Stephanie L. Pfirman gives final Barnard Faculty Research Lecture, 
"Once and Future Arctic" preceeded by a Retirement Reception
Thursday, April 26, James Room, 4th floor Barnard Hall, 117th & Broadway

Join us to celebrate Co-Chair, Stephanie L. Pfirman's contributions to Barnard's Department of Environmental Science in a reception in her honor this Thursday in the James Room, 5-5:45pm, followed by her talk at 5:45pm entitled "The Once and Future Arctic", before she leaves for her new position at Arizona State University.

Stephanie L. Pfirman, Professor of Environmental Science and Alena Wels Hirschorn '58 and Martin Hirschorn Professor of Environmental and Applied Sciences, joined the faculty of Barnard College in 1993, and serves as co-Chair of Barnard's Department of Environmental Science. She holds a joint appointment with Columbia University where she is a member of the faculties of the Earth Institute and the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, and an Adjunct Research Scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. Stephanie will be retiring from Barnard in July 2018.

Faculty Research Lecture: The Once and Future Arctic
For all of human history the high Arctic has been known as white, remote, inaccessible, and formidable. Now, as the climate changes, so does the fundamental fabric of the Arctic. What used to be frozen and rigid, is now dynamic and vulnerable. White reflective ice surfaces are turning blue as sea ice is lost. Each summer as the ice melts back, oil and gas developers, fisheries, and tourists venture further north. And each year of warming erodes the global services the Arctic provides. I will explore the implications of ice loss, as well as our options for restoring the ice, considering how and when, as well as who. A global response requires a concerted effort to mitigate warming, at the same time that we implement pro-active management strategies and raise awareness of Arctic ice services through improved communication approaches.



Senior Seminar Poster Session, Thursday April 19--a wonderful success!


The 15th annual Senior Seminar Poster Session in which Seniors presented their thesis topics in poster format was once again a success.  Mentors friends and family celebrated the accomplishments of Barnard majors in Environmental Science Department and Columbia majors in Earth and Environmental Sciences, Sustainable Development and Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology Departments.  Thirty-second mini-presentations were followed by a Reception and Poster.  Follow here for a link for a complete list of Presenters and their projects as well as links to videos of previous Poster Sessions!  Pictures and videop of this years' event will follow!

Faculty Approve revised major: Environmental Policy becomes Environment and Sustainability!

On Monday, November 13, Barnard Faculty approved the Environment and Sustainability Major.  While similar to the former Environmental Policy Major, the new major has some difference in requirements to meet the needs of students interested in Environmental Sustainability.  Forthcoming majors may choose an Environment and Sustainability major, while current Juniors and Seniors or those who have already elected a Policy major my continue as begun or elect a change of major and follow the new requirements.  Major Requirements for the new major are accessible on this website under Majors & Minor and we are working to update all aspects of on-line information, Catalogue, etc.

Environmental Leadership and Innovation

The Department of Environmental Science celebrated 35 Years with Panels, Workshops and a Call for Engagement led by Barnard Environmental Alumnae

Tuesday, November 14, James Room, Barnard Hall

Panels and workshops led by 15 Barnard Alumane in Environmental fields across the country and abroad, addressed creative approaches to research, technology, policy, education, outreach, and advocacy with facilitated break-outs.  The day was capped by a talk by Annie Leonard '86, Executive Director of Greenpeace USA and creator of the Story of Stuff. Over 250 people attended the event which was hosted by the Department of Environmental Science in partnership with the Athena Center for Leadership Studies and the support of the Office of the Provost.   See the schedule of events.

Research ON the Hudson River:

Each fall students in the Introduction to Environmental Science, Data Analysis, and Environmental Measurements classes have the opportunity to conduct research on the Hudson. Each Fall our labs head out on the Stony Brook University’s R/V Seawolf to collect samples and make observations that will be analyzed throughout the semester. Check out the great time-lapse video of a lab section in the Intro class on their Hudson River cruise!

Every Summer Students Continue their Research on or off campus

Most of our Majors spend at least one summer doing research, either on or off campus.  There are many opportunities to do so and students use this research to develop their knowledge base and experiences, as well as to prepare for their Senior Research Thesis.  Many students are fortunate to conduct research at Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory through a Lamont or Earth Internship, on campus as part of Barnard's SRI Program, at Black Rock Forest or another affiliate program or nearby institutions.  Students also look furhter afield through contacts made through their mentors or by researching elswhere such as through the NSF Research for Undergraduates (REU).



Martin Stute's Round the World in a Year Talk: Tuesday, March 19, 12-12:45pm, 403 Altschul Hall

Martin shared his experiences  and an amazing set of photos during his sabbatical from New York to Southeast Asia, to Europe and back. 

Required Program Planning Meeting: Thursday, March 29, 5pm, 403 Altschul Hall

Majors and Prospective Majors in Environmental Science, Environmental Biology and Environment and Sustainability and related fields such as Urban Studies attended a prospective majors and minors meeting with the department for information on course offerings, guidance on new requirements and programs, and info about opportunities such as summer research, study abroad and careers in the field.  It was a fun event and an opportunity for students to get to know classmates and to plan ahead.  Senior majors joined us to impart their wisdom over dinner.

Annual Departmental Retreat again, a great success!

On Saturday, October 7, our students attended the Lamont Doherty 2017  Open House, some working at and some visiting. Lamont published an Exhibit Map and List of Lectures to give you an idea what this event is about.  Our department hosted a lunchtime hike with Martin Stute, before he left to give his talk, Disposing of CO2 by Turning it Into Stone.  After a bit of exploring, students and staff left for Black Rock Forest for an overnight, kicking off with a BBQ which included vegan, vegetarian grilling, salads and of course s'mores brought to us by Terryanne, grilled by Brian and some getting to know staff, majors and first-years alike, game time and an early start with home-made waffles by Stephanie.

Summer Research Programs at Lamont Application Deadline: February Sunday, February 18

The Lamont Program is a nationwide REU and the Earth Intern Program is specifically for Barnard and Columbia students only.  Projects are listed already and the deadline to apply to either or both is February 18--this includes letters of recommendation.   Links to both Lamont and Earth Program pages and the detailed project descriptions can be found at  Know that Barnard students always do well in these programs, so do a little research and apply!

Once again, theAnnual Senior Thesis Poster Session, 2017 was a success!
The Annual Senior Thesis Poster Session is an annual celebration of the best student research in the areas of environmental science, environmental biology, environmental policy, and sustainability at Barnard and Columbia! This year's students gave one-minute presentations and shared their research. Many joined us to glean from and celebrate in our Seniors hard work, with Mini Presentations and further in depth during the Poster viewings and Reception. Mentors, family, friends, and members of the local science research community joined in. (Photos and vidoe to come.) See you there next year!

Black Rock Forest, our affiliate in which many of our students and faculty do research, has received designation as a new "Important Bird Area" (IBA) by Audubon New York, covering the areas from Sterling Forest to Harriman State Park, Black Rock Forest  and Storm King Mountain.  This will help protect threatened bird species, including five on Audubon's watch list. BRF Executive Director, Bill Schuster, gave "huge kudos to Terryanne for doing so much of the work that finally made this happen!" Check out this article in the Times Herald Record, announcing the IBA or a follow-up article interviewing our own Senior Lecturer, Terryanne Maenza-Gmelch who was instrumental in the application for the new IBA,  about the Cerulean Warbler's safe home.

Professor Martin Stute, is co-author of a Lamont Earth Observatory study in Iceland, sequestering carbon dioxide below ground, and it's receiving quite a bit of well-deserved attention. This is the first time, harmful CO2 emissions from a power plant have been captured, pumped underground, and turned into stone, a major step in the fight against global warming and climate change. The team of researchers from several European countries, the US, included Barnard students, and we hope we will see more students on the project and ensuing publications as they evolve.

"This opens another door for getting rid of carbon dioxide or storing carbon dioxide in the subsurface that really wasn’t seen as a serious alternative in the past,”  Stute said in Scientific American.

The study, orginally published by the journal Science, has been hailed as a breakthrough in top media outlets including The Associated PressThe New York Times, The Washington Post and BBC News.  Stute also published a column in The Conversation about his role in and the importance of the project.

Hear from Martin in the Lamont Earth Observatory video below and in a video on his involvement in the Summer Research Institute.

Thursday, April 21, 2016
2016 Senior Thesis Poster Session

Co-Chair, Stephanie Pfirman's Climate Game, EcoChains: Arctic Crisis, receives attention

You may have had the opportunity to play EcoChains at the Fall Field Trip to Black Rock or the Winter Campus Study Break, and if you're curious you may want to check out the Livescience article which reports on Stephanie Pfirman's game changing game on Climate Change. Read about why hands on learning is not only fun, but works to educate, perhaps better than an article.  

Ruth DeFries, Distinguished Women in Science Lecture, presented by the Hughes Pipeline Project: Tuesday April 12.

The Tenuous Balance Between Conserving Nature and Advancing Human Welfare: Can Science Make a Difference? by Ruth DeFries, Denning Family Professor of Sustainable Development, Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology, Columbia University

Student Lunch with Annie Leonard '86, Executive Director of Greenpeace

Have Lunch with Annie Leonard, one of our most famous alumnae! Annie is creator and narrator of The Story of Stuff, an animated documentary on consumerism and sustainability.  She also wrote a book with the same title available to borrow in the department. She is now the executive director of Greenpeace, and is coming to Barnard, so be sure to join her for an interesting conversation.

Barnard Alumna, Sally M. Benson '77 visited campus and gave this years' Rosalyn Silver '27 Lecture:

An Energy Plan for the 21st Century
Tuesday, November 17, 6:30 pm

Sulzberger Parlor, 3rd floor Barnard Hall

Sally M. Benson, BC '77 is a professor of energy resources engineering, Director of the Global Climate and Energy Project and Director of the Precourt Institute for Energy, the hub of energy research and education at Stanford University. She is an internationally recognized groundwater hydrologist and reservoir engineer, and is widely regarded as a leading authority on carbon capture and storage, energy systems for a low-carbon future, and emerging energy technologies. 

Professor Benson has served as a convening lead author of the Global Energy Assessment, a multinational project which was the first fully integrated assessment that analyzed energy challenges, opportunities and strategies for developing, industrialized and emerging economies. She was also coordinating lead author of a special report on CO2 capture and storage published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Professor Benson met with a group of Environmental Majors for a lunch in the department earlier that day.  We were so pleased to have her here!

Rhea Suh '92 majored in Environmental Science, now President of the NRDC

Reah Suh, Env Sci '92, had an interensting career trajectory and began this year as the President of the National Resources Defense Council.  Read about how her love of the outdoors, a move to New York, a major in Environmental Science and minor in Education, a Fulbright Fellowship to teach, a masters in educational policy and administration prepared her for foundation work and serving as Assistant Secretary at the US Department of Interior, managing national parks, wildlife refuges, public lands and offshore resources along the Outer Continental Shelf.

Tsechu Dolma BC'14, was awarded the Brower Youth Award

Tsechu Dolma, Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures major who studied in the Environmental Science Dept and is now at SIPA, received a Brower Youth Award in October 2014. These awards have been given since 2010 to young environmental leaders from Across North America in recognition of “sustainable projects, innovative ideas, and informed analyses” that benefit the environment. Brava!

Join our E-Mail List

Interested in receiving e-mails about course announcements and updates, Environmental events, job opportunities, internships? Those not on our student e-mail list should send an e-mail to Catherine Cook, the Departmental Assistant, with your name, year, major (if chosen, or if not, your interest) and we'll add you to the list.

Useful Links

Google Earth is an interesting site to check out photos the world over! (You'll need to download the software to use it if you want to.)


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