News & Events

Most recent events in the Center for Environmental Studies

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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
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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.  https://vimeo.com/538803586 Read More
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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
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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
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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
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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
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‘Survival of the fit’: A VCU professor’s new book calls for a shift in how we think about evolution - A new book co-authored by Virginia Commonwealth University professor Salvatore J. Agosta, Ph.D., calls for a paradigm shift in the mainstream theory of evolution as humanity faces crises such as climate change. And it suggests that answers can be found in Charles Darwin’s original arguments. Agosta, an associate professor in the Center for Environmental Studies, co-wrote “The Major Metaphors of Evolution: Darwinism Then and Now,” with Daniel R. Brooks, a professor emeritus at the University of Toronto. Agosta recently explained why the book, which intertwines biology, philosophy and history, aims to help address the problems facing humanity. See the full article in the VCU News. Read More
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Welcome Back! - Welcome back to VCU!  It is official, the first day of the Fall Semester is upon us.  The Center for Environmental Studies is excited to welcome students and support them as we initiate this most unusual of semesters. The Center remains steadfast in its commitment to innovation, academic excellence, safety, and inclusive excellence.  We are proud of the achievements we've already made and are excited to see what opportunities present themselves this semester. Our faculty and staff have been diligently working over the summer to ensure your learning and research experiences are as successful as possible.  Moreover, we are committed to partnering with all members of the VCU community to ensure safe and healthy learning spaces (both virtual and in-person) for students, staff, and faculty alike. Read More
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Welcome Back! - Welcome back Virtual Event.  Come meet the faculty and staff in the Center for Environmental Studies on Monday 10 August at 2pm. Register here using your VCU Google email. Read More
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Vonesh receives River Management Society’s outstanding contribution award - By Brian McNeill Tuesday, June 16, 2020 The River Management Society has named Virginia Commonwealth University professor James Vonesh, Ph.D., the recipient of its Outstanding Contribution to the River Management Society Award. The award recognizes contributions at the national or regional level to the nonprofit organization that supports professionals who study, protect and manage North America’s rivers. Vonesh, assistant director of the Center for Environmental Studies in VCU Life Sciences, is a member of the organization and is the adviser for the River Studies and Leadership Certificate at VCU. The program, offered by a cohort of 10 universities in partnership with the River Management Society, combines learning about river science, geographic information systems, policy and river field experience with a chosen emphasis in one of three areas: river science; river-based policy; or river-based education, recreation and tourism. “I am thrilled to receive the Outstanding Contribution to the River Management Society Award,” Vonesh said. “There is a lot of great stuff going on at VCU in and around river studies. We want to get the word out and attract students interested in rivers to join our efforts.” Under Vonesh’s guidance, VCU became the first participating institution east of the Mississippi River in 2017, and has grown to become the… Read More
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