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!

Join in on the Barnard Magnolia Poll

Help start a citizen science project as we monitor the first flowering date of the new magnolia tree! We're hoping the tree will grow as large as Maggie the Magnolia and we can monitor this for years to come. Join the poll and if you choose the First Flowering Date (FFD) you'll win an exciting prize (to be determined). If more than one person chooses the correct date we'll randomly choose one winner. The first flowering date will be determined by Greenhouse Coordinator Nick Gershberg as the point at which a flower's petals have separated, exposing the stamens, and that if cold weather kills the blossom, the open date will be determined at the judge's discretion. While some worry about the tree surviving the winter and construction, we're "perennial" optimists and hope for the best! Follow the tree on Instagram at to see regular photo updates. If you have any questions email Brian Mailloux at or Terryanne Maenza-Gmelch at

Prospective Majors Meeting: Monday, February 26, 5pm, 403 Altschul Hall

Sophomores and First Years interested in Environmental Science, Environmental Biology and Environment and Sustainability and related fields such as Urban Studies are invited to attend a prospective majors and minors meeting with the department.  Faculty will welcome you and provide information on requirements, course offerings, events, programs and opportunities in the field, and careers.  We are always joined by majors who can be a great resource for prospective majors by sharing their experiences in the classroom, with research here and abroad.  Join classmates with similar interests in the environment in finding out more about what we offer.  If you cannot make it at the start, come as soon as you can. Dinner will be included with vegan options, so please RSVP now.

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 are invited to attend a prospective majors and minors meeting with the department.  Join us to receive important information on course offerings, guidance on new requirements and programs, and learn about opportunities such as summer research, study abroad and careers in the field.  This is a good opportunity to get to know your classmates, to share experiences and to plan ahead.  Senior majors will join us at 6:10pm for a dinner which will include vegan options, so please RSVP now.

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.

Program Planning Meeting Thursday, November 9, 5:30 p.m.

The Program Planning Meeting for Environmental Science, Environmental Biology and Environmental Policy is being held in 404 Altschul for majors, minors and those interested in majoring at 5:30pm in 404 Altschul Hall.  We will go over Spring 2018 offerings. Seniors Majors will join us for dinner at about 6:10 for a departmental dinner for sharing experiences and meeting colleagues in 403 Altschul.  Please RSVP.

Environmental Leadership and Innovation

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

Tuesday, November 14, 1-7 p.m., James Room, Barnard Hall

We are excited to be hosting panels and workshops led by 15 Barnard Alumane in Environmental fields across the country and abroad, which will address creative approaches to researchm technology, policy, education, outreach, and advocacy with facilitated break-outs.  The day will be capped by a Conversation with Annie Leonard '86, Executive Director of Greenpeace USA and creator of the Story of Stuff, followed by a reception.  The event is hosted by the Department of Environmental Science in partnership with the Athena Center for Leadership Studies and the Office of the Provost.   We look forward to seeing you there!
Please register ASAP at  and check our site for updates to the schedule of events.

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.

Welcome New Students and Welcome Back Returning Students!

Over the next few weeks, you will be settling in, attending classes and finalizing programs.  Please be sure to check in with your adviser and stay aprised of email messages regarding requirements, opportunities and some pretty exciting events this semester.  We advise that you make appointments ahead of time by going emailing your advisers or meeting with either Departmental Co-Chair, Stephanie Pfirman or Martin Stute (just back from a year of research and travel abroad!) on the Faculty & Staff page for Office Hours.  Look forward to meeting new faces and greeting returning students.

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!
Intro to Environmental Science Students, Fall 2016

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).



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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