology) recently presented their research “Interfaces for trust: the effects of the medium in online communications” at the Werner Institute of Creighton Law School’s Cyberweek annual conference on online dispute resolution. Their presentation combined psychology, law, and technology and offered an interdisciplinary approach to building and repairing trust when professionals engage in dispute resolution using online platforms. This conference brings together dispute resolution specialists from all over the world and provides an opportunity to explore ways that technology can be used to enhance the dispute resolution process. Read more...

Prof. Sarah Mittlefehldt
(environmental studies) was recently awarded the Forest History Society’s Alfred D. Bell Fellowship. Mittlefehldt is currently working with her Undergraduate Research Assistant, Ali Putnam ‘13, to explore the social and political history of biomass-based energy in the Northern Forest. This fellowship will be used to support their research in the Forest History Society Archives in Durham, North Carolina.

Prof. Sam Edwards
(environmental studies) recently presented his research “Apologies and the Law: Saying I'm sorry in Collectivist Cultures” at a symposium at Pepperdine University School of Law's Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution. His talk featured aspects of apologies in Micronesia, Japan, and the United States.

The symposium, “Rescuing Relationships: Apology, Forgiveness, and Reconciliation” featured a combination of current practitioner experience in the area of dispute resolution as well as academic discussion on the subject of rescuing relationships through apology and forgiveness. The symposium combined philosophy, psychology, and practitioner experience to fully explore the application of apology and forgiveness in the modern legal practice and in dispute resolution

Prof. Teresa Coker
(environmental studies) presented a workshop on October 11th at the North American Association of Environmental Education’s annual conference program with six other educators on the standards for environmental education. The conference is the largest gathering of environmental educators in North America.

Prof. Sam Edwards
(environmental studies, law & policy) recently had an article published in The Advocate. This edition of the publication discusses the evolution of animal law since its inception 20 years ago. Edward’s article highlights GMC’s innovative animal studies program and the work students have done in GMC’s wildlife law and policy course. See page 8 here to read the article.

Prof. Sam Edwards
(environmental studies) wrote an article "Protecting Culture and Marine Ecosystems Under the Law in Micronesia" which was published in the latest edition of the International Journal of Cultural Property, a Cambridge University Press publication. Edwards presents a new legal theory linking culture and marine ecosystems. The purpose of the article was to form persuasive precedent so courts could adopt his new damage theory in future marine damage cases.

Prof. Eleanor Tison
(E.S., Sust. Ag.), Garland Mason, and Dave & Cindy Ondria (Chartwells) recently traveled to Bar Harbor, Me. to attend "Food Connections: Reconnecting Hands, Mouth, and Mind through Food Systems Education" at College of the Atlantic to represent GMC during the opening plenary session “Bringing Sustainable Food Systems Home” which included reps from Unity College, UMass, McGill University, and was moderated by Chef Stu Comen of Yale University.

Prof. Sam Edwards
(environmental studies) presented his paper “Community based alternative dispute resolution in criminal cases in the Federated States of Micronesia: A Community Mediation Fantasy”, at the 66th Annual New York State Political Science Association Conference at Wagner College in New York City. His research focuses on community based mediation in criminal cases.

Meiko Lunetta
’12 was named by Campus Compact as winner of a national 2012 Newman Civic Fellow Award. Meiko is one of just two students from a Vermont higher educational institution to receive this honor. These students are demonstrating a personal commitment to creating lasting change for the better in their communities. Through service, community-based research, and advocacy, the 2012 class of Newman Civic Fellows are making the most of their college experiences to better understand themselves and the root causes of some of the most pressing social issues that challenge us all.

Prof. Steve Letendre (REED, environmental studies) was selected as the recipient of Vermont Campus Compact’s 2012 Engaged Scholar award. The award honors one faculty member from a VCC member campus whose academic life embodies Ernest Boyer’s definition of the “scholarship of engagement” wherein community engagement and problem solving are an integral part of his/her teaching and research.

Prof. Sam Edwards
(environmental studies) and Prof. Vance Jackson (psychology) recently gave a conference presentation titled “The Effect of Technology on Addressing Emotions in Dispute Resolution: Using the Right Tools for the Job” at the Cyberweek conference sponsored by the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution at the University of Massachusetts and Creighton University School of Law’s Werner Institute for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution. Their presentation examined how the various forms of communication affect emotions and gave recommendations for matching technology with types of disputes.

On January 16, Prof. Steven Letendre presented at the 2012 Vermont Woodchip and Pellet Heating Conference in Montpelier. His presentation was titled, "Journey to Climate Neutrality: GMC's Combined Heat and Power Plant." On January 31, Letendre participated in Vermont's inaugural meeting of Project Get Ready, a state-wide effort to prepare for the introduction of plug-in electric vehicles. Project Get Ready is a non-profit initiative led by Rocky Mountain Institute, in conjunction with a wide array of partners and technical advisers to help prepare America for clean, plug-in vehicles hitting the nation's automobile showrooms in increasing numbers. The meeting had representatives from Vermont state agencies, utility companies, academics, and consultants with an interest in electrifying the state's vehicle fleet.

© 2015 Green Mountain College | One Brennan Circle | Poultney, Vermont 05764 | 800-776-6675 | MyGMC Login | Email Login