News & Events

Most recent events in the Center for Environmental Studies

Fording a river New Outdoor Leadership Certificate! - This fall the VCU Center for Environmental Studies will launch a brand new SHEV-approved undergraduate Outdoor Leadership Certificate open to all majors. The certificate is the natural outgrowth of eight years of successful collaborative programming with the VCU Outdoor Adventure Program. The new certificate is featured in this week's VCU news. Read More
Water scooped from Twitchell Lake in the western Adirondacks shows a tint from matter in surrounding wetlands — a sign of what researcher Paul Bukaveckas says is recovery from former acidity. “Notice that it is not murky, just stained,” he says. Photo courtesy of Paul Bukaveckas Adirondack lakes turning browner … but in a good way - By Ry Rivard When Paul Bukaveckas was first studying the effects of acid rain on Adirondack lakes in the late 1980s, he came across some stunning sights. On Silver Lake, the namesake of the Silver Lake Wilderness in the southern Adirondacks, he remembers sitting in a boat and being able to see all the way to the bottom of the lake, down some 60 feet. When he returned a few years ago, the lake was not so clear. That’s a good thing. One of the surprising effects of Adirondack waters’ recovery from acid rain is that they are becoming a bit browner. Read more here Read More
Landscape Genetics Title International Workshop in Landscape Genetics - This week Dr. Rodney Dyer is teaching an International Workshop in Landscape Genetics. This week-long course develops quantitative data analytic skills using R in landscape and spatial ecology, population genetics,Geographic Information Systems, and stochastic modeling. This years participants include graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and research faculty. Read More
Congratulations Graduates! - Today we celebrated the hard work and achievement of the VCU Environmental Studies class of 2021 and thanked all of those that supported these students on their path to success! In a  virtual ceremony that included more than 100 participants, we awarded 6 Masters and 39 Bachelors degrees to some of the most resilient, creative, hard-working students we've had the honor to serve. In addition to individually recognizing each of our graduates, we awarded the "Most Outstanding Graduate Student" to Heather King and "Most Outstanding Undergraduate Student" to Megan Black. Congratulations to all our new graduates, keep in touch, let us know what you are doing -- we are excited to see how you all help make the world a better place. Here is the recording of the complete ceremony in case you missed it! Read More
Katherine Schmidt awarded prestigious Lapham Fellowship at American Rivers - Recent Master of Environmental Studies and River Studies and Leadership Certificate graduate Katherine (Katie) Schmidt has been awarded The Anthony A. Lapham River Conservation Fellowship at American Rivers! The Lapham Fellowship is awarded after a national competition to only one person every two years. Congratulations, Katie! Katie is enthusiastic about this next stage of her career, "I am excited and honored to have been selected as the Lapham Fellow with American Rivers and for the opportunity to work to protect and restore our rivers. I completed my Masters ... with the intention to work in river conservation and this Fellowship will allow me to do just that. Katie completed her M.Envs. in December 2019. While at VCU she supported outdoor education outreach at the Rice Rivers Center and served as a trip leader for the "Canyons of the Salmon" and as a teaching assistant for the "Footprints on the James" field courses. She was also a leader among the River Studies and Leadership Certificate students, helping organize RSLC events and participating in national meetings. As part of her graduate program, she completed an internship with American Whitewater about the potential for recreational dam releases on the Hiwassee River in Tennesse, North… Read More
ENVS graduate student reminds us to say, “No Thanks, Single-Use Plastics” - VCU Environmental Studies graduate student Heather King published an article on Virginia Public Media to remind us that This Earth Day Say “No Thanks, Single-Use Plastics”!  Check out her article, art work and video. Read More
Image of the ship used in the expedition CES students featured in new documentary, FROZEN OBSESSION - The RVA Environmental Film Festival (RVA EFF) will kick off the 11th annual festival with the world premiere of the feature-length film, FROZEN OBSESSION, on February 12 followed by a panel discussion with expedition members from Virginia Commonwealth University Center for Environmental Studies. Climate change is a critical scientific and social issue that confronts today's world. Nowhere are the consequences of a warming climate more pronounced and observable than in the polar regions. The documentary FROZEN OBSESSION follows the 2019 Northwest Passage Project expedition through the stunningly beautiful and extreme Canadian Arctic aboard the Swedish research icebreaker Oden. The innovative Northwest Passage Project brought together a team of scientists, education and communication professionals, and graduate and undergraduate students to expand our knowledge of Arctic science and enhance the understanding of how climatic change is affecting this region and its inhabitants. During the expedition, the science team studied water chemistry, microbiology, birds, marine mammals, and physical oceanography - all in radical transition due to the warming Arctic climate. In addition to documenting Arctic research, FROZEN OBSESSION explores the rich cultural heritage and natural history of the region. The panel after the film includes three students from VCU Center for Environmental Studies … Read More
Graduation 2020!!! - Please join me in congratulating the Summer & Fall Graduates from the Center for Environmental Studies.  Throughout it all, they persisted!  Below is a link to the entire online ceremony, please share it widely.   Read More
Freshwater Fridays keeps learning REAL - Last spring CES faculty Dan McGarvey, James Vonesh, and adjunct instructor & Chesapeake Bay Foundation Staff Scientist Joe Wood envisioned a new collaborative course block focused on freshwater science and policy dubbed "Freshwater Fridays". Freshwater Fridays includes 3 integrated 500-level topics courses – SCENIC NATURAL RESOURCES POLICY & ASSESSMENT, co-led by Vonesh and Lynn Crump, Scenic Resources Coordinator for Virginia Depart of Conservation and Recreation, STEAM SURVEY METHODS led by McGarvey, and VIRGINIA WATER QUALITY ISSUES & CAREERS led by Wood. The purpose of block scheduling these courses over 9 hours every Friday was to enable the courses to develop a more immersive and integrated curriculum whereby instructors can teach not only course-specific content but highlight the overlap across disciplines and to facilitate our ability to integrate day- and weekend trips to increase opportunities for hands-on place-based Relevant Experiential Applied Learning (REAL). Adapting to the times Student enthusiasm was high during spring registration - enrollment quickly filled. Then the pandemic hit. "The pandemic forced educators around the country to rethink how they were going to teach their courses this fall",  said Vonesh, "since our courses were fundamentally based on experiential hands-on in-person learning, often off-campus, we faced some unique challenges.… Read More
Chtaura Jackson ENVS graduate Chtaura Jackson selected as VCU “10 Under 10” honoree - VCU Alumni's 10 Under 10 awards program recognizes the noteworthy and distinctive achievements made by alumni who earned their first VCU degree (undergraduate, graduate or professional) within the past 10 years. This year we are proud to announce that one of VCU Environmental Studies' graduates, Chtaura Jackson (M.S.’10/ENVS/LS), was selected to be among those recognized. Chtaura received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Chowan University, North Carolina. At Chowan, she developed an interest in predator-prey ecology which then led her to the lab of Prof. James Vonesh at VCU.  Chtaura's M.S. thesis examined the factors that shape biodiversity in the riverine rock pools characteristic of the James River fall zone here in Richmond. "Chtaura really helped lay the foundation for our ongoing work in the rock pools", Dr. Vonesh said, "She was the first student to work in that system in the lab and helped developed the maps and rock pool flood models that we used until very recently. Since her time in the lab, the rock pools have been both the focus of NSF funded ecological research and local STEM education outreach with RPS high school students. Chtaura played an important role in getting all that started." Chtaura… Read More