The 2014 World Parks Congress Begins

“Welcome to aboriginal lands.” It begins with streaming light patterns projected on the walls, tropical rainforest creatures calling out over the sound system, and traditional aboriginal dancers passing along the aisles in the old Olympic Park in Sydney, Australia.

Paying tribute to the original stewards of the land was a prominent theme in the opening ceremony to this World Parks Congress (WPC). Cheers rang out from the roughly 5,000 delegates in attendance as certain indigenous groups were named, delegates who will soon attend the hundreds of events following the opening ceremony. With over 160 nations represented, including many First Nations, this 6th World Parks Congress will be the largest yet. Some of its attendees have been waiting years for this event, which only happens once every 10 years…

Meditation Guru Leads Stress Management Workshop

This past Thursday, meditation consultant Beth Roth led Yale FES students in an hour long stress management workshop at Sage Hall. Roth – a graduate of the Yale School of Nursing –has been teaching meditation for more than twenty years. She works with patients with chronic pain and life-threatening illnesses and presents to students and teachers at universities, corporate employees, hospital staff, and other organizations throughout Connecticut.

The workshop was one of several Technical Skills Modules being offered at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies this semester. Yale’s TSM program identifies skill sets valuable to graduate students and provides workshops designed to equip students with the skills needed to be successful in school and beyond.

The Office of LGBTQ Resources at Yale

The Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Resources on campus works with staff, faculty, and students from all of Yale’s Schools to create a network to learn about Yale’s LGBTQ social, cultural, and academic programs and events. The Office provides many services to students, including online databases of resources for the LGBTQ community, one-on-one meetings with staff members to discuss student life, Roundtables for Queer Leadership for LGBTQ networking on campus, and peer liaisons for first-years on campus.

The Office of LGBTQ Resources also hosts and co-sponsors many LGBTQ themed social and cultural events almost every night of the week. Events on campus range from Queer Meditation and Yoga, to Reel Queer Film Screening, to Queer Tea, to Graduate and Professional Receptions, to dance…

TFD Week 2014: Understanding ‘Deforestation-Free’

Deforestation is not a new problem. Since the early 1990s, we have tried various methods to stem the tide of forest loss, including international law, voluntary certification, REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), and legality verification. But despite the contributions that these and other mechanisms have made, we are still losing forestland at an alarming rate. So what do we do now?

One approach that has recently been gaining traction is to sever the link between industrial agricultural expansion and deforestation. In the last few years, scores of multinational companies that produce and consume commodities such as palm oil, timber, soy, and beef have committed to eradicate deforestation from their supply chains. While some observers have characterized this trend as a “supply chain revolution”…

The Forest Dialogue Week at Yale

Every morning at 9:00, the administration emails students the calendar of events at the school for the next seven days.  A steady stream of guest speakers, informational interviews, and networking lunches vie for students’ attention.  This week’s Forest Dialogue Week is a prime example of the embarrassment of riches we constantly face when sorting out our daily schedules.

The Forest Dialogue (TFD) is an organization that facilitates discussion and collaboration across stakeholders on the most pressing local and global issues facing forests and people.  TFD Week at Yale brings together international leaders from the forest sector to address current issues in forest management and to build shared understanding and work towards collaborative solutions.  Participants in TFD include activists, industry representatives, community leaders, academic researchers, and of course students…

Seeing the Forest from the Trees: Yale at the Global Gathering

Technology is not a silver bullet. These words of caution are oft repeated but hard to abide by, especially when we are constantly bombarded with new devices promising to improve how we eat, live and even how we think. The promise of “technology for good” is increasingly prominent in the environmental movement, which is seeking momentum to break the stalemate over international climate change negotiations and worsening environmental degradation.

The challenge then is how to embrace new technology with cautious optimism. One emerging tool for consideration is Global Forest Watch, a satellite-based tool to monitor deforestation in near real time, managed by the World Resources Institute. For three days (October 29-31), civil society experts from around the world are meeting in Bogota, Colombia to…

Liza Comita: representing women in environmental science

It’s no secret that women are under-represented in STEM fields.  The National Science Foundation reports that women comprise just over 40% of graduate students in science and technology.  However, women with a Master’s degree or higher who are actually employed in science or engineering occupations currently comprise only 30% of workers in those fields.  For this reason alone, we are excited to welcome Dr. Liza Comita as an assistant professor of tropical forest management at F&ES.  However, although Dr. Comita is an excellent role model for women pursuing STEM fields, this is far outshined by her depth of knowledge and experience, as well as the opportunities she brings for F&ES students to pursue tropical studies while at Yale.

This spring, Dr. Comita, along with Dr

F&ES Celebrates Diversity with its Annual International TGIF

TGIF (“Thank God I’m a Forester”) is a Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies tradition. The Friday events are hosted by the Forestry Club – a student-run group tasked with organizing FES social functions – and bring foresters together to relax, unwind, and enjoy each other’s company after a week of hard work.

On Friday, the Forestry Club hosted its annual International TGIF – an evening intended to celebrate the School’s diverse student body (roughly 30 percent of F&ES students come from abroad!). Flags and photos adorned Bowers Auditorium and music played while international students prepared dishes from their home countries to share with classmates. Many countries were represented, including Japan, Kenya, Mexico, and Norway –