Former YSE Dean Peter Crane Awarded Darwin-Wallace Medal

Peter Crane, former dean of the Yale School of the Environment (then the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies), has been awarded the Darwin-Wallace Medal for his work in advancing evolutionary biology.

Crane, who served as dean from 2009-2016, was recognized by The Linnean Society of London for his groundbreaking contributions in the field of living and extinct plant diversity. He will receive the medal May 24, 2024, during the anniversary meeting of the society at Burlington House in London. He is one of nine Linnean Society medal and award winners honored for working to protect the natural world.

His research on plant life focuses on understanding plant evolution and the diversification of flower plants. He is co-author of the highly-cited “The Origin and Diversification of Land Plants” and has published more than 200 articles and essays.

“Professor Sir Peter Crane FRS stands as a world leader in evolutionary biology, globally acclaimed for his groundbreaking contributions to the field of plant diversity, both living and extinct. His extensive body of work spans from the origin and fossil history of plant life to its current state, encompassing themes of conservation and practical utility. His palaeobotanical discoveries, combined with phylogenetic analyses of morphological data, have profoundly altered our outlook on early angiosperm evolution,” the society said in a news release.

Crane  is currently president of the Oak Spring Garden Foundation and served as director of the Royal Botanic Gardens and Chicago Field Museum.

Peter Crane

Peter Crane

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YSE Professor Recognized with UCGIS Lifetime Achievement in GIScience Education Award

Dana Tomlin, professor of GIS, has received the UCGIS Lifetime Achievement in GIScience Education Award.

“When I first came to Yale as a doctoral student, much of my reason for doing so was to pursue a hobby-like interest in the use of computers to play (I mean work) with maps,” Tomlin said. “Having now made a career out of that hobby, I am more enthused than ever at the prospect of sharing this work, I mean play, with others who also enjoy thinking spatially.”

Tomlin, the originator of Map Algebra, a set of pixelwise and neighborhood computation techniques across multiple rasters, is known for his commitment to GIS education. For almost five decades, Tomlin has taught both undergraduate and graduate courses emphasizing practical demonstration alongside strategic reasoning and creating innovative teaching materials, such as detailed ArcGIS tutorial handouts and clear documentation to supplement lectures. In his nomination letter, one former student wrote, “Dana teaches his students how to think spatially, how to break down complex problems into a series of steps, engaging their creativity at the same time.” 

The University Consortium for Geographic Information Science established the Innovation in GIScience Education Award in 2020,. The award recognizes contributions to GISscience education.

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Charles Dana Tomlin

Professor (Adjunct)

All Things Water

Shimon Anisfeld, senior lecturer and research scientist in water resources and environmental chemistry at YSE, has launched a new public website on water management issues.

Launched in tandem with his new textbook, “Water Management: Prioritizing Justice and Sustainability,” Anisfeld's website offers teaching and learning resources on a broad array of water issues — from inequitable access to hygiene to flooding, drought, and climate change .

“Water touches every aspect of our society. The goal of the textbook-website combination is to provide an up-to-date, integrated resource for those who want to better understand the various aspects of the water crisis,” Anisfeld said.

The new website and textbook address water supply and scarcity, water governance and allocation, tribal water rights, transboundary conflict and cooperation, and off stream and instream uses including hydropower, fishing, recreation, flood management, waste disposal, and dams. The material also examines the impact of changing technology on water resources, emerging nature-based solutions, and justice issues. As water management is often a local issue, Anisfeld also includes case studies to illustrate problems and resolutions. The website will be continually updated with the most current data..

“Water ‘hotspots’ are manifestations of serious underlying stresses on our interconnected social–physical water systems. These stresses require sustained attention from water managers, scientists, policymakers, and the public, even after the headlines have faded. That attention, in turn, requires a shared understanding of how water systems function, the stresses they are experiencing, and the tools available to increase their resilience," Anisfeld noted in the preface of his book.

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Water Management book cover image

Shimon Anisfeld

Senior Lecturer II and Research Scientist in Water Resources and Environmental Chemistry

YSE Professors Attend Climate Crisis Summit at the Vatican

Dan Esty, Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy, and Justin Farrell professor of sociology spoke about climate crisis resilience at the Vatican’s global climate change summit, held May 15 to 17.

 “I was pleased to present my work on revamping the international trade system to better align with the world community’s commitment to climate change action and a more sustainable future in general (see the Villars Framework for a Sustainable Future),” Esty who spoke about his work developing a sustainability agenda for the World Trade Organization said. “And it was a special joy to have the moral authority of the Pope reinforce the push for a just transition to a sustainable global economy.”

Hosted by the Pontifical Academies of Science and Social Sciences, the three-day summit and workshop, “From Climate Crisis to Climate Resilience,” brought together hundreds of political leaders, scientists, and policy experts — including California Gov. Gavin Newsom, New York Gov.  McCarthy, and Former White House Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy. Farrell who was inducted last year into the Pontifical Academies of Science and Social Sciences and was on the advisory committee that put the event together spoke on historical land dispossession and current and future climate risks of Indigenous peoples which was the focus of his 2021 Science paper.

“This extraordinary convergence fostered global dialogue and collaboration, blending insights from natural and social sciences within the moral context of the Vatican,” Farrell said. “With a truly global perspective, the academy amplifies voices from around the world, especially from the Global South, adding a diverse and inclusive dimension to scientific discussions held here.” 

 Pope Francis addressed participants early in the summit, saying the “stakes could not be higher” and encouraging people “to continue to work together in effecting a transition from the current climate crisis to climate resilience in equality and social justice.” 

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Dan Esty meeting Pope Francis

Photo : Gabriella C. Marino/PAS

Daniel C. Esty

Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy, jointly with Yale Law School; Director of the Center for Environmental Law and Policy