The Yale team meets with Ileb Olkeriil, of the Koror State Government, to discuss conservation in Palau, law enforcement, and the Koror Rangers.  From left to right:  Rob Fetter, Mariah Gill, Maria Rojas, Ileb Olkeriil, Connie Vogelmann, and Tulik Beck, wife of Ambassador Stuart Beck and the team’s host in Palau.  Photo Credit:  Mariah Gill.

Over winter break, four members of FES’s International Organizations and Conferences class — Rob Fetter, Mariah Gill, Maria Rojas, and I — had the opportunity to visit Palau. We spent 10 days in country and met with many high-level officials and community members to discuss both Palau’s ocean policy and international ocean conservation. The trip was an overwhelming success. We spoke with 18 leaders, including Palau’s President and four members of the country’s 13-member Senate, and learned much about conservation in Palau, gaining valuable insight into how ocean conservation works at different levels of government. Palau may be a small country, but it is trying to do big things for the ocean.

I was repeatedly astounded by the conservation ethic of the people we met: Palau’s culture and economy both depend…

The Yale Chapter of the International Society of Tropical Foresters (ISTF) will host its 20th annual conference at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES) from Jan. 30 to Feb. 1 2014.

The conference, called “Forests as Capital: Financial Mechanisms for Tropical Forest Conservation,” will explore conservation models that employ both the capital approach (top-down) and local approach (bottom up) to attract financing and generate sustainable revenues from forest resources.

The three-day event, held at Kroon Hall, will bring together representatives from international organizations, governments, financial institutions, and nonprofit groups with the common mission of building markets for conserving tropical forests.

“The visiting experts in the field of finance for tropical conservation will address crucial questions, including what tools are available, where have they been…

The road named after my family - where my grandparents first farm was in Monmouth, Oregon.


Happy New Year everyone! Congrats to everyone who finished their applications and may be attending grad school in 2014! Many of you have asked me during our prospective student online chats and through emails why I decided to come to F&ES, how the experience was, and what it was like to do a Joint Degree.

As you may have read, I’m originally from Salem, Oregon [west coast!]. My grandparents owned a tree farm in Monmouth, Oregon and my brother and I grew up playing in the woods and in the ponds. I did my undergraduate work at the University of Oregon and graduated in 2007 with a degree in Speech, Language, and Hearing and a minor in Environmental Studies. I had originally intended to…

Yale Report Scores 178 Countries on High-Priority Environmental Issues

A research team from Yale and Columbia universities will release the 2014 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) — a global assessment of environmental performance — at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Saturday, Jan. 25.

At that time, the full report and redesigned website will be available at http://epi.yale.edu.

The EPI is a ranking of countries’ performance on high-priority environmental issues in two broad policy areas: protection of human health from environmental harm and protection of ecosystems. The 2014 EPI, the tenth iteration of the project, introduces some exciting innovations, especially as they help inform the ongoing discussions surrounding the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

• The 2014 EPI scores and ranks 178 countries. Countries new to the EPI come…

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

Hey again! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. I was able to spend time with family in California and with friends in Colorado and New Hampshire. It was a great break, but I’m excited to be getting back into the swing of things here at FES. Spring semester is ramping up with exciting new classes and opportunities.

As the semester starts, you might be wondering how to get involved, stay involved, or even just stay informed. I’d like to draw your attention to several of the different publications at FES. For a comprehensive list, you can check out this website. I had the opportunity to chat with several different people working on four very interesting ventures. I’ll be highlighting four of FES’s publications and projects…

Look to Small Islands for Inspiration in Protecting Oceans and in the Fight for a Safe Climate

In late October 2013, I attended the Third International Marine Protected Areas Congress in Marseille, France.  Check out my earlier blog post about an innovative way that island leaders exchanged knowledge during the conference.

At the Third International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC3), I had the opportunity to observe an inspiring island leader in action.  His Excellency Ambassador Ronald Jumeau from Seychelles spoke boldly at the conference about the central role of islands in marine protection.

I first met Ambassador Jumeau in New Haven before IMPAC3, when he visited our Yale F&ES International Organizations and Conferences class. He explained that he came to New York in 2007 as permanent representative of Seychelles to the UN.  As head of the Seychelles delegation at UN climate…

New Haven, my home!

It is no secret that I’m New Haven’s biggest fan. There is so much delicious food, art, beauty, and fun packed in this small city that I think it is truly such a wonderful place to be a grad student and live. We may not have sunny California’s steady weather, but we do have incredible seasons and get to experience the best of each. A little snow just makes us tougher, you know?

Anyway, before the offices closes for the holiday season, I just wanted to share this really cute video that some Yale undergrads made. I think it is pretty clever, but it also goes to show you how fond other people are of this place, besides me!

To watch on YouTube, click here

F&ES Class Helps Get New Haven Green Infrastructure Project 'In the Ground'

Earlier this year, a group of F&ES students traveled down the I-95 corridor, from New York to Washington, to explore how four major cities are using “green infrastructure” to handle storm water runoff. In each city they received an important piece of advice: Just get projects built.

“What all these cities helped us understand was the importance of getting projects in the ground, just to see how they function in your own city,” said Caitlin Feehan M.E.M. ’14, who helped organize the research trip.

This week, the students can say they’ve helped New Haven put its own project in the ground. The research they conducted as part of their class, F&ES 963: Payments for Ecosystem Services, helped inspire plans for new green projects in the Elm…

Packages of cheese puffs in a grocery store dumpster

Leading up to and at COP 19, I worked with the Union of Concerned Scientists, helping them to develop policy positions related to climate change adaptation and mitigation in global agriculture. Agriculture is a nascent subject within the UNFCCC, but by 2020, global emissions targets relating to both forests and agriculture will be incorporated under a single heading of “land use.” Addressing agricultural emissions will be a significant step for the UNFCCC. The following statistics convey why:

  • According to a recent report published by the Union of Concerned Scientists, demand for food is predicted to increase by at least 60% by 2050 – not simply because of population growth, but because of changing consumption patterns, referred to as the “nutrition transition.” Developing countries are rapidly adopting a
Twitter Campaign Helps Yale Project Spread Important Climate Message

During the week of the Thanksgiving holiday, the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication (YPCCC) found an effective way to generate a buzz in the global climate debate: Add a hashtag.

More than 2,600 Twitter users responded to the YPCCC’s challenge to give “#ClimateThanks” on the popular social media site, posting nearly 8,000 tweets about individuals and groups making a difference in the climate fight. Those tweets generated more than 25 million timeline deliveries, and reached more than 7.2 million unique followers.

Participants included high-profile climate scientists, U.S. lawmakers, journalists, non-governmental organizations and thousands of individuals who simply care about climate issues.

“All in all, the campaign far exceeded our expectations,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication. “I was…