Too Abundant to Disappear? Not Quite: The Lessons of the Passenger Pigeon

During the mid-19th century, the passenger pigeon was the most abundant bird species in North America, if not the world, with a population believed to number in the billions.

Traveling in formations that might be impossible to imagine today, the bird was ubiquitous across New England, the Midwest and parts of Canada, darkening the skies over major cities and sometimes halting human activity in its tracks with the roar of hundreds of millions of flapping wings, says author Joel Greenberg, author of the new book A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon’s Flight to Extinction. In 1860, a British soldier in Ontario recorded a flock whose passage overhead lasted 14 hours.

“Forty years later, they were gone from the wild. Fourteen years after that they were…

Hotspots for People: A New Conservation Strategy

In 2009, Beth Tellman M.E.Sc. ’14 moved to El Salvador to study the food sovereignty of organic coffee farmers. But after devastating floods and mudslides killed hundreds of people, and left thousands more homeless, her area of focus shifted quickly. In addition to working closely on community disaster resilience, Tellman began exploring how improved land use and forest management can provide a critical ecosystem service in places like El Salvador.

In an article for SNAP magazine (Science for Nature and People), Tellman documents the increasingly dire threats faced by the Latin American country in the face of environmental degradation and climate change, and how investing in natural systems could provide vital social and ecological benefits.
Conservation needs to grapple with what climate change is and will do to…

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…

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…

Giving #ClimateThanks This Week

When it comes to the state of the climate, there are plenty of reasons for concern. But there are also reasons for gratitude, the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication says.

This Thanksgiving week, the F&ES-based group is using Twitter to call attention to the people and organizations making a difference in the climate fight – and asking others to do the same.

They’re calling it #ClimateThanks.

“With friends and colleagues across the climate community, we are taking a moment to tweet or post who or what we are thankful for in the fight for a safe climate,” the group wrote on its website. “Please Tweet #ClimateThanks and help us raise awareness about the amazing things people are doing and build a stronger…

Welcome to Judges Cave!

When I arrived on campus as a Yale freshman, I couldn’t believe how much history was all around me. It was crazy to think about how much younger my home state is than my university. When California was admitted to the union in 1850, Yale University had already existed for over a hundred years. Walking on the New Haven Green wasn’t a typical stroll in the park. That space had served as the main burial ground for the residents of New Haven for the city’s first 150 years. Last October, a tree on the Green fell during the peak of Hurricane Sandy, unearthing a skull that dates back to the late 1700s.

If the Green used to be a cemetery, what other common features within the city held…

With Government Shutdown Over, 'Science is (Almost) Rolling Again'

Jamie Collins ’11 M.E.Sc., who is now a graduate student in a joint program between MIT and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, had just started blogging about a research trip to Antarctica when the government shutdown threatened to stop his work before it began.

In fact, on Oct. 8 — the day he arrived at Palmer Station on the West Antarctic Peninsula — he learned that the National Science Foundation was effectively cancelling all upcoming U.S. research activities in Antarctica.

But the last-minute resolution in Congress has salvaged the mission. On his blog today, Collins reported the good news: “Science is (almost) rolling again down here on the ice.”
The sense of relief on station is palpable — members of the various science teams are…

Ashley Duval ('10 MESc) plays on Late Night with David Letterman.

How cool is the F&ES community? Here’s how cool: That was Ashley DuVal (’10 MESc), research assistant to Dean Peter Crane, blasting the trumpet with hiphop supergroup Deltron 3030 on “The Late Show with David Letterman” Tuesday night.

DuVal, who earned extra money performing in South Pacific on Broadway while she was a student at F&ES, was recruited by a friend and longtime collaborator to play a handful of East Coast shows with the band this month, culminating with a “Late Night” performance before a television audience of roughly 3 million people.

“I joked with my husband, ‘I’m just going to try not to fall off the stage,” she said. “And then I got there and realized it was a real risk because they had us on these…