Page 1


Winter 2013



Inside this issue: 

Page 2: Winter 2013 ESS Seminar Series

Page 3 & 4: Farewell

Page 5: Internships

Page 6 & 7: Spring 2013 Courses

Page 7: Contact Info

New GIS lab now open in Varsi Hall The ESS Department is pleased to announce the opening of a new campus facility for Geographic Information Systems teaching and research. Geographic Information Systems, or GIS software allows users to create maps, generate and overlay different kinds of spatial data, and analyze spatial patterns. GIS is used in fields ranging from anthropology to public health, sociology, marketing, and environmental studies and sciences. Our new 16-seat GIS computer lab featuring ArcGIS 10 software is located on the second floor of Varsi Hall and is available to SCU faculty, staff, and students wanting to use GIS in their research and teaching. Please contact the ESS Department’s administrative assistant for scheduling and access.

New version of GIS course to be offered Spring 2013

The Department of Environmental Studies & Sciences Santa Clara University

We will pilot a new version of our GIS course this Spring quarter in our new GIS facility. The two sections of ENVS 116 ‘Introduction to GIS’, will be offered on TR 9:55 a.m.-11:40 a.m. and TR 11:50 a.m.-1:35 p.m. with no additional lab section required. Both sections will be capped at 16 students, so be sure to take advantage of pre-registration to reserve your spot. The class will be very hands-on and students will learn how to overlay different kinds of spatial data to create maps and address a wide variety of “spatial” questions. ENVS 116 will count for all ES majors as equivalent to ENVS 115, but it will not count for the University’s Science, Technology, and Society (STS) requirement. Questions regarding ENVS 116 can be directed to Iris Stewart-Frey (


Department of Environmental Science & Studies

Winter 2013 Seminar Series Friday January 18th “Economic Value of Ecosystem Services: Concepts, Methods and Applications” Shan Ma, Economist, Natural Capital Project Friday February 1st “Environmental and Food Justice: An Institutional and Participatory Approach to Link Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture with Smallholder Farmers in Nicaragua” Chris Bacon, Assistant Professor of the Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences at SCU Friday February 8th “Climate Change Adaptation Strategies and Sustaining Sierra Nevada Water Resources: An “All the Above” Approach Josh Viers, Associate Research Scientist, UC Davis Friday March 1st Phytoplankton Ecology in the San Francisco Estuary Delta: Scientific Investigations to Inform Policy in a Highly Managed System Alex Parker, Research Scientist, Romberg Tiburon Center and Department of Biology, San Francisco State University *All Seminars will be held in Kennedy Commons



Our Senior Administrative Assistant, Leah Nakasaki-Peterson, will be moving on from our department. It is a huge loss for us, but a nice promotion for Leah, as she moves into a new position within SCU as the Building Operations Manager for Benson Center. Leah joined our group in the summer of 2007. She has been instrumental in the growth and professionalization of what was once a "program" to now a full-blown academic department with 150 majors and a growing faculty. Leah has been the engine that has kept the whole operation running - handling communications with students and alumni, budgets, class scheduling, events, and much more. Leah has seen our group through many changes with good nature and humor - not least of which was our move to Varsi Hall this past summer. Leah's last day with us will be Friday January 18th. Please stop by to let her know how much we have appreciated her hard work and that she will be sorely missed.

Postdoctoral researcher Darren Ficklin left ESS at the end of December 2012 and moved on to a Visiting Assistant Professor position at Indiana University, where he will be teaching courses in GIS and Climate Change. Since March of 2010, Darren had been working with faculty members Iris Stewart-Frey (ESS) and Ed Maurer (Civil Engineering) on modeling the likely impact of climatic changes on water flow and water quality throughout the mountains of the Western US. This study has been funded through an external grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and has resulted in a new stream temperature model as well as several papers. This ongoing research has produced a detailed assessment of how warmer temperatures and precipitation changes expected from climate change are likely to lead to earlier streamflow timing, decreased snowmelt, lower summer flows, much higher spring and summer stream temperatures, decreases in dissolved oxygen, and changes in sediment transport that could have significant consequences for ecosystem health and water supplies. During his time at Santa Clara, Darren worked with and co-supervised ESS undergraduate research students Monika Varga, Russell McIntosh, and Carlos Carrillo. Darren – we’ll miss you and wish you the best in your new endeavors.


Farewell Marciel Oliveira, a doctoral student from Brazil, recently spent four months at SCU collaborating with Virginia Matzek on an invasive species research project. Marciel came to SCU as a visiting scholar to improve his English and to work with Virginia on developing his ideas and data into a published paper. His research concerns the invasion of a North American tree, Prosopis juliflora (one of several species commonly known as mesquite in the U.S.), into caatinga forest, a unique type of tropical dry forest in the northeastern portion of Brazil. The invading Prosopis has nearly completely replaced the former dominant species in the caatinga canopy, Anadenanthera colubrina, to the point that the native tree is now considered endangered. Marciel collected samples from both species over a period of two years, encompassing both the wet season and the very harsh dry season characteristic of caatinga forest. He found evidence that Prosopis is able to invade by switching functional strategies from stress-tolerance in the dry season to resource exploitation in the wet season. Marciel presented these data at an ESS seminar in November—just three months after arriving in the U.S. with only rudimentary English! While at SCU, he also participated in field research at Virginia’s Sacramento River restoration project, and spoke to audiences about his home country and his university. Marciel returned to Brazil in December. We wish him the best and hope to see him back again someday.


INTERNSHIPS Sierra Club: Loma Prieta Chapter

Full Circle Farm

Palo Alto, CA

Sunnyvale, CA


Current featured internship opportunities:

We are seeking motivated, friendly and creative individuals to support our recycling and zero waste work. The Zero Waste Intern works closely with Conservation Program staff, the chapter’s Zero Waste Committee, and our local Cool Cities teams to advocate for local policies to minimize waste that is not recycled back into the environment or the marketplace. An ideal candidate... *Education: Has or is pursuing a degree in Environmental Studies, Sociology or a related degree *Strong communication skills *Available for four months for at least 8-12 hours a week, during business hours (though some work can be done via telecommuting)

Greenhouse/Nursery Intern

Sales/Marketing Intern

Farm/Field Crew Intern

Middle School Garden Teacher

Urban Agriculture Program Intern

Education Garden

For more detailed information go to the Full Circle Farm website: get-involved/internships/

SCU Costa Rica Summer Program The Costa Rica summer program offers a small cohort of students the opportunity to experience the biodiversity of a Costa Rica tropical rainforest. Students enroll in two courses taught by SCU Anthropology instructor Michelle Bezanson. Upon successful completion of the course requirements students will receive a total of 10 units of credit and completion of a 100 hour internship. Students have one week of pre-field instruction at SCU then spend three weeks at a La Suerte Biological Field Station gaining hands-on experience in community ecology and animal behavior. Courses: ANTH 197: Field Course: Primate Behavioral Ecology (5 units) ENVS 141/BIO 157: Environmental Biology in the Tropics (5 units) For more information contact Michelle Bezanson at


Spring 2013 Courses ENVS 2A Critical Thinking and Writing II

ENVS 116 Intro to GIS

John Farnsworth, 4 units

Iris Stewart-Frey, 5 units

T/TH 1:45 p.m.— 3:30 p.m.

Sec. 1 T/TH 9:55 a.m-— 11:40 a.m.

ENVS 21 Intro to Environmental Science

Sec. 2 T/TH 11:50 a.m.— 1:35 p.m.

Jennifer Palladini, 4 units

ENVS 120 Intro to Environmental Law

Lec- MWF 11:45 a.m.—12:50 a.m.

Terry Trumbull, 5 units

Lab– M 8:30 a.m.—11:15 a.m.

MW 3:30 p.m.— 5:15 p.m.

Lab– F 8:30 a.m.—11:15 a.m.

ENVS 122 Environmental Politics & Policy

ENVS 22 Intro to Environmental Studies

Christopher Bacon, 5 units

Christopher Bacon, 4 units

T/TH 3:40 p.m.— 5:25 p.m.

T/TH 9:55 a.m.—11:40 a.m.

ENVS 131 Environmental Education

ENVS 23 Soil, Water, & Air

Joanna Ahlum, 5 units

Stephanie Hughes, 4 units

T/TH 1:45 p.m.— 3:30 p.m.

Lec- MWF 9:15 a.m.— 10:20 a.m.

ENVS 151 Restoration Ecology

Lab– M 11:45 a.m.-— 2:30 p.m.

Virginia Matzek, 5 units

Lab– M 2:40 p.m.— 5:25 p. m.

Lec- MWF 10:30 a.m.—11:35 a.m.

ENVS 50 World Geography

Lab– M 12:00 p.m. — 2:50 p.m.

Carolyn Trist, 4 units

Lab– M 3:00 p.m. — 5:50 p.m.

Sec. 1 T/TH 11:50 a.m.—1:35 a.m.

ENVS 165 Climate Science and Solutions

Sec. 2 T/TH 3:40 p.m.— 5:25 p.m.

Brandon Murphy, 5 units

ENVS 79 Environmental Thought

MWF 1:00 p.m.— 2:05 p.m.

John Farnsworth, 4 units


T/TH TH 3:40 p.m.— 5:25 p.m.

Stephanie Hughes, 2 units


W 4:45 p.m.— 5:45 p.m.

Sherry Booth, 2 units T/TH 11:50 a.m.— 1:35 p.m.


New CLIMATE SCIENCE course this Spring Have you ever tried to convince a “climate denier� that climate change is a serious problem that demands immediate action? Every graduating environmental science major should have a strong command of the natural science of climate change, the anticipated impacts, and the potential solutions. In ENVS 165 Climate Science and Solutions students will gain an in-depth understanding of the physical processes involved in climate change, as well as its biological and socioeconomic consequences. The course will also explore the strengths and weaknesses of policies and other tools used to mitigate or adapt to climate change. The pre-requisite is ENVS 23, but if you have taken other natural science courses the instructor will provide a permission code so you can add the class. The course will meet this spring on MWF from 1:00 p.m. -2:05 p.m.

CONTACT INFORMATION Department of ESS 2nd Floor Varsi Hall 408-551-7086

EnviroNews Wint 2013  

EnviroNews Wint 2013