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Previous Summer Fellowship Awards

Awards 2002-2006    |    Awards 2007-2010

Awards 2002-2006

  • 2006

    Adenike Adeyeye, Environmental Studies '07, Faculty Advisor - John Wargo (F&ES and Political Science)
    An Assessment of Sanitation Improvement Projects and Community Response to Sanitation Education Programs: Batey Libertad, Dominican Republic

    An Assessment of Sanitation Improvement Projects and Community Response to Sanitation Education Programs: Batey Libertad, Dominican Republic
    Adenike Adeyeye, Environmental Studies '07

    With my Environmental Internship Program award, I was able to spend four weeks researching in Batey Libertad, Dominican Republic. A batey is a community comprised primarily of Haitian agricultural workers. Batey Libertad is considered a well-off batey because it has electricity and access to water from the surrounding mountains, but it still shares many of the same sanitation woes as other bateyes. My research focused on the community’s use of latrines and their disposal of garbage.

    During my first visits to the batey, in February 2006, the community leader, Papito, told me that groups in the batey hold meetings for residents to teach them about trash disposal and latrine construction and use. These organizations are instrumental in making Batey Libertad a “well-off” batey, and I interviewed 4 members of either Organizacion de Trabajadores Haitianos (Organization of Haitian Workers or OTH) or Famn Vayan (Valiant Women) about the various programs they had started. Another important part of my project was interviewing ordinary residents to find out what they do with their trash and whether they have access to latrines. I surveyed 40 households, or roughly one-fifth of the batey. In order to make the survey random, Tanya Martinez and I mapped the batey and numbered all of the houses, and I interviewed at every fifth house. I asked people for biographical information, and then asked questions about their family’s latrine use, their trash disposal practices, and their level of participation in the programs offered by organizations such as OTH and Famn Vayan.

    In my interviews, the majority of the people’s habits echoed what Papito had already shared with me: they use the weekly garbage truck to dispose of garbage, use a latrine that they either own or share, and have attended at least one program given by OTH, Famn Vayan, or other organizations. However, some of the people I answered had drastically different answers. They told me that they do not have access to latrines and do not use the garbage truck to dispose of their garbage. There are numerous reasons for not having access to a latrine: the owner of the home they rent did not provide a latrine, there was no space to construct one, the one they had was full, their latrine had been demolished to construct the newest community center, etc. Those without latrines use the bathroom out in the fields surrounding the batey or in an area by the river if it is too late at night to go into the fields. They throw their trash out either alongside the river or out in the fields. Many of them also responded that they had not attended any informational meetings, because they had not been invited.

    Christa Anderson, Environmental Studies '07, Faculty Advisor - Oswald Schmitz (F&ES)
    People and Predators: Livestock Predation Program, Arusha, Tanzania

    Gideon Bradburd, Biology (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Track) '08, Faculty Advisors - Marta Wells (EEB) and Rick Prum (EEB)
    Getting Field Experience: Ecological Study and Surveying the Birds of Surimane

    Getting Field Experience: Ecological Study and Surveying the Birds of Surimane
    Gideon Bradburd, Biology (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Track) '08

    This summer, I traveled to Suriname as part of a small team from the Peabody Museum. Our mission was to perform a survey of the avifauna of two sites and bring back specimens that are either poorly or—until our trip—completely unrepresented in the Peabody’s collection.

    The first site we surveyed was the Sipaliwini savannah, in the very southern tip of Suriname. There, we found many birds commonly found in the Brazilian cerrado, another savannah-like biome. The cerrado is found much farther south however, and is separated from the Sipaliwini by numerous other biomes. One important question raised by our collection is whether or not the populations of cerrado-specialists in Suriname are reproductively isolated from those in Brazil, and, if so, whether or not this genetic and environmental isolation has resulted in a textbook case of allopatric speciation. If this were the case, then several of the species we collected in Sipaliwini may end up being new species.

    The second site was in the jungle at Werehpai, near the major Trio village of Kwamalasamutu. There, we were lucky enough to encounter an army ant swarm and we were able to collect many of the obligate army ant specialists—birds that follow the swarm and prey on the arthropods flushed by the horde of ants—which otherwise are very difficult to see.

    We spent a total of thirty days collecting specimens in the field, netting and shooting during the day and preparing the birds by night. I personally prepared 70 birds, of which 30 were skins, 16 were skeletons, and 24 were preserved in alcohol. As a group, we brought back 276 specimens from 114 different species.

    These specimens can now be used for comparison with other specimens in the United States and for any morphological studies scientists and students at Yale wish to perform. We preserved a tissue sample in alcohol from each bird we collected, so that a genetic analysis can also be carried out. In the long run, these specimens could be used by an artist to render illustrations for the first field guide to Suriname.

    Another possible project that presented itself during our expedition was a study of the Blue Poison Dart frog (Dendrobates azureus), which is found only in a single mountain range in the Sipaliwini savannah. During our stay in Mamia Pakoro, the Amerindian outpost in the Sipaliwini, we established good relations with the two Trio caretakers (so much so that I was offered one’s daughter’s hand in marriage), and a return visit to study the range and diet of these rare creatures would be both fascinating and doable.

    It was both exciting to learn new skills like how to set up mist nets, shoot, and prepare specimens, and gratifying to be able to add specimens to the very collection that inspired me to make the trip in the first place. Thank you so much for providing me with the means to enjoy such a wonderful summer.

    Duncan Cheung, Environmental Studies '07, Faculty Advisor - John Wargo (F&ES and Political Science)
    Urban Water Management in Beijing and Tianjin, China: Problems, Prospects, and Partnerships

    Urban Water Management in Beijing and Tianjin, China: Problems, Prospects, and Partnerships
    Duncan Cheung, Environmental Studies '07

    What I had originally planned:

    Examine Beijing’s urban water management issues and develop a better sense of how public-private partnerships in the water sector can benefit major cities in China. The findings will be used to support my senior research project and possibly the master’s thesis.

    What I did:

    During the 6 weeks I was in Beijing, I completed two internships:

    A. Water research for NRDC: The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has exerted major influences on China’s energy policy and green building developments for the past decade. NRDC wished to expand its scope to the water sector, particularly in urban water efficiency and the energy efficiency associated with water infrastructures. I was responsible for carrying out the preliminary research on Beijing’s water and wastewater sectors. I conducted many interviews with the following interviewees include:
        1. an official (shall remain unnamed) in the Ministry of Construction in charge of writing provisions for water and wastewater treatment,
       2. an official at the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) in charge of water pollution management,
       3. Mr. Liu, the Deputy Chief of the Chengdu Water Bureau, who is in charge of wastewater treatment,
       4. an official who was in charge of the operations of one of China’s model wastewater treatment plants in Chengdu
       5. Mr. Ma Jun who was a World Fellow at Yale 2 years ago and is now working on public participation networks for water pollution cases,
       6. Dr. Seth Cook who completed his doctoral work in rainwater harvesting in Gansu, China and is now the country representative of the IUCN,
       7. Dr. Eva Sternfeld who did her doctoral dissertation on Beijing’s water management system and is now a librarian at the China Environmental Sustainable Development Research and Reference Center (CESDRRC), arguably the largest environmental information database in the country,
       8. Dr. Zhou from the Beijing Industrial University who is a leading expert in the country in urban water network engineering and planning as well as software development in GIS systems for water systems,
       9. Dr. Fu and Dr. Chang at the Tsinghua University Water Policy Research Center (WPRC), the only water policy research center in the country.

    Besides the interviews, I collected information at the CESDRRC for 3 days, twice visited the Beijing Water Museum (one of the three water museums in China), went to a wastewater treatment strategy conference in Chengdu hosted by the UC Berkeley Urban Sustainable Initiative, went to visit one of the country’s model wastewater treatment plants in Chengdu, and observed a close-door water sector strategic forum hosted by H20-China and Tsinghua University Department of Environmental Science and Engineering. The purpose of the forum was to allow the CEOs or Board of Directors of 10-20 major water corporations in China to discuss their strategies in response to the newest developments in the water sector especially to new policies.

    B. Translation editor for Tsinghua Water Policy Research Center: The majority of my time was spent editing the translation of a book that will be published in December 2006 through the International Waters Association. The original Chinese version was published in the last week of August and it is China’s first book on the country’s water sector reform. It outlines the major phases China’s water sector has gone through and details 17 case studies on 14 Chinese cities. The authors also appraised in great depths the situation and prospects of China’s water sector in terms of legal framework, tariff structures, roles, responsibilities and rights of the government and different types of water managers. This book will be extremely valuable once published in English as it will serve as a foundation of knowledge of China’s urban water sector. I feel honored to participate in editing the translation. I fear that the subtleties hidden in the Chinese language as well as the political and cultural meanings in of some terms were not expressed wholly and accurately in the English language given my limited background and time.
    The Professors who head the Tsinghua WPRC would like environmental policy to be available as a field of study in China. The Chinese education system does not allow much flexibility in the academic curriculum; opening a new major or concentration of study under this system would therefore be challenging. Besides teaching new courses on environmental infrastructure financing and public-private partnerships, the professors are trying to create an international network of scholars and institutes that will strengthen the field’s position in environmental studies. They are contemplating partnership with the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies in hopes to strengthen international presence and influence on Tsinghua’s students through exchange programs. They have asked me to be the liaison between Tsinghua and Yale at the end of my internship.

    Major findings:

    Thanks to Tsinghua WPRC, I was able to obtain plenty of unpublished data and information that will be crucial to my senior research paper. The following list of findings are some of the more fascinating results I have gathered from the books, interviews, visits to museums, treatment plants, and other exhibits, conferences, and electronic resources I accessed in China.

    · China’s urban water reform has gone through 3-4 phases in the past 16 years. And the next phase will focus on performance/service optimization. This was not visible to me before I went to China because the information available outside of the country was extremely limited and there existed no background information or systematic explanations of China’s urban water reform.
    · There could be little or no association between the ownership structure (public/private) of an urban water supply system and its performance.
    · Most of China’s water distribution networks and water treatment plants are designed and built using a similar protocol by a few state-owned public utility design companies. Transaction costs are higher, and the designers do not necessarily have operation cost-effectiveness in mind. There are successful stories of water treatment plant projects being bided-for, designed, built, and operated by one water company being extremely cost-effective in Shenzhen and Macao. The government then plays the role of an enabler of the projects and a regulator of water quality and tariffs. The problem is that these design firms monopolize the water market by withholding essential information about the water system so that competitors cannot enter the water market in many cities in China.
    · Water infrastructure development and city planning need to go hand-in-hand; this is not happening. Dr. Zhou from Beijing Industrial University is developing a comprehensive GIS software for water corporations and planning departments to integrate the planning and development of urban water systems. Having an extensive background on both the engineering of water distribution networks and GIS software development, Dr. Zhou is a leader in his field in the whole country and he is engineering state-of-the-art software programs (like an MS office for water managers) in his lab. This shows the infancy of the progression of the systematic planning and optimization of China’s urban water systems.
    · The legal and policy structure of China do not take public participation into account; public pressure on service regulation and improvement has been virtually non-existent. There exists a very weak pressure on local governments to improve their service except for top-down command and control methods.
    · China’s water sector market-oriented reform is very rushed compared to that in other countries. While on one hand this has led to the spawning of many kinds of financing models that had never appeared elsewhere in the world, it is also exerting an unprecedented amount of stress of the managerial and regulatory capacity of relevant government departments as well as water managers. The roles, responsibilities and rights of the stakeholders (the local government, lawmaking bodies, water operators, the users) are unclear.
    · Sludge treatment and disposal can make up 20-50% of the cost of a wastewater treatment plant project. Energy consumption of the water pumps and wind turbines is another costly component.
    · Foreign involvement in China’s urban water problems, whether it is carried through the vehicle of NGOs, developers, private enterprises, or other development agents need to carefully examine the situation of the local area (political, economic, cultural, societal, and environmental at the least) before they can develop context-specific projects. Participation in UC Berkeley’s Urban Sustainable Initiative conference made me realize once again how easy it is for an outside agent to declare that they have the best technologies in the world and that whatever they have observed in the brief 2 months of research can serve as the basis of their development projects. This attitude seems consistent with what I have learnt in Professor Cashore’s class on international environmental policy and governance where the developed world, with all its good intentions, impose development schemes on developing countries sometimes without adequate consideration of the local situation.

    Personal reflection and next steps

    · Prior language, cultural and political understandings were pivotal to my access of information in the research. Using my role as a student and being tactful in my tones and subtleties in body languages played to my advantage and enabled me to obtain information (sometimes even classified) and personal resources I would never have gained otherwise. My prior experience working inside a government agency for a year and interacting with Chinese researchers, students, officials, villagers, and the press taught me how I can use my identity and understanding of the political and cultural situations to earn maximum trust in a very short amount of time so that information and other resources would be automatically opened for me.
    · I think it is more realistic to use my findings from China to develop a comparative study of the progression of water sector reforms across different countries than attempt to make a statement on China’s water sector. I can outline with the comparative study: which forms of public-private partnerships dominated in a certain country, why some models of private involvement worked effectively in some places and not others. What elements are China-specific and how they can contribute to the progression of the reform…etc.
    · According to Professor Chang at the Tsinghua WPRC, the US may be a good model for China to use in water sector financing. The WPRC has a graduate student researching this topic. The advantage I would have if I were to investigate this further is that the resources on the US situation are far more abundant and accessible at Yale. My fluency in both languages and familiarity with China’s water situation will allow me to pursue this with great focus.

    The internships were extremely valuable both to my personal growth and to the research I am embarking upon. I would only highly recommend this to all students who have extensive Chinese language, cultural background, political understanding, and environmental knowledge (better be a Chinese National who has spent at least a few years in China). Researching as a foreigner in China or a student who does not know “how things work” in political circles will yield the researcher shallow data and findings. The key to achieve good results in any researches in China starts with networking properly with the “right” people—this is partly the Chinese culture, and partly how China works as a country that has not gone through full institutionalization and systematic reform.

    Caitlin Clarke, Environmental Studies '07, Faculty Advisor - John Wargo (F&ES and Political Science)
    The Politics of Oil Development and Conservation in Quito and Yasuni National Park, Ecuador

    The Politics of Oil Development and Conservation in Quito and Yasuni National Park, Ecuador
    Caitlin Clarke, Environmental Studies '07

    I used my summer grant from the Environmental Internship Program to travel to Ecuador, where I conducted research in anticipation of my senior essay. In 2005, with support from the Program, I interned in Washington, D.C. at an environmental group called Save America’s Forests, which works with the Waorani indigenous group of eastern Ecuador on issues related to oil exploitation and illegal logging on their territory. I was eager for the chance to see their land and the effects of oil development for myself, and I wanted to gain a better understanding of the ways in which the social and political structure of the local communities influences and is influenced by natural resource development.

    The situation of the Waorani is by no means unique in the Amazon headwaters region. The Ecuadorian rainforest is home to a number of indigenous groups, of which the Waorani, who number about two thousand, are among the smallest. In the past, they have also been among the most isolated, feared by surrounding groups. As a result of their isolation, they were only contacted by outsiders in the 1940s, when Shell Oil began looking for new reserves under the 1.7 million hectares of land, now divided between Yasuní National Park (PNY) and the Waorani Ethnic Reserve, that comprises their ancestral territory.

    Further oil exploration activities led to resettlement efforts, as many Waorani were led west out of the area that is now Yasuní. In the 1970s, Texaco, which was at the time the dominant oil operator in Ecuador, built a road south from the oil town of Coca deep into Waorani territory. Called the Via Auca, or “Road of Savages” (“auca” is the term by which the indigenous Quichua have called the Waorani), the road and the pipeline that runs along it have been responsible for major environmental damage. Waorani territory contains what may be the greatest array of biological diversity on the planet; it has been severely compromised by the road, oil activities, and subsequent colonization along the Via Auca, which has seen other Ecuadorians moving onto Waorani land to practice swidden agriculture.

    When I arrived in Ecuador at the beginning of my five-week stay, the Brazilian national oil company, Petrobras, had just announced that it would use roadless drilling methods to extract oil from its concession, Block 31, in the heart of Yasuní National Park. This was the goal for which Save America’s Forests had been working during my tenure at the organization, and it means that the devastation visited on former primary rainforest by the Via Auca will not be repeated in the national park by another oil road.

    Oil development has had a serious impact on Waorani governance and the Waorani people’s ability to determine their own future. I spent a week in Puyo, where the Association of the Waorani Nation of the Ecuadorian Amazon (ONHAE), the tribe’s governing council, has its headquarters. In Puyo, I met with several Waorani community leaders, all of whom spoke about their need to control the movement of people and materials in their territory and their need to determine, as a people, what kinds of contracts and agreements are of benefit to the community as a whole. ONHAE has a history of suffering from corruption in its ranks: while many of its leaders, particularly its current president and vice-president, are competent and honest, its past administrations have been less benign. Because the Waorani have no tradition of centralized authority, with each community of forty to eighty people operating as a more or less autonomous unit, it can be difficult to gain full support from every community for decisions taken as a collective group. This decentralization also makes it easy for corrupt leaders to sign personally lucrative contracts with natural resource extraction groups while escaping the notice of the community at large. Furthermore, the lack of a formal system of government or rule of law among the Waorani makes contracts, once signed, often difficult to retract, even if contracts were entered into without the consent of every community that is the traditional sign of a legitimate collective decision.

    I wanted to see what life was like in the Waorani communities so, after leaving Puyo, I went to Bameno, probably the most remote and traditional of the Waorani communities. Bameno, a community in which the Waorani have decided to develop some tourism as a revenue generator, is located on the Cononaco River, a tributary of the Amazon. Located thirteen hours by outboard canoe from the bridge where the Via Auca crosses the Tiguino River, Bameno takes two days to reach, as night navigation on the river is dangerous. I stayed overnight at the Bataburo Lodge, a rustic ecotourism facility four hours downstream from the bridge. Arriving in Bameno at dusk the next day, I found a community moving tentatively from a traditional lifestyle to one embracing more elements of Western-style living. One of my traveling companions, who had visited five years ago, told me that, during his previous visit, no one had been wearing clothes. When I arrived, however, everyone except the very oldest members of the community were.

    The head of tourism for the community lives in a traditionally constructed compound with his wife and children, of whom there are about nine. Hanging under the thatched roof of the building where food is prepared is a certificate in Gothic lettering from Harvard, recognizing him for his participation in a conference there some years ago. The community also has an airstrip and a schoolhouse, both built by Shell decades ago, but while the school is very much in use, by school-age children as well as the entire community, the airstrip is rarely used.

    In Bameno, I accompanied two elders on a monkey hunt – monkey is an important component of the Waorani diet – and learned some of the ways in which they make use of the forest around them. I gained an important appreciation of how deeply rooted they are in place, and how critical their own land is to their survival and sense of culture. Environmental disaster for the Waorani carries much more dire consequences than can be easily appreciated by those of us whose lifestyles can be uprooted at will and taken nearly anywhere in the world.

    In order to continue in their way of life, if they so choose, the Waorani must continue to develop ecotourism on a sustainable scale. It is also imperative that the devastating pollution left by decades of oil exploitation be remediated, as its environmental and public health implications are disastrous. When it rained heavily – as it did every night I spent in Bameno – oil slicks wash along the surface of the Cononaco. Many of the people with whom I spoke told me of getting sick from causes they claim are oil-related; indeed, public-health investigations suggest that cancer rates around the Via Auca are significantly higher than background rates.

    The issues surrounding the Waorani speak to the problems environmental studies attempts to address in many respects: social, ecological, legal, ethical. At issue is the question of whether the Waorani can remain in their traditional way of life while also moving far enough into the Western world to deal effectively with the large corporations, and the national government, that will only put increasing pressure on them in the years to come. My time in Ecuador was fascinating, deeply informative, and an invaluable component of what will become my senior essay. I am sincerely grateful to the Environmental Internship Program for choosing to support it.

    Sonia Cooke, Environmental Studies '08, Faculty Advisor - John Wargo (F&ES and Political Science)
    The Future of Organic Viticulture in Italy and California

    The Future of Organic Viticulture in Italy and California
    Sonia Cooke, Environmental Studies '08

    This summer I worked on a research team investigating the relationship between the incidence of Pierce’s disease and riparian habitat in vineyards. The project was run by Dr. Kendra Baumgartner’s lab in the department of Plant Pathology at UC Davis. Sarah Greenleaf, Ph.D., a conservation biologist from Princeton, directed the project.

    Pierce’s disease causes an estimated $9.2 million of economic damage to the viticulture industry annually in northern California. Currently, there is no effective means of controlling the disease. The bacteria that causes Pierce’s disease,Xylella fastidiosa, is carried by the blue-green sharpshooter (Graphocephala atropunctata Signoret), an insect native to the region. Because the blue-green sharpshooter lives in riparian woodlands, and previous studies have linked the occurrence of Pierce’s disease to proximity to riparian habitat, some winegrowers have removed native plants, sprayed herbicides such as Roundup into riparian habitats, and even cleared whole riparian areas in an attempt to control the disease. The project director, Sarah Greenleaf, was particularly interested in investigating the relationship between riparian areas and Pierce’s disease (PD) because of the increasing scarcity of riparian woodland habitat in California. As winegrowers become more and more desperate to control the disease, the risk to endangered riparian areas will increase unless it can be shown that the presence of riparian habitat does not necessarily put a vineyard at risk of severe damage from Pierce’s disease.

    In 2005, Dr. Greenleaf began looking into the issue by investigating the relationship between the incidence of Pierce’s disease and the amount of riparian habitat in a given area. She found that on a small spacial scale, riparian habitat increases the chance of an incidence of Pierce’s disease, yet on a larger scale, the presence of riparian habitat decreases the chance of incidence of the disease. Her findings were good and bad news for advocates of riparian conservation. On one hand, she did find a positive relationship between riparian habitat and the presence of Pierce’s disease on a small scale. This finding might encourage winegrape growers to cut back as much riparian as possible to control the disease. On the other hand, her conclusion that more riparian habitat actually decreases the risk of PD incidence on a large scale might provide hope for large-scale conservation measures if many growers could be encouraged to work together to preserve riparian habitat. This is an interesting case because it pits the economic interests of the individual against the less easily quantifiable collective interest.

    Before any action could be taken on her findings, however, Dr. Greenleaf needed to investigate the actual mechanisms behind Pierce’s disease transmission and its possible link to riparian habitat. It is known that the pathogen and the vector can be hosted by some riparian plant species, all winegrape varieties, and some ornamental plants, but it is unclear what role these different plants play in actual disease incidence. This is what our team worked to investigate.

    Our field crew sampled fifty-two sites in Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties. Some of the sites were certified organic, some used “sustainable” viticulture techniques, while others used several chemicals on their vines. The vineyards were located in regions with varying climates and soil types. Some had large riparian areas while others only had a small strip. We met in the field every day and spent the day sampling the vegetation in the riparian habitat and bug populations. Although this was challenging work, it enabled me to learn about sampling methods and about the local flora in the area. The purpose of this work was to gather data in order to determine which, if any, of the plants we sampled plays host to the blue-green sharpshooter, and if the plant species composition of a particular area had an effect on the presence of sharpshooters.

    I also spent a lot of time interviewing winegrape growers in order to obtain basic information about the history of the vineyard, their spray regimes, and their history of riparian vegetation management, if applicable. Although I followed a set questionnaire, I learned a lot by speaking to each grower individually. Almost all had a theory about why they had been hit by or spared from Pierce’s disease. Some swore by their pruning methods, while others relied on a heavy cocktail of pesticides and herbicides. Some felt it was their commitment to the preservation of riparian habitat that had helped them to control the disease. By speaking with these growers, I gained knowledge about winegrape growing, the diseases that typically plague vineyards, and about organic and conventional pest management techniques.

    This project relates to my interest in sustainability because one of its central aims was to test the validity of the unproven but widely believed theory that riparian habitat, and certain native plants in particular, inevitably help to transmit Pierce’s disease. If the study shows otherwise, it could have important implications for riparian habitat conservation. Although the results of the study have not been fully analyzed, I am still in contact with Dr. Greenleaf. I hope to look at elements of the data with her, in particular whether the frequency of the incidence of PD was in any way related to pest management techniques used in the vineyard. Did organic vineyards, in general, experience a higher incidence of PD, or was the presence of native pest predator populations perhaps helpful in controlling the disease? Although more data would be needed to draw any concrete conclusions, such analysis could hint at possible areas for further research.

    I am very grateful to the Environmental Studies Department for helping me to work on an interesting and education research project this summer. Working on a research team was hard work, but it provided invaluable insight into the scientific process, and helped me gain a better understanding of how university research projects actually function. I would recommend the experience to any student interested in science and conservation.

    Source:
    Greenleaf, S.S., Viers, J.H., Baumgartner, K. 2006. Natural habitat patches are associated with a crop disease only in deforested landscapes. Submitted to Ecology Letters.

    Samara Fox, Cognitive Science '09, Faculty Advisor - Timothy Robinson (English)
    Azafady Madagascar Pioneer Program

    Azafady Madagascar Pioneer Program
    Samara Fox, Cognitive Science '09

    Of all the countries in the world, none has more endemic primates than Madagascar and in no other region are so many primates now endangered. A recent report compiled by more than 50 experts from 16 countries shows that a quarter of the world’s pimate taxa are at risk of extinction in the next twenty years. The report features a list of the 25 most endangered primates and the countries which they come from. Madagadcar and Vietnam were named as the two countries most in need of major efforts for the protection of their forests and wild life. Four of the twenty-five species are endemic to Madagascar; the Greater bamboo lemur; the Silky sifaka, the White-collared lemur and Perrier’s sifaka which is now restricted to tiny patches of forest and is hence vulnerable to rapid eradication.

    The main threats imposing themselves on these species are identified as habitat loss due to illegal logging, cutting of bamboo, the collection of fuel wood and clearing of land for agriculture. Forests continue to be at risk from uncontrolled bush fires and tavy, slash-and-burn agriculture. Slash-and-burn is the traditional technique for agricultural land preparation, commonly used in Madagascar and the rest of the world. It could be argued to be a ‘sustainable’ practice only where the level of population and therefore pressure on the forest allows enough time for regeneration. Believed to be once completely covered in forest, Madagascar’s being known as The Great Red Island becomes increasingly apt as its red lateritic soil is exposed and washed down to silt up rivers following deforestation.

    The Pioneer Program run by British NGO Azafady addresses pressing conservation issues through a number of programs that deal with both immediate threats (such as slash-and-burn deforestation) and long-term threats (overpopulation) to local forests and wildlife. The Pionneer program is distinct because volunteers work alongside Malagasy staff and local people, gaining an intimate understanding of Malagasy culture. As a pioneer, I traveled to a number of remote villages in the Southeastern region of Anosy over a two month period, returning to a base camp in the small city of Fort Dauphin every few weeks.

    Our team did conservation work in the coastal village of Ste-Luce, which is surrounded by the few remaining fragments of littoral forest. In there forests we collected the seedlings of the endangered Dypsis palm for tree nurseries so that they could eventually be replanted in the degraded and threatened nearby forest area. We also recorded the GPS location and condition of adult Dypsis palms in the nearby forest.

    In an ongoing project in Ste Luce and another remote coastal village, Havatra, we also spent time encouraging locals to build economical clay stoves, which use up to 70% less firewood than the traditional stoves and thus result in less deforestation. We also did follow-up surveys to determine if the local women felt that using improved stoves had an impact on reducing the amount of firewood families had to produce, which it did. In Havatra, we also helped establish small gardens in a number of communities, teaching locals to rotate the vegetables that were planted so as not to deplete the soil.

    The rest of our work was concerned with the health and education, which contributed to conservation efforts indirectly by improving local standards of living and reducing the need to over-exploit local natural resources. In Havatra, we spent 2 weeks building a school house alongside a Malagasy construction team. We used materials provided both by the local villagers and the NGO Azafady.

    At our final destinations Tsanoria and Andromanake, worked on well-building, latrine building and well repair. Ensuring that local people have access to clean, safe water and generally sanitary conditions reduces the outbreak of deadly diseases such as cholera. As well as begin obviously desirable for humanitarian reasons, projects such as these are important because reductions in infant mortality often lead to reductions in birthrates (where condoms are used and available, as they are beginning to be in the Anosy region of Madagascar). The current birthrates in rural villages are unsustainable based on the resources available to them. Part of the reason rural families have large families is because they want to insure that enough of their children will live to support them in their old age. As fewer children are born but more of them survive, the overall population may decrease and a greater percentage of this population will be old enough to work. This will hopefully put less stress on the fragile environment in which these people live.

    Bjorn Fredrickson, Environmental Studies '07, Faculty Advisor - John Wargo (F&ES and Poltical Science)
    Chinese Mega Dams and Forced Relocation; Yunnan, China

    Chinese Mega Dams and Forced Relocation; Yunnan, China
    Bjorn Fredrickson, Environmental Studies '07

    This summer I traveled to the banks of Nujiang, the Nu River, in northwest Yunnan Province to conduct research regarding the estimated 50,000 people that will be displaced by the construction of a thirteen-dam cascade hydroelectric system. I wanted to discuss the specifics of this project with the farmers who would lose their land and homes, local government officials, and activists in hopes that I could begin to understand how the project’s various stakeholders view the resettlement process and the futures of the dam displacees; I wished to become knowledgeable of Chinese resettlement policies and evaluate whether or not the Chinese government is justly compensating those whom make sacrifices for national progress.

    Prior to traveling to Yunnan I stopped briefly at Hohai University in Nanjing. At the National Research Center for Resettlement I gathered documents outlining national policies. In Yunnan I had intended to conduct a survey to determine how much potentially affected peoples know of the cascade dam system project and resettlement process, if people throughout the valley think the dams will directly benefit them, how much importance people assign to various aspects of resettlement compensation, and if people regard their futures as displacees as optimistic or pessimistic. After distributing a number of surveys, however, I decided explore the use of open-ended interviews to obtain my data. I had concluded that in simply surveying, I was missing a great deal of anecdotal evidence that I had not considered while planning my project; interviews would allow people to tell me a variety of stories of personal significance and I could still ask a group of specific questions to obtain some quantitative data.

    I visited eleven of the thirteen planned dam sites located in Yunnan’s Nujiang Autonomous Prefecture and Baoshan Municipality, and Tibet’s Linzhi Region. To my surprise, not a single citizen that I spoke to seemed to know if the dams would actually be built or not; they had all heard rumors of the project, and witnessed surveys and various geological studies being performed, but the government has yet to provide them with any information pertaining to the region’s hydroelectric development plans. Women and the elderly knew especially little about the situation and often asked me if the dams were real, if I had come to oversee construction, where the electricity would be sold, and who was funding the project, questions I viewed as fundamentally obvious.

    After conversing with members of different minority groups, farmers, village, township, and county officials, and the directors of several NGOs, I concluded that a lack of transparency and public participation in project planning, along with myriad regional instances of failed resettle schemes, leaves the farmers of the Angry River Valley with little hope for improved livelihoods in the future. It seems unlikely, in fact, that those who lose their homes and land to rising reservoir waters will receive compensation, homes, land, stable employment, or monthly compensation, and a moving subsidy, that they deem to be equitable.

    Michael Gold, Anthropology '07, Faculty Advisor - Marta Wells (EEB)
    Internship, School of Renewable Energy Technology, Naresuan University, Phitsanulok, Thailand

    Internship, School of Renewable Energy Technology, Naresuan University, Phitsanulok, Thailand
    Michael Gold, Anthropology '07

    This summer, I took an internship position at the School for Renewable Energy Technology (SERT) at Naresuan University in Phitsanulok, Thailand. SERT was founded in 1995 as an autonomous governmental institution dedicated to research into the long-term potential of renewable energy — specifically solar, hydro, biomass, and hydrogen energy sources — as well as disseminating the fruits of such research to the public through on-site displays and demonstrations of renewable energy technology. Under the stewardship of Dr. Wattanapong Rackwichian, SERT seeks to discover concrete solutions to the energy problems of Thailand and the southeast Asian region.

    At SERT, I took on a fairly unconventional task. Since I have only minimal technical background and training, I was unable to participate in the hard scientific research of the institute. Instead, I worked in more of a public-relations capacity, writing, directing, and editing a short promotional movie about energy-use problems in Thailand, SERT’s history and background, and how SERT is addressing these energy issues. The movie included interviews with numerous members of the SERT staff, as well as an in-depth examination of the SERT facility and its “Energy Park,” which showcases a solar-powered fountain, houses, and office buildings. The movie ended with a display of one of SERT’s field sites in the Thai countryside, where a solar dryer helps promote the local economy through the drying and preservation of tropical agriculture products, particularly bananas.

    I spent a total of 10 weeks in Thailand, including a week-long orientation in Bangkok through the Kenan Institute Asia, which was an invaluable introduction to Thai customs, culture, and language (though the movie was filmed in English and most of the SERT staff spoke English). From there, I began my internship project at SERT, spending the first two weeks of my internship getting acquainted with the institute, the university, and the surrounding town, and writing a preliminary script. I then spent the next five weeks filming the project; I collected most of my footage at the SERT facility, but I ventured out quite frequently with staff members to field sites and other places of interest, such as a local coal-fired power plant and several Thai wilderness reserves. Though I collected hours upon hours of footage, the most daunting task came during the last two weeks of my internship. The editing process — paring my voluminous collection of shots down to a single, coherent narrative, about 30 minutes in length — was the most labor-intensive of my time in Thailand. Once I finished my movie, I presented it to the SERT staff in its complete and polished form on the final day of my internship.

    My summer internship experience was unlike anything I’d ever undertaken in my life. The frustrations and setbacks were eclipsed only by the moments of extreme satisfaction and pleasure, both professional and personal, that I felt during my time in Thailand, as living independently and working in Thailand is a difficult task for a westerner with only minimal knowledge of the Thai language. I interacted largely with only one other westerner, a 26-year-old Master’s Degree candidate from Luxembourg, who was working on a biomass project through SERT. Most of my relationships were with local Thai college students, and Naresuan University is a fantastic place to make friends, since it is a largely self-contained college community with a huge dose of school spirit and a lively social scene. As well, the Thai calendar marks the beginning of the academic year in June, when I was first arriving at SERT, so the campus was always bustling with life, much like Yale in the early autumn. The only drawback was the language barrier — few Thai college students are proficient in English. I am a naturally social person, and it was often quite frustrating being unable to fully communicate with the fascinating people I was meeting and mingling with.

    The cultural/language barrier extended to my internship project. I was essentially working by myself, writing, filming, and editing alone. Though SERT provided me with all the tools necessary to complete my project, including a camcorder, tripod, and editing software, I generally had to take the initiative to find my footage, no matter how obscure. The staff, however, were more than willing to help out; when I told them I needed shots of a conventional power plant, they planned an entire day trip to the coal plant, bringing along their Master’s students for a tour.

    Nevertheless, the project was incredibly challenging. Not only was I making a film, I was a one-man crew in Thailand. I have made movies before, and I have been to Thailand before, but nothing could prepare me for the ordeals, both material and mental, I was to face: getting attacked by fire ants during one adventurous day of shooting; losing my notebook computer due to water damage for several weeks during the middle of my stay; the heat, the storms, and the snail-slow Internet. Sometimes I would simply grow tired — once in a while, I considered coming home early.

    But a positive perspective would always prevail. I feel like I grew as a person, and I discovered things about myself that I can’t even begin to hint at in this report. Professionally, I gained greater knowledge of the energy problems facing Thailand and Southeast Asia, and through my film, I got the chance to bring the public closer to these seemingly distant issues. I do wonder what SERT will do with my film now that I’m gone; just the fact that I completed it is reward enough for me.

    Jerry Guo, Biology '09, Faculty Advisor - Gisella Caccone (EEB)
    Morphological and Genetic Diversity in the Giant Tortoise Populations on Santa Cruz, Galapagos Islands: Implications for Future Conservation Strategies

    Morphological and Genetic Diversity in the Giant Tortoise Populations on Santa Cruz, Galapagos Islands: Implications for Future Conservation Strategies
    Jerry Guo, Biology '09

    From August 1 to August 26 I traveled with a Yale team and international collaborators to the Galapagos to conduct research on the giant tortoises. During my time on the islands, I met many scientists and caught a glimpse of how field biologists operate. The summer really gave me the ecological background and enthusiasm to work hard this year in Dr. Caccone’s lab and towards coursework in the EEB department.

    The field project involved 2 weeklong trips to the tortoise populations at La Caseta and Cerro Fatal, a day trip back to the Cerro Fatal population, a few day’s worth of work at the breeding center on juvenile tortoises, and two afternoons of work on marine iguanas. For the tortoise work, we collected morphological data by taking images of the carapace and plastron from different angles to later reconstruct the morphology in a 3D model. We also took many measurements of the carapace and plastron. These straight and curved measurements will be used for calibration and comparison to the 3D reconstruction. In addition, we drew blood from the individuals to expand the current database in the Caccone lab on the Santa Cruz populations. The blood will be used for genetic work later in association with the morphological analysis.

    Our first trip to Cerro Fatal began with a two hour hike with our camping and cooking gear. The Cerro Fatal region falls in the lowlands, which is a desert environment. Each day we set out at 7 AM to find tortoises as one team, and returned around 5 PM when the sun began to set. My responsibilities on the first trip were to record the measurements as well as sometimes help with the blood extraction by holding open the arm. Everyone on the team also helped with finding new specimens by branching out in the field. In around five days, we managed to process around 60 tortoises.

    Because this is an on-going project, results from the summer work are not available yet. What we have so far are images, blood, and measurements from around 120 tortoises and 40 juveniles, as well as a small number of saddleback tortoises from the station. This data will be used in the lab this fall to begin analysis of the morphology and evolutionary genetics of the two populations, La Caseta and Cerro Fatal, examining their similarities and differences.

    The summer has been a tremendous learning experience for me. To have the opportunity to see the Galapagos is first of all eye-opening and inspiring. But to be able to work alongside international scientists is truly remarkable, and I am indebted to the environmental department for their support. I was able to see first-hand how field biology works, not just in the techniques of data collection, but also in the collaboration among the researchers.

    Allison Guy, Environmental Studies / Art '08, Faculty Advisor - John Wargo (F&ES and Political Science)
    Sustainable Use and the Philippine NGO; Palawon, Philippines

    Sustainable Use and the Philippine NGO; Palawon, Philippines
    Allison Guy, Environmental Studies / Art '08

    First the first three weeks of my summer, I lead the Reach Out Philippines trip. While this was technically not part of my proposal for the Environmental Internship Program, it proved a valuable addition to my summer as a whole. During this trip, we spent a week in the capital city Manila, a week in the mountain provinces, and a week on the island of Palawan. We met with large organizations such as WHO, ADB and USAID, and with local groups that dealt many issues, from sustainable agriculture to the rights of victims of environmental disasters. As well, we volunteered building houses in the city of Baguio, and constructed segments of an artificial coral reef in Palawan.

    After the group left, I stayed in El Nido for another three weeks, working with the El Nido Foundation. As a scuba diver, I regularly helped to install artificial coral modules and monitor the progress of transplanted corals on the modules. As well, I worked on the Foundation’s experimental farm, harvesting vegetables and feeding pigs, and created children’s activities for their educational ‘caravan’ program. Working with the El Nido Foundation was a helpful introduction to the characteristics of a successful NGO. I learned the importance of constant communication and consultation of the local government and community. The Foundation made multiple presentations about the benefits of each project in surrounding settlements, invited farmers and school groups to their experimental farm, held regular environmental movie nights, and organized learning demonstrations, among many others. The Foundation’s large base of local support has consequently made it easier to persuade communities to implement marine protected areas, for example, and has helped to nearly halt the highly destructive practices of dynamite and cyanide fishing.

    From El Nido it was one short flight through a typhoon, and one long jeepney ride to the small town of Decabobo, on the island of Busuanga. There I stayed with Jules Calagui, who spear-headed the formation of the local cooperative, and Imelda Bacudo, a graduate of the Yale School of Forestry. While working with the Decabobo Multi-Purpose Cooperative, I helped to construct an irrigation and water-storage system, as well as building a demonstration paraw, or sailing kayak. In contrast to the dug-out boats currently in use, the kayak is lightweight, easy to sail and maneuver, longer-lasting, and because it is made of plywood, does not require the felling of rare and old-growth trees for its construction. In Decabobo, I learned the importance of cooperation, especially between local families, and the overwhelming need for education and some form of official oversight. In one case, the Cooperative had been running a successful seaweed farming operation, which subsequently failed due to trace amounts of cyanide that killed the seaweed. The community lacks both the resources and political clout to deal with the cyanide fishers, who are from other regions of the country, are wealthier, more violent, and have locally powerful connections in the live-fish trade. While my experiences in Decabobo were discouraging at times, they served to deepen my resolve to study marine conservation, and to learn more methods of allowing coastal communities to manage their resources.

    Mark Havel, Biology (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Track) '06, Faculty Advisor - Marta Wells (EEB)
    School for Field Studies Summer Program, Turks & Caicos

    School for Field Studies Summer Program,
    Turks & Caicos
    Mark Havel, Biology (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Track) '06

    This summer I spent four weeks on a small island in the Caribbean. Contrary to popular belief, I did not spend those weeks on a beautiful beach, sipping on drinks garnished by tiny umbrellas. Instead, I enrolled in an intensive summer study abroad program sponsored by the School for Field Studies, an organization based at Boston University that gives students the opportunity to learn outdoor field techniques, participate in various research projects, and interact with the local community. One of their research centers is located on the island of South Caicos in the Turks & Caicos Islands (TCI), an overseas territory of the United Kingdom. South Caicos is not a touristy spot; the local economy is based on harvesting queen conch (Strombus gigas) and Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) from the surrounding waters. Less than one thousand people live on South Caicos during the fishing seasons, and in the off-season the population dwindles to around four hundred residents.

    During the TCI summer sessions, the school offers a marine resource management class. The course focuses on the use of marine protected areas (MPAs) as means to not only preserve the environment but to also contribute to future economic development and diversification. It is divided into three portions: ecology, economics, and policy. At the end of the third week, a cumulative and comprehensive exam was administered. Small assignments included economic experiments using game theory, article discussions, and the field identification of over one hundred different species of fishes, corals, and algae. The four weeks culminated in a large group project that entailed a well-researched policy report as well as a 25 minute oral presentation. My group’s objectives were to re-zone the islands of South, East, and Middle Caicos and focus on bringing in eco-tourist businesses to bolster the economy.

    There was a lot to see in do in four weeks, so Monday through Saturday was jam-packed with activities (roughly half of which took place underwater). In the first two weeks, classroom sessions were held in the morning while the afternoons were devoted to identifying various marine organisms out in the water. Other activities, such as overnight camping trips, beach clean-up, and volunteering at the disabled center, were also offered. The last two weeks were designed to introduce us to some common techniques used in the field as well as the current research being done on South Caicos. I toured processing plants, counted upside-down mangrove jellyfish, observed blue tang spawning aggregations, tested for dissolved oxygen content, and tagged bonefish, sea turtles, and barracuda in order to determine migration and life cycle patterns.

    Needless to say, I had an amazing time. I highly recommend this program to anyone interested in marine ecological field work. After one month, you take home not only a deep understanding and wealth of experience but also the knowledge that your work has directly contributed to a vibrant community.

    Angel Hertslet, Undeclared '08, Faculty Advisor - Steven Stoll (History)
    Experiencing the Exquisite Environment of Ecuador: International Education of Students Program, Quiti, Ecuador

    Experiencing the Exquisite Environment of Ecuador: International Education of Students Program, Quiti, Ecuador
    Angel Hertslet, Undeclared '08

    I participated in a six-week program facilitated by the Institute for International Education of Students (IES) in Quito, Ecuador. I took three classes at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) and stayed with a host family. The classes I took were Ecuadorian Ecosystems, Environmental Issues: Conservation and Public Policy in Ecuador, and Advanced Spanish. All of my classes were taught my USFQ professors—my Spanish professor was Cuban and my other two professors were Ecuadorian. The IES Quito Summer 2006 program was small (there were ten students) which allowed for very intimate class discussions and a large amount of personal attention.

    My experience in Ecuador has certainly influenced the way I view the environment. Previous to this summer I had only limited experience with the ways of the developing world. Many things I experienced this summer caught me off guard or caused me to rethink certain assumptions I had about environment and how people interact with it. For example, DDT is still widely used in Ecuador. I had always thought that DDT was a thing of the past for the whole world but when faced with the choice of malaria or DDT, one can see the situation many tropical areas are faced with. In addition, the working conditions of many of the rose plantation workers are abysmal. They have virtually no voice or forum to speak up against all of the pesticides and chemicals that compromise their health on a daily basis.

    Ecuador is certainly an interesting place, perhaps best described by the seemingly disparate occurrences that are somehow juxtaposed in such a way that is ironic to say the very least. On one hand it is heralded as one of the leading countries in eco-tourism, an industry that draws in environmentally conscious tourists. At the same time, the oil extraction business is by far the largest revenue generating industry supporting Ecuador. The countryside and the urban setting are such polar opposites in regards to income level, education, access to medical care, language, and general perspective within the world. That’s not to say the cities don’t have their share of environmental problems. Perhaps one of the most striking for me was the air pollution. When the city buses drove past me, I had to close my mouth and eyes for fear of gritty black particulates sticking to my teeth or getting in my eyes. Huge black clouds of smoke clog the city streets and after walking around for a bit, leave one with a troublesome headache.

    My classes exposed me to a wide array of environmental issues as well as the social repercussions linked to each issue. In addition, my course on Ecuadorian ecosystems had a large field-trip component to it. This meant that I was able to learn about the Andean highlands by actually visiting them. My professor was extremely knowledgeable and eager to share his beautiful country with us. On our trip to the highlands, we hiked up Chimborazo, one of the snow-capped volcanoes of Ecuador. Along the way, we learned about water and energy saving techniques the plants employ. We were lucky to see one of the highland hummingbirds an extremely rare sighting due to the incredibly harsh conditions it must exist under. We also paid a visit to Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano in the world. We hiked up to the lofty elevation of 4,800 m or 15,744 feet to see the glacier. Among other issues we discussed the impacts of climate change on Cotopaxi as illustrated through the rapidly receding glacier.

    When I visited the cloud forest of Mindo, I found myself in a densely vegetated jungle setting with mist clinging to the sides of mountains. Orchids and hummingbirds decorated the landscape and only added to the already surreal setting. The visit to the headwaters of the Amazon in the Ecuadorian jungle also had my mind reeling. I had the luck of seeing peccaries, an iguana, a sloth, three species of monkey, toucans, millipedes, all sorts of ants, spiders, and bugs, and more. It was there that I experienced the effects of the oil industry on the jungle. As we trekked through the understory, I could hear the scout planes droning overhead surveying the next block of land scheduled for ‘exploration.’

    My final trip was a ten-day trip to the Galapagos. The first week I stayed at the Galapagos Academic Institute for the Arts and Sciences (GAIAS). The second week I traveled from island to island with a professional park guide. The experience of seeing such wild animals at such close proximity truly was amazing. Because humans are not perceived as a threat, they have no fear of you and will confidently approach you. I was nearly kissed by a sea lion underwater! The issues most heavily discussed included poaching, the fishing industry, tourism and its effects, and general management of the Galapagos National Park. We also had ample opportunity to discuss endemism, invasive species, evolution, and the unique qualities of the Galapagos. We finished off our stay with a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station where I had the honor of meeting Lonesome George, the last of his subspecies.

    Culturally I found my time in Ecuador to be so rich with adventures and learning experiences. My host family played a large part in my immersion into Ecuadorian culture. IES also provided many opportunities to experience the culture of Ecuador through providing dance classes, presentations, and screenings for those interested. My Spanish professor took the class to three different museums in Quito where we receive in-depth tours that both challenged my Spanish skills as well as shed light on the history of Quito and greater Ecuador.

    This summer has brought up many questions for me. My time in Ecuador has opened my eyes to an array of issues that I was heretofore unaware of. In addition, any time abroad can only make one more empathetic and passionate toward situations that are occurring on the other side of the globe. I feel that this opportunity has cemented into my mind that I am a global citizen before all else and that there is so much work to be done to make this world a cleaner more sustainable place for all walks of life. In the coming months I must decide on a concentration within the environmental studies major. While I can’t say that this experience has illuminated any one environmental issue over another as my life’s calling, I can say that it has increased my awareness of my place in the world tenfold. I highly recommend this program to any and everyone. I would be more than happy to talk at length with anyone interested in the details of my summer as well as any prospective students interested in doing the IES Quito program.

    John Hinkle, Biology (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Track) '09, Faculty Advisors - Edward Kamens (East Asian Languages and Literature) and Marta Wells (EEB)
    Marine Conservation of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef Ecosystem with Global Visions International at Pez Maya, Mexico

    Marine Conservation of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef Ecosystem with Global Visions International at Pez Maya, Mexico
    John Hinkle, Biology (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Track) '09

    I selected this summer program because of the opportunity to do real research, the introduction to marine biology it would provide and the immersion in a foreign culture. All of my highest hopes were realized during my time in Mexico and the experience was truly an invaluable one in its ability to portray the necessity and actual implementation of conservation in such a setting.

    The Yucatan peninsula is a region of great ecological diversity; however these natural resources are at an extremely high risk. Cancun has exploded in the past couple decades and the entire Riviera Maya corridor continues to expand. Playa del Carmen, the departure point for Cozumel, is one of the fastest growing cities in the world and lies only an hour north of Pez Maya (my base for the five weeks)—the lights from Playa can be seen on the beach at Pez Maya each night. The region has taken some steps to preserve the natural treasures that the Yucatan possesses; however, the threat to these natural ecosystems is very real. The information gathered by the monitoring done at Pez Maya through Global Vision International is instrumental in persuading those in power to forego one time windfalls associated with building hotels and resorts and instead investigate eco-tourism and other environmentally sensitive options.

    Daily routine

    Each day during my five week stay began at 6:30 am. Different groups were assigned various duties to be completed before breakfast. These duties ranged from kitchen duty (cooking the meals), to boat duty (preparing the two boats for the day’s dives), to communal duty (cleaning the main gathering area) and finally ground duty (cleaning the bathrooms and raking the paths to discourage sand flies). Breakfast would follow these duties and by 7:45 the boats would be pushed down the beach to the water so that the first two dives could disembark. Throughout the day, approximately ten different dives would go out to the reefs just offshore. Each person would dive twice, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. After the dives were finished, the boats were once again pulled up onto shore and the equipment removed. The nights were spent planning the next day, relaxing a little bit and going to bed early (the next day would begin early as well). We dove everyday except for Sunday, which was set aside as a day for decompression and down time.

    Scuba training

    I arrived in Mexico with absolutely no scuba training. I had not even snorkeled outside of my pool. Not every volunteer was in my situation, but the majority was. Thus, the scuba diving training began very quickly and progressed rapidly. In the first two weeks I moved from diving in an enclosed cenote (something similar to a pond) to the open Atlantic Ocean. Part of the staff was entirely dedicated to teaching novice divers how to safely and effectively scuba dive. My training involved written work, tests, dives focused on improving skills and others focused on encountering various underwater situations. My final certification achieved was Advanced Open Water Diver certified by PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors). A huge emphasis was placed on safety during and after the training. Each dive was a buddy dive, meaning that I had to stay within arm’s reach of my diving buddy, I had to surface with at least 750 pounds per square inch of air remaining in my tank, safety stops were required on dives over 50 feet and each dive had a very specific dive profile that had to be followed exactly. All of these restrictions were in place to ensure that every diver, no matter his/her experience level, was always safe and comfortable underwater.

    Science

    Not only was I a novice scuba diver, but I also had no training as a marine biologist. The many species of coral and fish that the expedition was focused on conserving were all alien to me. However, a similarly rigorous process was in place to teach me all that I needed to know. I was assigned the task of monitoring fish. This assignment entailed learning over 100 species of adult fish and 25 species of juvenile fish and being able to identify each underwater. I began by learning the fish from a book. Each had a picture and description of its appearance, size and behavior. Once I was familiar with the fish in the context of the book, I had to take a written test identifying all the fish from pictures alone. A score of at least 95% was required before I could move on to the next stage. After this was completed, underwater fish spots and tests began. The appearance of fish underwater was extremely different compared to the books, thus it took some time to become used to underwater fish spots. Once an underwater fish test was passed with 100% accuracy (identifying each and every fish an instructor pointed out) I could begin monitoring specific sites on the reef. Without passing such an underwater test, volunteers were not allowed to collect information, a rule which kept some from monitoring the entire time I was in Mexico. A similar program was implemented for those volunteers who were assigned to monitor coral.

    The monitoring dives provided the information that was subsequently used to preserve the reef. The sites to be monitored were selected by a local conservation agency because of heightened risk due to onshore development. I gathered raw data of the number, type, size and variety of fish species on the reefs. There existed very specific protocols for obtaining this data, which also required days to master but ensured that the data would be valid and accurate.

    Other aspects of trip

    In addition to encountering the myriad of life on the reefs, the expedition also worked to aid the many sea turtles that nested on the beach as well as the bird populations in the surrounding forests. I was in Mexico during Green turtle nesting season and nests of loggerhead turtles as well as green turtles hatched while I was there. In addition, each morning a group of birders would monitor different sites of the forest to gather information on the bird species present in the area.

    Reflections

    The most striking aspect of my time in Mexico was the sheer volume of life present under the water which so often goes unnoticed. Without this experience, I would remain ignorant of the many wonders that lie so close to the surface yet most people never encounter. And with this knowledge, their plight becomes even more immediate. Because the majority population is not as aware of these marvels, it is easier to disregard the effects our actions have on these ecosystems. The contrast between my time spent at Playa del Carmen and at Pez Maya was amazing, despite the fact that both, at one point, possessed the same natural resources just yards offshore. The detrimental effect of human development in Playa was undeniable. No turtles could nest because of the lights, the water was not as pristine, and the huge volume of boat traffic was constantly disrupting the reefs. My time in Mexico impressed upon me the urgency of conservation, especially in areas such as the Yucutan which are experiencing an explosion of growth. Unless the welfare of the natural ecosystems is considered during this growth, valuable resources will be, and are being, lost. My perspective of the necessity for conservation, as well as what conservation is able to achieve, has been drastically altered by my experience in Mexico, and I would recommend this program to any student.

    Margaret Howard, Environmental Studies '08, Faculty Advisor - Langdon Hammer (English)
    Sustainable Living in the Atlantic Rainforest, Iracambi Research and Conservation Center, Brazil

    Sustainable Living in the Atlantic Rainforest, Iracambi Research and Conservation Center, Brazil
    Margaret Howard, Environmental Studies '08

    This summer I volunteered for a month at Iracambi, a farm and research center located in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. The aim of the farm is to be economically sustainable, at the same time that it is environmentally sustainable. Iracambi main crops are sugar cane and eucalyptus, an interesting crop because it can create a type of forest ecosystem if allowed. Iracambi also has a charcoal pit, fish ponds, dairy cows, and honey bees, the last two of which give Iracambi its name, since Iracambi means the land of milk and honey in the native Tupi language.

    The Iracambi’s research focuses on four main areas: land use, forest restoration, income-generating alternatives, and community development. The overarching goal of all of these projects is to “make the conservation of the forest more attractive than its destruction.” My time there helped me understand the local economy and the research and agricultural initiatives of Iracambi, as well as work on some interesting tasks myself. I came away from the experience with some new ideas and new questions.

    I came to Iracambi as a general volunteer, and so I ended up with an interesting mix of tasks. All the volunteers would work from nine to five on the week days with a break for lunch on individual projects or whatever needed to be done. One of my favorite tasks was clearing the various trails on Iracambi’s property with a machete. The trails were used for research purposes and to take students and other visitors on. It was tiring work, but rewarding to reclaim areas where the trail had been lost, and the trails themselves were all beautiful, whether they led to a majestic vista or followed a river down a series of waterfalls. It was also interesting to see forests in different stages of regeneration. The old growth forests definitely looked different than the forests that had been regenerating for several decades.

    My other tasks included painting signs for the trails, putting together a newsletter for Iracambi, and laying out pamphlets. I measured trees one day and another day I worked with a GPS handheld device to map the road into town. I spent a fair portion of my time looking at previous research that had been done at Iracambi, organizing the research and summarizing some of the longer papers. Finally, I also got to prepare dinner for a large group of people, which was something I had never done before.

    Iracambi provided a great learning environment. I was exposed to the research and ideas of the other volunteers and researchers, as well as to the organizational issues of a volunteer driven organization. If anyone is interested in volunteering or conducting research at Iracambi at would be delighted to talk to them; my email is margaret.howard@yale.ed.

    Qazim Hyseni, Environmental Studies '07, Faculty Advisor - Gisella Caccone (EEB)
    Amphibian Decline and Environmental Change: A Conservation Genetics Approach

    Emily Jack-Scott, Environmental Studies '08, Faculty Advisor - Eric Worby (Anthropology)
    Wildlife Research Marine Mammal Studies and Community Development in Kenya

    Wildlife Research Marine Mammal Studies and Community Development in Kenya
    Emily Jack-Scott, Environmental Studies '08

    This summer I was an expedition member with Global Vision International (GVI) in Kenya. Global Vision International is a UK-based non-governmental organization, which works closely with select communities on addressing the issues that those communities feel most impede their path towards sustainable development. In Kenya, GVI’s primary partner was Kenyan Wildlife Services, as this organization seeks to gather data on the biodiversity of the region’s marine and terrestrial environments. Another key component of the expedition was a community-based initiative, working in conjunction with the National Museums of Kenya and numerous community committees on successfully and sustainably tapping into the robust ecotourism market of the area. Kenya has always pioneered efforts in Africa to protect the environment, and that passion and appreciation for a healthy environment seems to permeate Kenyan culture. It was truly inspiring to work alongside people of a completely different culture who shared the apparently innate respect for the environment that I have felt throughout my life.

    I stayed for five weeks on Wasini Island just off the border between Kenya and Tanzania in the Indian Ocean. On one side of the island was a marine park, highly popular amongst dolphins, sea turtles, fish and tourists. As a result of the allotment of this park however, the local population of Wasini Island was partially deprived of their income as they’re subsistence fishermen, and fishing was illegal in the marine park. As a result, the community was avidly looking for a way to regain a sustainable lifestyle by tapping into the ecotourism of the park and region, without damaging the gorgeous environment that draws tourists from around the world. Therefore, community members were incredibly open and excited to receive data about how human influence was shaping their surrounding ecosystems. Furthermore, to best interact with tourists community members, young and old were also highly receptive to English classes. HIV/AIDS classes were also conducted to fulfill the desire for reliable knowledge about the transmission and treatment of the disease.

    Having returned to the United States, I feel I gained invaluable experience that has familiarized me with solid methodologies of ecology research. I also have a much higher respect for educators and how incredibly difficult it is to effectively teach a student body. There is no doubt in my mind that I will remember and value this experience for the rest of my life. Being so immersed in a world where the forces of nature are so all powerful and impressive brought to heart the lessons about ecosystems and biology that I’ve learned in only academic settings before this summer. I have never felt more committed to or passionate about being an Environmental Studies major.

    The project I worked on with this organization was divided into three parts. The first part was devoted to marine mammal and megafauna research, largely dolphins and sea turtles. The location of Wasini Island in Kenya was selected in part because it borders Kenya’s Kisite-Mpunguti National Marine Park. Fishing has been outlawed in the park’s waters to offer a rich grounds for feeding and breeding for marine species. However, there has been little to no research done on the region’s waters. The dolphin research was conducted through a photograph identification method, to identify local species and individuals. Over time, this methodology will be able to indicate whether the dolphins seen in the area are simply migrating through or if they remain nearby all year round. Marine research was carried out half from a raised stationary land base overlooking a broad swath of the surrounding waters, and half from GVI’s 10-person motor boat on the water. Each person on duty was trained extensively in exactly how to record sea and weather conditions, as well as dolphin behavior patterns. Measures including the Beaufort scale, visibility, cloud cover, latitude and longitude, speed, swell size, and ocean floor depth soundings were taken every fifteen minutes. Dolphins would only ever be observed for behavior if they were spotted ahead of the boat’s course. This was done because it is assumed that dolphins change their behavior around boats. The land base took similar measurements every fifteen minutes, and was useful because it eliminated the interference that swell could create when spotting dolphins from the boat on the water. In time, the research should also offer insight into how the presence of vessels, especially tourist dhows and swim-with-dolphin tour groups, may or may not influence dolphin behavior.

    The second portion of research was conducted in the coastal forests of Wasini Island and the neighboring mainland Shimoni Forest. The surveys were done by cutting transects with machetes through the forests, each transect 200m apart from the one before it. Surveys in the forest included primate behavior, vegetation, canopy cover, and human disturbance of the area. There were specific criteria and equipment used to determine accurately these measurements. Machete usage was also conducted only after proper training.

    The final portion of the expedition was devoted to community outreach. In order for the community to develop sustainably, they decided they could not merely learn how to attract tourists to the area, but also how to interact with them effectively. Therefore, our community work was devoted largely to teaching English to both children and interested adults. We led separate English classes for men and women as the area is approximately 80% Muslim, and men and women felt more comfortable with such a setup. While in the community, we wore headscarves and covered up shoulders and legs to create as close a relationship with community members as possible.

    Our base, while in the village on the Island that we worked on, was slightly removed to maintain some space in conducting operations. The living conditions were barracks style, with three rooms housing four bunk-beds each. Expeditions usually have about 20-24 members, and there are eight highly specialized staff on site at any time. The staff remains on site for year-long stints at the shortest. They train all incoming expeditions members in each of the three aforementioned fields and technique styles, and will not allow members to enter the field until they have passed examinations with 95% or higher. The expedition is constantly devoted to safety, not only delivering numerous safety presentations (each concerning different aspects of the trip – from marine hazards, to forest safety, to the dangers of private dive shops and local restaurants), but also certifying us in international CPR and Emergency First Responder training.

    As the project has been in Kenya for 6 months, only preliminary data has been collected. Already though, it is clear that the area sees many bottlenose and humpback species of dolphins, with the humpbacks remaining largely in shallow waters. Humpback whales do pass through the area, and sea turtles are common in areas with sea grass. In the forest we have encountered species ranging from Sykes and colobus monkeys to massive horned spiders and army ants. In the community, a great deal of progress has been made in the students’ English. Also, committees and community groups have shown major improvements in organization skills and in contacting new members.

    Erin Lin, Environmental Studies / International Studies '07, Faculty Advisor - John Wargo (F&ES and Political Science)
    Infrastructure Development in the Face of Urban Growth; Center for Khmer Studies, Cambodia

    Infrastructure Development in the Face of Urban Growth; Center for Khmer Studies, Cambodia
    Erin Lin, Environmental Studies / International Studies '07

    The Yale Environmental Studies Summer Internship Program funded my three weeks of land rights research in Phnom Penh, Cambodia that prepared me for a two-month long independent research project with the Center for Khmer Studies in Siem Reap, sponsored by the Henry Luce Foundation. As an intern, I joined a Khmer research team, headed by Dr. Penny Edwards, a University of California Berkeley professor and a prominent author in Cambodian modern history. Our research concerned the Tonle Bassac neighborhood, a mixed-community of artists, prostitutes, gang members, and low-income people. The main goal of the research team was to write an ethnographic survey of the neighborhood through an anthropological perspective. My job as part of the research team was to interview all English-speaking informants who have worked with the settlement, so I was able to talk to a well-versed contact list: the heads of many local NGOs, like the Urban Poor Development Fund and Green Goal, government officials in the Ministry of Urban Planning and Ministry of Culture, CEOs of real estate companies, and professional urban architects and academics. The research team also gave me access to all relevant libraries in Phnom Penh, so I was able to do archival research in the Cambodia Development Resource Institute, the Center for Khmer Studies library in Phnom Penh, and the Center for Advanced Studies.

    Upon the conclusion of my three-week stay in Phnom Penh, I published a report entitled “The Cambodian Land Law in theory and in practice—how are existing laws interpreted in current commerce?” in Multistory Phnom Penh, editor Penny Edwards. The book is to be released in December 2006 in Phnom Penh, and it will be distributed both in Khmer and in English. In addition, I was selected by Penny Edwards to be the Associate Conference Coordinator for her latest international conference scheduled for January 2007. The conference is called, “Living Capital: Sustaining Diversity in Southeast Asian Cities,” and it will take place in Phnom Penh. Finances permitting, I will return to Phnom Penh during Winter Break to organize the final logistics of the conference and to present my senior thesis on the effects of Health Equity Funds on the health and socioeconomic status of the Phnom Penh poor (one of the communities affected by Health Equity Funds is actually the Tonle Bassac neighborhood).

    My proudest achievement however arose when I arranged financially and logistically for three of my fellow Khmer researchers to present their work on the Tonle Bassac neighborhood in a conference in Singapore this November entitled “Southeast Asia and Sustainability.” Most of the researchers on my team have never been able to leave the country for financial reasons, and those who have only have traveled as far as Thailand. Yet through many emails with the conference coordinators and with some finance shifting in our research budget, I, with the help of Dr. Edwards, was able to find the money to have Sok Leang, Sambo, and Samnon be able to share their research to an audience of international scholars and professionals—something they have never done before. If I am able to find the funding to travel to the conference, Dr. Edwards has granted me Interim Project Head status at Singapore as she will be unable to attend. In short, I have begun to find the academic opportunities in Cambodia, and I attribute this scholarly goldmine to the Environmental Studies Summer Internship.

    My project was a two-step process. First, I had to obtain a solid understanding of the Cambodian property laws and the history of the land law leading up to 2001, when the latest land law was ratified. This part of the research was primarily conducted through archival research and document analysis. The next step involved work in the field—specifically the professional field—in understanding how relevant these laws were in private property rights, with a focus on the rights of the urban poor.

    I discovered that the 2001 Land Law is written with enough loopholes that the government can take complete advantage of its citizens, most of which have low socioeconomic status relative to the wealth of the high government officials and policy makers. For example, the Land Law classifies land into three main types: state public land, state private land, and private land. State public land is basically defined as land that serves the public interest, and it ranges from national parks to school buildings to airports and roads. State private land is any state land that is not state public land. State private land can also be sold off to private investors. This issue is especially important given the number of squatters and people who do not hold land titles to their homes because of the tumultuous modern history of the Lon Nol regime, the Khmer Rouge, the Vietnamese occupation, and the UN resettlement. Though the Prime Minister Hun Sen had promised to never evict squatters from state public land in a May 2003 speech, the government has switched state public land into state private land behind closed doors and then sold it to foreign investors, who then evict all squatters on their property. The problem has expanded to the point that the state now transfers all public property automatically to private hands without any documentation. In addition, no maps or lists exist that differentiate the land categories from each other in Phnom Penh. Since there are no legal ramifications to the clear abuse in power, the poor are getting further and further behind while the rich minority in Phnom Penh are only becoming more wealthy.

    Given my lack of experience in policy formation and development studies, I found it difficult to provide suggestions to improve the legal conditions of the country. Granted less corruption would be helpful, but it is difficult to change a system of corruption and legal disobedience if there is no one who has the authority to punish people except those who are being corrupt. In addition, there is a fine line between corruption and “getting things done” in an inefficient bureaucracy. My experience in Cambodia has made me sympathetic to the academics, policy makers, and local and foreign actors involved in bringing a developing country responsibly into the world society. Seeing the conditions firsthand has led me to understand the infinite angles at which people approach development problems, and I have seen the importance of communication among all actors involved from the foreign money-lenders to the government to the citizens who often lack a political voice. It is easy to be harsh on policies that don’t work, but I also understand the importance of ideals and adherence to basic principles and ethics that allow for human rights to be enacted.

    Without the Environmental Studies Summer Internship, I would not have sought of the career path that I am currently pursing. Now I am applying for a Fulbright scholarship to study the healthcare efforts of USAID in Phnom Penh slums. In addition, I wish to pursue a J.D.-Ph.D. in order to further a joint-career in land rights advocacy. I aim to conduct research in developing countries with a solid understanding the language of the law in order to offer the most effective and responsible legal policies. In short, I thank the Environmental Studies Summer Internship Committee for allowing me to find my career interest in human rights, without which, I would still be wondering what my calling is for quite some time.

    Jacob Marcus, Math or Political Science '08, Faculty Advisor - Julie Newman (Yale Office of Sustainability)
    Sustainable Agriculture, Forestry and Environmental Education at Jatun Sacha's La Hesperia Biological Station, Toachi-Pilatio Forest in Ecuador

    Sustainable Agriculture, Forestry and Environmental Education at Jatun Sacha's La Hesperia Biological Station, Toachi-Pilatio Forest in Ecuador
    Jacob Marcus, Math or Political Science '08

    This summer I volunteered at the La Hesperia Biological Station and Reserve. The reserve is located in the Toachi-Pilatón forest near the small town of La Esperie, reachable by buses, which barrel down the two lane highway that winds along a cliff for most of the journey. The reserve, a member of the Jatun Sacha foundation, aims to protect the region's forests, which scientists consider one of the most diverse and threatened on earth, maintain the reserve as an Important Birds area, work towards sustainable development, create programs to foster community development, restore degraded areas, conduct research on the flora and fauna of the reserve and educate the public about conservation and ecology.

    At the reserve, I took part in a variety of projects to promote conservation and to maintain the station. The station maintains a variety of crops, including banana, papaya, beans, manioc, sugar cane and coffee. I often worked in the station's organic vegetable garden. The vegetable garden provides the station with a testing bed for crops that grow well in the area and for sustainable techniques that might improve the yield of local farms. In the long term, La Hesperia hopes to bring what works in their gardens and fields into La Esperie and the surrounding towns. Recently, the station has hosted classes for the local community, but this project is still in its infancy. In the process of weeding, watering and planting, I learned some of the fundamentals of sustainable agriculture.

    Besides working in the reserve's gardens, I participated in its sustainable forestry program, which includes restoring degraded areas and wood production. I spent time tending to the several pastures that the station was working to restore. The station reforests the pastures with tree species, first cultivated in its nursery, important to the natural environment. I found that an important part of volunteering was not only contributing to work on conservation and sustainability, but to the general maintenance of the reserve. To this end, I laid down cobblestone paths in the medicinal garden, fixed stairs and built a cob bench outside of the volunteer house.

    Juan Pablo and Alexandra, the station's coordinators, also allowed volunteers to supplement their work at the reserve with work in the community. I taught basic mathematics in Spanish at the school in Esperie. This experience helped me improve my Spanish and gave me the opportunity to connect with the local community. After teaching in the school, I knew the children, who would regularly beat us in the weekly volunteers versus community soccer game. I also did two brief home stays with a family in Esperie, who like most in the town, ran a farm. This was an invaluable experience for me. Like teaching, I only spoke Spanish in the time I was there. I also learned more about farming, and the familiarity most of the world has with agriculture; a familiarity with food and its cultivation that most in industrial nations do not possess. In additional to working at the reserve and in the community, the volunteer program included weekly lectures by Alexandra on Ecuadorian culture, history, ecology and politics and guided hikes around the surrounding cloud forest.

    I want to thank the Environmental Studies department for giving me the opportunity to volunteer at La Hesperia.

    Tanya Martinez, Environmental Studies '07, Faculty Advisor - John Wargo (F&ES and Political Science)
    Investigating Water Quality in Batey Libertad, Dominican Republic

    Investigating Water Quality in Batey Libertad, Dominican Republic
    Tanya Martinez, Environmental Studies '07

    Introduction
    I learned of and visited Batey Libertad for the first time through a student organized service/learning trip my sophomore year. Before that initial trip I was unaware of what a batey was and the injustices Haitians face in the Dominican Republic. Since then I ve led a service/learning trip to the batey and have become deeply committed to the community. A batey is a residential settlement of agricultural workers on or near a plantation. Residency in bateys is generally temporary and dependent on the planting season and where work is available. Needless to say, people who live in bateys and work on plantations are extremely poor. Environmental conditions in bateys are precarious at best; generally there is little or no electricity, no running water and potable water is either scarce or non existent, sanitation is a nightmare, and disease and even hunger are rampant. In the Dominican Republic, most of the workers who live in bateys are Haitian or of Haitian descent. This is an important characteristic of the demographic because for many historical and contemporary reasons Dominicans and Haitians have a turbulent relationship. Dominican society is unwelcoming of Haitians and to this day there exists tensions and practices comparable to those of the U.S. s own Jim Crow era. The residents of bateys are some of the most marginalized people in Dominican society.

    Many of the characteristics I used to describe bateys in general are true of Batey Libertad. Presently, a little under 300 Haitian and Dominican families coexist in the batey; the population is about 70% Haitian and 30% Dominican. Most of the women in the community solely speak Haitian Creole (this occurs because they can exist in the community without ever having to speak or learn Spanish) and all of the men and school aged children speak Spanish fluently. Uncharacteristic of bateys; many of Batey Libertad s residents are permanent, which has allowed for a more organized and structured community. Batey Libertad has an established community leader, Papito, who took on this role in the late 1980s after the collapse of the sugar industry in the DR. Batey Libertad has latrines, no running water, and electricity comes and goes. Another uncharacteristic feature of Batey Libertad is that its main road leads to a major highway, allowing for more access into and out of the community. For this reason, Batey Libertad is accustomed to having visitors, researchers, community service groups, and students around.

    My research consisted of investigating the practices, knowledge, and beliefs concerning water use in Batey Libertad. I conducted this research project because I wanted to in part are or at least indirectly address some of the batey s most persistent issues which are (1) the lack of access to basic amenities, (2) diseases and ailments due to and/or aggravated by poor infrastructure, and (3) serious social and environmental justice issues. I intend to submit my research to the NGO Zanmi Batey (an NGO that works closely with Batey Libertad) so that it can better cater to the needs of the community.

    Methodology
    I obtained my data by conducting formal surveys and through observation. The surveys were conducted with the assistance of a translator. I arranged for a translator because I do not speak Haitian Creole, but it was also helpful to have a community member escort me around even when I was able to conduct the interviews myself in Spanish. I feel that individuals were less skeptical of me and the questions I asked because I was assisted by someone they knew and trusted. I randomized who I would administer the survey to by visiting every third home. I also learned a lot by just participating in everyday life in the community. I lived with one of the families and participated as much as I could; this included eating with the family, using the latrines, washing clothes, cooking, cleaning, bathing in the river and under the gutters when it rained, and engaging in serious and playful conversations with community members of all ages.

    Results
    I conducted 42 surveys. Of the 42 people I interviewed, 30 were born in Haiti. One of the major insights of the survey was learning where community members obtained their drinking water. Of the 42 people I surveyed half said they consistently buy bottled water for drinking, 2 consistently drank of the community water tank, 8 from the water at the near by rice mill, 6 drank from the water tank when they did not have money to buy water, 4 drank water from the rice mill or water tanks, and 1 drank water indiscriminately. This is to say that only half of the people I interviewed are consistently drinking purified water. It is also important to note that the water at the rice mills and water tanks are the same, just located in different places. This also happens to be the water I bathed with and in which I found tadpoles swimming. The other half of the people I interviewed are drinking this water at least some of the time. Another interesting find was that 33/42 of the people interviewed told me that they drink rain water and 17 of these people said they consistently drank bottled water. This was an interesting find because before actually observing this I had not realized that the people of the batey drank rain water. Some people also expressed a religious or spiritual reason for drinking the water or at least believing it was safe to do so.

    I also found that 12 of the 42 people interviewed did not know why people would want to purify water, 22 had a sense (even if they technically did not know why) that purified water was better for an individual or that untreated water could make an individual sick, and 8 believed that people purified water to kill microbes. It is interesting to note that 6 of the people who did not know why people purified water identified themselves as people who consistently buy purified water for drinking.

    While in the batey I and another EVST student (Adenike Adeyeye) constructed a map of the batey which simply outlined the residences, latrines, and water sources. This map helped cue us in to two basic trends: (1) people who live closer to the main road have lived in the batey longer than those who live further away, and (2) those that live nearer to the main road have more/ better access to potable water than those who live further.

    Discussion
    This investigation truly shed light on some of the most basic, everyday practices concerning water use in the Batey Libertad, and some of my experiences in the batey demonstrated why knowing even the most basic information is important. While I was in the batey a group of American scientists and students arrived to do chemical water tests. They did not speak the language, they did not stay in the community, and they did not get accurate or reliable information from the people. There was a complete disconnect between this group of Americans and the community. Had they actually spent time in the community and gotten to know the people, they would ve known where all the water sources were and what people actually used and for what. I coincidentally now have all of that information. This experience was truly invaluable and I am grateful to have been given to opportunity to undertake the project.

    The next steps I would like to take are: (1) conducting my own or contracting someone to conduct chemical analysis of the water, (2) investigating the role religion and spiritual beliefs play in their water practices, (3) conducting more surveys to have a larger sample size, and (4) using GIS to accurately map some of the trends that were found.

    John Mittermeier, Environmental Studies '08, Faculty Advisor - Rick Prum (EEB)
    Building and Understanding of the Avifauna of Suriname

    Ashley Roberts, Environmental Studies '07, Faculty Advisor - Mary Helen Goldsmith (MCDB)
    Coalbed Methane Impacts on Wyoming Economy and Ecosystems

    Coalbed Methane Impacts on Wyoming Economy and Ecosystems
    Ashley Roberts, Environmental Studies '07

    Natural gas is often perceived as a “better” energy source than coal because of its lower sulfur content and milder impacts on the environment in comparison to large-scale strip mining. During summer of 2006, I investigated the impacts of coalbed methane (CBM) development. I was fortunate enough to have internships with two fabulous organizations in Sheridan, Wyoming. I split my time between the Coalbed Methane Coordination Coalition (CBMCC) and the Powder River Basin Resource Council (PRBRC). Each organization provided invaluable information, contacts, and resources as well as unique a perspective on coalbed methane (CBM) development in the Powder River Basin.

    Through this wonderful experience, funded by the Environmental Studies Summer Internship Award, I developed a project that focused on the effects of CBM produced water. Currently, direct discharge to drainages, in-channel reservoirs, off channel reservoirs/pits and evaporation atomizers are all used for water storage and disposal. Each option has both benefits and draw-backs, however more information about the water’s effect on soils and vegetation is valuable for all.

    I designed study of soil, water and vegetation in several drainages in the Powder River Basin. I located six drainages in the Powder River Basin representative of common drainage geologies in the area. I made three drainages pairs based on the deep and surface geology, soil series, and location. One drainage in each pair received only precipitation and flood event waters, while the partner received CBM discharge in addition to historical water sources.

    The data will be analyzed for statistical significant variations between drainage pairs and among CBM affected sites and those with only historical water influence. The comparison between drainages with respect to similar soil and discharge will lend information on which soils and geology might be more susceptible to long-term damage by certain discharge practices. The long-term effects of the CBM water discharge on the land are a primary concern of this study. The information may help landowners make more informed decisions about water storage on their property resulting in sustainable long-term land use.

    Katherine Rostkowski, Environmental Engineering '07, Faculty Advisor - William Mitch (Environmental Engineering)
    Water Quality Solutions: From Training to Design and Implementation; Germany and El Rosario, Honduras

    Water Quality Solutions: From Training to Design and Implementation; Germany and El Rosario, Honduras
    Katherine Rostkowski, Environmental Engineering '07

    The project involved two phases. Phase I of my summer work was a research internship at the Institute for Urban Water Management in Germany. Experimental work included laboratory and small-scale experiments. The doctoral student introduced me to new analytical devices and research approaches. I was fully integrated into the research team and helped with the design of a pilot system for testing. The training that I received in Germany allowed me to approach the problem in El Rosario more confidently. I was able to better prepare my experimentation and analytical tests, as well as more skilled in performing them.

    The villages surrounding El Rosario in the Department of Yoro were assigned to the Yale Student Chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB-YSC). Since 1986, Americans Caring, Teaching and Sharing (ACTS) have been visiting the area and facilitating projects that improve sanitation. EWB-YSC’s assessment trip in August 2005 included the collection of water samples in El Rosario. At that time, all of the water quality tests returned positive for fecal coliform. A physician of ACTS, disclosed to our team that gastrointestinal disease has been a problem in the region for as long as he could remember.

    A plan for systematic sampling, using hand-drawn maps of the water distribution system in El Rosario from the previous visit, was designed prior to arrival in Honduras. The Most Probable Number (MPN) method using Colilert Pre-dispensed MPN 10 mL tubes was the technique used to quantify the total coliforms and E. coli in the samples. Colilert, an EPA approved method for drinking water testing, uses ONPG (O-Nitrophenyl-β-d-galactopyranoside) and MUG (4-Methylumbelliferyl-β-d-glucuronide) for the target microbes, total colifroms and E. coli. Dilutions of the samples were incubated and observed for indicators of total coliforms and E. coli.

    The presence of total coliforms at large magnitudes (103-105 organisms per ml) was confirmed in all cases. However, no tubes tested positive for the presence of E.coli, indicating a low magnitude (<3 organisms per ml). Total coliforms are primarily harmless bacteria that can live in soil and water. However, total coliforms in large quantities are often an indicator of fecal contamination, according to the EPA. Thus, the question remains whether the results, indicating large quantities of total coliforms in the drinking water system, explicitly conclude contamination. To determine this, further experimentation is needed to identify the specific bacteria that is present.

    Water and soil samples in the area of the water source were collected and transported to Yale University laboratories for further testing. Extensive pathogen testing on the soil is planned. In addition, any coliforms that are present in water samples will be cultivated to specifically identify what bacteria is in the water. This data will allow the determination of whether water contamination is affecting public health. Depending on the results, a low-tech water treatment option for El Rosario’s current water system will be designed and submitted to ACTS for community implementation.

    Betsy Scherzer, Environmental Engineering '07, Faculty Advisor - William Mitch (Environmental Engineering)
    Adapting Environmental Law and Governmental Structures to Emerging Technologies; Internship with the Environmental Law Institute in Washington, D.C.

    Adapting Environmental Law and Governmental Structures to Emerging Technologies; Internship with the Environmental Law Institute in Washington, D.C.
    Betsy Scherzer, Environmental Engineering '07

    This summer I had the good fortune to work at the Environmental Law Institute, a premier, nonpartisan environmental research think tank, located in Washington, D.C. My work this summer helped advance their mission (and mine) to improve environmental protection law, policy and management. In the process, I learned invaluable lessons about environmental NGO operations, D.C. politicking, and most importantly, about my many fascinating research topics.

    I was hired to primarily help research air pollution policies and the adaptation of existing environmental law and governmental structure to emerging technologies. My work would help develop innovative governance, changing inflexible legal and policy regimes and attitudes. My summer, however, ended up involving much more.

    I researched air pollution, focusing on indoor air quality, and even had the privilege of attending a conference on indoor air pollution efforts lead by experts. My efforts on indoor air pollution led to a new assignment: researching and summarizing the existing and proposed state laws on high-performance school initiatives.

    I helped with an environmental justice toolkit for community activists at the Mexican border. I researched and sought funding for Conservation Thresholds for Land Use Planners, a popular Environmental Law Institute publication promoting use of properly sized and maintained buffers, patches, corridors and other best practices for various ecological habitats. I helped examine the efficacy of environmental management courses taught in Karnataka in the hopes of improving corporate environmental practices of various Indian companies.

    Then, I worked on my biggest project yet, helping a senior attorney in a pinch- to produce a United Nations Environmental Programme report on dams. With my interest in renewable energy, I jumped at the opportunity, researching and writing up original case studies on hydroelectric dams around the world, focusing on various monitoring, compliance and enforcement schemes.

    When not working to help my many bosses, I enjoyed the many perks of being an Environmental Law Institute intern. I read all the daily wire environmental news services. I attended “summer school courses” and participated in conference calls. I sat in on a meeting with Chilean government sustainable forestry leaders. Most exciting of all, I got to take notes and report back on a special all-day conference held at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars on Media Coverage of Climate Science.

    My summer at the Environmental Law Institute opened my eyes to the world of environmental law and policy, allowing me to complement my current environmental engineering studies. I gained insight into the world of environmental non-profits, met wonderful coworkers, and honed my research and analytical skills. Meanwhile, I made contacts that will aid my future career and learned policies critical to full exploration of my technical senior project. Thank you Environmental Studies!

    Mirko Serkovic, Environmental Studies '07, Faculty Advisor - John Wargo (F&ES and Political Science)
    Challenging the Idea of Water Quality; The Ganges River, Varanasi, India

    Challenging the Idea of Water Quality; The Ganges River, Varanasi, India
    Mirko Serkovic, Environmental Studies '07

    I spent last summer in Varanasi, India doing research for my Senior Essay on how religion influences the way residents of Varanasi understand the pollution in the river and its potential dangers.

    Varanasi is one of India’s holiest cities and a major centre for religious pilgrimage. The unique way in which Hindus value the river Ganges causes most people to pay little attention to the pollution in the river, firmly believing that the Ganges will eventually clean and rejuvenate itself. Faithful residents worship the Ganges every sunrise – they regard the river as being their mother and as having a purificatory power that is able to wash away their sins. For faithful Hindus, the notions of ‘purity’ and ‘cleanliness’ are entirely independent from each other – something that is ‘clean’ is not necessarily ‘pure’, while something “pure” could be “unclean” at the same time. Ganga’s purity is regarded as completely transcendental and already fixed by a cosmological order, while her physical uncleanliness is transitory. The continuous discharge of organic waste does not challenge the purity of the river.

    This has caused people to believe that, in a similar way, the river can clean itself from pollution and has resulted in a critical deterioration of its water quality. Hinduism makes no connection between the notions of ‘purity’ and ‘cleanliness’ – something that is ‘impure’ could be ‘clean’, while something that is ‘unclean’ could be ‘pure’ at the same time. Moreover, because over 60,000 residents worship the Ganges every sunrise by taking a holy bath in the water, these series of beliefs has also negative effects on the public health of the population, severely exposing them to water-borne diseases like cholera and typhoid, as well as to various skin disorders. It is also believed that having your ashes immersed into the river after death will enable you to reach salvation or nirvana, where you achieve liberation from the physical world. The bodies of those who cannot afford cremation are directly thrown into the river.

    These interpretations have caused people to completely overlook the polluted state of the river and its potential dangers. Worshippers and other heavy users of the river water are seriously exposed to water-borne diseases such as cholera, dysentery, and typhoid, as well as skin disorders. The biggest cause of pollution is untreated sewage. 200 million liters of untreated sewage are discharged daily into the Ganges in Varanasi through openly visible drains. Reports state that the most polluted parts of the river contain 40,000 times the level of fecal matter acceptable for bathing water, while dissolved oxygen has already reached dangerously low levels.

    Religious behavior in Varanasi, therefore, has the potential for serious negative public health consequences. Through my research I found out that these religious discourses are very much still alive in the Hindu masses of Varanasi. Most worshippers are confused about the actual state of pollution in the river and continue to take a regular dip. Some people have heard about others with skin disorders resulting from bathing, for example, but are confused because so many people still bathe regularly and are not at all affected. What is worse, because worshippers usually start their day with a dip in the river and because of the limited availability of water in the city, their morning dip becomes their only hygienic bath for the day. In this way, dependence on the river is not only a spiritual matter, but also one of survival. Those who depend on the water the most are the boatmen, laundrymen, and fishermen who work along the banks of the Ganges. Away from home during the day, water from the Ganges is their only readily available source for use in drinking, bathing, and brushing teeth. Popular religious discourse has made them believe it is adequate to use this water untreated.

    Hindu discourses generally sip into popular culture – so this system of beliefs can be found across people of different religious groups. Muslims, even though the Ganges is no god to them, are also aware and believe in the purificatory powers of the river. Moreover, their religious texts state that any flowing water is pure, and this causes them to overlook the state of pollution in the river. Jains and Sikhs – whose religions stemmed out from Hinduism – also regard the Ganges as a god in the same way Hindus do, even though there is no direct reference to it in their religious texts. Converted Christians reject any connection with the river and have no direct relationship with it.

    With the Indian government caught up in a seemingly perpetual bureaucratic entanglement, local NGOs abusing the image of the Ganges and its spiritual importance to draw funds from abroad, and a population with strong religious values and traditions, the 60,000 worshippers that make it to the Ganges daily seem to be doomed to extinction. An innovative and successful solution to this problem would require honoring the religious significance of the river to figure out a way to stop the pollution, inform those exposed about the potential dangers of the water, and involve them in a cleanup campaign that takes into account both the population’s religious and basic hygienic needs.

    Mary Stoddard, Biology (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Track) '08, Faculty Advisors - Leo Buss (EEB) and Rick Prum (EEB)
    Tropical Biology Field Course in Costa Rica: Organization for Tropical Studies

    Tropical Biology Field Course in Costa Rica: Organization for Tropical Studies
    Mary Stoddard, Biology (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Track) '08

    My Environmental Studies Internship enabled me to travel to Costa Rica for a tropical biology field course offered by the Organization for Tropical Studies. This academic program, a combination of intensive field work, classroom lectures, and independent research, was comprehensive and rewarding. My month-long experience living and working at four biological stations was rigorous but enriching; by the end, I had learned a great deal about Costa Rica: about its vast biological treasures, about the lifestyles of its people, and about the interrelatedness of the two.

    The strongest aspect of this course was its emphasis on comparing the country’s varied tropical ecosystems. We visited four research sites, each located in a unique region with distinctive biological features. At each site, we worked in groups to survey the insect and plant biodiversity, using a variety of techniques to collect and classify insects, estimate tree heights and diameters, identify plant species, and assess the soil composition. At the end of the program, we used data analyses and statistical tests to compare the ecological composition of the four sites.

    In Costa Rica, I was most interested in studying the country’s vibrant avifauna. For my independent research project, I worked with one other student to investigate the diversity and foraging behavior of birds visiting the fig tree Ficus colubrinae. Our primary goals were to document the diversity of species feeding on fig fruit and to determine if birds of varying masses rely on different foraging strategies. During many hours of observation, we noted which species visited our study trees, the duration of each visit, and the specific foraging strategies employed. Twenty-five different species visited Ficus colubrinae, including a vast array of flycatchers, tanagers, woodpeckers, kingbirds, and honeycreepers. We classified five major foraging strategies and then assessed differences in the methods used by birds of varying body mass. We used a median statistic test to show that birds with large body mass favored a foraging strategy that involved swallowing fruit without chewing, while smaller birds preferred thorough chewing. Our study revealed great diversity in avian foraging behavior in terms of visitation frequency, duration, and feeding habits. This research helped me to better understand the critical interaction between fruiting trees and their avian visitors – and allowed me to observe some truly remarkable birds in the process.

    As we enjoyed Costa Rica and its beautiful ecosystems, we devoted a good deal of time to exploring the challenges of conservation. After studying the effects of deforestation and fragmentation, examining environmental policy in the tropics, and living on a small sustainable farm owned by a local hunter-turned-conservationist, I came to realize that preserving tropical ecosystems is not as straightforward as it seems. It’s far more complicated than stuffing the “Save the Rainforest” donation box at the zoo or sporting a T-shirt with a toucan and clever slogan on the back. Truly, the future of Costa Rica’s natural resources lies in the hands of local communities. For me, learning that conservation must begin with education, sustainable development, and new economic programs at the local level was the one of the greatest lessons of Costa Rica.

    Any student interested in exploring tropical ecosystems through field experiments would benefit from this course. My experience in Costa Rica was educational and exhilarating, and I feel certain that I will be able to apply what I have learned to my future research pursuits. I am so grateful to Yale’s Environmental Summer Internship program for making my summer adventure possible.

    Anastasha Swaba, Environmental Studies '07, Faculty Advisor - John Wargo (F&ES and Political Science)
    Internship at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to Investigate Issues of Land Tenure, Native Hawaii Rights, and the Environmental, Social, and Health Impacts of the Makua Valley Military Reservation

    Micah Ziegler, Undeclared '08, Faculty Advisor - Amerigo Fabbri (Dean of Pierson College)
    International Education of Students in Quito, Ecuador with Faculty of the University Of Quito and the Galapagos Academic Institute

    International Education of Students in Quito, Ecuador with Faculty of the University Of Quito and the Galapagos Academic Institute
    Micah Ziegler, Undeclared '08

    Over the summer, I enrolled in a program organized by the Institute for the International Education of Students. I took two environmental studies classes at the University of San Francisco of Quito (USFQ) and also audited an advanced Spanish class.

    The biology class, Ecuadorian Ecosystems (ES360), focused on the diverse ecology found in Ecuador. We studied climatic events along the equator and their impact on the ecology. We also examined ecologic patterns, such as decreasing diversity with increasing altitude. We learned about the flora, fauna, and biological interactions found in the Galapagos, coastal mangroves, tropical dry forest, tropical rainforest (the Oriente), cloud forest, and high-altitude Andean páramo. For each ecosystem, the class examined the typical climate and weather patterns of the region and the flora and fauna’s adaptations to these factors. We learned basic evolutionary theory and applied it to Ecuador’s diversity of species, especially those that show evidence of coevolution.

    The policy class, Environmental Issues: Conservation and Public Policy in Ecuador (ES330), covered topics ranging from the various approaches to environmentalism to issues specific to Ecuador, notably oil exploitation in the Amazon and overfishing in the Galapagos. The class began with categorizing different perspectives of environment-people interactions, from strictly biological to societal. We also examined globalization and its effect on the environment, including the relatively new concept of environmental security. The readings examined the international tension between developed and developing (and North and South) countries and the use of the environment as a tool in international negotiations. We studied viewpoints that considered environmentalism as a method of colonialism and control and others that saw it as a solution to social injustice. We then examined historical and current human-environment interactions among the indigenous people in Ecuador, starting with the indigenous peoples of the Andean highlands and continuing with the tribes of the Ecuadorian Amazon. We learned about their adaptation to their environments and the social consequences of living in such regions. We also learned about oil exploration and exploitation the Amazon. We studied property rights and ecological impacts from both the oil companies and indigenous groups and their synergistic effects. During our discussions, the professor introduced current governmental policies regarding environmental issues and their outcomes.

    While in the Galapagos, the policy course focused on the increasing population in the Galapagos and the environmental strains it can bring. Notably, we discussed overfishing in the Galapagos and the Joint Management Board charged with making regulations in the marine reserve. We studied the interaction of the tourism and fishing industries with the National Park Service, Galapagos guides, and Charles Darwin Research Station. Throughout the program, we traveled to the locations we studied. Our first trip took us to the Andes. We spent four days touring the high altitude tundra-like páramo and the both lush and dry Andean valleys, filled with waterfalls, ferns, and butterflies close by deserts. We saw eutrophication and unsustainable agriculture and successful attempts at preservation. At each site, our ecosystems professor would explain the biology of the location and provide some historical background. He would also provide specific examples of the biological and ecological concepts we had studied in class. Our group also spent four days deep in the Ecuadorian Amazon studying the biology of the rainforest at the Tiputini Biodiversity Station, a part of USFQ. There we took hikes and canoe rides while local, indigenous guides and our professor provided a running commentary on the flora and fauna we were seeing. During nightly lectures, we learned about oil exploration issues in the Amazon and ongoing research at the Station. At the end of our program, we spend ten days in the Galapagos, where Darwin developed his theory of evolution. Six days were spent with the policy professor learning about overfishing and environmental management of the Galapagos and also visiting the unique ecosystems, including the Galapagos highlands. We even went snorkeling with the professor to observe the ocean wildlife. The last four days were spend on a boat traveling to several islands; we learned about the geological creation of the Galapagos and its habitation by wildlife, which often evolved to become endemic.

    The program was fantastic. Studying and exploring the environment in a developing country provided me a completely novel perspective and a deepened appreciation of nature. I saw plants and animals I had only read about in biology classes. Learning about environmental protection from people living in a developing country was invaluable as I heard perspectives and anecdotes much less prevalent in the United States. In addition, studying indigenous groups and then meeting members of them opened my eyes to an entirely new side of environmentalism and development I had never encountered. It was an incredibly valuable experience which I would recommend to any student interested in going abroad for a summer and studying ecology and environmental policy.


     
  • 2005

    Jane Brandon Berkeley, Environmental Studies '06
    A Tale of Two Cities: Transportation & Land Use Patterns in Paris and Athens, Comparative Landscape Study

    A Tale of Two Cities: Transportation & Land Use Patterns in Paris and Athens, Comparative Landscape Study
    Jane Brandon Berkeley, Environmental Studies '06

    This summer, I had the opportunity to begin working on my senior project, looking at an important aspect of urban planning that carries significant implications for management of suburbanization's ecological impacts. My goals were to study the relationship between transportation policy and suburban land use patterns in Paris, France, and in Athens, Greece. I hoped to examine the spatial impact of transportation networks on population density, vegetation distribution, real estate values, and land cover classification, as well as to identify the underlying political and social forces that shape those transportation networks. I used scientific literature, policy documents, satellite imagery, and personal interviews with conservation managers, academics, and government officials to begin my exploration of this topic.

    The first part of my summer research focused on establishing a background body of knowledge to direct my later summer activities. I began by compiling and reviewing in depth the scientific literature on transportation's effects on suburban expansion around large urban centers; I had already identified a number of articles during the EVST Junior Seminar last spring, and I added to this body of works with other articles that I felt would help to give me a good grounding for beginning my senior project research. I also read a couple of well-known books on the principles of urban planning, City: Urbanism and its End by Douglas Rae and The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs, both of which helped me to place my own topic within the broader context of the evolving field of urban planning. Also with the goal of furthering my background knowledge of the link between transportation and suburban land use, I examined the Washington, D.C., area and the northeastern Pennsylvania area for the character of their relationships between transportation corridors and suburban expansion traits. Finally, during this early period of my research, I worked with Larry Bonneau of Yale's Center for Earth Observation to acquire four hyper-spectral dataset images of Paris and Athens. I used these datasets to measure vegetation distribution and land cover classification patterns around the two cities, and this fall I will be pairing them with spatial information on population density and real estate value to complete my quantitative profile of suburban land use patterns in and around my study site.

    The larger part of my summer internship was spent on site in Europe, observing and documenting the nature of selected Parisian and Athenian suburbs, as well as researching (through both documents and interviews) the transportation policies that shape the cities' commuting and residential development patterns. In both cities, I used photographs and GPS waypoint markers to document on-the-ground land use traits. In Paris, I focused on two suburban towns west of the city, Chatou and Rueil Malmaison; in Athens, I focused on the major highway corridor in northern Attica and in particular on the suburb of Kifissia.

    To understand the policies that influence the cities' transportation and land use patterns, I met with Nadia Hilal of the Sciences Po University, agricultural economist Andre Gilbert, Victoria Sotiriadou of the European Union's economic council, Kleanthis Rokidis of the Regional Administration of Attica, mechanical engineer Dimitra Mika of the Regional Administration of Attica's Managing Authority division, and representatives of the Goulandris Natural History Museum in Kifissia. I had scheduled additional appointments with two other individuals in Greece, Nikos Zarbalos of the Socialist Party's Urban Development and Transport Committee and Professor Dimitris Oikonomou of the University of Thessalia, but both of these appointments were not met—a summer lesson in the frustrations of "Mediterranean time." I hope to conduct correspondence interviews with these two contacts during the school year, as my senior project progresses. The meetings were very helpful not only as interviews on France's transportation policies and Paris' commuter patterns, but also for the counsel I received on how to direct my project. I found that my knowledge of the French language improved the Parisian segment of this interview aspect of the research experience immeasurably.

    The summer research was immensely helpful—even essential—to the progress of my senior project. My summer experience provided more challenges and new information than I had expected, leading me to change my assumptions about the distributions of income, population density, and vegetation communities in both cities. After this experience, I decided to shift the focus of my senior essay toward an evaluation of the Athens Metro project and its effects on suburban land use around Athens, since the political and ecological implications of this single project alone will provide a great opportunity for a more topical, focused project on suburban land use issues today.

    Caitlin Clarke, Environmental Studies '07
    Internship with Save America's Forests in Washington, D.C.

    Internship with Save America's Forests in Washington, D.C.
    Caitlin Clarke, Environmental Studies '07

    Save America's Forests is a fifteen-year-old environmental group with a tiny budget and an office in a converted garage on Capitol Hill. It is a bare-bones organization, and my experiences there, while they were valuable in an intellectual and personal sense, were also interesting because of the insight they provided me into the workings of an environmental group. While I was working there, I studied not only forests, but also, more informally, the organization I was working for, and it was an instructive experience on all counts.

    Save America's Forests was working, when I arrived, on two projects. One was the project for which the group was founded: the passage of a bill entitled "The Act to Save America's Forests," which has a sixteen-count platform that lays out steps to entering a sustainable forest economy based on selection cutting, alternative papers, and sustainable work for logging communities. When I arrived in Washington, however, the focus was on another project, the Yasuní Rainforest Campaign, so my work for the first eight or nine weeks was focused on that project.

    The Yasuní Rainforest Campaign is an ongoing project to help the Huaorani indigenous people of Ecuador resist the intrusion of oil companies into their ancestral lands. The situation is enormously complex and very interesting.

    The Huaorani number about 2000—no one is exactly sure, including the Huaorani themselves—and live in the Ecuadorian Amazon, near the Peruvian border. Their ancestral territory encompasses about 1.5 million hectares of lowland rainforest, which happens to be the most biologically diverse parcel of land on the planet. They have long enjoyed a reputation as the most dangerous and warlike of Ecuador's indigenous groups, over the centuries resisting the incursion into their territory of conquistadores, rubber barons, other indigenous groups (with whom their relationship has traditionally been acrimonious), and the armies of Ecuador and Peru.

    They live in autonomous villages that sometimes send representatives to meetings in which matters affecting the whole group are discussed. The Huaorani, however, have no traditional hierarchical power structure. They use dozens of species of palm trees for housing, clothing, food, utensils, and myriad other uses, and they hunt with blowguns, eating a wide variety of monkeys and other animals. They were first contacted by Western civilization in the late 1940s, when Shell Oil began exploring for deposits in their territory. Several years later, an American missionary named Rachel Saint convinced many Huaorani to abandon their villages and settle in a new village some miles to the west. In the intervening years, many Huaorani have lost their traditional way of life, though others chose to remain in the forest.

    Between the late 1960s and early 1990s, Texaco, and various subsidiaries and partners, drilled for oil just to the west of Huaorani territory. Their substandard safety measures have left behind a toxic swill of oil production wastes, and the roads they and other oil companies built into the forest have become centers of colonization for desperately poor people who have deforested much of the surrounding rainforest and overhunted many species from the area. Texaco's legacy in the area has been widespread environmental destruction and massive human health costs, including skyrocketing rates of childhood leukemia and other serious diseases. Oil development has also wreaked havoc on the Huaorani, many of whom work seasonally for the oil company and find themselves dependent not on the rainforest, which they perhaps know better than any other people, but on a market economy in which they cannot compete.

    In 1979, Yasuní National Park was created in traditional Huaorani territory, effectively forcing them to the west. The park is the world's most biologically diverse, containing staggering numbers of species of primates and other mammals, birds, and amphibians, along with the world's highest concentration of social bees. In 1991, the Huaorani were given legal title to about 700,000 acres to the west of Yasuní, less than half of their original territory. Huaorani communities, however, are still present within the park itself.

    The park is divided into several oil blocks, each owned by a different company. The one we worked with this summer is Block 31, ceded to the Brazilian national oil company, Petrobras. Petrobras is trying to develop the region, which is inside the national park. The oil would pump money into Ecuador's very poor economy and help it service its foreign debt. It would also have severe effects on the wildlife of the national park, and many Huaorani, who saw what happened to the people who lived in the area developed by Texaco, are adamantly opposed to the project. Others, however, are in favor of it, particularly certain leaders of the tribal council, ONHAE, who wrote clauses into contracts signed with Petrobras guaranteeing them each $50,000 a year. (Petrobras has guaranteed the Huaorani $300,000 a year for ten years, a fraction of a percent of the profit it is likely to make from drilling in their territory.)

    The issue gets even more complicated, due to provisions of Ecuadorian law, allegations of bribery on the part of Petrobras officials, the questionable legality of contracts signed with Petrobras without the consent of all the Huaorani communities, the possibility of the existence of uncontacted groups of Huaorani in the forest, and the recent coup in Ecuador, and it is fascinating because it encompasses nearly every aspect of the study of the environment. Yasuní's unparalleled biological richness would alone make it worth study, as would the unique culture of the Huaorani. I also found myself fascinated by the legal issues surrounding the situation, which focus mainly on whether the Huaorani have title to their ancestral land.

    The IMF and World Bank were also involved in this, funding a pipeline to transport oil from the Amazon and spurring reckless development in the area. There is the question of who speaks legitimately for the Huaorani—is it the elected men who have accepted money from Petrobras, the women's group that opposes it, or, as in the past, anyone who wishes to speak? This issue is fascinating from a political standpoint. The recently deposed government may have taken bribes from Petrobras to grant them the environmental license to drill for oil. This is also a zero-sum game, in that there is no way in this situation to achieve economic growth, environmental protection, and respect for the rights of the indigenous population at the same time. In this sense, the issue of oil drilling in Yasuní is particularly important to this desperately poor country, and public opinion within Ecuador at large is divided on the issue, though the Huaorani have received favorable press coverage in the Ecuadorian media.

    We worked with this issue all summer and gained both national and international press coverage for the Huaorani. Our group initially supported roadless oil drilling in the park, employing an offshore drilling model, which would allow for economic development but avoid the ill effects of roads, which include habitat fragmentation and colonization of indigenous territory. The Huaorani, however, consider everything about their land, including what is under it, sacred, and they are adamant in their claim that they alone have the right to speak for their territory and whether or not oil drilling may proceed there. My boss was never really able to resolve this tension, as we were working with a number of environmental groups with varying positions, and it was a fascinating insight into the debate over who gets to speak for pristine areas inhabited by human beings.

    The issue of oil drilling in Yasuní pits many interests against one another. Environmentalists, indigenous rights activists, and the Ecuadorian government all want different things, and the Huaorani themselves are divided. Everyone's interests are incompatible with everyone else's. When pressure from international financial institutions and the government of Brazil are also considered, the situation becomes even more complicated, and things are not made simpler by the thousands of foreigners, including conservation biologists who do research in Yasuní, the members of the group I worked for this summer, and the guy at the gas pump, who also feel that they have a stake in the situation. The Huaorani, or at least most of them, want to begin an ecotourism industry in their territory, which is incompatible with the waste and noise of oil drilling. With the global panic over oil supplies, it seems unlikely that they will ever get the chance.

    I had been planning to concentrate my major in the design of biological reserves in Latin America, with an eye toward examining indigenous populations and their role in the landscape, but I was not really aware of the Yasuní project before I came to work at Save America's Forests, so I was lucky to arrive when I did. I was able to watch events unfold in real time, speak with the leaders of the Huaorani groups resisting oil development as well as indigenous rights activists, lobby Congress (we did get two representatives to write a letter to the IMF expressing their concern over the issue), and get a sense for what this kind of work is like on the ground. My hope is to secure funding next summer to go to Huaorani territory and develop what I have already learned about the situation into my senior project. The issue captivated me, and I have a feeling that it will continue to do so well beyond my undergraduate education.

    My work on activities related to the Act to Save America's Forests was less interesting by comparison but allowed me to analyze and comment on forest plans and develop sections of a major report on the issue of American forests. I was dismayed, though, to discover that environmental groups, as much as industries, manipulate data to suit their purposes; having always believed that environmentalists are on the right side of these debates, it surprised me to learn that both sides abuse science in the name of their particular agendas. Straight facts, I realized, are not necessarily very valuable in Washington, and it reinforced in my mind the necessity for scientists of being politically savvy in order to keep their work from being distorted by groups with broader goals than the plain truth.

    On the whole, my internship was an extremely valuable experience. I gained important insights and experiences from nearly everything I did this summer, and I am immensely grateful to the Environmental Internship Program for making it possible.

    Christopher Dalton, Biology (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Track) '06
    The Role of Anadromous Fish in the Diets of Breeding Birds in Coastal Connecticut

    The Role of Anadromous Fish in the Diets of Breeding Birds in Coastal Connecticut
    Christopher Dalton, Biology (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Track) '06

    This past summer, I used my Environmental Studies Internship to conduct field and laboratory research on my senior thesis and to expand my knowledge of field ecology methods as a lab assistant for David Post. My senior project is on the relationship between an anadromous fish, the alewife, and a predatory bird, the Double-crested Cormorant. I worked towards quantifying the types and amount of food consumed by cormorants nesting near a particular alewife run in eastern Connecticut. I did this by analyzing pellets regurgitated by these cormorants. I collected pellets from a cormorant nesting colony in Long Island Sound in early May. In the lab, I dissolved pellets in sodium hydroxide and retrieved diagnostic ear bones, called otoliths, for species identification. I also prepared osteological specimens for identifying pellet-derived otoliths, collected observational data on feeding cormorants, and conducted thorough literature research on cormorant diets. My work on the identification of fish otoliths in pellets and the quantification of cormorant diets is ongoing and will continue into the Spring of 2006.

    As a lab assistant in the Post Lab, I helped graduate students with their research on other aspects of alewife biology. Several students were studying the effects of anadromous and land-locked alewives on algae, zooplankton, and other fish. For them, I served as an extra set of hands, and in return I learned a great deal about ecological research. I helped conduct night surveys of young-of-year (YOY) alewives using a 30-m purse seine and day-sampled the same lakes for zooplankton and abiotic lake profiles. I also helped monitor a mesocosm experiment in Linsley Pond where alewives were stocked into large bags so that their effects on community structure could be monitored over time.

    In general, my experience in the Post Lab this summer was tremendously rewarding. Taken alone, the experience of working on my research was extremely valuable. Not only did I accomplish a great deal for my senior thesis, but I also saw what life as an ecologist is like. This experience was one that will help guide my career choices in the coming years.

    Rachael Doud, Biology (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Track) '07
    Investigating the Ecological Impacts of Anadromous Alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) Restoration in Connecticut

    Investigating the Ecological Impacts of Anadromous Alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) Restoration in Connecticut
    Rachael Doud, Biology (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Track) '07

    For ten weeks this summer I worked with the Post Lab, exploring the potential effects of anadromous alewife restoration in Connecticut. Damming of rivers and streams has huge effects on the environment and related biological communities. One significant effect is that dams often prevent anadromous fish, which spawn in freshwater and then migrate via streams and rivers to the ocean, from leaving the freshwater lakes and ponds. Alewives from some lakes and ponds have been cut off from the ocean and have developed separate landlocked populations. Over time, landlocked alewives have become quite distinct from anadromous alewives, so much so that they may no longer even be the same species technically. Removing dams in Connecticut would restore populations of anadromous fish to environments from which they have sometimes been absent for as much as a century. Anadromous alewives would be introduced both to environments with no existing alewife population and to environments with landlocked alewives.

    This summer, I was involved mainly in monitoring a mesocosm experiment in Lindsley Pond and collecting samples to be analyzed for genetic, morphological and life history data on local alewives. Field work included sampling lakes and ponds during the day, catching alewives at night, and collecting data from the mesocosm experiment.

    Day sampling, which did not feel like work at all since we spent most of the time on a boat on beautiful lakes, included taking temperature and dissolved oxygen readings from the water at various depths. This data, which will be analyzed during the year, can give insight into differences between lakes with and without alewives and into changes over time in the aquatic environments. We also took water samples which were filtered and will be used to test productivity, i.e. algal growth, in the lakes. Plankton samples which we collected are used to assess the density and variety of the plankton population in the lakes. Both plankton population and algae density are closely linked to the alewife population. Algae are consumed by plankton, which are in turn the food source of alewives. Therefore, measuring algae and plankton density reveals the effect of the alewife population on the environment and differences between lakes with and without alewives,

    For night sampling, we left in time to arrive at the lake at sunset. It must be dark because the alewives, which spend the day too far down in the water to be caught with our pursein net, come to the surface at night. The darkness also gave us a chance to measure the number of chaoberus, another kind of plankton, since chaoberus also come to the surface at night. We sampled two lakes per night, setting the pursein three to five times per lake. We counted the number of alewives caught in each set to determine the size of the alewife population and took some alewives for samples. The samples will be analyzed during the year to determine their diets and size distribution as well as genetic differences between landlocked and anadromous alewives. When we first started sampling in the beginning of the summer, the alewives had just hatched. Landlocked alewives tend to hatch a couple of weeks after anadromous alewives, so the landlocked alewives in particular were so small that it was difficult to catch them. It was interesting to observe the growth of the alewives over the summer. The growth rate seemed to be particularly affected by temperature. The alewives were unusually small in the beginning of the summer, during a cold spell, and grew very quickly once the weather became hotter.

    The mesocosm experiment was initially supposed to include both anadromous and landlocked alewives. It was performed in Lindsley Pond, which currently has no alewives but will have anadromous alewives after dams are removed. Alewives caught in one lake with an anadromous population and one lake with a landlocked population were to be placed in bags in the pond. The bags were originally filled with water from the pond. We monitored the conditions in the bags for a few weeks before introducing alewives to determine the conditions. After alewives were introduced to the bags, we would be able to determine the effect that the alewives had on the environment and any difference in the effect of anadromous and landlocked alewives. The most pronounced difference was expected to be in which plankton the alewives ate. Landlocked alewives tend to be significantly smaller and are therefore expected to eat smaller plankton. This trend is observed in the plankton densities in the lakes. In lakes with a landlocked population, smaller plankton are depleted faster as the alewives hatch and grow.

    Unfortunately, we ran into an unexpected problem which prevented the experiment from proceeding as planned. While there was no problem catching anadromous alewives and keeping them alive long enough to put them in the bags, the landlocked alewives died almost immediately after being caught. We experimented by adding salt and keeping them cooler to reduce shock and adding a chemical to remove their waste, which we thought might be poisoning the fish. These attempts were to no avail, however, and the plan for the experiment had to be revised. This glitch and the solution which we developed to deal with it was one of the most interesting and educational experiences of my summer. We ended up performing the experiment with different numbers of anadromous alewives in different bags. While we were not able to contrast the effects of anadromous and landlocked alewives on the bag environments, we were able to analyze the effect of anadromous alewife density. The conditions in the bags became very different due to different numbers of alewives.

    Our failure to keep landlocked alewives alive also prevented Eric and me from performing an experiment which we had planned in the aquarium. We were going to observe landlocked and anadromous alewives in the tanks and measure the difference in the plankton they consumed. As Eric said, though, part of being a biologist is developing many experiments in case some of them don't work out. Fortunately, the alewife project has many components and the failure of one was disappointing but not devastating to the project.

    The data that we collected this summer suggested that landlocked and anadromous alewives are very distinct from each other. Their sizes are very different, and landlocked alewives were much more fragile and difficult to keep alive outside of their natural environment. Based on the plankton which we found in the lakes, anadromous alewives tend to eat larger plankton. Based on the differences between anadromous and landlocked alewives, lakes which now have landlocked alewives would be drastically affected by the introduction of anadromous alewives once dams are removed. The anadromous alewives, which are bigger and heartier and spawn earlier, might out compete the landlocked alewives or even eat the immature landlocked alewives. It certainly seems very unlikely that anadromous and landlocked alewives will spawn together. Lakes which now have no alewives but will have anadromous alewives after dams are removed face different but also very significant change. Once alewives are introduced, depending on the number introduced, they will wipe out a significant portion of the plankton population. The results of the mesocosm experiment made this evident. Bags with a significant number of alewives were very quickly depleted of plankton. This will in turn affect other fish in the lakes and the algae growth and alter the entire food structure of the environment. Analysis of the rest of the data we gathered this summer will provide more insight into the potential impact of alewife restoration. DNA analysis of the alewife samples we collected will give conclusive evidence as to the actual genetic difference between landlocked and anadromous alewives.

    I learned a lot this summer and really enjoyed working at the Post Lab. Most valuably, I was able to experience the process of developing experiments, collecting data, analyzing it, and dealing with any problems that arise. I also learned important techniques for sampling, which was a lot of fun, and it was wonderful to be so involved in the lab's project. Also, I would like to look more into the effects of temperature on the rate of fish maturation in the future. I truly enjoyed the summer and feel that I got a lot out of my work. I would certainly recommend taking advantage of the Environmental Internship Program to other students.

    Sara Enders, Geology & Geophysics '06
    Introduction of Higher-Yield Rice Farming Methods to the Philippines

    Introduction of Higher-Yield Rice Farming Methods to the Philippines
    Sara Enders, Geology & Geophysics '06

    I visited the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) at Los Baños in the Philippines as an "International Scholar/Intern." My work focused on an investigation of community based irrigation system management in conjunction with the transfer of technology for water savings in rice production at the site of a newly installed deep-well groundwater pump on a hillside at Canarem. I was interested in how a switch to controlled irrigation (CI) from the practice of continuous submergence would differently impact farmers with fields under conditions of different topography and hydrology. In particular, I was interested in the relationship between farmers' irrigation practice and their elevation on the hillside. The slope of the hill appeared to impose an "upstream-downstream" relationship of neighboring farmers' fields. I was curious about the extent to which "downstream" farmers' fields might be recipients of irrigation water and nutrients via seepage from "upstream" farmers' fields, and whether such a relationship would be reflected in patterns of decision making with regard to irrigation and fertilizer application to the fields. Understanding the dynamics of water and nutrient flux in Canarem farmers' fields is particularly important in light of two characteristics of the Canarem site: 1) Farmers' recent adoption of CI and 2) Farmers' collective organization in the form of an Irrigation Service Cooperative (ISC) established according to the principle of that the costs and benefits of the water supplied from the deep well groundwater pump be equitably shared by the membership. If there was significant exchange of water and nutrients between fields across the elevation gradient, the adoption of CI could be expected to change the content of such fluxes (in the form of less water and different constituents of nutrients due to changes in the oxidation-reduction potential of the soil). If this resulted in some farmers receiving greater benefits than others from either CI or membership in the ISC, this could have implications for the long-term viability of either one of these at Canarem.

    To address these questions I made use of data on physical field conditions and social demographics of the farmers available at the National Irrigation Administration branch headquarters in Tarlac, my interviews with farmers at the field site, and irrigation scheduling records obtained from the logbooks of the pump operator. These I used to perform spatial analysis of decisions with regard to quantity and timing of crop irrigation. Decision making with regard to fertilizer use I analyzed anecdotally. While some spatial patterns were apparent, I think this analysis is potentially of most use as a baseline from which to compare changes in decision making as farmers practice CI for years to come.

    I found my summer research experience to be an extremely valuable one, and IRRI to be particularly well suited to my goals for my summer project.

    Miles Farmer, Biology (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Track) '07
    Identifying the Origin of Captive Galapagos Tortoises: Implication for the Interactive In Situ / Ex Situ Conservation Management

    Identifying the Origin of Captive Galapagos Tortoises: Implication for the Interactive In Situ / Ex Situ Conservation Management
    Miles Farmer, Biology (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Track) '07

    I spent this summer working on conservation genetics projects at the Caccone lab at Yale. Although I originally applied to the Environmental Studies Internship to go further with research on Galápagos tortoises I had been doing during the school year, I actually spent most of my summer doing work on the highly endangered Amur tiger.

    The Amur tiger, scientifically known as Panthera tigris altaica has been reduced to a small population of about 700-800 individuals. Their range, which once extended through northeast China, Korea, and most of the Russian far east has now been reduced to a much smaller area of about 150,000 square kilometers in only Russia. This reduction was due to a combination of human caused problems. Rising human populations in their natural range caused a large amount of habitat destruction. In addition, many tigers were poached, and cubs were stolen and put into circuses and zoos around the world. At their most vulnerable state, it is estimated that only 20-30 Amur tigers remained. Due to a variety of protective legislation imposed to protect the dwindling population, Amur tigers have managed a successful rebound during the second half of the twentieth century, increasing to their current numbers. However, because of the bottleneck they have passed through, the genetic diversity of the wild population was greatly decreased.

    The purpose of my research project was to measure the impact this reduction has had on the tigers at a genomic level. In order to do this, I sequenced the mitochondrial control region of their DNA for as many tigers from the wild population as possible. This helps to give a better estimate of their genetic diversity. In addition, the project aims to gather genotypic data for many microsatellites so as to refine this estimate. This data will then also be gathered for the captive population of tigers, and compared to that of the wild population. The majority of captive tigers were captured before the large bottleneck, so it is currently thought that the captive population is probably more diverse than the wild population, but the degree to which this is so is unknown. In addition, the project aims to get a more accurate measure of the sex ratio of tigers in the wild population.

    In order to sequence their mitochondrial control region, I extracted DNA from scat, which was collected throughout the range and shipped to our lab from Siberia. I then amplified the DNA using a polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and sequenced the samples for which amplification was successful. This proved difficult because scat contains a large array of inhibitors which make it difficult for the PCR to function. In order to achieve the highest success rate possible the PCR had to be optimized. The reaction was attempted many different times. Each time I adjusted a different parameter until the success rate of the reaction was acceptable. In order to optimize the reaction, I used different combinations of reagents, adjusting the amounts of BSA, MgCl2, primer and TAQ polymerase. I also varied the temperatures at which the reaction took place, as well as the number of cycles and time per cycle which the reaction went through.

    In addition to the inconsistent quality of the DNA due to inhibitors in the scat, it was also difficult to sequence the individuals because in order to obtain the entire sequence, I had to sequence three separate fragments and then assemble them. This meant that sequences could only be obtained for individuals for whom the PCR worked for all three fragments. After all these complications, sequences were obtained for ~60% of individuals.

    There is still much work to be done on the tigers. Although DNA has been extracted for as many of the wild individuals as possible, not all of these have been sequenced for the mitochondrial control region. In addition, data needs to be gathered for the microsatellites. The sex also still needs to be identified using molecular methods. In addition, none of the captive population has been measured. This summer we sent out collection tubes to all of the zoos in the US that house Amur tigers. As soon as they send back the scat samples for analysis, further work can be done.

    Overall, the Environmental Studies Internship helped me to gain experience working in a biology lab. I learned a lot about conservation genetics and was also able to further conservation efforts for the Amur tiger.

    Shani Harmon, Environmental Studies / Anthropology '06
    American Indian and Colonial Human Ecology in Tidewater Virginia

    American Indian and Colonial Human Ecology in Tidewater Virginia
    Shani Harmon, Environmental Studies / Anthropology '06

    In anticipation of my senior essay, I completed a summer research project examining the climatic and ecological changes in Tidewater Virginia from the arrival of American Indians in the region until 1800, the end of the colonial period in United States history. I researched the ecological and climatic factors that led American Indians to select tidewater Virginia as location for settlement and subsequent American Indian land use. Then, I examined the period of American Indian expansion and ecological as well as factors that may have led to the prominence of the Pamunkey Tribe, and in particular their leader Powhatan, that led to the unification of tidewater tribes into the Powhatan Confederacy. Finally, I researched the period of colonial invasion and settlement by Europeans, looking for factors that may have made the Powhatan Confederacy susceptible to European invasion and a subsequent collapse of civilization. While disease and European firearms definitely played a huge role in the demise of the Powhatan Confederacy and the success of Europeans in settling in Virginia, I wanted to examine climatic and ecological stresses as well as the spatial locations of American Indian civilizations and European settlements on the landscape of Virginia that may have contributed to downfall of the Powhatan Confederation.

    The Environmental Studies Summer Research Fellowship enabled me to travel to Virginia to do some research first-hand rather than rely on secondary sources. During my research trip I visited the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC). With the Assistance of Angela Haggins, I was able to take advantage of the grey literature on research projects done by SERC, the United States Geological Survey Chesapeake Bay Science Program, the state of Virginia, and a variety of research institutions. Among other topics of interest, I was able to gather data on Holocene climate variability of the Chesapeake Bay, abrupt climate changes associated with the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age, paleosalinity trends and early Holocene sea-level rise and origin in the Chesapeake Bay, and archaeological records on early American Indian occupation of the Chesapeake region.

    I also visited the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and National Museum of the American Indian in the interest of historical, archaeological and anthropological resources. The trip to the Smithsonian museums allowed me to observe archaeological artifacts of Powhatan civilization firsthand noting their radiocarbon dates, the location in which they were found, and the period of Powhatan civilization to which they correlated. I was also able to gather information about geological periods, in particular the Pleistocene and Holocene epochs and correlating fossil records.

    I also traveled to the Pamunkey Indian Tribe of Virginia's reservation on my summer research trip. On the reservation, I visited the Pamunkey Museum. The Pamunkey Indian Museum had numerous artifacts from different periods of Powhatan civilization as well as the results of the archaeological experiment in Werecomoco in the 1970's when a Late Woodland settlement was simulated so that the Pamunkey Tribe and archaeologists could gain insight into how the Powhatan of the sixteenth century lived. I was also able to observe the ecology and landscape of the region once ruled by the Powhatan Confederacy.

    Finally, I visited the Jamestown Rediscovery Center on my trip to Virginia. The Jamestown Rediscovery Center is managed by the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities. The Jamestown Rediscovery Center is located on the actual site of Jamestown. The Jamestown Rediscovery Center renewed excavations of Jamestown sites in 1994 that continue today. The Jamestown Rediscovery Center is also in the process of historically recreating the settlement of Jamestown in anticipation of the four-hundredth anniversary of the creation of Jamestown in 2007. Visiting the Jamestown Rediscovery Center allowed me to get a firsthand account of the archaeological excavations at Jamestown, the ecology and geological setting of Jamestown, and a history of the colonial settlement.

    Caroline Howe, Environmental Engineering '07
    Alternative Strategies for Sustaining Tropical Ecosystems: School for Field Studies Course in Costa Rica

    Alternative Strategies for Sustaining Tropical Ecosystems: School for Field Studies Course in Costa Rica
    Caroline Howe, Environmental Engineering '07

    Thanks to the Environmental Studies Internship, I was able to spend the summer in many parts of Costa Rica investigating the varied approaches to conservation used across the country and examining their effectiveness. This study began in Atenas, in central Costa Rica, where I studied for a month with the School for Field Studies, in a college credit course that focused on parks and reserves and the varying levels of effectiveness that they meet. We visited three of the largest National Parks and conducted interviews not only with tourists and park rangers inside the parks, but also the residents of "gateway" communities. For these individuals, their ways of life have been transformed by the flow of thousands of foreigners through their towns without stopping to give back to these communities. Such interviews provided an excellent framework for looking at alternative aspects of conservation, as fencing in an area and calling it a "reserve" is certainly not the only, or the most effective, approach to ecosystem protection.

    With the School for Field Studies, I also did independent research on the trapping of the black-faced solitaire, a songbird that is kept in captivity in many Costa Rican homes for its metallic call. This tradition was legal for many years, as long as birders kept no more than two birds in their homes. Though there has been no scientific study to date about bird populations, officials suspected higher levels of poaching of late, so the capture of such birds was made illegal in January. Despite this, even the rural police expected to enforce these laws were not made aware of the changes, and the birders now caught have no idea that they are breaking the law. We conducted interviews with biologists, police, bird-owners, and government officials to see how to improve the situation as well as the relations between government and communities.

    Following this, I aided in one of the many conservation programs in Costa Rica, and investigated the growing popularity of conservation or volunteer tourism. ANAI works with local communities and international volunteers to protect turtle eggs from poaching. Until the project's beginning, at least 90% of all eggs were poached in a species whose natural survival rates are between 1 in 1,000 and 1 in 10,000 from egg to reproductive individual. I was able to help collect the eggs of a leatherback turtle, recreate a nest inside a 24-hour guarded hatchery and move these eggs inside it. I was able to watch leatherback, green, and Olive Ridley turtle hatchlings find their way to the ocean.

    Farther down on the same beach, two permaculture farms were established, also relying on the support and work of international volunteers. Punta Mona is a self-sustaining farm which looks more like a true forest than typical row crop agriculture. Pinapples grow under the shade of plantain trees, and at least 20 types of bananas are harvested from trees around the property. Birds nest in the trees and share the fruits and flowers with the farmers, while Blue Morpho butterflies fly overhead. Howler monkeys shriek in the distance, enjoying the neighboring secondary forest, protected by Punta Mona and the local communities. At any given time, around 30 men and women from all over the world (I met people from American universities, Puerto Rico, France, and England) live together in a community where breakfast is harvested before eating it and where the chocolate is made by hand. Punta Mona is completely off the grid, running totally on solar power and using composting toilets. Money is brought in not only by the volunteers to pay to participate in this small-scale sustainability, but also by tourists and school groups who come for lunch and a tour, or to use their snorkeling gear to explore the reef.

    I left the black sand beaches of the Caribbean coast for the northern cloud forest. Monteverde, well-known for its biological diversity and role in many ecological discoveries, sits atop a winding, unpaved, treacherous road, left in such a condition despite improvements in transit all over the country. Residents of the area protest against any proposals to fix the road, as they know their community, already saturated with tourists and the businesses that provide for them, would be overwhelmed by the influx if roads were to improve. Despite, or because of, the money entering this town to visit its natural resources, many entrepreneurs and residents have realized the direct economic benefit that can come from protection of rainforest areas.

    While there, I worked at the Cloud Forest School, an bilingual environmental school for local children, 75% of whom are on partial or complete scholarship. Environmental education and appreciation are a part of the curriculum from pre-school up through 11th grade. Students became aware not only of the biology surrounding them in class hikes through their 220-acre campus, but learned practical skills to protect it. The campus was, up until 20 years ago, a dairy farm, yet over a third of the area was protected as primary cloud forest, much is secondary growth, and now the 25% that remains as fields is being reforested by students and volunteers. I worked primarily on these projects, helping each grade plot their own reforestation area, learn about the trees and which animals would benefit from each, plant their trees, conduct measurements weekly to assess tree growth. I also worked in the native plant gardens, not only selecting appropriate plants for each bed, but also creating labels and educational materials to make the gardens not only aesthetically pleasing, but also educationally beneficial for the students and community members. I also helped students manage the vermiculture system, which helped to compost all food waste from the school, which has a no-waste policy, which means that students bring no packaged food to school and carry everything in reusable containers, making the only waste this compostable material.

    While in Monteverde, I was also able to visit a variety of renewable energy systems. I met with the engineers at a hotel powered completely by three small wind turbines and a large upscale resort where hot water in all of the showers and jacuzzis comes from solar water-heating panels. I was able to visit a small farm where methane gas from animal waste is captured and used for all home heating and electricity needs, and discuss the feasibility of implementing this with other farmers. I also spent an afternoon at a women's cooperative where all of Monteverde's paper wastes are recycled into thick paper used for envelopes and bags for purchases in many of the town's abundant art stores. I visited many farms in the surrounding areas, and saw the inner workings of agricultural cooperatives to see their strengths and weaknesses. Living with an incredible local family in the town allowed me to understand the Costa Rican way of life, and without considering and recognizing cultural ideals and priorities, sustainable change is impossible. I was able to discuss their views of development, environment, and general life, which was a truly phenomenal aspect of my experience.

    Overall, my time in Costa Rica was truly revelatory. I was able to explore so many different aspects and approaches to conservation and sustainability, and could never have done it without the Environmental Studies Fellowship. The lessons I learned about natural resource management and personal action were invaluable intellectually and emotionally. Most importantly, I was able to witness the sustainability initiatives that developed out of grassroots knowledge, community needs, forward thinking and joint decision-making rather than out of a textbook or a governmental policy. I cannot thank the Environmental Studies department enough for allowing me the chance to have such an experience.

    Charles Iaconangelo, History '07
    The Environment, Economics, and Ecuador: Internship with the Nature Conservancy in Quito, Ecuador

    The Environment, Economics, and Ecuador: Internship with the Nature Conservancy in Quito, Ecuador
    Charles Iaconangelo, History '07

    I volunteered with a grassroots conservation organization, Cerro Seco. The organization was founded and has its headquarters in Canoa, a tiny town along the coast of Ecuador. Canoa, along with the two neighboring cities of Bahia de Caraquez and San Vincente, are burgeoning tourist attractions, for both Ecuadorians and foreigners. Canoa is home to beautiful beaches, mangrove swamps, and tropical dry and rain forests. The diversity of geography, and the unspoiled flora and fauna make it an increasingly popular tourist destination. The goal of Cerro Secco's founder and director, Marcelo Luque, is to preserve the towns and surrounding countryside, before they become overrun with restaurants and hotels. Essentially, Marcelo's goal is to establish "eco-cities" that are both economically profitable and environmentally friendly.

    To this end, our program organized a recycling program among the store, restaurant, and hotel owners, whereby compostables, recyclables, and trash would be separated. The trash would be collected normally, while the bottles and cans would be collected by a special company that would recycle these products. The compost would be collected by our organization and shipped to the countryside, where it would be used as fertilizer, thus replacing environmentally-unfriendly chemicals. Eventually, this recycling program will expand to include the entire town's population. The hotel and restaurant owners would then be able to advertise their environmentally-friendly practices to customers, thereby creating good-will and more business.

    In the past 25 years, the coast of Ecuador has lost a great deal of its mangrove swamps due to the creation of shrimp farms. This aquaculture was harmful to the environment, and fortunately a great deal of it has ceased to operate, giving local activists the opportunity to take back the land, and conduct an extensive reforestation project. Marcelo (and I) began a reforestation project by first building a greenhouse with netting to protect the seeds from the free-ranging chickens (not for the weather) and then sprouted thousands of mangrove seeds in tubs of ocean water. The local schoolchildren would then visit the center several times a week and Marcelo, several volunteers, and I, would take walks and plant the seedlings.

    In the process, Marcelo and the volunteers would instruct the children on the ecology of the region, and why it was important to protect the natural resources that Ecuador has in such great abundance. In fact, this may have been the most important part of the entire project; we were essentially imbuing an entire generation of kids in these towns with a sense of the value of nature. Working to protect the environment will be an exercise in futility if the community does not support and help your efforts. The weekly seminars in the local high schools worked towards this end, but the real effects took place in the minds of the young children who learned what and how a whale ate by listening to Marcelo explain the diagrams on a poster. These kids would eagerly absorb any and all information we provided to them about the environment of their local region. These schoolboys and girls will one day be fighting to protect the valuable eco-systems of the coast of Ecuador, and thus our organization invested a great deal of time in teaching and training them.

    Of course, these same kids who were eager to preserve the ecosystem at age 10 would be willing to pave over it by age 20 if it meant the difference between having a job and going without. My original goal in going down to do environmental work was to learn how environmental organizations balanced the competing interests of protecting the environment, and exploiting natural resources for the economic benefit of the local people. Marcelo's approach was simple: don't compromise. There was no balance. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, it is possible to align the best interests of business and the environment through the creation of eco-tourism. The jungle tours are a good example of how revenue streams can be created in environmentally-friendly ways. For example, land owners used to clear-cut their jungle land in order for cattle to graze. Though this is more profitable than allowing the jungle to remain undisturbed, we must remember the aesthetic and novel sights found in the jungle, things that tourists are willing to pay for. One such animal is the Howler Monkey. Marcelo persuaded the hacienda owners to cut only small paths through the jungle, and to allow him and the local farmers to lead groups of tourists on day trips in the forest to see the wildlife. Part of this fee went to the land owners, and the rest went to the guides. This was a vastly more profitable business than cattle-grazing, and yet it was nearly entirely environmentally safe.

    What this experience taught me, then, was that the economic progress of the country is not a simple balancing of the pros and cons of exploitation versus preservation. Progress does not occur in a vacuum; there are existing systems of production, and these are almost always environmentally-unfriendly. Damage is already being done the environment. Change is therefore not something to be carefully weighed and considered, but rather something to be pursued aggressively and implemented immediately. The key is, the existing systems of food production and income are so inefficient that most well-thought out alternatives will make sense to implement from everyone's point of view.

    Another assumption I held that was subsequently changed due to my time in Ecuador refers to money. People generally assume that in order for an environmental organization to create any meaningful change it has to have significant resources such as money and political leverage. Working for Cerro Seco and Marcelo taught me the opposite, that in fact a few determined people can have a tremendous impact on their local communities and cities, even without the benefit of a supportive government or funding. Although it is possible that a strong government would have aided the environmental movement by enforcing environmental regulations and laws, it is just as likely that the wealthy elements of society would have used the government apparatus as a mechanism of control.

    Before I left, I gave serious consideration to becoming an environmental lawyer and working to help these organizations in their operations, especially in extending their reach into foreign countries. Yet what this trip taught me was that because there is no government, you don't need bureaucrats and lawyers and politicians. These countries have men and women dedicated to preserving the precious ecosystems, and although they are successful without any funding, if the large donations could be broken apart and given, even in small amounts, to these grassroots organizations, their effectiveness would show a tremendous leap. The local environmental groups have the understanding of the local government that is needed to enact real change, and so I am not advocating that large organizations swallow up these smaller ones. However, if I were able to serve as an intermediary between people who wanted to donate money for preserving the environment, and the grassroots organizations that are coming up with innovative ways to do it, I believe I would be fulfilling a vital role in the struggle against the destruction of nature. This trip has made me more knowledgeable about what exactly are the problems the international environmental movement faces; and in the future, while at Yale and abroad, I'd like to see if I can act on what I've learned. In general, I would recommend working for Marcelo and his program to anyone who is a little more adventurous and is willing to be more of an environmental entrepreneur and innovator rather than hold a desk job. The experience you will get working with the people of these towns will change your perspective and perhaps even your goals in life.

    Dawn Lippert, Environmental Studies '06
    Study of Ecology of Leatherback Turtles and Monitor Predation of their Nests by Mongooses with the Sea Turtle Conservation Group on Vieques, Puerto Rico

    Study of Ecology of Leatherback Turtles and Monitor Predation of their Nests by Mongooses with the Sea Turtle Conservation Group on Vieques, Puerto Rico
    Dawn Lippert, Environmental Studies '06

    I spent my summer on Vieques, a remote island off the southeastern coast of Puerto Rico. Vieques is home to a dozen threatened and endangered species, and the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge run by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is responsible for their management. Just two years ago the Navy bequeathed its land to the FWS in a hotly contested deal that was the culmination of decades of local protests and civil disobedience. Thus the largest Refuge is the Caribbean was formed, and although it is only two years old its staff has many law enforcement and Navy cleanup responsibilities in addition to species management. The island serves as a nesting ground for four endangered sea turtle species. One of the island's endangered species is the leatherback sea turtle. I spent the summer studying Vieques' leatherback nests with FWS biologists and local residents who have created a volunteer group dedicated to turtle tracking and conservation.

    The turtle conservation case on Vieques is notable both for its resemblance to similar sea turtle nesting sites throughout the Caribbean and for its uniqueness. No other turtle nesting site was subject to U.S. Navy maneuvers and test bombing for over half a century, just as no other island has been free of infrastructural development on almost all of its nesting beaches. Only one of Vieques' Beaches, Sun Bay, has showers, a campground, and other tourism amenities that have sprung up along most of the Caribbean's soft, wide beaches favored by humans and leatherback turtles alike.

    I originally planned to carry out an ecological experiment measuring the impact of mongoose predation on leatherback hatchling success. Mongooses are not native to Vieques but have thrived on the island since their introduction a hundred years ago. However, a severe tropical storm in the first days of July ripped almost all of Vieques' sea turtle eggs out of the sand and left flooded, ragged beaches in its path. The storm did not spare the eggs that were the subjects of my predation experiment, so in the wake of this devastating event my research expanded into a comprehensive study of the threats to sea turtles on Vieques and the management strategy being practiced.

    Charlie Liu, Biology (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Track) '06
    The Effects of Intraspecific Population Variation of Interspecific Ecosystem Interactions: A Class Study of Generalist Grasshoppers (Melanopus femurrubrum) in Yale-Myers Forest

    The Effects of Intraspecific Population Variation of Interspecific Ecosystem Interactions: A Class Study of Generalist Grasshoppers (Melanopus femurrubrum) in Yale-Myers Forest
    Charlie Liu, Biology (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Track) '06

    The original plan for my summer research was to collect additional data on intraspecific variation among grasshopper populations from fields with different vegetation. Specifically, I performed a common garden experiment in which I collected grasshoppers from two different fields, and put them in cages housing different types of vegetation in a third "common garden" field. This study on the whole went according to plan and showed very clear differences in population survivorship between grasshoppers from the two different fields when placed in cages with different vegetation types. A series of rains sent many of the caged grasshoppers into hiding during the first two weeks of the census, and I stocked several more cages out of concern that my first batch had died off significantly. Luckily, better weather in subsequent weeks brought the grasshoppers out of hiding, so the experiment yielded useful results. The numbers for the second trial unfortunately proved too small, and the populations in those cages died off too soon to give statistically meaningful data trendlines of any sort. Fortunately, the first batch came through and yielded very statistically meaningful data, which over the course of this coming semester I intend to analyze in the context of scientific literature on the subject. This will hopefully yield some insights worth elaborating as part of my senior essay and possibly a paper for publication in scientific journals.

    The original plan to measure mouthparts of grasshoppers raised in cages after the experiment was in retrospect not well thought out, as dead grasshoppers (and most of the grasshoppers died over the course of the experiment, as expected, due to food scarcity and other less clearly defined natural causes) tend to decompose hidden under the grass and forbs and are quickly unavailable for measurement. On the other hand, the grasshopper collection from different fields of varying vegetation composition surpassed the original plan's expectations. I managed to get over five hundred grasshoppers total, more or less distributed between all five developmental instars and adults and ten different fields with vegetation compositions ranging from fourteen to ninety-seven percent grass. Throughout this semester, I intend to measure the mouthpart dimensions on the entire collection and look for correlations between grasshopper mouthpart shape and field of origin, and if any exist, the instar stage of development at which grasshopper populations from different fields diverge. This will be the core of my senior essay and hopefully, if the data shows a meaningful trend, yield a publishable paper.

    In addition to collecting data to analyze for my senior essay, this summer was my first experience pursuing independent ecological research in the field. I found I spent proportionately less time casually hiking and looking at interesting things than I expected. I spent much more time looking at interesting things and worrying about how to wring meaningful data out of the situation and account for/try to "normalize" the numerous environmental effects that exist in the real world. Most importantly, I learned that Nature will, sooner or later, disturb the experiment, and that a researcher must quickly learn to be thoroughly prepared, flexible, and dedicated for the experiment to stand a chance. The experience has given me an understanding of some frustrations and rewards of ecological fieldwork that even firsthand accounts from other field ecologists have not.

    I have followed up my research so far by performing a feeding rate experiment with adults from two different field types and a dandelion forb and poa grass. I am also about to resume measurements of the grasshoppers I collected over the summer. I am currently enrolled in a molecular systematics lab this term, and there may be potential for DNA analysis of the grasshoppers I've collected by population, as they have all been preserved in the freezer. If the data consistently shows significant differences between the populations, as the population data from the common garden experiment already has, a possible project to follow up with next summer would be to perform the recent batch of feeding trials on grasshoppers at all stages of development from multiple fields to gain more quantitative insights into the effects of different levels of grass composition on a population's local niche.

    Ariane Lotti, Environmental Studies '06
    Measuring Agricultural Sustainability in Italy: How Science and Policy Connect to Address Environmental Degradation

    Measuring Agricultural Sustainability in Italy: How Science and Policy Connect to Address Environmental Degradation
    Ariane Lotti, Environmental Studies '06

    Industrial agriculture impacts the environment through practices that pollute ecosystems, decrease biodiversity, cause soil erosion, rely on fossil fuels, and disrupt nutrient cycles. In its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the European Union (EU) has concluded that industrial agriculture is economically, socially, and environmentally unsustainable. The EU is moving away from a solely production-oriented agriculture towards one that meets environmental standards and plays a role in maintaining rural communities and landscapes. This summer, I worked in Florence in a Department of Agronomy and Land Management at the Università di Firenze that studies the impact of agriculture on the environment through the use of indicators. While I was in Florence, I focused on data collection for insect and plant biodiversity indicators as well as on the analysis of pesticide risks posed by different farms. I also learned how to assess indicators of soil erosion, nutrient leaching/run-off, and hedge and landscape biodiversity. Once agricultural sustainability is measured and quantitatively defined, policies can be designed that decrease the negative environmental impacts of industrial agriculture based on scientific information. The Department works with the regional government (the entity that implements the EU's CAP in Italy) to develop environmental scorecards and standards that farmers wishing to receive subsidy payments will have to meet in the future. In addition to data collection and analysis, I attended conferences and workshops about the new policies and their implications for the region of Tuscany. I also interviewed farmers to test a survey that I am still developing.

    There are many opportunities in Europe to work on issues of agricultural sustainability, and I recommend that students interested in how a community of industrialized states is addressing the environmental impacts of agriculture spend time in a school of agriculture in Europe. The EU CAP reforms are breaking away from traditional production-oriented agricultural policy to include issues of sustainability, rural development, and globalization, making this an interesting time to study policy and the science behind it. Italy is also a country with a rich and diverse agricultural history and landscape, which adds complexity to the definition and implementation of the reforms.

    With the advent of industrial agriculture in the 20th century, farming practices have intensified their impact on and destruction of the environment. Industrial agriculture, through its heavy input of chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers, pollutes waterways and ecosystems, communities and states. These chemicals are applied to monocultures (one-crop systems) that not only decrease crop biodiversity but also present a food security risk; if a pathogen or pest attacks a monoculture, there is a higher chance that the entire crop will be lost. Heavy machinery is used to work and harvest the fields, and many fossil fuels are consumed. Fossil fuels are also burned in the transportation of food from one place to another – California supplies the Northeast with produce, especially in the winter, and we are no longer surprised to eat food that is out of season locally. Along with unsustainable environmental consequences, industrial agriculture can also have negative social and economic impacts on farming communities and regions by displacing smaller farmers and increasing the production costs through the need to buy heavy machinery and chemical products.

    The European Union (EU) has recognized the undesirable and unsustainable aspects of industrial agriculture, and has started to move away from a solely production-oriented agriculture to one that views agriculture as playing a vital role in the economy, environment, culture, and natural landscape of a country. Recently, the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has specifically included measures to safeguard the environment and maintain rural communities. With the CAP's Agenda 2000 and then its mid-term review in 2003, EU agricultural policy is establishing new standards for farmers receiving subsidy payments. One of the terms of the new policy is "cross-compliance," which states that in order to receive payments farmers throughout the EU will have to meet a minimum environmental standard to be determined by the EU countries and regions.

    A policy such as cross-compliance requires nations to come up with ways to accurately measure environmental sustainability of farms. The Dipartimento di Scienze Agronomiche e Gestione del Territorio Agroforestale (Department of Agronomy and Land Management) at the school of agriculture of the University of Florence, where I interned this summer, has been measuring the environmental sustainability of farms throughout Tuscany and the rest of Italy by using indicators. The department is working with the government to come up with environmental scorecards for farms that wish to receive subsidy payments under the new CAP reforms.

    There are numerous environmental indicators that are used to measure the state and sustainability of a farm system, including indices of herbaceous plants, arboreal plants, and hedge biodiversity; animal and insect biodiversity; water quality and use; soil organic matter and erosion; pesticide pollution; and nitrogen and phosphorous leaching/run-off. During the month of June, I worked with the researchers in the department on the collection and analysis of herbaceous plants and on the collection of the insects. We collected the plant samples from three farms – one organic, one conventional, and one in conversion from conventional to organic – in the Val d'Orcia region of Tuscany. We collected all of the non-crop specimens present in randomly selected areas with an area of 25cm x 25cm or 50cm x 50cm at regular intervals. This method was also used to collect samples from an organic farm in Montepaldi, just outside of Florence, where fields had been following specific crop rotations. The plants were identified either in the lab or out in the field, and then dried, weighed, and analyzed for their macronutrient contents.

    The insect collection occurred on the three farms in the Val d'Orcia mentioned above. The insect traps had been placed at regular intervals throughout the field and near the field edges in order to determine the effects of different types of borders and crops on the abundance of insects (specifically, from the Carabidae family).The insect identification was done by entomologists.

    During the month of July, I concentrated my efforts on learning the indicator methodology used in a project that evaluated twelve farms throughout Italy, three of which were in the Val d'Elsa region of Tuscany. When I arrived in the department at the end of May, the department had just finished work on several projects, one of which analyzed the economic, social, and environmental aspects of a dozen farms. The project report focused only on the biodiversity indicators for reasons of funding, and I was given the task of calculating the pesticide risk indicator for the three farms in Tuscany.

    The Environmental Potential Risk Indicator for Pesticides (EPRIP) was developed by professors at the Institute of Environmental and Agricultural Chemistry of the Università del Sacro Cuore in Piacenza. The inputs require active ingredient data of the specific pesticide, soil data, climate data, drainage system data, and crop data for each pesticide applied to each crop on each farm. The output is a value that assigns a relative risk to the use of pesticides on a farm by calculating all of the individual risks of each pesticide on each field. The calculation of this indicator took me two solid weeks of work, as well as a trip up to Piacenza to meet with one of the professors who created the program. The results of my calculations, although not surprising (the organic farm had the lowest risk while the conventional one had the highest) do provide a way to compare the relative risk posed by farms, as well as to understand how that relative risk would change with an increase, decrease, or change in the use of pesticides.

    I calculated EPRIP for three farms – La Sorbigliana (organic), Poggio ai Grilli (integrated), and I Renai (conventional) – that grow mainly grapes for wine and olives for olive oil. I was able to visit the farms and understand how other indicators were calculated, including hedge biodiversity, soil erosion, nitrogen leaching, and diversity of the landscape.

    Beyond measuring agricultural sustainability, my research question focuses on attempting to determine the factors that influence a farmer's decisions whether to follow more sustainable practices or not. In order to discover what drives a change in behavior, or lack thereof, I started drafting a survey that focused on pesticide use because I had calculated EPRIP. I interviewed the three farmers whose farms I had studied and will need to revise my survey because the questions do not reveal what causes behavioral and attitude changes concerning agricultural practices and the role that policy plays in making those changes. The conversations I had with the farmers, however, were each unique and fascinating and did show that farmers think about issues of environmental degradation and have clear ideas about the role of industrial agriculture in changing the Tuscan landscape.

    My two-month stay in Florence in the school of agriculture was productive, interesting, and meaningful. The people in the department were very helpful and willing to teach me indicator methodology and to discuss current issues in the changing agricultural policy. I was also able to attend several conferences and workshops that focused on the development of the Italian terms of the CAP's cross-compliance as well as Tuscany's efforts as a region to be more environmentally sound in its energy consumption. It was also interesting to be in Italy this summer because the EU's agricultural policy is taking steps to enter the global agricultural market while trying to save its rural economies and landscapes, and no one really knows how European agriculture is going to change as a result.

    The research I did this summer enables me to answer the first question that will form the basis of my senior research project in the Environmental Studies major. Being able to measure and define sustainability in agriculture allows me now to ask why certain farmers choose certain practices over others and what changes behavior so that sustainability in agriculture becomes the norm instead of an exception.

    Jasmine Low, Environmental Studies '06
    Communication, Persuasion, and Behavioral Change

     Communication, Persuasion, and Behavioral Change
    Jasmine Low, Environmental Studies '06

    During my study at Yale I developed an interest in researching the question: Does information about the state of the environment affect human behavior, and if so, how? This summer the Environment Studies internship has provided me with great opportunities to combine two critical factors that drive people's actions, that is, their psychology and attitude toward the environment.

    "Consequences" is defined in the dictionary as "something that logically or naturally follows from an action or condition". Hence, what can be logically or naturally beneficial or harmful to the health of the environment is the result of our actions or behavior. Are we conscious about that? And, what hinders our willingness, concern, and ability to preserve the environment?

    This summer I spent 3 weeks as an intern at Urban Resources Initiative (URI) and 5 weeks as an intern at Pace Center Psychology Department at Yale University to learn appropriate skills to help prepare me to do research on these questions.

    At URI, I was involved in The Urban Ecology Collaborative Multi-City Environmental Education Program Providers Inventory (UEC). UEC endeavors to build a healthy urban ecosystem for urban neighborhoods. UEC promotes and cultivates urban environmental appreciation between human and non-human ecology in the city. The Multi-City Environmental Education Inventory is one activity currently being undertaken by the UEC partner organizations.

    According to UEC's stated project objectives, "The purpose of this inventory is to paint a vivid and comprehensive picture of the programs and resources available for environmental education in the six UEC cities in order to help organizations improve and expand their environmental education programming."

    My tasks involved calling and meeting representatives of organizations that provide urban environmental education, conducting surveys and interviews, collecting and entering data, and assessing the efficacy of the survey questions. My experience has greatly broadened my views on human perception of the environment. For example, experts in the environmental field have different needs, strength, and experience. Thus, it is important that we are able to recognize, develop, and communicate those areas among the environmental expertise. In addition, understanding the barriers that prevent people from caring for the environment can help these environmental organizations to better design their environmental programs to overcome the resistance towards caring for the environment. Understanding this will influence how I will refine my research and the design of the questionnaires to better understand the human interests and values that ultimately affect behavior toward both urban and natural environments.

    The following five weeks, I worked on the "Transition in the Development of Giftedness" study at the Psychology Department PACE Center of Yale University. The goal of the department's research is to "assess the factors that lead to success in transitions of giftedness" (Sternberg and Grigorenko). To collect the data, the students of several participating middle schools and high schools were asked to complete a questionnaire about hobbies, English and math skills, and life goals. My task in this project was to enter and interpret data and to learn how their survey questions were designed. I also helped to design a rubric to be used in data analysis. The rubric is a list of categories for categorizing the subjects' goals and their future plans entered on the questionnaire. The purpose of the rubric is to be able to summarize open-ended students' responses as well as to create a quantitative scale that can be further used in statistical data analysis. I also learned about the rating process as well as the statistical analysis techniques that will be used to check the reliability of the ratings assigned to students' goals. This analysis ensures that the rating obtained can be used for further accurate interpretation.

    At PACE Center, I was mentored by Olia Stepanossova and Nadin Beckmann, two postdoctoral associates with whom I was working. Under their guidance, I have developed my own research ideas on investigating peoples' behavior toward the environment using survey instruments.

    My personal research interest is analyzing the factors that prevent people from recycling. My research focuses on the knowledge that is available to people, and their understanding of environmental principles, as well as how that knowledge affects their behavior. My experience this summer has allowed me to critically evaluate my research questions:
    1. What prevents people from recycling?
    2. Does information promote recycling?
    3. What factors prevent people from recycling even though they may have been informed about the benefits of recycling?

    Thus, my summer internship has been fruitful. It has provided me with valuable opportunities to expand my research experience. I will fully use all the skills I have learned through this internship to develop a survey instrument to better understand human behavior toward the environment so that we can foster a healthier and sustainable environment for both human and wildlife.

    I would highly recommend doing an Environmental Studies Internship to any student who is interested in developing practical research techniques and experience. I enjoy and benefited a lot from my learning experience at PACE Center and URI. Thus, I also highly recommend more students to join these two organizations if given the opportunity. They will not regret it.

    John Mittermeier, Biology (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Track) '08
    Unearthing Samoa's Mysterious Moorhen: A Proposal to Survey Birds in the Upland Forests of Savai'l, Samoa

    Molly Montes, Biomedical Engineering '06
    Large Carnivore Research and Designing Improves Telemetery at the Karongwe Ecological Research Institute in Tzaneen, South Africa

    Large Carnivore Research and Designing Improves Telemetery at the Karongwe Ecological Research Institute in Tzaneen, South Africa
    Molly Montes, Biomedical Engineering '06

    A typical day in South Africa at the Karongwe Ecological Research Institute base station, began early. The alarm sounded at 5:30am, giving me just enough time to throw on layers and grab a quick breakfast. Then out to the pre-sunrise dark to commence 'drive'. With another research team we split up the area of Edeni reserve and began checking the hotspots. At high points and main crossroads we stopped our 'bakkie' or truck, climbed on the back, lifted up the antenna of our radio telemetry device and listened carefully, hoping to hear the beeps that would signify an animal wearing a radio collar or transmitting implant was within range. The animals outfitted with radio collars or implants included lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, wild dogs, and elephants. Set to specific frequencies, our antenna picked up the radio waves constantly emitted from the transmitting devices and a small data processing system converted it to audible beeps that changed in pitch and volume as we approached the animal wearing the device. Learning how to use the telemetry equipment and track an animal was definitely one of the more challenging tasks to learn at K.E.R.I.

    The Karongwe Ecological Research Institute is a non-profit organization aimed at developing management research for small reserves and facilitating academic research of wildlife species and ecological interactions. Our twice daily drives to look for species on the reserve allowed us to collect consistent, intensive data. Ideally during our drives, we would have a visual of each animal and be able to make detailed observations which included location, activity, a 'full-rating' and any kill data for the predators. On a small, fenced-in reserve such as Edeni, prey do not migrate in and out, and predators, excluding the tree climbing leopards, cannot cross the boundaries. Thus, it is very important to monitor predator-prey interactions so as to sustain the diverse populations that inhabit the reserve. Obtaining kill data was particularly helpful as it enabled us to identify the specific prey that predators were targeting. Sometimes we were lucky enough to see a hunt in progress or observe the animals on a kill. In other cases, we tried to walk the area where we thought a predator had made a kill and look for evidence after the predator had moved off to a new location. Although we were out on drive for 8-10 hours a day, it was still difficult to know about all the kills occurring on the reserve. 'Full-ratings' provided an additional assessment tool. These were observational estimates of the size of the predator's stomach ranging from a 5 for an engorged, full belly to a 1 for an animal looking skinny and hungry. This allowed us to at least know how frequently the species were eating.

    One example of the effect of our research on management is the case of the African Wild Dogs. This pack-oriented species prefers large range sizes of which Edeni could only provide limited space. When I arrived in June, much of the pack had already been relocated to other reserves and the remaining four males were being held in a 'boma' or fenced–off section on the reserve. From previous kill data, it had been found that the wild dog pack on the reserve preferred hunting pregnant waterbuck. The effect of the dogs' predatory behavior was significant because they were not only consuming the current reproductive population but also limiting the pool of future reproducing waterbuck. This data along with the issue of the dogs' range size being constrained by the boundaries of the reserve, convinced the managers to find more suitable homes for the wild dogs. I was fortunate enough to be present when the remaining four males were darted with tranquilizers and relocated. Additionally I also got to participate in the dartings of two subadult hyenas and a lioness. Any time an animal is darted, whether it be for relocation purposes or a change or removal of its radio collar or implant, the research team at K.E.R.I. takes the opportunity to perform measurements. Everything from the length of the teeth, tail, and foreleg as well as all the dimensions of each paw are carefully measured and recorded. This information is used for identification as well as to make observations of growth and the level of variability within intraspecific characteristics. I was thrilled at the opportunity to be up close and personal which such magnificent creatures.

    The less glamorous work at K.E.R.I. occurred in the office. I would input the data into an Excel spreadsheet and then transfer it into a GIS program so as to visualize the locations and movements of the animals on the reserve. Actually this job wasn't at all dull, I truly enjoyed learning how to use the program and exploring its features. Near the end of my eight weeks in South Africa, I did a brief study of cheetahs. I compiled the data collected from the year and produced territory maps for each cheetah or cheetah coalition with the GIS program. I also spent a full day walking with a male coalition of two cheetah brothers. Unlike the rest of the study species on the reserve, we could do 'walk-ins' to the cheetahs who, while still dangerous wild cats, do not hunt adult humans. This pair of brothers was particularly habituated to people and did not appear to mind me tagging along as they moved from one termite mound viewpoint to the next. That day was a highlight of many.

    Wildlife research is an ongoing process; there is always something more to understand and learn. Eight weeks was only time enough for me to get a small sampling of what it involves. Nevertheless, I am pleased with what I learned, proud of the work I accomplished and happy to know that it will be used in the annual report to the managers of Edeni reserve. Furthermore, I am eager to report that the director of research at K.E.R.I. plans to set up a database for the information collected on the reserve and share it with other organizations involved in wildlife management. Owners of other reserves would be able to access this data and make more knowledgeable decisions about how to monitor the populations of various species on their property. With a better understanding of predator-prey balances, it is more likely that biodiversity can be protected and maintained. I hope that I have made a contribution, albeit small, towards this goal. In the near future I plan like to return to South Africa and see the progress of this endeavor.

    Charles Munford, English '06
    Agroecology Internship At C.E.T.A.S. in Cienfuegos, Cuba

    Michelle Quibell, Environmental Studies '06
    Field Tropical Biology Course in Costa Rica - Organization for Tropical Studies

    Victor Ramos, Biology (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Track) '07
    Field Tropical Biology Course in Costa Rica - Organization for Tropical Studies

    Field Tropical Biology Course in Costa Rica - Organization for Tropical Studies
    Victor Ramos, Biology (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Track) '07

    A summer abroad in Costa Rica was a worthwhile experience that truly accentuated the intricacies of ecology and how humans can affect a system. More importantly however, it clarified the reasons why humans knowingly harm an ecosystem. I believe it was necessary to understand the hardships of living in poverty in a third world nation before lasting environmental progress will be made. Ultimately, it is the local populace that maintains an area, and not an "enlightened" scientist. If they are unwilling to comply to a government policy protecting the land then the Costa Rican Forests will just continue to shrink. Living in the country helped me to understand this.

    My actual research was less convoluted than the relationship between poverty and the destruction of the rainforest. As such, it yielded results of greater clarity (although possibly of less overall importance). Originally, two projects were undertaken in a group of five. This was an important exercise in learning how to work with your peers. Everyone has an opinion on how the study should be performed and presented. Thus, we had to learn to make compromises. However, these were merely one day experiments or studies and need not be expounded upon.

    My individual research was an evaluation of "Worker Efficiency in Subcastes of Eciton burchelli". E. Burchelli is a rather famous and successful species of army ant. The massive swarms of these ants, sometimes consisting of millions of individuals, have titillated the imagination of humans and thus I thought they would prove to be an interesting topic. My hypothesis was that the species was partly so effective because the division of labor increased the foraging efficiency of the colony. In my experiment foraging efficiency was specifically measured as the rate at which the ants could return food to the Bivouac (a colony made up of a cluster of ant bodies). Therefore, I believed that the faster ants would be the ones to return food to the bivouac.

    Firstly, I measured out a specific distance of the foraging column. I then used a timer to time the speed of unladen ants as they left the bivouac, and laden and unladen ants as they returned to the bivouac. I calculated the speed of the ant as the distance over time. After a specific ant was timed I collected it so that I could later determine the ants' caste and measure its leg and body length. I accomplished this by freezing the ants to lower their metabolism, and then using a dissecting microscope.

    I did find significant differences in ant speed based on their caste and the length of their legs. It would appear that one caste, the submajor, is responsible for a disproportionate amount of the hauling of prey items back to the bivouac. Altogether, I must say that the ants were fascinating creatures that were well worth the time it took to study them. Although, I can attest that they sting, having been on the receiving end.

    While I enjoyed the experience of studying tropical biology I personally don't have any intention of making it a vocation. I verify that it is an amazing experience that acquaints a student with the intricacies of a tropical ecosystem as well as gives a solid grounding in the different types of field work done. Overall, a student walks away with a solid footing in general ecology and with a knowledge of birds and arthropods specific to tropical climates. I recommend the course to anyone interested in conservation and ecology. I stress conservation because of the national effort of the Costa Rican government to preserve its forests and the reasons for which it has chosen to do so.

    Randall Rubinstein, Environmental Engineering '06
    Changing Climate, Changing Tactics: Understanding the Media as an Essential Tool for Environmental Campaign Success

    Changing Climate, Changing Tactics: Understanding the Media as an Essential Tool for Environmental Campaign Success
    Randall Rubinstein, Environmental Engineering '06

    Through the environmental studies summer internship program, I had the opportunity to intern at Environmental Media Services (EMS) in Washington, D.C. I was working on the toxics program, where our main goal was to bridge the gap between scientists and journalists so that new science would be reported and the coverage would be accurate.

    When I arrived at EMS, the office was bustling with activity. I had a little time to settle in, but soon found myself bombarded with the summer plans. I got started immediately by editing a grant proposal to the Wallace Genetic Foundation, and then was asked to work on two final reports. The Science Communication Network, a network of scientists organized by the toxics program at EMS, had just held two teleconferences to release new studies. Teleconference one released Fred Vom-Saal's meta-study on the correlation between funding and results of bisphenol-a research, while teleconference two released Anna Soto's study on bisphenol-a and Shanna Swan's study on phthalates in humans. The final report for each teleconference was a compilation of all the news articles that appeared because of the teleconference and pre-teleconference work.

    Not really knowing what bisphenol-a was, nor how to spell or pronounce phthalates, I searched for articles in local, national, and international newspapers, and on news websites, and for transcripts of radio and television clips. One week and many news articles later, I had about 300 pages in final reports and knew what a phthalate was (now pronounced th-a-late). This was my first experience in learning how a non-profit works, and it would soon become one of my main insights from the summer.

    In theory, I had learned that foundation-funded organizations needed to report back to their funders, but it wasn't until I was helping with that process that I fully understood what it entailed. Everything that the organization did was with the funders in mind; we were always asking, what would the funders want us to do? Would they want us to spend our time and their money on this? Will this increase or decrease our chances for funding next time? And what can we create that we can show the funders later? In this vein, I worked on grant applications at the start of the internship and completed final reports during the summer. When everything came to fruition at the end and we received the grant, it was fulfilling to know that I had helped the organization in its yearly struggle to survive, but at the same time it made me realize that a lot of the non-profit's time and money resources are spent ensuring its future instead of directly achieving its mission.

    Nevertheless, not all my time was spent for the funder's sake. Many of the EMS projects are long term (on the scale of months), so I got to work on a number of on-going projects including the release of a supplement to the American Journal of Public Health, raising journalist's awareness for upcoming science on toxicogenomics, and increasing traditional environmentalists' interest in environmental justice. However, my main project for the summer was preparing for the Centers for Disease Control biennial biomonitoring report, a large-scale study on determining which industrial chemicals are in U.S. citizen's bodies, and at what levels they are there, and an analysis of historical levels based on the two previous studies.

    For this project, I attended coalition strategy meetings and got to experience first hand the theory that I had read about for class. Coalitions are tough since everyone is more bent on having his or her own group get the glory. This meant we had to keep control of the meeting, not disclose too much (fortunately the CDC has the same policy so we didn't actually know all the details, such as when the report would actually come out), and not rely too heavily on any particular group's influence. We decided that we would try to hold a teleconference with a few of our scientific experts with different expertise.

    Then problems arose. First, we wouldn't know when the study was coming out until a week before it was going to, so it was difficult to ask the experts if they would be available during that unknown time. Second, one of the coalition members decided to preempt the study with a smaller biomonitoring study of their own. Since we had gotten some word that this would happen, we decided to send letters to the key journalists who might cover one or the other story, not both. In those letters, we informed them of the national import of the CDC study, offered renowned experts for interview, and gauged interest. Then we decided to wait and monitor who was reporting on the preemptive study to decide if we would hold a teleconference or not. In the end, we had our experts talking to reporters about an hour after the report came out to decipher what it actually meant.

    Being involved in this strategic planning made me more aware of what people in media relations think about when making decisions about when to release something, how to release, and to whom. A form of thinking that is important in any setting since the considerations are sometimes psychological, sometimes logistical.

    Of course we could not forget our funders, so we created a final report that really spelled out the crux of EMS and its goal. We compiled all the news reports of the CDC report but then separated them into two camps: those written by reporters we had contacted and who had talked to one of our experts, and those written by reporters who simply listened to the CDC press conference. There was a drastic difference in the coverage which really showed me how much effect sending out information to journalists and offering experts for interview actually has. It was, in a way, a quantification of "what we would get if this organization, EMS, were not here."

    Nevertheless, the most interesting aspect of the internship was the science. I had the opportunity to listen in on calls where leading scientists in their fields divulged their latest, often not-yet-complete, research. This research was almost wholly in the field of endocrinology and epidemiology, fields in which I had no prior experience, but in which I am extremely interested now. This experience culminated in the science communication network's board meeting, since most of the board members are leading scientists in the endocrine disruptor field. During the board meeting, I got to personally meet Tyrone Hayes, a leading researcher on Atrazine and its effects on frog development, and am now attempting to do my senior project work on chemical effects on frog development.

    In all, the internship was a valuable experience. It helped me understand how non-profits function, how organizations with a board function, and sparked my interest in endocrine science. I also learned about the issues scientists and activists face when communicating science to the media, and learned that media work is not where my future is headed.

    Laura Schewel, Literature / Environmental Engineering '06
    Water Quality in the Pangani Basin, Tanzania: Internship with Pamoja and GTZ

    Water Quality in the Pangani Basin, Tanzania: Internship with Pamoja and GTZ
    Laura Schewel, Literature / Environmental Engineering '06

    Summary and Findings: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact on health made by the a water pipeline built in 2000 by GTZ in Uchira Village, Tanzania to characterise health in the village, and to make recommendations for ways to further improve health. In general, the study found that the pipeline did improve health, but that the health benefits had been overestimated by many leaders and by the villagers. The pipeline drastically improved village life in respects other than health, and the failure to fully cure all health problems is not indicative of some major failure, merely a demonstration that health is dependant on many factors beyond water, such as hygiene. This observation has been made across Africa and the world (Esrey, 1996; UNICEF, 2000; Duse, 2003; Tumwine, 2003). The pipeline management still has the power to fix some of the problems. In other words, the pipeline is very good, though not perfect. If everyone expects and believes the pipeline to be perfect, it will be less effective than if people accepted its limitations.

    This study involved extensive reading of relevant academic literature and documents relating to Uchira, laboratory tests, interviews of leaders, government officials, teachers, and healthcare providers as well as observations and formal and informal surveys of the villagers. All conversations, except with some regional and district government officials, were conducted in Kiswahili by the researcher with the help of Raymond Mfinanga, a local young man, in difficult Kiswahili translations, Kipare, and introductions. The study took place from May 23, 2005 to August 10, 2005.

    The water is contaminated with faecal coliform bacteria ranging from "intermediate risk level" at the source to "high risk level" at several of the public taps. This contamination is probably due to natural presence of faecal bacteria during the rainy season in groundwater and evident cracks in the structure, especially visible at the breakpoints and storage tanks. The protected Lyambala source had less than one third the number of faecal bacteria as the unprotected Lyemshi spring, showing that the concrete structure and other measures are having a very positive impact. The use of rubber hoses at taps increases bacterial content. Water in household drinking buckets had more bacteria than water from the nearby tap, indicating that contamination also happens in the home. (Second round of tests to come.)

    The environment of Uchira village, especially the central Uchira Chini hamlet, is contaminated with garbage. Garbage pits are badly maintained, infrequently burned, and people often fling garbage by the side of the path instead of in pits. Almost all villagers have pit latrines and these latrines are frequently made of impermanent materials like dung, unclean, too full, and left with the door ajar.

    Malaria is the main health complaint, followed by respiratory infections. Water-born and sanitation-related diseases are always present (about 20% of all cases, combined). The two are interrelated, and water quality alone cannot be expected to fix all a village's health problems. Analysis from Uchira Dispensary (the free, most popular dispensary) show a drop in water-born disease directly after the pipeline was built, but the diseases have climbed back since. Sanitation-related disease showed no relation to the pipeline.

    A huge percentage (87%) of the villagers believe that the water is treated, even though it is not. The milky colour of water under pressure, local talk, and affirmations from the WUA that the water is safi na salama (safe and sound) contribute to this misunderstanding. As a result, villagers claim they do not feel a need to boil water and use soap as frequently.

    The villagers boil water, wash with soap, and use mosquito nets far less frequently than would protect their health. Villagers cite time, money for nets and charcoal, habit, and "already safe" water as reasons not to boil or use soap and nets. Most villagers know it is "better" to do these things, and so frequently claim good behaviour to researchers, especially mzungu researchers. But observations and discussions with leaders suggest that the villagers exaggerate greatly. This indicates that the various efforts at health education have been heard, but failed to change behaviour. Villagers most frequently say their health education comes from school and being "around in the environment" (40 and 30%, respectively). Radio and television programs, elders, and healthcare providers are also common sources of education (35%). Leaders and healthcare providers attributed the failures of past education attempts to habits, insufficient health curriculum in schools, and poverty.

    Many villagers understand the large-scale pathways of disease (e.g. "if you leave food uncovered, you might get sick") but do not understand the small-scale mechanism (e.g. "flies will go from faeces to uncovered food and leave germs"). As a result, they don't understand the reasons behind some health recommendations.

    The leaders, teachers, and healthcare providers recognize that the village latrines are in a sorry state and the scourge of malaria. They all had various suggestions about improvement.

    The health situation in Miwaleni hamlet, which does not receive the piped water, is far worse than in other hamlets. Water-born and sanitation-related disease rates run higher, latrines are in execrable condition due to bad use and floods, and villagers' education and sanitary behaviour lag behind their counterparts in other hamlets. Miwaleni, visibly the most poverty-stricken hamlet, is 7.5km from the free dispensary.

    Impact: Because of my report, GTZ has pledged to give money for a chlorination tank, to be run by the Uchira WUA, and a progressive education project that I helped design, to be led by Pamoja Trust, a local NGO. These projects will begin in October. The Uchira WUA will also submit a proposal to build latrines in the market place and to provide VIP latrines and handwashing facilities for schools. GTZ will decide later if they have enough funds for this project. GTZ could not fund health care in the Miwaleni hamlet, because their funding is confined to the water sector. Therefore, I privately worked with a Catholic priest and district health officials to arrange a mobile health clinic using the doctors and car from a nearby catholic clinic which has very few patients because they must ask for payment. The car visits Miwaleni once a week. I got funding from groups in my hometown of Richmond VA. The clinic, which we expected to serve 50 a month, is serving about 100 a week now, so we struck an important niche.

    Personal Impact: I learned three very important facts. 1) In a developing country, the issue of public health develops too. For example, cars—because of pollution and because of dangerous driving habits and bad maintenance—are a huge and ever growing threat to environment and public health in Tanzania. 2) Development is a series of trade-offs. Some health workers I met urged villagers to boil water to cut down disease, using charcoal. They hadn't yet considered the fact that the massive deforestation caused by charcoal harvest was degrading the soil, decreasing agricultural yields and contributing to the poverty and hunger that itself feeds disease. 3) Environmental Engineering must consider much more than technology. All the high tech systems mean very little if the people don't know how to use them, or don't want to accept them.

    I am currently writing a Fullbright proposal to go back to Tanzania and study the paths of knowledge and language that surrounds the integration of modern science and technology into the developing world. My proposal grew directly out of my experiences this summer. I also believe that the same question—how people digest and incorporate technology/science—into their lives is crucial to understanding developed nations. For example, why do so many educated Americans behave in environmentally detrimental ways when it would be simple not to? Why are so many turning against evolution? What scientific "proofs" are people willing to listen to when discussing global warming? I hope to pursue these questions as my environmental career continues.

    Recommendation: I couldn't recommend my experience more. The opportunity to be on my own, with only the loosest oversight, applying my knowledge, was intoxicating. I highly recommend that other students look for summer opportunities where they can have a concrete affect on what they research.

    Sarah Jane Selig, Environmental Studies '06 
    Environmental Effects of Tobacco Growth, manufacture and Disposal: Internship with Institute for Global Health in San Francisco

    Environmental Effects of Tobacco Growth, manufacture and Disposal: Internship with Institute for Global Health in San Francisco
    Sarah Jane Selig, Environmental Studies '06 

    Working this summer with the Institute for Global Health of the University of California at San Francisco, I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Thomas Novotny. Dr. Novotny used to work as one of the head negotiators of U.S. international tobacco policy. After stepping down due to current administration policy, he began working with the World Health Organization and other international anti-tobacco groups. His passionate interest in this subject has led me to want to focus on tobacco and the environment for my senior thesis for the environmental studies major.

    This summer I worked on two separate projects. The first project was helping rewrite and update the research for a paper on Chinese women and smoking. The idea that has evolved from this research is that women in China are being targeted by tobacco companies using similar strategies as those used on American women in the early nineteen hundreds. Accordingly, I also researched the techniques used to attract American women. These included marketing cigarettes as a status symbol by associating them initially with wealth and later with education. Currently the tobacco companies would like to target the hundreds of millions of Chinese women. In China cigarette companies are doing things like sending recent female college graduates free packets of cigarettes. While Chinese men have had high rates of smoking - in most places over 50% of men smoke - the Chinese women have tending to have rates of smoking well under 10%.

    The importance of updating this paper and getting it published is clear. It is much more effective to prevent people from starting to smoke than trying to get addicted smokers to quit. Also, the most current health research on tobacco shows that even people who stop smoking still have health risks. Dr. Novotny has plans to publish a set of papers on this issue and present them at the world tobacco conference in Washington D.C. next summer. I will continue to work with him to prepare for that conference, which I hope to attend next summer.

    The other project that I was working on was research for a paper on tobacco and the environment. Surprisingly, there have been only a few papers published on the subject even though tobacco is a huge crop worldwide. I researched the specifics of pollution from tobacco processing plants, deforestation, litter of cigarette butts, fire causation, and worker health issues related to tobacco. This research culminated in a paper regarding the current information about these issues and suggestions for future field research.

    Both of the papers are now in the process of being edited and will be submitted to Tobacco Control within the next six months. In terms of future follow up, Dr. Novotny has invited me to be involved in another related piece on smoking in China which he will be working on this fall.

    I also had the opportunity to meet at the end of the summer with Dr. Yach, head of the Global Health Department at the Yale School of Public Health. He put me in touch with a researcher in the United Kingdom who might be able to help me with further research on environmental issues. He gave me the insight that the main papers would be located in either the U.K. or in the actual countries growing tobacco. He suggested that future research could be focused on Malawi, a country that remains poor and heavily dependent on tobacco production. Even though the country has high tobacco production, there continues to be low levels of smoking among the population. This combination means that tobacco has a great influence on the country, but that a study of these issues could be reasonably limited to the environmental and political effects of tobacco. With these issues in mind, my senior thesis could focus on the political, environmental, and social effects of tobacco growing on the country of Malawi.

    Overall, I had a great experience in my internship. I plan to continue doing research on tobacco for my senior thesis, focusing on the issues related to tobacco growing in Malawi. It was interesting working with the academic side of public health related to environmental issues. I came away with some important questions about the importance of research versus policy, which I will definitely consider with regard to my future career.

    Mirko Serkovic, Environmental Studies '07
    Marketing Renewable Energy Use in India: Internship at the energy and Resources Institute (TERI), New Dehli

    Marketing Renewable Energy Use in India: Internship at the energy and Resources Institute (TERI), New Dehli
    Mirko Serkovic, Environmental Studies '07

    India's per capita energy consumption stands well below the rest of Asia and is one of the lowest in the world. Data shows that per capita energy consumption in India is about 30 times less than in the United States and about 5 times less than the world average. This low level of per capita consumption is not due to overall low energy consumption levels, as India ranks sixth in the world in terms of energy consumption. Rather, this figure reflects India's large population and the inequity in energy supply within them. While economic activities and standards of living boom in India's most vibrant cities, over 700 million rural poor have either limited access or no access to electricity, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), or other non-traditional fuels. 65% of all rural households in India still have no electricity and depend on inefficient fuels such as wood, biomass and kerosene.

    As an intern with The Energy and Resource Institute (TERI) in New Delhi, I spent this summer working on a project that aimed at using Solar Photovoltaic systems to bring energy to villages in rural India that had been identified as 'unelectrifiable', meaning that reaching grid-based power supply to them is not viable. A total of 18,000 villages in India fall into this category. Solar photovoltaics provide a decentralised and cost-effective way of providing energy to rural households, as well as promoting individual and community ownership and management of energy services. The Government of India's approach to RETs dissemination and popularisation has been highly centralised, target-oriented, and subsidy-based. It has had limited success due to various barriers in planning, implementation, capacity building, publicity, allocation of resources, and technology adaptation to local needs. By introducing alternative and supplemental approaches of a decentralised nature, TERI's 'Uttam Urja' project is attempting to overcome these barriers.

    My work focused on ways to strengthen the solar photovoltaic market and to make it commercially sustainable, thereby promoting brand competition between different systems and independence from government subsidies which have proved to be ineffective. The basic objective of the project is to free the consumer from problems of high upfront costs, maintenance, and replacement, which have been so far responsible for limited penetration and impact of solar photovoltaics and other renewable energy technologies in rural areas. I conducted study in the field in the town of Bikaner, Rajasthan where solar photovoltaics have been commercially disseminated for more than 4 years. I prepared a report on ways the market for solar photovoltaics could be improved through the increased availability of micro-credit schemes to purchases these systems. Current financial options available to this project include only banks, as it is too risky for NGOs and dealers to become involved, and other moneylenders have the negative image of charging high interest rates. The problem, however, is that an average farmer is denied such a loan because of his small credit worthiness. This greatly limits the purchase of solar photovoltaic systems. To solve this problem, I suggested ways in which TERI could establish its own micro-credit loan system that would involve the participation of local NGOs and Self-Help Groups.

    Being in India and realising the urgency of these issues was a real eye-opener. I would highly recommend other students to do an internship in India. I did not only feel the urgency of environmental issues there, but also a great force and motivation for change. India is changing extremely quickly and environmental issues are a very high priority. Being a minimal part of that movement greatly developed my sensibility and awareness of environmental issues, especially when these are critical for the well-being of such large numbers of people. I benefited greatly from this internship as it confirmed my interest for energy issues and it inspired me to carry further energy-related projects in the future and possible develop a career out of this.

    Karen Stamieszkin, Environmental Studies '06
    Maine's Shellfish Mariculture Industry: An Investigation of Impact and Expansion

    Maine's Shellfish Mariculture Industry: An Investigation of Impact and Expansion
    Karen Stamieszkin, Environmental Studies '06

    This past summer I examined the sustainability of oyster aquaculture in the Damariscotta River, Maine. I worked closely with faculty and staff at the University of Maine's Darling Marine Center, as well as the three co-owners of Pemaquid Oyster Company. Using field experimentation, I investigated the river's carrying capacity for oysters in terms of growth rates, grazing rates and primary production. This work involved both field-based experimentation and lab work; my skills developed drastically in both categories.

    I also explored the politics and issues that surround the industry, as well as the management schemes currently used to monitor and control oyster farms. A number of individuals from Maine's Department of Marine Resources exposed the challenges that they face with regard to the oyster industry. These issues range from aesthetic to ecological. DMR's management of the oyster industry (and aquaculture industry) in Maine represents a model example of how government can attempt to work with an industry and the general public to properly manage the industry's growth and impact.

    I have yet to finish collecting and analyzing my data. However, after experiencing oyster farming and the Damariscotta River this summer, I hypothesize that carrying capacity has not been reached and that ecological impacts on the river by oyster farmers are slight.

    As an environmentalist I aspire to contribute to a body of knowledge that will enhance peoples' lives, while at least maintaining, if not improving the environment where the activity takes place. This project allowed me to experience doing the type of work that could fulfill that career goal. My summer experience helped me out of the 'Yale bubble.' I realized how many interesting people are working on interesting things throughout the country and world. I began to understand how to access those projects and become a part of a scientific community. This summer directed my career focus toward marine sciences and made me question my desire to stay at Yale for the fifth year of the F&ES 5-year program. Now, rather than going directly into another year of school, I will try working in the field, and then returning to school to earn a higher degree of greater specificity.

    Other students interested in learning about and doing field experimentation ought to consider a project like this one. However, having a good deal of previous experience in field and lab sciences is important. While I enjoyed learning by doing, and failing, and doing again, I found that having more extensive experience before this summer would have proved most helpful.

    Leanna Sudhof, Environmental Studies '06
    A Comparative Evaluation of Strategies: researching Environmental management of malaria at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland

     A Comparative Evaluation of Strategies: researching Environmental management of malaria at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland
    Leanna Sudhof, Environmental Studies '06

    This summer I spent ten weeks working under the supervision of Drs Mohammadou Cham and Jacob Williams in the vector control team in the Roll Back Malaria Department at World Health Organization Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Dr. Cham, a Senior Adviser in the Malaria Strategy & Policy Team, had suggested two main projects before I arrived. The first was a multi-country study on the acceptability of long lasting insecticide treated mosquito nets (Olyset Nets), and the second was to write a review of larvicides available for malaria vector control. The multi-country report is still under review; the review of larvicides I was unable to complete in the time I was there. I plan to complete it once materials that are being shipped to Yale have arrived.

    In the weeks at WHO, I also interviewed professionals in other departments, both to get a better idea of the workings of WHO and to establish contacts for future reference in the writing of my senior essay. The interviews were with people in environmental management, the pesticide evaluation scheme, evidence and information for policy, monitoring and evaluation of country health indicators. The interaction with people from different departments showed me how little communication there is between departments in WHO. I also had the opportunity to aid in the last-minute drafting of a grant proposal to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: this gave me a good idea of the politics within the members of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership and status of malaria advocacy in general. Furthermore, I participated in a joint meeting with UNEP, of which the aim was to draft a global plan to phase out DDT. The extensive debates over tiny nuances in wording, which was already extremely broad and unspecific, amazed me.

    The most important part of the internship was the long report I wrote on Olyset nets. The ten country reports from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Thailand and Zambia varied widely in quality and content. The aim of the study was to assess the social acceptability of Olyset Nets for malaria prevention in different socio-cultural settings in Africa and Asia. Insecticide treated nets have been demonstrated numerous times to be effective. The three main obstacles impeding implementation are access to rural communities, re-treatment of the nets and compliance of the local populations. The combination of these factors has, thus far, prevented the attainment of the Abuja target of 60% for ITN coverage in most African countries. Only Eritrea has reached the Abuja target of 60% ITN usage (World Malaria Report 2005). By solving the problem of retreatment, the technology of Olyset nets has mitigated the obstacles of cost-effectiveness and access, which are critical in the deployment of traditional ITNs. Acceptability or compliance remains a cross-cutting factor, however. There exists an urgent need to evaluate the perceptions of the targeted populations that are recipients of these nets. The feedback from this study is supposed to help guide future strategic planning involving the deployment of Olyset nets in communities where malaria is endemic.

    After sifting through the information and extracting the acceptable or valuable data, I made the data as comparable as possible and summarized the cross-country results. In the write up, I learned a lot about WHO style, the politics of neutrality, the relations between WHO Headquarters and member countries, and the ramifications of facilitation and global policymaking. I now have the advantage of being an outsider with a more experienced eye and somewhat of an insider after this summer. I have come to better understand the path from research to policy in RBM, and then from RBM to implementation on the country level. In the process, I obtained many contacts that will help me explore the current status of malaria vector control in my senior essay. The immersion in the malaria problem also helped me direct the focus of my senior essay away from the technical side of vector control to the implementation side, where the real problems lie.

    Teresa Tapia, Environmental Engineering '06
    Renewable Energies within an Emissions Trading Scheme: Internship with EEFA in Muenster, Germany

    Renewable Energies within an Emissions Trading Scheme: Internship with EEFA in Muenster, Germany
    Teresa Tapia, Environmental Engineering '06

    This summer my research on the emissions trading and renewable energies began in the middle of June at the researching headquarters of EEFA, Energy and Environmental Forecasting and Analysis, Munster Germany. I spent about 10 weeks at EEFA and learned various methods of analyzing energy issues and energy policy. I worked on a 4 research projects while I was EEFA, dealing with diverse issues such as the development of specific renewable energies in Germany, and determining strategies for various countries under the emissions trading scheme. The following paragraphs will detail these projects and the knowledge that I came away with.

    AT EEFA I was under the guidance of Bernard Hillenbrand, Jean-Mark Behringer and Michaela Beoyel. As soon as I arrived, I began working on the analysis of the European emissions trading scheme in order to become more familiar with the process. I read a couple of allocation plans for the emissions trading scheme in which I played specific attention to the rules set for the energy industry and the development of renewable energy. Surprisingly the countries that I researched during this stage (Greece, Italy and Poland) had greatly diverging energy policies, and allocation methods. While the EU directive clearly outlined rules and guiding principles for allocation, combining the diverse economies into a common CO2 trading market is much more complicated than I ever foresaw in the research that I did within the United States.

    During this stage of research, I can highlight three particular aspects that especially caught my attention. The first is a government's consideration for development at the individual level and at the sectoral level. Another is the repeated set of complications within the energy sector which is the most responsible for CO2 emissions. This is due to the fact that in the late 90s, Europe also began working to deregulate the energy sector in order to make it more competitive and thus efficient. Thus, it appears that transitioning into a more competitive energy market and at the same time transitioning into a CO2 market is especially a difficult task. This is due to the fact that deregulation will force the dynamics of the energy system to change and thus assigning allocations on the basis of the current system could curtail the goal of reducing specific CO2 levels. Finally, the last interesting notes on my le the authorities that were assigned to oversee the trading and allocation of permits in each country. For some, the administrative role was played by a ministry of economic affairs while for others this role was fulfilled by a ministry of the environment which evidently resulted in different allocation methods.

    The next couple of weeks I dedicated to doing a case study of Denmark. Denmark is a rather special country in this emissions trading scheme because it has a fairly successful renewable energy supply from wind. During this part of my research, I looked at data of wind production, wind costs, annual wind supply distribution, reports for potential wind development and policy statements by both the Danish Government and the wind energy association. It is quite evident that the marginal costs for producing more renewable energy are quite high for the wind energy industry. Thus, its strategy for participating in the emissions trading scheme is completely different from the strategies used by countries such as Greece and Spain which have great potential for renewable energy development. Furthermore, Denmark's renewable energy development scheme was changed in 2003 from a Feed-In Tariff system to a Tradable Renewable Energy Certificate Scheme. This development raises several questions, and many are especially waiting to see how a TREC and a CO2 market will manifest themselves together. In addition to renewable energy development, Denmark highlights issues of energy export. The country is a huge participant of the Nordic Energy Trading Market and in fact has exported a significant amount of energy over the past years. Thus, when developing its allocation plan, Denmark had to make sure it did not negatively affect this part of its economy.

    The next half of my internship, I focused on Germany and its renewable energy as forecasted by EEFA in the next 20 years. Specifically, renewable energy costs under a feed in tariff system and a quota system based on tradable renewable energy certificates. We did this by acquiring production forecasted, current investment costs, RR costs, production costs of various capacity levels of energy installations of all renewable energy production in Germany. WE also did analysis of RE technologies not currently installed or developed in Germany such as Solar Thermal energy. This part of my research gave me more insight into the factors that affect price, development, and the differences between a quota system and a tariff system. From our research, it is quite evident that a quota system is much more economically efficient and economically sustainable than the current feed in tariff system. This is primarily can be attributed to the very success of the tariff system of quickly developing renewable energy. Denmark, Germany and Spain have been extremely successful at developing renewable energy with the feed-in tariff model which guarantees a certain price in the market for a good number of years and thus creates a lot of confidence in the technologies. However, as soon as the RE percentage reaches 8% or 10% and in the case of Denmark 20%, it becomes increasingly difficult for the government to subsidize these technologies. Furthermore, efficiency is not necessarily maximized due to excess profits when the actual price of production falls due to better RR costs. During this time, I took a trip to Berlin where, I accompanied Dr. Hillebrand to the German Ministry of Economics, for his presentation on the work done over the summer.

    The last two weeks, I spent focused on the various possibilities of renewable energies within the emissions trading scheme. For example I investigated which countries were planning to invest on renewable energy programs outside of their country in order to attain tradable credits. These included Spain and Denmark. I also researched renewable energy strategies for Greece, and Spain who will also focusing on developing renewable energy due to their low percentages and therefore higher rates of return. It is interesting to note, that having no significant amount of renewable energy, makes for the development of renewable slightly more cost effective. This is due to the fact that other countries in Europe have already learned to produce renewable energy in much more economic ways. Thus, with the technology available, the RR costs of producing renewable energy are lower.

    My experience was further enriched with various activities to strengthen my German speaking skills, as well as my ability to discuss environmental and energy issues in German. My summer was incredibly enriching because I gained a lot of knowledge about a very special development in Europe. Specifically, I learned how to predict and determine the economic viability of renewable energy technologies, the background basis for the emissions trading scheme, and the various renewable energy policies that will affect the development of renewable energies under an emissions trading scheme. While I was in the United States, this topic seemed simpler than I now realize. This is especially true when one puts environmental and energy concerns in the context of the current crisis of the European Union and the conditions under which the emissions trading scheme was initiated. While my main objective was to research and gain work experience analyzing energy issues, another important aspect of my journey was to immerse myself in the German language, culture and politics. I am happy to report that both of these objectives have been for the most part fulfilled.

    Vicente Undurraga-Perl, Biology (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Track) '06
    Multi Drug Resistant Tuberculosis in Southern Mexico: Internship at Instituto Nacional de Salud Publica in Cuernavaca, Mexico

    Scott Zhu, Undecided '07
    Field Study with the Wrangell Mountains Program in Alaska

    Field Study with the Wrangell Mountains Program in Alaska
    Scott Zhu, Undecided '07

    The Environmental Studies Internship made it possible for me to attend the UCSB/Wrangell Mountain Center's Wildlands Studies program this past summer based in McCarthy, Alaska. As a computer science major, the experience was incredibly rewarding by allowing me in-depth and hands on exposure to the world of Ecology, Geology, Environmental politics, and nature writing. In addition, the memories and experiences of living and hiking in Alaska will always remain with me and be remembered fondly as two months in which everything seemed to be in its place and the world finally made sense. What I learned this summer included both tangible and intangible skills and lessons. Tangible skills such as recognizing geological and ecological processes, identifying plants, birds, and animal tracks, backcountry skills, and intangibles such as the confidence built after 26 difficult days in the backcountry, or ideas formed and lessons learned as a result of extensive introspective journaling in the forms of essays, poetry, and art. The program challenged every aspect of my mind and body. Although I left Alaska 15 pounds lighter, I gained instead new knowledge about how nature works and insight into our place in it.

    During the weeks prior to the start of the program, I received the reading packet we were to use that summer. If it wasn't clear to me before, it was certainly clear then that I was about to either struggle academically the whole summer or learn a heck of a lot of new material. Thankfully, it was the latter. The program descriptions were fairly vague about the exact structure of the program, stating only that roughly half the time in Alaska will be spent in the backcountry and half in McCarthy. I arrived in Anchorage the night before our scheduled departure from the hostel to McCarthy, but didn't meet other participants till the next morning. There were 16 of us students total, and 4 instructors. We set off for McCarthy in the morning squeezing into a van that looked and felt as if it was going to fall apart at any moment (it eventually did). I could tell right off the bat that these people were unlike any of my current group of friends by the conversation that went on in the van. They talked enthusiastically about what we saw outside the windows, using terms I'd never heard of and explanation for things I'd never thought of. I asked a lot of questions, and I continued to all summer. I was relieved to hear that they were also unsure of what to expect from the program but we were all eager to find out.

    The rest of the report is separated into 3 sections:
    1) Living and learning in McCarthy
    2) Backcountry trips
    3) Final Project

    Living and Learning in McCarthy
    The program was based in the small town of McCarthy Alaska. It was basically a one street town that consisted of an inn, bar, gift shop, a local air company and an old hardware store. The hardware store is the home of the Wrangell Mountains center, which hosts people involved in all aspects relating to the environment. For the first couple weeks of the program and whenever we were not in the backcountry, this is where we spent most of our days. We divided up chores amongst ourselves that included: breakfast, lunch and dinner, gardening, etc.. During our time at the Hardware Store we attended classes on basic ecology, geology, floral identification etc.. We did various day hikes to nearby sites to apply the skills we learned in the classroom. Down time was spent reading, listening to those of us with musical talents and chatting. Dinner was always fun to make. Personally not being the greatest cook in the world, I learned a lot of great recipes that didn't involve a microwave or tons of grease. The best days were when we had enormous king salmons to eat! At the end of the day, we'd all walk to our "tent-city" on the outskirts of the town, crawl into our tents, tie a bandana around our eyes (or whatever other method people used to keep out the light) and go to sleep in our sleeping bags.

    I was amazed by the energy and passion of the students and staff for the work they did. Students were always eager to learn about a new plant or read a new piece of nature writing. This energy and sense of curiosity was intoxicating and I naturally made it a habit of engaging each person in conversation, picking their brains for knowledge (which they always shared with enthusiasm).

    The pace of life in the town was a refreshing change to city life. We did our chores, learned exciting new things almost without another care in the world. How could we have any other cares in the world? We woke up every morning to be surrounded by snowcapped mountains and a view of the Kennicott Glacier connecting to Mt. Blackburn. There was nothing we could possibly have asked for … besides maybe a hot shower and some meat.

    Backcountry Trips
    As a part of the program, we went on two backcountry trips. The first one was a 6 day trip which purpose was mainly to prepare for the longer 20 days trip. On days that we hiked, we hiked around 8 hours a day. We were each assigned to be a botanist, geologist, or zoologist for each hiking day. At the end of the day, we would gather after reading discussions and present to the group what we observed that day. The botanists for the day would describe the landscape, what flowers they identified, etc. The geologists would give a presentation on the geological makeup of our route, how it was formed, when, etc. And the zoologists would recall the characteristics of wildlife we came across that day. The information for these presentations we would accumulate throughout the day by asking instructors and each other questions and by referencing the books we brought along (one book in particular, an encyclopedia of all flora in Alaska we took turns carrying!). Another example of an activity we did was called "reading the landscape." When we got to a place the instructors thought was interesting, we'd stop and they would ask us what the place looked like 50 years ago, 500 years ago, 5 million years ago. We'd divide into groups and search for clues that will tell us the age of the current landscape and clues to what it use to look like. These activities were particularly intellectually stimulating for me, and I always looked forward to them. I was slowly able to develop my own theories as my knowledge of the science increased, which was very satisfying.

    A very important part of the program was our individual journals that we all kept. We were required to have extended entries (essays, poetry, art), Field research entries (detailed accounts and descriptions of a certain plant or animal), Species accounts (detailed descriptions of our interactions with a specific animal), as well as a daily trip log which was kept in Grinnell style of journaling. Looking at my journal entries now and reading my thoughtful entries brings back many memories.

    For both trips, we were split into eating groups and tent groups. The competition that developed between eating groups over who could eat all their food etc. resulted in many funny stories. We all carried group gear that included tents, mega-mids, cooking gear, food, bear fence, books, etc.. All this gear sometimes resulted in boys carrying over 80 pounds and girls carrying over 50% of their body weights!

    The places we went and things we saw were simply spectacular. We hiked and camped on everything from glaciers, to alpine meadows, to rock glaciers, to hunter's trails etc., just about every terrain you could imagine. The beauty of such places simply took our breaths away. There is no better way to learn about the subject and to learn to love the subject of environmental science than being in nature itself and seeing it in all its splendor. What we accomplished through the rain, cold, river crossings filled us all with a sense of pride and confidence that is invaluable to our personal growth.

    Final Project
    In addition to a final exam, which consisted of hands on tests outdoors, we were required to put together a final project. Topics for the projects ranged from Moraines, to fungi, to ground squirrels, to park policy. I personally chose to do my project on park policy. I dove into readings on park management in Alaska, and eventually decided to do a focused project collecting backcountry data and evaluating the system set up in the draft of the Denali Plan for collecting such data. It was exciting because the plan is still being revised and evaluated by the State of Alaska. I was reading responses by government officials, Non-profits and the National Park Service that were hot off the presses.

    I collected data during the second backcountry trip and upon return dove into evaluating the data and hand writing my report. We all worked long hours for the last week in McCarthy to finish our projects. In the end, I felt that I had put together a report that could be of use to the State of Alaska and the NPS, and added to the sense of accomplishment I gained this summer. 

    Concluding Remarks
    This summer was a truly amazing experience for me both academically and personally. The only way it would have been possible was through this fellowship. Please feel free to contact me for any further information, pictures, or excerpts from my journal, I'd be more than happy to share. Thank you to everyone who was involved in this fellowship process and I am glad future classes will be able to take advantage of this opportunity for amazing summer experiences.


     
  • 2004

    Aravinda Ananda, Environmental Studies '05
    Shrimp Aquaculture in Ecuador: NGO Success in Improving Local Environmental Sustainability

    Shrimp Aquaculture in Ecuador: NGO Success in Improving Local Environmental Sustainability
    Aravinda Ananda, Environmental Studies '05

    I worked for two months with the conservation organization, Jatun Sacha at Congal Station on the coast of Ecuador observing and participating in research for sustainable livelihood options for local residents. Conducting research in three main areas – forest management, aquaculture and agriculture, Jatun Sacha aims to integrate more sustainable livelihood options into local communities. The coastal region in which Jatun Sacha works has been heavily impacted in the past 15 years by the shrimp industry, destroying and degrading many mangrove areas which have provided livelihood options for the local poor. With the loss of clams and other mangrove species, the livelihood options for many in the local area have been curtailed. As aquaculture still provides one of the most productive forms of production per unit of land, Jatun Sacha has been working to develop more environmentally friendly shrimp aquaculture methods through low stocking densities and polycultures. However, most local poor do not have access to the resources necessary to own and operate shrimp ponds, and thus Jatun Sacha is exploring other viable, environmentally sound livelihood options. Jatun Sacha has also been experimenting with the rehabilitation of degraded lands through the replanting of abandoned shrimp ponds with palm trees and pineapples. Yet, as most local people do not have rights to operating or abandoned shrimp ponds, and traditional agricultural production carries various setbacks such as low market prices and lack of transportation in a timely manner for perishable crops, Jatun Sacha has been exploring specialty crops such as cashews, bamboo, and hardwoods which will fetch a high market price and do not spoil during transport. The main project being pursued currently at Congal is a 100 hectare forest management plan that would consolidate local landholdings to be planted with bamboo and hardwood species. While Jatun Sacha's involvement in the area remains a potential case study for either positive or negative community development, it is clear that there are multiple roles for community development. The government can play a role through the provision of funding or infrastructure. NGOs can provide expertise and direction. Finally, the community itself could benefit from social development and the instilment of values, a work ethic, and cooperation.

    Antasia Azure,  English (writing concentration) '05
    Study of the Culture of the Australian Aborigines and Their Relationship to the Great Barrier Reef in Cape Ferguson Region of Australia

    Study of the Culture of the Australian Aborigines and Their Relationship to the Great Barrier Reef in Cape Ferguson Region of Australia
    Antasia Azure,  English (writing concentration) '05

    My project was to research and write on the Australian Aborigines' relationship with the land and sea, particularly their relationship to the Great Barrier Reef region. I knew I would have to be resourceful to meet the right people, and to arrange to go to the right places. I had organized connections before I left, but I knew the project would develop once I was on Australian soil. Before leaving the U.S. I had set up a meeting with Kirsten Dobbs from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Authority who works closely with the Authority's Indigenous Liaison Unit balancing the protection of turtle and dugong with Aboriginal traditional hunting rights. Kirsten recommended that I meet with Rebecca Sheppard from the Queensland State Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (DPI) whose job it was to research and recommend protected fish habitat areas in the northern Great Barrier Reef. Because many of these proposed fish habitat areas are along remote coastlines, Ms. Sheppard spends a lot of time consulting with Aboriginal communities who might be impacted by the fish habitat zones. At the time that Ms. Dobbs recommended Ms. Sheppard she also mentioned a Marine Biologist Scott Whiting who was working in Australia's Northern Territory. Dr. Whiting was researching an endangered species of turtle that nested on the indigenously owned Tiwi Islands, eighty kilometres north of the mainland. Dr. Whiting invited me to join him on his fieldwork, but advised that I contact the Tiwi Island Land Council to ask permission to be involved with his project on their island's turtle nesting beaches. I learned that the land councils were the organizations that brought together the Aboriginal people and government representatives in order to develop policies and programs for land use. It had become clear to me that I needed to talk to members of an Indigenous land council about their work. I contacted Kate Hadden who called a meeting of the Tiwi Island Land Council to approve my application to join Dr. Whiting on his visit to their islands in order that I learn about the Aboriginal role in sustaining land and species. Before I knew it I found myself where the dry outback of Australia's Northern Territory meets tropical coast, a thousand miles from the Great Barrier Reef. From Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory, I flew to the remote Tiwi Islands. These little known islands are made up of Melville and Bathurst Islands, Melville being Australia's second largest island after Tasmania. As part of the approval, a permit was required to visit the islands, which reminded me (and other visitors) that I will be on land that is governed by Aboriginal traditional law. The requirement of a permit before entering their land illustrated that Aborigines have strong views on land use that I wanted to learn about. I joined Dr. Whiting to study the nesting patterns of the Olive Ridley turtle, an endangered species virtually unknown in Australia. These turtles return to tropical islands of Australia to nest on the same beaches where they were born twenty or thirty years before. An ABC documentary film crew of three had been granted permission to camp overnight with us. For the ABC it was an opportunity to shoot one of the first recordings of the nesting patterns of the Australian Olive Ridley turtles on film. The research team congregated at the local beach, we loaded up the sea ranger boat with overnight gear and headed off twenty-five km north to Van Dieman Beach, possibly the most remote coast of Australia's territories. After setting up camp behind the dunes out of view of saltwater crocodiles we walked the beach while Dr. Whiting explained the research: At this stage Dr. Whiting has passed much of the responsibility to track and record nesting data on to Jack Long, an Aboriginal Sea Ranger. Mr. Long will patrol this beach every two weeks and record the turtle's nesting patterns from the tracks and hatched nests he finds. Tiwi Sea Rangers like Mr. Long are co funded by the Tiwi Land Council and the Northern Territory Fisheries Department to patrol the coastline for the protection of species, and to report illegal professional and recreational fishing. Recently, Mr. Long helped Dr. Whiting put tracking devices on Olive Ridley turtles that came to the beach to nest. It was very instructive to see that Mr. Long's Aboriginal expertise in outback waters compliments the latest technology of satellite tracking from space. With the innovation of satellite tracking we are learning about the migratory patterns of this endangered species. Sea Rangers also assist in quarantine and the eradication of feral non-native animals and weeds that threaten native flora and fauna. Mr. Long pointed out tracks in the sand explaining what animals made the tracks, what the animals were doing and why. Mr. Long identified to a turtle track and Dr. Whiting took over. I observed that over the afternoon a natural structure developed out of whom did what best and recognition of the different contributing skills we each brought to this research. I noted that the relationship between the Aborigines and the marine biologist depended on trust and mutual respect for success. Later from 2:30 am to 7:30 am, we all grouped together to patrol the long beach. With Mr. Long as the leader I soon learned the value of Indigenous eyes because crocodiles were a real threat in the dark. One fresh track had deep claw imprints that told Mr. Long that a crocodile sneaked up behind a turtle on tiptoes and wrestled the 45 kg turtle back to the water. In working side by side with Ms. Hadden, Dr. Whiting, Mr. Long, and the ABC on this endangered species project and talking with the director of the Tiwi Land Council, I experienced first hand a management scheme that takes care of people and nature. In the field we were learning how to accommodate different worldviews: in this case from the Indigenous, scientific, governmental, and media perspectives. As representatives of different perspectives we found a way to personally connect, establish trust, open our minds and develop a sense of humour toward the ambiguity of intercultural communication. With nature as our host, our shared perspective was to "learn by doing." As an aside, in 2004, Tiwi Ranger Mr. Long and the Tiwi Indigenous Sea Ranger Program won the Northern Territory Coastcare Award for their contribution to improved sustainability of the coast, community stewardship, best practice and partnerships, and for targeting the causes rather than the symptoms of environmental problems. From Darwin I returned to Cairns on the Great Barrier Reef to take what I had learned to that setting. I caught up with Rebecca Sheppard. We discussed her work of the last nine years, consulting with Aboriginal groups in remote Cape York in the northern Great Barrier Reef. She told me about her learn-by-doing successes and failures in her communications with Aboriginal communities: As a representative of the Australian government Ms. Sheppard needed to work hard to win these communities' trust. She developed a relationship with these communities as opposed to many who had flown in, handed down the latest initiatives from top government only to leave, never to be seen again by the Aboriginal community whose lives were so impacted by the project directives given them. Ms. Sheppard's personal, "on-the-ground" style of communication won the respect and trust of the indigenous groups whom she consulted. She included community members in her research and respected their local knowledge to the degree that she turned down a fish habitat proposal because of the negative impact it would have on local community. They worked to develop other means of maintaining fish stocks. I was interested in visiting the communities that Ms. Sheppard worked with in order to experience first hand the kind of communication that made her successful. Ms. Sheppard introduced me to Clyde Andrews, DPI's Indigenous Liaison Officer based at Cairns. Mr. Andrews, a fisheries inspector of twenty-three years, was undertaking a program to train Indigenous Sea Rangers in the Cape York area. Inspired by the Northern Territory Indigenous Sea Ranger Program, Ms. Sheppard and Mr. Andrews together with other state representatives spanning the east to west coast of northern Australia formed the "Top End" Fisheries Working Group to share ideas on Indigenous Sea Ranger Programs. In the Northern Territory, eighty five percent of coastline is Indigenously owned, yet no long-term support exists to develop Indigenous Sea Ranger Programs to manage this strategic outback border with Indonesia and Southeast Asia. After speaking to Mr. Andrews, he invited me to join him at a small Indigenous community at the northern tip of Cape York where he would be teaching a young Aboriginal, Eric Colis, to be a Sea Ranger fully trained and recognised by the State Fisheries Department. I was very interested in seeing this training in order to observe for myself the role that the Sea Rangers were expected to play in the management of their land and sea. This was a unique opportunity that I was fortunate to arrange. Because it took days for Mr. Andrews to tow the patrol boat over the rough terrain of Cape York Peninsular, I decided to go south to Townsville for a week before flying back north to meet Mr. Andrews because there was a university course I wanted to audit for my project. A few weeks earlier, I had met Dr. Smyth who had invited me to audit his week-long intensive course at James Cook University. Dr. Smyth is a consultant to Aboriginal organizations, government, conservation agencies, and research institutions on projects relating to the recognition of Indigenous Rights and interests in environment and resource management. The "Caring for Country" course covered the history of the Australian Aborigines through to present legal land claims and on to future directions in ownership rights and recognition for Indigenous Australians. Dr. Smyth designed the course to give environmental management students a context when negotiating co-management of resources with Aboriginal communities. Over the week, I listened to guest speakers, interviewed them over lunch, and conceptualised management plans with fellow students. Because I was staying with Ms. Sheppard during this course, at night she, her boyfriend, and I discussed their years of experience working in the field of Indigenous resource management. This was a wonderful arrangement: during the day I could learn about ideas, at night I could discuss those ideas with those that use them in their work with Aborigines and sustainable environmental management policies. On the last day of the course some efforts I started earlier bore fruit. I knew that I both needed and wanted to interview a leader of the Aboriginal community so that I could record her people's views about sustainable management of the environment and the relationships of Aborigines with state agencies. I hoped I could find someone who could talk candidly and I was fortunate enough to find someone who did. I arranged to interview Melissa George who co-taught the Caring for Country course with Dr. Smyth and who is actively engaged in securing the recognition of Indigenous rights and interests in environmental and natural resource management locally, nationally, and internationally. Proclaimed by Aboriginal law Ms. George's clan is the Traditional Owner of Magnetic Island in the Great Barrier Reef and the Townsville region on the mainland. Her clan is Nwalgibain, her tribe is Wulgurukaba, and her language group is Wulguru. I interviewed Ms. George for over an hour, and she gave me permission to tape the interview. I transcribed the interview and I am now attempting to write a Q&A article. In the interview Ms. George confirmed for me that Aboriginal identity is the connection of people with place. All that I had learned proved invaluable preparation for my time with the community of New Mapoon on Cape York Peninsular. From Townsville I flew to Thursday Island in the Torres Strait to meet a Fisheries representative of the region. We walked, talked, and drove around the island discussing the unique relationship that the Torres Strait Islanders have with their Sea Country. Early the next morning I took the ferry to Cape York to meet with Clyde Andrews at the community of New Mapoon. Mr. Colis, who was the Aboriginal Sea Ranger Trainee, took us in the boat to visit his people's totem. In the patrol boat Eric pointed out dangerous currents to avoid. I realized that in remote areas it is local knowledge that guides the most experienced stranger safely. Running against the current we tried to stay steady alongside a cliff as Mr. Colis pointed excitedly to a gigantic sea turtle formation on the side of the cliff: the totem of the New Mapoon people. No human hands had carved or painted this rock. The natural formation was an uncanny representation of the turtle, which is so central to the identity and mythology of Mr. Colis's Aboriginal community. I was struck by the correspondence between the natural environment and Aboriginal Dreamtime mythology and again saw how much the Aboriginal people look for and find connections between their identity and the land.

    On my return flight to Cairns I approached the CEO of the New Mapoon Council who I had met only briefly on my arrival to the community. I took this opportunity to strike up a conversation. Three hours later, he asked if I would come back and work with the community accompanied by promises of fresh crayfish and bush "tucker" (food). I hope to do so. The opportunity that Yale gave me to undertake my project has been a life altering experience. I learned more than I expected. I learned that I want to continue my work with Indigenous peoples and so much so that I have changed my major from English to Anthropology. I also learned that unsuspecting teachers can be found in the most unsuspecting places.

    Cara Berkowitz, Environmental Studies '05
    Hands-On Environmental Education: Bridging Deficits in Holistic Educational Methods and Awareness of Environmental Issues

    Bhart-Anjan Bhullar, Biology (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Track) '05
    Paleontology and comparative Anatomy of Squamates: Field Work, CT Data Processing and Descriptions of Gerrhosaurid Skulls

    Paleontology and comparative Anatomy of Squamates: Field Work, CT Data Processing and Descriptions of Gerrhosaurid Skulls
    Bhart-Anjan Bhullar, Biology (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Track) '05

    Tracheloptychus petersi lies within the clade Gerrhosauridae, containing a variety of SubSaharan African and Malagasy lizards with platelike dorsal scales and certain distinctive cranial features. Gerrhosauridae itself ultimately belongs to the Scincomorpha and then to the Scleroglossa. Though its extant sister clade, Cordylidae, has been fairly well-studied morphologically, Gerrhosauridae has been the subject of few anatomical analyses, with the notable exception of an excellent description of the gross anatomy of the heads of various members of the clade Gerrhosaurus [2, 1]. Certainly the Malagasy plated lizards, the zonosaurines, have not received a great deal of attention, largely due to their scarcity. The Peabody, however, possesses a number of frozen, preserved, and live zonosaurines; most of these are T. petersi, though Zonosaurus ornatus is also represented. Using these specimens, CAT scans of the skulls of the Yale zonosaurines, and some additional specimens which I have loaned from the University of Michigan, I will undertake a description of the skull of T. petersi in comparison to that of Z. ornatus and Z. madagascariensis. The choice of taxa relates to a recent molecular phylogenetic study which nests Tracheloptychus within Zonosaurus, with Z. madagascariensis sharing a closer common ancestor to Tracheloptychus than Zonosaurus ornatus [3]. If the study's reconstruction is accurate, I should be able to identify synapomorphies of T. petersi + Z. madagascariensis to the exclusion of Z. ornatus. Preparation for the analysis has involved preparation of skeletons from frozen specimens of T. petersi and the disarticulation of Z. ornatus skeletons. I hope also to perform clearing and staining on some specimens in order to visualize cartilaginous structures. This project may last beyond my tenure as an undergraduate at Yale.

    1. Lang, Mathias.  (1991).  Generic relationships within Cordyliformes (Reptilia : Squamata).  Bulletin de l'Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique.  61.  122-188.

    2. Malan, M.E.  (1941).  Cranial anatomy of the genus Gerrhosaurus.  South African Journal of Science.  XXXVII.  192-217.

    3. Odierna, Gaetano, Canapa, Adriana, Andreone, Franco, Aprea, Gaetano, Barucca, Marco, Capriglione, Teresa, Olmo, Ettore.  (2001).  A phylogenetic analysis of Cordyliformes (Reptilia:  Squamata):  comparison of molecular and karyological data.  Molecular phylogenetics and evolution.  23 : 1.  37-42.

    Deepali Dhar, Undeclared '07 
    Climate Change Internship with Environmental Defense in New York City, NY

    Climate Change Internship with Environmental Defense in New York City, NY
    Deepali Dhar, Undeclared '07 

    This summer, I worked at the New York City Office of Environmental Defense under the guidance of James Wang, Ph. D. in climate and atmospheric science.  In addition to gaining a broader scientific understanding of the global warming process, I worked on various projects, including rebuttals of climate skeptic articles and a global warming fact sheet to be distributed to the public.  The global warming fact sheet involved researching the impacts of global warming such as glacier melting, snow pack melting, coral bleaching, wildlife endangerment, and more.  I also contributed to an affidavit outlining the potential effects of global warming emissions on long island residents in the near future.  Additionally, I compiled a few facts on green house gas emissions due to the transportation sector and how individual choices can reduce these harmful emissions.  Through my time at Environmental Defense, I interacted with many economists, lawyers, and scientists who were utilizing their expertise to protect the environment in creative and effective ways. Observing their passion and their application of individual skills to convince and educate the public, the government, and private organizations to adopt more environmental-friendly practices was inspiring and insightful.  All in all, this internship was a pleasurable experience.

    Genevieve Essig, Psychology '05
    Summer Internship with Environmental Law Institute

    Summer Internship with Environmental Law Institute
    Genevieve Essig, Psychology '05

    At my internship this summer with the Environmental Law Institute in Washington, D.C., I worked on a variety of the institute's main projects, including the Africa Program, the Clean Air Act (CAA) New Source Review (NSR) Project, and the Environmental Compliance Consortium (ECC), with duties ranging from researching the structure of east African judiciary systems (Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya) to interviewing air quality officials all over the United States to collect information about state regulations concerning new stationary sources of air pollution to assembling information about state facility-based environmental permit tracking systems. Over the course of the summer, I had the opportunity to work with all different types of staff employed by the institute, from research associates to senior attorneys to the vice-president. I was given my own private work area with a desk and computer and was allowed much independence and responsibility. As an intern, I was also give the opportunity to attend from time to time a variety of seminars and workshops offered by the institute to their associates. These workshops are intended to present the latest developments in the every-changing field of environmental law. Overall, it was an extremely valuable experience in that I learned not only what it is like to practice law in the non-profit sector but also a great deal about the environmental law field in general and its typical participants and stakeholders. The staff were extremely accomplished and competent and were very willing to share their experiences and insights with the interns. Many had worked in the private sector and in public service with the government as well as in the non-profit sector, which gave them a unique perspective on the field. I would recommend considering an internship at the institute to anyone interested in environmental law, law in the non-profit sector in general, or an internship which is truly stimulating and educational.

    Alexandra Freeman, History Of Science / History Of Medicine '05
    The Recent History of Bioprospecting; An Ecological and Medical Investigation in the Republic of Panama

    The Recent History of Bioprospecting; An Ecological and Medical Investigation in the Republic of Panama
    Alexandra Freeman, History Of Science / History Of Medicine '05

    The loss of biological diversity is the most profound environmental challenge the world faces today. Biodiversity loss holds serious ramifications for human health and medicine: habitat loss leads to the loss of raw materials which may contain therapeutic agents to fight against human disease. It is these interdependent issues of biodiversity conservation and human health that led me to the Republic of Panama. The scientific research of investigating the natural word for useful products is called bioprospecting. Currently, the International Cooperative Biodiversity Group (ICBG) in Panama is at the forefront of this exciting research. The ICBG scientists collect field samples and use biological assays to test microorganism and plant extracts for activity against tropical diseases including leishmaniasis, dengue, and malaria. During the months of June and July, I volunteered at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) where I worked closely with the International Cooperative Biodiversity Group. At STRI I assisted with field collections, observed laboratory techniques, investigated conservation efforts, and gathered data to flush out my case study of the current Panama drug discovery program. In a bilingual work place, my fluency in Spanish allowed me to connect with many scientists and conduct interviews with a variety of peoples. Because the International Cooperative Biodiversity Group was founded in 1991, the ICBG research in Panama is comprised of a very recent history. Consequently, one of the challenges of my research involved the fine line between journalism and historical scientific investigation. One of the most interesting aspects of my research was the insight I gained into the challenges scientists face with conducting research in developing countries. Overall, I had a wonderful experience in Panama and highly recommend the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute to students interested in scientific investigation and tropical biology. I am most grateful for being given the opportunity to actively participate in the drug discovery process: to collect the tropical plants with my own hands, to assist with laboratory procedures, and to hear the voices of the scientists who drive this ecologically important process. I am majoring in the History of Science/History of Medicine and hope that this project will be the springboard to my year long senior essay this fall.

    Shani Harmon, Environmental Studies / Anthropology '06
    Potato Park Agrobiodiversity: Impact of Globalization on Indigenous People in Peru

    Potato Park Agrobiodiversity: Impact of Globalization on Indigenous People in Peru
    Shani Harmon, Environmental Studies / Anthropology '06

    This past summer, I traveled to Peru to work with the Quechua-Aymara Association for Sustainable Livelihoods (ANDES Association). My time was spent between the office in Cuzco and the Potato Park biodiversity reserve located on the outskirts Pisac. Potato Park is composed of six indigenous communities - Paru Paru, Sacaca, Pampallacta, Chahuaytire, Cuyo Grande, and Amaru – that are engaged in traditional agricultural practices and cultivate native varieties of potato. When I arrived in Peru, I hoped to gain insight into how local indigenous practices maintain a high diversity of cultivars. I was also very interested in how collective management of indigenous land could preserve the Quechua culture thereby preserving agrobiodiversity of Andean crops. Working with my interests, the ANDES Association assigned me to a team of technicians trained in the fields of biology, agronomy, ethnopharmocology and environmental engineering. We first conducted an ecological survey of the community of Sacaca. Then we used the Registro Local, a knowledge matrix designed to collect indigenous knowledge, to find out what traditional and local knowledge the Quechua of Pisac held in regards to potatoes. Finally, using indigenous knowledge management software, the information from the Registro Local was converted to a digital format where the indigenous people could preserve their knowledge as well as document their knowledge as a measure against biopiracy. Working with the ANDES Association was a great experience first because of the hands on nature of the internship. I got to work with a few hundred varieties of potatoes as well as other crops endemic to the Andean area such as maize, quinoa, tarwi, ollucu, oca and mashua. The internship was also great because of the exposure it afforded to in situ biodiversity conservation management issues in general. The ANDES Association's goal is to conserve landraces and wild relatives of domesticated plants and animal species as well as the associated traditional knowledge and local cultural heritage. To this end, the ANDES Association also dealt with local concerns of food security, conservation, economy, education, gender equality, intellectual property rights and indigenous people's self-determination. The efforts of ANDES Association extended not only to the study and preservation of local ecosystems, but exploring possibilities of agroecotourism, marketing native crops, and capacity building in sustainable agriculture and ecosystem management. Finally, having a background in anthropology, I really appreciated the cultural sensitivity and respect the workers of the ANDES Association demonstrated in working with the indigenous people of Potato Park. I would definitely recommend this internship to any student in the future. I learned a great deal about sustainable agriculture, agrobiodiversity, and biodiversity conservation in indigenous communities. The most rewarding part of the internship, though, was being able to apply what I learned to real situations in the field. Walking away from this experience, I think I've got a glimpse of what it is like to conduct biodiversity research and what is required to run a non-profit committed to biodiversity conservation.

    Laura Hess, Environmental Studies '06
    Internship with CHIRAG (Central Himalayan Resource Action Group)

    Internship with CHIRAG (Central Himalayan Resource Action Group)
    Laura Hess, Environmental Studies '06

    For three months, I interned with a grassroots development NGO called Chirag in the Kumaon hill region of Uttaranchal, Northern India. Chirag's stated mission is to improve the quality of life of people living in the area's rural villages, especially women and the poor, the most oppressed groups. The organization seeks to fulfill this mission primarily through community-based natural resource management (CBNRM), to reverse environmental degradation due to increasing population pressure, with programs like social forestry, soil and water conservation measures, construction of water tanks and pipelines, etc. Chirag complements its CBNRM programs with other social empowerment programs like education, health, women's self-help groups, income-generating activities, etc. As the forests in Kumaon are in many ways the life-blood of the hills, one of Chirag's main focuses is on social forestry: mobilizing village communities to replant and protect their village forests. I spent my time with Chirag working on two main projects. The first project was collecting and synthesizing data on the nature and burden of village women's work. As women perform most of the activities that are connected to the environment (fodder, fuelwood, and water collection mainly), they are in many ways the "caretakers" of the environment. My research was useful to Chirag insofar as it allowed the organization to better target its programs to relieve the burden of women's work, as well as quantify the amount of time/effort saved to women as a result of its programs. I conducted my own research in one village, Gola, as a case study. In the process, I spent innumerable days working and spending time with women and their families. I did the official data collection through focused discussions modeled after Participatory Rural Appraisals (PRAs). All of my interactions were in Hindi, with a sprinkling of the local language, Kumaoni. The second project I worked on was designing and beginning implementation of an evaluation of Chirag's social forestry program, from a purely physical science perspective. Because of the short time of my internship, I focused my efforts on taking measurements in half a dozen village forest plantations that could then be used to calculate the survival rate of seedlings in the future. I also spent a good deal of time shadowing Chirag field workers, accompanying them on their daily rounds to villages. I was also in continuous discussion with the agriculturalist in Chirag about new agricultural techniques for farmers in the area. This internship was incredibly challenging, and just as incredibly rewarding, both intellectually and personally. The sheer magnitude of what I learned while with Chirag still astounds me—about different strategies in development work, Indian government and culture, village life, Kumoan ecology and geography. I experienced first-hand what I had only before read about: that effective environmental problem-solving requires and relies on the understanding and participation of those affected; that local problems require local solutions; that outsiders have a role in sparking social change, but ultimately that change has to be motivated from within in order for it to be sustainable.

    Caroline Howe, Environmental Studies or Environ. Engineering '07
    Study of Sustainable Agriculture on an Organic Farm and Field Research at Yale Myers Forest

    Study of Sustainable Agriculture on an Organic Farm and Field Research at Yale Myers Forest
    Caroline Howe, Environmental Engineering '07

    The Environmental Studies Fellowship allowed me to participate in many varied research projects, both at Yale and at Yale's Myers Forest in northeastern Connecticut. Most of my summer was spent working on Professor Oswald Schmitz's project to study the effect of climate change on insect populations. I was able to see this experiment through all stages: the creation of our enclosures and their placement in the field, the infusion of carbon-13 and nitrogen-15 into these sealed enclosures, the analysis of sample with a mass spectrometer to determine the levels of heavy elements taken up by the plants and then insects, and the final results of the experiment. Though Prof. Schmitz plans to create a five-year experiment following the same model, it was ideal to be a part of a summer-long project in order to see the entire process.

    Laura Jeanty, Physics '06
    Internship on Electrical Industry with TERI (The Energy and Research Institute) in New Delhi, India

    Internship on Electrical Industry with TERI (The Energy and Research Institute) in New Delhi, India
    Laura Jeanty, Physics '06

    India's electricity sector is in the midst of a complex and much-needed transformation. The state electricity boards are heavily in debt and unable to meet current power needs, and in the rural areas, more than half the households do not have electrical access. In 2003, the government of India set a goal of 100% rural electrification by 2020 and passed a new electricity act encouraging states to privatize their electricity sectors. As an intern with The Energy and Resource Institute (TERI) in New Delhi, I spent this summer working on a project that explored various paths for restructuring the industry by studying international and domestic experience in power sector reforms. My work focused on the issue of rural electrification and highlighted the environmental and social impact of different reform options, from rural cooperatives to a new structure for subsidized agricultural tariffs, from distributed generation by way of renewable energy sources – small hydropower plants, individual photovoltaic cells, hybrid and cogeneration plants, and wind power – to the importance of an independent and accountable regulator. I prepared a case study on rural electrification successes in Guatemala, Chile, China, and Sri Lanka, and developed detailed reports of the entire reform process in Chile, China, and Indonesia, drawing lessons for the Indian context and evaluating each model in terms of its social and environmental sustainability.

    Lucas Knowles, EVST '05
    Case History of the King Salmon Military Dump Site in Alaska

    Case History of the King Salmon Military Dump Site in Alaska
    Lucas Knowles, Environmental Studies '05

    For my environmental internship project, I chose to analyze the policy process surrounding the King Salmon Air Station, a former Air Force base turned airport. The town of King Salmon is located in Southwest Alaska 15 miles inland from Bristol Bay along the Naknek River. It is home to one of the world's most productive fisheries, thousands of summer tourists, Katmai National Park, and a local population of about 1000 people, most of which are Alaska Native. King Salmon is also home to a 727-acre complex that was a formerly active Air Force complex and is now a commercial airport. Unfortunately, the King Salmon Air Station has a lot of history. Originally built in the 1940's to help as a defense installation against Japan in World War II, the base was then transformed into reserve status and was acquired by the state of Alaska as an airport in 1959. In the 1980's, community outrage initiated a clean-up operation of the air station, which was eventually found to have contaminated much of the land it occupied with petroleum, trichloroethylene (TCE), and buried 55-gallon drums. Today, the air station clean-up is near completion and serves as a shining example of how a successful clean-up operation can be done through community involvement, adequate funding, and governmental commitment. However, after visiting the town of King Salmon and talking with locals, I found a problem. Basically, the Alaska Native population, mostly located in the town of Naknek 15 miles downriver from King Salmon, expressed anger, resentment, and suspicion over the entire clean-up process. This is due to fears that cancer and illness rates are growing at disproportionate rates. Unfortunately, it would be difficult to prove any sort of causality between the air station and sickness due to the migratory patterns of the fish and game that comprises most of Alaska Natives' diets. However, in my opinion, the greatest threat to the local population is the access that the airport provides. Like so many other places in Alaska, the King Salmon area has fallen victim to development and utilization of natural resources - at the expense of the local population.

    Beth Kochin, Biology (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Track) '07
    Impact of Anadromous and Landlocked Alewife on Inland Water Quality and Food Web Structure

    Impact of Anadromous and Landlocked Alewife on Inland Water Quality and Food Web Structure
    Beth Kochin, Biology (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Track) '07

    Maya Kotas, Biomedical Engineering '05
    Study of Malaria Intervention Techniques at Ifakara Health Research and Development Centre, Ifakara, Tanzania

    Study of Malaria Intervention Techniques at Ifakara Health Research and Development Centre, Ifakara, Tanzania
    Maya Kotas, Biomedical Engineering '05

    Malaria is a disease that has plagued mankind for centuries, and continues to ravage much of southern Africa. Even more than many other infectious diseases, it demands an intricate understanding of the mechanisms of transmission and pathology, and multi-disciplinary approaches to control. With the help of the Yale Environmental Studies Summer Internship, I spent the summer of 2004 in and around Ifakara, Tanzania, studying malaria transmission and vector control via the Ifakara Health Research and Development Centre (IHRDC). In addition to studying within the confines of IHRDC, I had the opportunity to participate in entomological field work in rural communities in the Kilombero River Valley. In particular, I spent approximately a month work fairly independently in a town called Lupiro, where I conducted hands-on experimental field work that involved 24 nights of human landing catches, and supervision of community research volunteers. While in Lupiro, I also developed a deeply engrained awareness of the hardships of life in the valley and a connection with the people who live and work there. My work was quite distinct from anything I have participated in at Yale. Here, I am a biomedical engineering major, and someone who had long believed in the power of biomedical innovation for solving medical problems. My work in Tanzania has taught me to appreciate the intricacies of infectious disease, and made clear to me that fighting such disease demands development of new therapeutics, increased availability of testing and treatment, understanding of the ecology of both parasites and vectors, and community sensitization. This experience has been invaluable to my development as a student, a scientist, a future physician, and human being. It is my feeling that experiences such as mine can not help but have profound effects on the way students view the rest of the world and choose to contribute to it.

    Erica Larsen, Biology (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Track) '06
    Rotifers in Space: Testing a Spatially Explicit Model of Metacommunity Coexistence

    Rotifers in Space: Testing a Spatially Explicit Model of Metacommunity Coexistence
    Erica Larsen, Biology (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Track) '06

    My environmental internship project investigated the spatial effects of colonization on species richness in metacommunities, using a model system of aquatic zooplankton and macroinvertebrate metacommunities. Metacommunities are sets of communities linked by dispersal across a mosaic of patches. My co-collaborators were Linda Puth, Ph.D., YIBS Postdoctoral Fellow, and Mark Urban, Ph.D. candidate, Yale FES. I completed the field work this summer at Yale-Myers Forest in Eastford, CT, where I created model aquatic metacommunities in a natural forest environment. The model communities were groups of six buckets in arrays with center source communities of locally-occurring zooplankton and surrounding buckets at fixed distances which were patches available for colonization. The distance from the center to the outlying buckets varied between arrays. I sampled the zooplankton and macroinvertebrates in all of the arrays throughout the summer in order to investigate species richness and colonization. I predicted that species richness would be greatest in arrays separated by intermediate distances. The final lab work component will be completed during the academic year in the Post lab at Yale. In addition to working with this project, I also spent time assisting several other researchers with their own projects, which allowed me to think about other possible areas of research. I also became better acquainted with the people, research, and facilities at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. This internship was a great opportunity to participate in research as an undergraduate and to experience the possibilities for ecological research that exist at Yale.

    Danielle Larson, Environmental Studies '05
    Field Study in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve

    Field Study in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve
    Danielle Larson, Environmental Studies '05

    During the summer of 2004, I spent from June 15th until August 12th in Alaska. I was a participant in a course run through Wildlands Studies by the Wrangell Mountains Center and the University of California, Santa Barbara. Through natural history observation and field investigation, we focused on understanding the interrelated geological and ecological processes, as well as the social forces, which shape Wrangell – St.Elias National Park and Preserve. Each student also completed an individual research project. We were located in the tiny town of McCarthy, an isolated cluster of private property in the midst of Wrangell-St.Elias National Park and Preserve, which, at over 13 million acres, is the largest national park in the United States. The town is extremely remote, and has only a handful of residents, with the population soaring to about two hundred people during the summer. The majority of the seven week course was spent on backpacking trips through the various glacial, alpine meadow, and spruce forest ecosystems there. At first, we all focused on the same material, learning the basic glaciology, geology, botany, and ecology of the area, as well as the important policy issues, through field study, lectures, discussion, and readings. Soon, however, each student designs his or her own final project, for which there is a huge amount of flexibility. I worked with Dave Mitchell, who is currently developing the campsite monitoring technique for the Park, to come up with a practical and effective technique that would lead to a baseline data which may ultimately help develop a backcountry management plan for the Park. I also studied the larger monitoring, management, and regulation questions that the Park is struggling with, focusing in particular on the problems with measuring and regulating to protect the intangible qualities of silence and solitude. I would recommend this program to students with a diverse array of interests relating to environmental sciences and environmental studies. There is a huge amount of flexibility in the individual projects. (Students this year also designed studies and researched topics relating to geology, botany, ecology, glaciology...) It would really be appropriate for students of any year, although most of the students who I took the course with had just graduated from college and were using this course as a substitution for their senior research/senior project.

    Flora Lichtman, Environmental Studies '05
    Regulating Underwater Sound: A Case Study (Research at SACLANT Undersea Research Center on the Northwest Coast of Italy)

    Regulating Underwater Sound: A Case Study (Research at SACLANT Undersea Research Center on the Northwest Coast of Italy)
    Flora Lichtman, Environmental Studies '05

    This report documents the work completed during my stay at NATO Undersea Research Center in La Spezia, Italy. Because I was affiliated with the Marine Policy Center at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Yale University and NATO, I had the opportunity to work on several different types of projects. I was officially working under the Sound, Ocean and Living Marine Resources (SOLMAR) Project; my work was overseen by Dr. Michael Carron, the head of the project, Nicola Portunato, the lead investigator for SOLMAR, and Dr. Elena McCarthy, a researcher working remotely for WHOI. My work was focused on marine mammals and anthropogenic sound in the ocean. After whale standings were linked to a NATO low-frequency sonar test, NATO created SOLMAR to study the distribution of whales in the area and develop risk mitigation procedures for sonar use. To accomplish this task, SOLMAR organizes at least one oceanographic cruise a year, coordinates with institutions across the world, and is building a database of oceanographic and marine mammal data for the Mediterranean. The Marine Policy Center at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is interested in the issue from a legal perspective: should ocean noise be regulated, and if so, how? Because these organizations have diverse interests, I received a broad education during my time at SACLANT: I learned a great deal about the technical aspects of oceanographic research and data processing. At the same time, I studied international and federal environmental law and became intimate with LexisNexis, the Federal Register and Thomas. My work for the NATO Undersea Research Center includes:1. Research Cruise. I participated in a three-week oceanographic research cruise on the R/V Leonardo, a NATO research vessel. The cruise took place off the northern coast of Sicily, with most of the data collected in the waters around the Aeolian Islands. Nicola Portunato from SOLMAR coordinated the cruise, which included two other ships in addition to the Leonardo: the R/V Universitatis (from the University of Genoa) and the R/V Galatea (from the Italian Hydrographic Office). I spent twenty-one days on the Leonardo, which also lodged scientists and students from the University of Genova, acousticians from NATO Undersea Research Center, and marine mammal specialists from the Genova Aquarium. 2. Satellite Image Processing. I was in charge of compiling the satellite images collected at SACLANT of sea surface temperature, chlorophyll a content and water clarity and geo-referencing the data to make it accessible in ArcView, Surfer and other mapping programs. When I came to SACLANT, I had never used MatLab. I had a very cursory knowledge of ArcView and had never heard of a "grid". 3. Database Building. I helped populate the SOLMAR database—which included compiling scattered cruise data dating back to 1998. The final product included an analysis of what was missing. 4. GEBCO. Observed and helped manage a General Bathymetric Chart of the Ocean (GEBCO) Conference. This international organization is over 100 years old and "aims to provide the most authoritative, publicly-available bathymetry data sets for the world's oceans." The GEBCO 1 minute global bathymetric grid was released last year. For WHOI, my work was more policy focused. It includes: 1. Created Website. In conjunction with Dr. McCarthy, I created a website that will be launched on the Marine Policy Center site in late August 2004. Entitled "Mapping Anthropogenic Noise in the Sea: An Aid to Policy Development", the website includes background on the ocean noise issue, a summary of the sources of sound in the sea, a brief look at the policy instruments capable of addressing the issue, an annotated list of other sources of information on ocean acoustics, marine mammals and policy, and an interactive GIS map (generated with ArcIMS) compiling data from several different scientists. The GIS map visually displays anthropogenic activities (ie: noise producers) and marine mammal sightings in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary: it includes layers of ship tracks, fishing gear, whale watching, dredging and disposal, environmental information and marine mammal sightings. Each layer is linked to a description with varying amounts of analysis on what the data means for noise production in Stellwagen. The whale-watching layer includes a great deal of analysis I did summer 2003, as a guest student at the Marine Policy Center. 2. Contributed to Law Review Paper. I am still involved in this project. Dr. McCarthy and I are working on a law review paper regarding the Marine Mammal Protection Act. We are focusing on the permitting program, paying special attention to how noise-producing activities are regulated by the program. I have focused on the history section of the paper—heavily dependent on congressional testimony and other primary sources. Dr. McCarthy and I hope to publish the paper later this year.3. Edited Book. My sponsor from WHOI, Dr. Elena McCarthy, was in the final stages of writing the International Regulation of Underwater Sound: Establishing Rules and Standards to Address Ocean Noise Pollution (now available on Amazon.com) when I arrived at SACLANT. I edited the book before it went to press, helped with final research and design, and created the index. It is now available on Amazon.com.

    Melanie Loftus, Environmental Studies '05
    What are the Institutional Challenges to Regional Environmental Planning in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area?

    What are the Institutional Challenges to Regional Environmental Planning in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area?
    Melanie Loftus, Environmental Studies '05

    The project I designed for the summer of 2004 was titled "What are the institutional challenges to regional environmental planning in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area?" After interviews with a few key NGO leaders, I decided to shift my focus to comparing the different ways in which the Washington area has dealt with problems associated with sprawl. My first interview was with Don Chen of Smart Growth America in Washington, DC. From this interview, I decided that my focus would be on a comparative study between Arlington County, VA, and Prince George's County, MD, two suburbs of Washington, DC. While Arlington is a great example of transit-oriented development (TOD), a system purported to allow for increased housing density without the associated increase in traffic congestion, Prince George's is struggling with a sprawling county that has not increased density around transit stations, a possible reason for major traffic problems. In New Haven, I met with Abe Parrish from the Yale Map Collection. He put together a disc that included land use/land cover data from 1990 (EPA) and 2000 (NLDC) in Arlington and Prince George's Counties to correspond with census information I had requested from those years. This semester, I hope to continue with my interviews by moving on to politicians and citizens in Prince George's and Arlington Counties, pursuing my revised topic, "What are the different ways in which the Washington area has dealt with problems associated with sprawl?" I hope to draw conclusions from studies of Arlington County and decide whether "smart growth" is a viable option in Prince George's County. I would like to thank the Environmental Studies Department for giving me the opportunity to pursue my research interests independently this summer. I have gained confidence through my experience and I look forward to continuing my study throughout the semester.

    Erica Machlin, Biology (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Track) '05 
    Speciation in Mouse Lemurs (Working in Yoder Lab at Yale)

    Speciation in Mouse Lemurs (Working in Yoder Lab at Yale)
    Erica Machlin, Biology (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Track) '05 

    The project I designed for the summer of 2004 was titled "What are the institutional challenges to regional environmental planning in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area?" After interviews with a few key NGO leaders, I decided to shift my focus to comparing the different ways in which the Washington area has dealt with problems associated with sprawl. My first interview was with Don Chen of Smart Growth America in Washington, DC. From this interview, I decided that my focus would be on a comparative study between Arlington County, VA, and Prince George's County, MD, two suburbs of Washington, DC. While Arlington is a great example of transit-oriented development (TOD), a system purported to allow for increased housing density without the associated increase in traffic congestion, Prince George's is struggling with a sprawling county that has not increased density around transit stations, a possible reason for major traffic problems. In New Haven, I met with Abe Parrish from the Yale Map Collection. He put together a disc that included land use/land cover data from 1990 (EPA) and 2000 (NLDC) in Arlington and Prince George's Counties to correspond with census information I had requested from those years. This semester, I hope to continue with my interviews by moving on to politicians and citizens in Prince George's and Arlington Counties, pursuing my revised topic, "What are the different ways in which the Washington area has dealt with problems associated with sprawl?" I hope to draw conclusions from studies of Arlington County and decide whether "smart growth" is a viable option in Prince George's County. I would like to thank the Environmental Studies Department for giving me the opportunity to pursue my research interests independently this summer. I have gained confidence through my experience and I look forward to continuing my study throughout the semester.

    Madeleine Meek, Anthropology '05 
    Assessment of Healthcare Initiatives in Ranomafana Integrated Conservation-Development Project

    Assessment of Healthcare Initiatives in Ranomafana Integrated Conservation-Development Project
    Madeleine Meek, Anthropology '05 

    This summer I conducted field research for my senior essay which will examine the experience of local communities in Madagascar with integrated conservation-development projects (ICDPs) During eight weeks I worked with the Madagascar National Park Service (ANGAP) in charge of Andohahela National Park (ANP) and Action Sante Organisme Secours (ASOS), a local public health non-governmental organization (NGO) that delivers healthcare to villagers in the periphery of ANP. ANP is an ICDP founded in 2000 in southeastern Madagascar at the interface of the rainforest and the spiny desert. It is home to many endemic and endangered species and is thus the focus of many international conservation organizations. I spent time in 4 peripheral villages of ANP and examined how well health programs are integrated with conservation programs and whether they provide 1)positive benefits for the peripheral villagers and 2)the sorts of economic payoffs (or development) necessary for ICDPs to work. I chose to research the healthcare development initiatives of the Andohahela ICDP because the perceived effectiveness of initiatives to improve access to health-care facilities and overall health is a question of pressing concern to these peripheral communities. By researching one development initiative of the ICDP in-depth, I was able to draw some conclusions about the present success of this ICDP. My research determined that even if healthcare programs are successful in terms of achieving their goals, which was often not the case, this does not mean that it will deter people from using the resources that are protected. Through interviews with villagers, I began to understand the lack of interdependence between their own health priorities and conservation. Most people do not see the connection; it is quite a stretch that these organizations are trying to make. They may see healthcare as a "direct" benefit from the existence of the park, but not understand why conservation is important and may therefore still not participate in achieving conservation goals while nonetheless enjoying healthcare benefits offered by creation of the ICDP. I chose this project because I find important to figure out what makes ICDPs successful or not, and subsequently how to improve or reinvent them, so that there will better development in the future and in turn, a healthier environment. I hope that my project contributed to this goal in some small part.

    Megan O'Connor, Environmental Studies '05
    Animal Care at The Second Chance Wildlife Center in Gaithersburg, Maryland

    Animal Care at The Second Chance Wildlife Center in Gaithersburg, Maryland
    Megan O'Connor, Environmental Studies '05

    I did a spring internship at a wildlife rehabilitation facility called Second Chance Wildlife Center (SCWC) in Gaithersburg, MD.  The center cares for approximately 5,000 animals, including raptors, deer, squirrels, songbirds, opossums, and box and snapping turtles.  It's run by an energetic, dedicated woman named Christine Montuori, four other full-time staff members, a part-time vet, and several volunteers.  In the summer, the center accepts between two and six interns, and in the spring only one or two.  I worked forty-hour weeks cleaning cages, feeding animals, and administering medication.  I learned to suture wounds, examine and admit patients, take x-rays, perform necropsies, and assist the vet in surgery and lab analysis.  I strongly recommend this internship to anyone with an interest in veterinary medicine – the staff and facilities are great, everything is extremely well-organized, and I learned how to handle and care for dozens of animal species.

    So Yeon Paek,  Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry '05
    Infectious Eye Diseases and Public Health Initiatives in Humijbre, Ghana

    Infectious Eye Diseases and Public Health Initiatives in Humijbre, Ghana
    So Yeon Paek,  Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry '05

    This summer I traveled to the West African country of Ghana to integrate environmental awareness with public health education in the development of eye health initiatives in the village of Humjibre. My project focused on blindness prevention and correction, as well as the environmental and social implications of proper treatment and prevention of infectious eye diseases. To address the concern for blindness correction, I implemented a Cataract Surgery Program to identify those patients who could potentially recover eyesight with cataract surgery. Over 800 individuals were screened for cataracts, and over 500 pairs of reading and sunglasses were distributed. In addition, 33 residents of Humjibre and neighboring villages were identified as candidates for cataract surgery and traveled to Cape Coast Eye Clinic to receive the surgeries. The second objective of the project – blindness prevention – was addressed through eye health education programs. Groups of Junior Secondary School students were taught basic eye anatomy and eye care; general facts about three diseases causing blindness: river blindness (onchocerciasis), trachoma, and cataracts; and procedure for performing visual acuity screenings. Following the disease overview, the students were taught about treatment and prevention through the SAFE strategy. I emphasized the significance of caring for environmental issues such as deforestation because of the economic and health effects it could cause. Eradication of diseases such as river blindness can open up abandoned farmland near rivers where it was once feared. Up to an estimated 17 million more mouths could be fed from this land yearly. My trip to Ghana was an amazing educational experience. Not only was I introduced to a culturally foreign lifestyle, I learned about the relationship between ecology and economy in the developing world. I chose to undertake this project because of my strong conviction for public health equality and education, especially for developing countries such as Ghana, and because of the significant socio-economic and environmental associations with infectious eye disease and blindness prevention. In a country with only one ophthalmologist per million people, I learned quickly that the key to the country's growth is to develop a self-sustaining society through empowerment.

    Vicente Undurraga Perl, Biology (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Track) '06
    Landlocked Alewife and Implications of Dam Removal or Fish Ladder Construction In Connecticut

    Landlocked Alewife and Implications of Dam Removal or Fish Ladder Construction In Connecticut
    Vicente Undurraga Perl, Biology (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Track) '06

    This summer I was part of a research project studying alewives. We mainly focused on the effects of the reintroduction of anadramous alewife in freshwater lakes in Connecticut. Some of the things I learned this summer were different fish sampling techniques that varied according to the developmental stage of the alewives. Some of these methods were gill netting, the use of casting nets, plankton nets, seining and dip netting, etc. Once or twice a week, I was able to go out in the field to the Roger's Lake station, were the lab had installed several bags containing different conditions. Some bags contained both anadramous and landlocked alewives, some only had one type of alewife and some did not have any. Every time the bags were visited, several measurements were recorded. Some of these parameters were visibility, temperature at different depths, and other parameters that were obtained from water samples. When I was not in the field, my work in the lab consisted of washing sampling bottles and other sampling equipment. I also got to help with the cleaning of other sampling supplies from other field experiments, as pitfall trap containers. Later in the summer I did some data entry from the various lakes sampled and also from the bags at Roger's Lake. Many lakes had to be sampled and for this I worked closely with one of the PhD candidates, Eric Palkovacs, with whom I went to several lakes and tried to collect alewives. This task was incredibly difficult since early in development, alewives are transparent and the only thing that you can see from this fish that is less than an inch long, are the eyes! Some recommendations for people thinking about doing a field research based fellowship for the summer would be to only do the fellowship and nothing else, since it is very hard to combine field work with any other activity that requires a time commitment outside of lab. Because I, not knowing how hard it would be, decided to take physics and also work in the lab, it was very hard to combine and effectively perform 100% in both. Overall, my experience was positive, I learned a lot about what goes on behind the scenes in an Ecology lab and I would definitely recommend the experience to anyone who can seriously devote all their time to it. You can see some pictures of my experience at http://pantheon.yale.edu/~vju3/sampling/sampling.html

    Sarah Jane Selig, Environmental Studies and International Studies '06 
    Research on Mesoamerican Reef Health in Akumal Mexico

    Research on Mesoamerican Reef Health in Akumal Mexico
    Sarah Jane Selig, Environmental Studies and International Studies '06 

    During my three week stay at the CEA center in Akumal, Mexico I primarily worked with CEA survey data. CEA had previously collected surveys through paper surveys in the CEA center as well as internet surveys accessed through the CEA website. My task over this period of time was to review the survey information and summarize the data for an upcoming meeting with the Mexican government where the ongoing development plan for Akumal will be discussed. My findings were significant because we had a number of repeat visitors as well as potential home buyers as respondents. I also aided in collecting data for Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) scans of the Akumal area. These scans are used to discover rock compositions as well as the depth of the water table and salinity. This data was collected with assistance from a Cornell professor as a project for a student of Hamilton College and will be appropriately analyzed upon return to the United States. Finally I collected water samples for an ongoing water quality project for the regional cenote (freshwater ground system) and ocean system. These samples were filtered and then cultured to detect the presence of a variety of bacterial growth that is assumed to indicate fecal contamination of the water. Overall my internship with CEA was a very educational experience. I had the opportunity to see the interaction of a NGO and the Mexican Government. The extreme difficulty related to changing policy or making lasting change in the area was high-lighted by the land usage questions of the development plan for 2029 and the sale of all of the mangrove covered land behind Akumal, for an undisclosed amount of money, to the governor's brother. At the same time it was difficult to be involved in policy development that I was supposed to be working on with no funding and very little leverage with the government. In terms of recommendations, I probably would not recommend working with CEA without a very clear plan that included no infrastructural support from CEA beyond housing. As the group is still poorly funded, they have ongoing projects that are making very little forward progress. From my knowledge of CEA's interaction with other similar groups in Mexico, this type of problem is common with environmental groups in central and south America. Basically policy is very hard to develop without infrastructure and governmental support.

    Leanna Sudhof, Environmental Studies And International Studies '06
    Bacterial Larvicides as a Malaria Vector Control Method at International Centre of Insect
    Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) in Nairobi, Kenya

    Bacterial Larvicides as a Malaria Vector Control Method at International Centre of Insect
    Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) in Nairobi, Kenya
    Leanna Sudhof, Environmental Studies and International Studies '06

    Thanks to the Environmental Studies Internship Fellowship, I spent 9 weeks in Kenya with the Malaria Programme headed by Dr. Githure at the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE). The research was supposed to contribute to my senior research project on Bti as a malaria vector control strategy. Bti, or Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis, is a larvicide which kills larvae when ingested and is harmless to humans, posing an environmentally friendly and sustainable option for Integrated Vector Management. It has been tested only very little in Africa—an appropriate formulation for the surface-feeding anopheline larvae and application and transport in Africa needs to be developed. I was primarily attached to a new NIH-funded project in Mwea, a rice-growing region in the foothills of Mount Kenya, where they were still in the initial stage of baseline data collection, mapping the species distribution and identifying significant larval habitats. CDC light traps and PSC collection were used to collect adult mosquitoes, and larval dipping resulted in larval samples which were counted and identified. The samples were taken to Nairobi on weekends to be analyzed by PCR and dissected for analysis of midgut microbial populations. Because the testing of Bti formulations in the experimental plots was not supposed to begin until August, I got experience in the field with the baseline data collection, did some water chemistry measurements in the rice paddies, received as much exposure as possible to the malaria programme in general by visiting stations on Lake Victoria and the coast, and attended preparations for future projects involving Bti application in Kenya. Although I was not able to be involved in Bti testing, the experience at ICIPE was invaluable in introducing me to Kenyan culture, in showing me the underlying problems that contribute to the propagation of disease, in giving me a clear sense of the obstacles research faces in a developing country like Kenya, in introducing me to the field of infectious disease and entomology, and in making visible the ultimate goal toward which all the little projects are aiming. It also made me understand how a one dollar drug can be very much out of reach.

    Mary Elizabeth Young, Biology '06
    Development of a Non-Invasive Molecular Sexing Protocol for the Endangered Amur Tiger

    Development of a Non-Invasive Molecular Sexing Protocol for the Endangered Amur Tiger
    Mary Elizabeth Young, Biology '06

    Since the 1800s, the Amur tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) population has suffered a dramatic decrease in numbers due to human population growth, loss of habitat, hunting, and capture of cubs for zoos (Miquelle and Pikunov 2003 and Kuchrenko 2001). Human impact affected the tigers to the degree that by 1941, the population of Amur tigers had decreased to twenty to thirty individuals in the Russian Far East (RFE) (Kaplanov 1948). Although the population has increased during the second half of the twentieth century due to protective legislation and conservation efforts, the population exhibits low genetic variability to the extent that that Amur tigers in captivity may have more genetic variation than those in the wild (Russello et al., in press). In the YIBS Molecular Systematics and Conservation Genetics Laboratory, Dr. Michael Russello and Dr. Gisella Caccone are currently conducting a genetic survey of the Amur tiger to study the human impact on P. t. altaica populations, to study population status and recovery, and to link in situ and ex situ conservation efforts. My contribution to this ongoing project was to determine the sex of individuals by optimizing a molecular sexing protocol on non-invasively collected scat samples from the RFE. To accomplish this task, the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to amplify two distinct DNA regions: a fragment of the SRY gene, a gene specific to the Y chromosome, and a tiger-specific microsatellite, which is present in both sexes of P. t. altaica. Before I could begin screening scat samples to determine the sex, the PCR conditions were optimized to allow for the amplification of both the SRY and the microsatellite DNA fragments. To optimize the conditions, several different combinations of varying concentrations of DNA from samples, DNA primers, bovine serum albumin (BSA), magnesium chloride, and DNA polymerase were used. Initially, to save time and reagents, the DNA amplification was performed with both the SRY and microsatellite primers simultaneously in the same reaction tube. Ultimately, this multiplex reaction yielded inconsistent results, so the reactions were performed separately. Once the conditions and reagents were optimized and tested on blood samples from captive individuals of known sex, the non-invasively collected scat samples were screened. The DNA used in the PCR reactions was a 1:10 dilution of the original extraction. Dilutions were made to decrease the concentrations of inhibitors present in the samples. If no bands were present using the 1:10 dilution, a 1:100 dilution was used to further decrease the presence of inhibitors. To determine the sex of the samples based on the PCR reactions, those samples possessing both the microsatellite and the SRY fragment were classified as males, and those possessing just the microsatellite fragment were classified as females. The results of the primary screening revealed individuals that contained only the SRY fragment or samples classified as males, but had the possibility of picking-up SRY DNA from prey items. This discrepancy was caused by the lack of specificity in the original SRY primers. The original primers contained SRY DNA sequences present in multiple species, including prey items, such as, deer and wild boar. Therefore, there was no way to determine if the PCR was amplifying tiger SRY fragments or the SRY fragments of prey items. To eliminate the uncertainty from the previous screening of scat samples, a new set of SRY primers was created in which the 3' end began on a variable nucleotide position present only in cats. If a sample contained prey DNA, the SRY fragment would not be amplified. To ensure that the new primers only amplified tiger DNA, the cat-specific SRY primers were tested on prey items, such as, Sika Deer and domestic pigs and cattle. Since the new primers did not amplify the SRY fragment in prey items, the samples were screened again using the new SRY primers and the original microsatellite primers. Samples were scored as males if they contained the SRY fragment in addition to the microsatellite fragment at either 1:10 or 1:100 dilutions. Of the ninety-one samples screened, seventy-four individuals were sexed (81.3%): twenty-two males and fifty-two females. Although the number of females outweighs the number of males, many samples likely came from a single individual. The samples were divided into forty-nine distinct groups based on the location of the scat collected. Because many groups contained multiple samples of the same sex, there is the possibility that the samples were, in fact, taken from the same individual. To determine if the scat samples within the same group were from one or multiple individuals, the genotypes at several variable microsatellite sites must be established to correctly assess the number of individuals present in a group. This new data would decrease the number of females to yield a more balanced sex ratio. From this opportunity, I gained experience working in a science research laboratory, enhanced my understanding of the scientific method, and increased my awareness of the conservation methods used to preserve the Amur tiger. The problems I most often faced during this summer were contamination of the PCR products and failure to amplify DNA. To determine the source of contamination, I would have to take a step back and screen each reagent to determine the source of contamination, thus providing me an opportunity to use the scientific method to resolve the problem of contamination. PCR reactions which yielded no products also provided me a chance to examine my methods and materials to establish the source of failure in a given screening. The opportunity to design my own small experiments to troubleshoot problems within my project gave me further confidence in performing experiments on my own and a better understanding of the methods for performing scientific research. Overall, this program was a worthwhile experience. Because of the funding provided by the Environmental Internship Program, I was able to gain valuable experience conducting scientific research and contribute to a project to improve the conservation methods for Amur tigers. I would recommend this program to students interested in spending the summer months gaining knowledge and experience in the field of environmental studies and conservation.

    Xizhou Zhou, Environmental Studies '05
    Case Study of Shell/Petro China Pipeline: Environmental and Social Impacts with UNDP

    Case Study of Shell/Petro China Pipeline: Environmental and Social Impacts with UNDP
    Xizhou Zhou, Environmental Studies '05

    Without a doubt, China has been perhaps the biggest beneficiary in today's globalization – especially in the economic realm. At the same time though, environmentalists are witnessing what they would call a crisis in sustainable development in China. While multinational corporations (MNCs) have been active players in increasing the international exchange of goods and services in China, they are also often cited by environmental and social activist groups as the "bad guys" only aiming at making money out of the 1.3-billion population. However, what exactly have the biggest MNCs done in China in terms of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is still to be examined. This is the purpose of my summer research – to lay foundations for my senior essay on this topic and collect materials that can be used to discover some interesting dynamics in MNCs' role in China's environmentalism. I used my summer time researching with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in China on MNCs' environmental performance in the country, and through UNDP, I was able to obtain some of the documents necessary to do the case-study of Shell/Royal Dutch in the building of the West-East Gas Pipeline from China's western Uygur province of Xinjiang to coastal city of Shanghai at the East China Sea (see Figure 1). The total length of 4,200 kilometers of the pipeline route covers seven provinces: Xinjiang, Gansu, Ningxia, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Henan, and Anhui. It is an enormous project that the country has decided to undertake, only second to the Three Gorges Dam in terms of financial investment. With the UNDP, I was able to obtain a copy of the Social Impact Assessment for this project that they had conducted per request of Shell. I decided to pick on this case mostly because the interesting dynamics involved in the decision-making of the MNCs involved. The Chinese partner of this project, PetroChina, a formerly state-owned company that still enjoys government support, has gotten an OK from the government in starting the project. However, when foreign ventures such as Shell joined in 2001, they informed PetroChina that they could not start the project in three months' time because there would be tremendous amount of preparation work to do, including the standard environmental and social assessment. The project was then delayed to early 2002; in the meantime, Shell persuaded PetroChina and other joint ventures in pursuing thorough environmental impact assessment (EIA) and social impact assessment (SIA). Shell's insisting on these assessments being done and its success in doing so reflect that it could potentially be a positive force in "racing to the top" instead of "racing to the bottom" in greening China's industrial facilities. After hearing from the people at UNDP and research institutions that carried out these studies, I was able to interview some people in Shell's China headquarters. An external affairs manager received me and we spent about an hour talking about Shell's corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies in China – the rationale, the deeds, the controversies, and the outcomes. Throughout the session, my general impression is that he was a strong believer of a "corporate culture" and that in a big company like Shell, a "corporate culture" was formed by the good-willed people. Shell had some bad track-records in its conduct of business in many parts of the developing world, but with all its faults and failures to observe the responsible standards, it is now especially careful in any actions that are going to have negative environmental and social impact. We can claim that part of this is from public pressure and Shell's concern about its corporate image, which could influence its corporate image; however, after the initial stage of globalization in the late 1980s and early 1990s when most of the corporate environmental and social scandals took place (and Thomas Friedman has been talking about his so-called Globalization version 3.0 in the 21st Century), MNCs nowadays do seem to have formed a culture that's basically "good." Like other social groups, private firms are composed of individuals as well, and the individuals working in them are the ones that are going to form the culture of the company. Our expectation is that the most renowned firms usually hire the brightest and most talented people, who, in commonsense, are usually honest and good people. There are good reasons to believe that most of the employees within Shell are what we call "good people." That being said, the example of Shell in China could potentially be a point of slight optimism – the MNCs, with all their expertise and international prominence in their respective fields, are often considered the most important business partners, and even role models, by their Chinese counterparts. MNCs' strategies in sustainable development will be crucial in guiding the direction of growth in many industrial sectors in China. Another case-study I worked on was also with Shell – its Nanhai (South China Sea) petrochemicals project (Figure 2). In 2002, Shell gave the final go-ahead to build a large petrochemicals complex in Daya Bay, Southern China, a $4.3 billion project in which China National Offshore Oil Corp. Petrochemicals Investment Limited and Shell each have a 50% share in a joint venture company called CNOOC and Shell Petrochemicals Company Limited. It is Shell's largest investment so far in China. The joint venture has been working with the government to mitigate the impact on the environment and manage social issues related to the project according both to Chinese laws and Shell's Business Principles. As with many mega-projects in China, people needed to be relocated. The joint venture therefore developed a detailed Resettlement Action Plan in line with World Bank standards to help manage this process. The move is being carried out by the government in accordance with this plan. Nearly 1,500 families were moved in February 2002 to accommodation better than they left to allow site preparation to begin. Another 900 families living close to the site will be moved in the middle of 2003. The joint venture company is monitoring the resettlement, and a team of external experts started a program of checking progress of the resettlement every six months. The mitigation standard they used to measure impact is termed by insiders as "ALAPP", or as low as practically possible. My research internship over the summer also coincided with the UN conference on the Global Compact initiative that 1,500 companies from 70 countries signed up for. The problem in China today, however, seems to be that with all its stringent environmental legislation of the past twenty years, enforcement is lacking. On the one hand, local governments are gathering more and more autonomy and therefore more local power in enforcing laws and regulations; on the other hand, the tax revenue of local governments often comes mostly from the companies that are not meeting the environmental standards set up by the central government. A Shell officer provided a good story: right next to its Nanhai petrochemicals project was a local Chinese power plant, but with all its soot and dumping into the ocean, it kept its operations going, whereas Shell would invite government inspectors into its plants monthly to carry out monitoring work. The one time that Shell failed the test for air particulates was mostly due to the fact that the power plant next door emitted so much soot that the wind blew extra amount of particulates into Shell's project complex. These kinds of dynamics are the rule rather than the exception in China – small- and medium-sized local firms are often tolerated of their unsustainable practice, and this is a political structure problem yet to be dealt with. Of course, this is not to say that the government is not doing much – in fact the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) has been elevated to the ministerial level by the State Council so that it would have more power. Structural reforms are being carried out, but the speed and the outcomes do not appear too satisfactory yet. Therefore, this leads me to think about the other two sectors of the society, namely, civil society and private sector – what they can do to contribute to the efforts by the government. Most of the unsustainable practice today in China come from small- or medium-sized companies that are aimed at only making profits, and most of them do not have a set of business standards that can make the rest of the society trust them in conducting in a socially responsible manner. MNCs, therefore, when venturing or partnering with local businesses, have the potential to push for more responsible practice in their projects, which, oftentimes are big projects that require foreign expertise and management skills. Through these kinds of cooperation, it is possible that local firms can be influenced and compelled to conduct business in an environmentally and socially responsible way. This initial sense of compulsion could in the long-run turn into one of obligation, and ultimately become the business standards that firms, big and small alike, will adopt in the country. An advanced version of this kind of CSR is what many big firms in Europe have recognized as a way to get a head of the game: to research on the perceptions from the public and jump ahead of government legislation in CSR standards. That way, companies need not panic when a set of newer, more stringent version of laws come out – instead, if they have already predicted the possible legal changes, they will have begun adapting to new standards even before the legislation, giving them strategic advantage in the future. This kind of business thinking, evidently, is not mainstream in China, but if firms start to realize the importance of CSR, this "jump-ahead-of-the-game" strategy can obviously be one that will lead to corporate successes. Currently, I'm still working on formulating a more focused, viable topic for my senior essay during the course of this term, through both the Environmental Studies senior seminar and professors working in this area at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.


     
  • 2003

    Bhart-Anjan Bhullar, Biology (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Track) '05
    Investigation of the Functional Evolution of HoxA-11, a Transcription Factor Pivotal to Tetrapod Macroevolution

    Investigation of the Functional Evolution of HoxA-11, a Transcription Factor Pivotal to Tetrapod Macroevolution
    Bhart-Anjan Bhullar, Biology
    (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Track) '05

    The scholarly investigation of the diversity and the unity of life on Earth has since its beginnings been entwined with the practical and applied inquiries of human medicine. From the combinatorial philosophy of this necessary alliance, the best scholars from both fields have molded their ideas. Darwin himself gained much of his knowledge of vertebrate anatomy from the two years which he spent in training for a medical degree. However, biology and medicine differ in a number of significant ways. Most importantly, the first is profoundly historical in its scope, the second profoundly proximate. Biology is the study of life, and to speak of "life," one must understand that the appellation is in the same rhetorical class as "civilization"; few would consider the latter term to apply to only the interacting groups of humans in existence at this moment, and few should consider the former to refer to only that life which is directly accessible to us in the present. Both entities have a long past and (presumably) a distant future.

    To extend the analogy further than perhaps it deserves, all civilizations have had the same basic components-some type of governmental structure, a sort of economy, a lingual system-and, at a yet more reductionist level, all have had people as their basic constituents. Yet, one would not indiscriminately take the Ancient Egyptian monarchy, the Roman expansionist philosophy, and the methods of trade among nearby tribes in Africa and mash them into a definitive "model civilization," then try to apply this bizarre amalgam to the current state of the European Union, simply because people within each of these civilizations talked to each other, laboured in some way, and exchanged possessions.

    During the 1950s, life scientists discovered powerful ways in which to study the generalized processes of life by focusing on common components of all cells, particularly nucleic acids and the proteins for which they code. Within and among eukaryotic cells especially, it seems, there is similar talk, work, and trade, and the biochemistry and cell biology labs of the world are currently engaged in a massive effort to elucidate the cellular functions of life, many with a view toward medical applications in humans. However, no matter how comparable they are in their endocytotic pathways, the spiral-valve intestine of a shark and the long, coiling intestine of Homo sapiens are as obviously different as an Egyptian khopesh and a Roman gladius. The challenge for the historians of life is to decouple molecular biology from strictly biomedical pursuits and to apply it to the study of the diversity of organisms and the ways in which that diversity has arisen. In doing so, they will observe the experiments of evolution, the world's oldest bioengineering program, within the biosphere, the world's oldest and most dynamic laboratory. Taq polymerase comes from an extreme thermophylic bacterium, Green Fluorescent Protein from a cnidarian, and tetradotoxin from the puffer fish Fugu; few of our biotechnological advances are entirely our own. There are larger-scale reasons for knowing the anatomical, physiological, and biochemical peculiarities of as many taxa as possible, as well: conservation biology depends upon a detailed knowledge of the ways in which human contributions to (and depletions from) ecosystems affect the organisms therein. Ultimately, to ensure the continued prosperity of our species, it is imperative that we gather as much knowledge as possible about the internal workings of each component of the biosphere.

    One synthesis of broad-scale historical biology and experimental reductionist biology is the study of the evolution of development. Macroevolutionary morphological changes can be related to alterations in the activities of specific proteins within developmental pathways. The macroevolutionary phenomenon to which I applied myself this summer was that of the appearance and specialization of tetrapod limbs. Günter Wagner, under whom I worked, is particularly interested in the appearance of limbs in Devonian-period sarcopterygian fish because the limb zeugopod and autopod, or the lower limb and hand or foot, are structural innovations with no obvious morphological homologues in nontetrapods. Such innovations, as opposed to smaller modifications of extant structures, are prime foci in theoreticians' attempts to better define the process large-scale evolution. Limbs are primarily mesodermal structures, forming from the lateral plate mesoderm which spreads broadly away from the central somitic axis of an amniote embryo. A variety of factors specify initial outgrowth and anteroposterior and dorsoventral patterning. We are interested in the development of the zeugopod and the autopod, in which homeotic homeobox genes of the Hox family are heavily involved. More specifically, the Hox11 paralogues Hoxa11 and Hoxd11 appear to control the growth of radial and ulnar elements, though not the initial formation of these structures. Hoxa13 and Hoxd13 play major parts in digit identity specification.

    Various members of the lab are engaged in molecular evolutionary studies of the nucleotide and peptide sequences of limb development genes along phylogenetic pathways. A recurring pattern as one moves "up" the amniote tree toward crown diapsids and synapsids (to my knowledge, no detailed studies have yet been performed on anapsids) is the appearance of poly-alanine and poly-serine stretches in the non-homeodomain regions of the Hox polypeptides. Alanine and serine are small, hydrophobic amino acids (though serine is very slightly polar) and are common at protein-protein interaction surfaces. Noting a number of these stretches in eutherian (placental) Hoxa11, Günter postulated that novel cofactors play a part in an apparent gain-of-function in which Hoxa11 is expressed differentially in the uterine endometrium during the uterine cycle. If the cofactors with which Hoxa11 associates are different during development and during adulthood in placental mammals, the isolation and analysis of the various Hox-associated proteins would provide important insights into the evolution of function in patterning genes.

    This summer, I worked with Jutta Roth, a visiting graduate student, to lay the groundwork for coimmunoprecipitation of Hoxa11 with its cofactors from both non-endometrial and endometrial cells. The work I performed was largely nucleic acid biochemistry, in which I desired to gain experience after a summer of purifying proteins the previous year. In order to easily pull Hoxa11 and its cofactors from a cellular lysate, we chose to use a poly-histidine tag, which could be attached to the C-terminus of the protein using the available vector, or a MYC tag, which could be attached to the N-terminus. Both N- and C-terminally tagged constructs were created to ensure that an alternative would be available should one tag or the other interfere with the function of the protein or be folded inaccessibly for isolation. His tags were preferable, as they could be isolated on a nickel-NTA column, whereas MYC tags required the use of an anti-MYC antibody.

    During the last few weeks of the summer, when the various constructs had been created, cloned into mammalian expression vectors, and amplified, we tested the function of the constructs by determining whether they were localized to the nucleus as expected when expressed in Cos1 monkey liver cells. The immunohistochemistry using an anti-His primary antibody and a fluorescent secondary antibody demonstrated that the His construct did indeed localize to the nucleus and that, necessarily, the His tag was accessible in its position within the protein's structure. Coimmunoprecipitation will proceed within a few weeks after the beginning of the semester; I will, however, be a spectator to it only, as I am currently studying lizard anatomy and evolution with Jacques Gauthier as part of the organismal portion of my bipartite plan for my biological education.

    In addition to the biochemical work which I performed during my time in Günter's lab, I compiled sequence information from online databases and extensively read the literature on two developmental genes, Gli3 and Hoxd13, at Günter's behest, providing the gathered information to him when I had found all that I believed I could find. The aforementioned genes are possible future subjects of inquiry for the lab. During these projects, I became familiar with Genbank and various organismic genome databases, including Fugu and Homo sapiens, and learned to perform basic sequence comparisons with a number of software packages. Beyond the specific skills which I acquired during my computerized work, I now possess a general feel for inquiries into genomic evolution.

    In sum, being in a lab whose primary mission was the recording of the history of life, I was able to continue to develop my experience in reductionist techniques while encountering, both in the literature and through my colleagues during lab meetings and casual conversations, a variety of integrative approaches to classical zoology. Most of all, I am grateful to have been able to watch Professor Brian Metscher of the University of Southern Indiana, a former postdoc who was visiting while classes were out, perform in-situ nucleic acid hybridizations on whole and sectioned animals, and to converse with him on general matters germane to the zoologically-inclined. Geffrey Stopper, a current graduate student, uses time-tested organismic techniques such as live-animal chemical exposure and histology to study limb development in amphibians; during June and July, he learned to perform in-situ from Brian. Perhaps I will at some point be able to learn microscopic techniques from him. Zoologists find themselves powerfully drawn to each other by the aesthetic joy which they take in asking questions about whole organisms across the planet and throughout geologic time. For this unforced sense of community and mutual stimulation alone, even without consideration of the valuable experience which I acquired, I am highly satisfied with the summer.

    Livia DeMarchis, Environmental Studies '04
    Surveying Frog Populations in Vermont and Connecticut

    Surveying Frog Populations in Vermont and Connecticut
    Livia DeMarchis, Environmental Studies '04

    This summer I helped with the work of Prof. David Skelly and his lab technicians, Susan Bolden and Nicole Freidenfelds, studying amphibians in New England. Prof. Skelly has been working for the last several seasons on a survey project of amphibian populations in twenty-eight ponds in the Yale Meyers forest in CT and in about forty-eight ponds in the Lake Champlain Basin of VT. One of the project's aims is to build a reliable data set for New England amphibian populations from which information about fluctuations in population size and in the prevalence of deformities across populations can be tracked. I was able to help the Skelly lab with their May and June surveys.

    Working with the Skelly lab was a lot of fun, and I learned a huge amount about the research techniques involved in amphibian studies. I had a great time romping around in waders for the first time, and looking out at a pond's surrounding environment from the viewpoint of a creature living in the water. I was amazed to find out how individual each pond was, and how much variation there was between neighboring ponds in terms of bottom composition, species composition, and temperature. Ponds were surveyed using pipe sampling and dip-netting collection techniques to determine the types of amphibians and snails present in each pond visited and to get an estimate of density for each species present. I was able to get fairly good at both techniques by the end of my field season.

    After becoming involved in amphibian studies in New England, I traveled to Italy to visit family in Rome. While in Rome, I met up with Prof. Marco Bologna at the University of Rome, Roma Tre. I had been put in contact with Prof. Bologna through Prof. Caccone in the E& EB department at Yale. Prof. Bologna was incredibly generous in meeting with me and in giving me a lot of information about amphibian studies and conservation projects in Italy. I also was able to spend a day in the field with one of his doctoral students. I have since been in contact with Prof. Bologna about the possibility of doing research in Rome some time in the future.

    In addition to working in the Lake Champlain region with the Skelly lab, I live next to Lake Champlain in Burlington, VT. While working on the amphibian surveys, I became very interested in local land use and zoning issues and their potential effects on the environment. As part of my senior thesis, I've decided to combine this interest with my interest in the amphibian data we were collecting this summer. The Vermont Center for Geographic Information (VCGI) has made available a detailed land use map for Chittenden County, VT, where sixteen of our ponds were located. I am currently working with Abe Parrish at the SML map collections to build a map of Chittenden County that combines this land use layer with a layer mapping our pond locations. I plan to do an analysis of the land use surrounding these sixteen ponds to see if there are correlations between the type of land use around a pond and the species richness, density, and the occurrence of non-trauma related deformities. The majority of the data I will be using will actually be coming from the Skelly lab's 2002 surveys because the samples we collected this summer have not been analyzed yet.

    This was definitely a worthwhile program and a great experience. I would recommend that any student interested in ecology look into assisting in the field to get a flavor for field work, and that any student interested in environmental issues in general take advantage of the great opportunity the Environmental Studies Internship provides.

    Joshua Fialkow, Biology (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Track) '05
    Joint Internship in Alaskan Fish Biology and Environmental Education at Wrangell - St. Elias National Park

    Joint Internship in Alaskan Fish Biology and Environmental Education at Wrangell - St. Elias National Park
    Joshua Fialkow, Biology
    (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Track) '05

    The internship I had in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park was a joint internship. For the first four weeks of the summer I was told that I would work with the Park s fish biologist in building a fish weir and learn how data is collected on fish populations. Additionally, I was told that during this portion of the internship I would learn about Wrangell St. Elias unique subsistence program, which allowed certain rural Alaskans to use the Park for hunting and fishing. For the second half of the summer, I was told that I would use the knowledge I had gained about the Park to help run educational programs in the Park s visitor s center. Also, I would run programs in the Native Ahtna villages, as the Park especially focused on programs at the local Ahtna summer camp. My expectations for the joint internship differed somewhat from the reality of the internship.

    I first arrived at Wrangell-St. Elias on May 19th. I was picked up at the Anchorage airport and driven out to Wrangell, which is 3 hours east of Anchorage. The ride to the Park quickly exposed me to the Alaskan wilderness; there were glaciers off of the side of the highway, moose roaming to my left and right, and Dall sheep climbing the craggy peaks. I was dropped off at my cabin, which was about the size of a double in Berkeley. In the kitchen cabin next to my own cabin, there were gas-lights, running water, a stove, an oven, and a refrigerator, all of which could not be taken for granted, as many local Alaskans did not have those basic appliances. For most of the summer I lived with one other intern, who also had a cabin of his own. Luckily we got along well. I was expecting to be living with a few more people, but living with only one other person didn't bother me.

    After settling into my cabin the first weekend, I went to various training sessions for Park employees. I was surprised by the first session, which was gun training for bear defense. If there was anything that made me realize I was in a very different place from home, it was that training session. I then watched informational movies about the Park s history, geology, and wildlife, all of which I found to be interesting.

    The following week, I met the Park s fish biologist. He told me that I would be building a fish weir with him in a creek at the Northern end of the Park, and that I would be living in a house near the creek with him and 5 other workers for two weeks. So it turned out that the internship with the fish biologist was only for two weeks, and not for four.

    Building the weir was tough work, and for the first week we spent 10 hours a day in the river. The weir was designed to force the salmon swimming upstream into a box so that they could be counted and sampled for the Park s data collection. While building the weir I found out many interesting facts about the relationship between local Alaskans and the Park service through the fish biologist. About ten years ago, the Federal government seized the rights to fisheries on the creek I was working in. The government laid claim to the creek because of the navigable waters clause in the Constitution, and thus the government controlled the fish populations of the river. However, after Alaskan statehood, the Alaska Native Settlement Claim Act (ANSCA) gave Natives the ability to use Alaskan land, which included rivers, for subsistence. A local Native challenged the government s control of the creek, and won the case so that the Natives have first right to the waterway. The main reason for collecting data on the salmon population of that creek was to make sure that the salmon were not being over-fished, as salmon are a crucial source of Alaskan revenue.

    After the weir was built I was assigned a shift to count the salmon swimming upstream. Unfortunately the salmon didn t arrive, so I was sitting next to the river for 8 hours each day (for a week) with nothing much to do except to read Thoreau s Walden. This was a disappointment, as I thought that the fish biologist would have had more time for me, and teach me more about the biology of fishes, or at the very least give me the opportunity to travel around the Park with him. Another intern was also disillusioned; she however, had 5 weeks of sitting next to the river waiting for the salmon, rather than only 1 week for me. The interns for the fish biologist were really extra pairs of eyes to watch the river.

    I was glad to return to my cabin and begin the second part of my internship. Before that began, I was able to do some exploration around the Park and in other parts of Alaska. I was able to go mountain biking, hiking, and camping in the Park, go white-water rafting, climb a mountain near the fishing town of Valdez, and spend a few days in Anchorage, going to various museums and getting a feel for the city. Although I was able to hike and camp inside of the Park, hiking and camping are extremely limited because of the dense brush and lack of trails. Thus when I had access to a car I would usually travel to other parts of Alaska to do hiking.

    The second part of my internship was in the Visitor s Center of the Park. I began to feel that I was getting a good sense of the Alaskan land, people, and of the many issues regarding Park policy. The first week I teamed up with the Park s educational specialist and went to a few different places to teach about environmental issues. We went to the Christian community of Saypa, where everything is homegrown, from the food to the lumber. We presented a short talk about the history of the Park and played a geography game with the kids. We also went to a few Native Ahtna communities to share some information about the Park with them. The people of the Ahtna communities had been living on the land for hundreds of years, and had many stories to share about the area. They told me a story about how the mountains of Wrangell store the souls of those who die, and that each tribe has a mountain of its own that watches out for them. The Ahtna also had beautiful names for places around the park; for example, Mt. Wrangell, in Ahtna, is Kel taeni, which means the one that controls the weather. After learning from the Native Ahtna, we went on a few nature walks where we pointed out certain species of Alaskan trees and flowers, and they told us how they used them medicinally.

    In the area around Wrangell, I discovered that there were many small religious communities that are completely self-sufficient, like Saypa. So when I visited another community, I asked one of the sisters why that was so. She replied, Alaska is a place where people come to get away. There are hardly any government regulations on the Church, and people can do things as they like. I agree with her: many people come to rural Alaska for unrestricted freedoms, and because of that many people of rural Alaska are in fact anti-government. Most locals greatly dislike the Park Service because they believe that big government has restricted their land claims. This summer a local family was actually bulldozing down Park land, and many locals supported the family. And, I found that when I was driving a government vehicle, a few middle fingers popped up at me from passing cars.

    After spending some time with the educational specialist, I was placed in the visitor s center for the remainder of my stay. I helped to answer questions that visitors had, and I read many of the Park s publications. At this point the Park had little for me to do, and I was disappointed with their disorganization for their interns. I was offered the job of volunteering my time to file papers for a few employees, but I refused because I felt that was not why I came to Alaska.

    I would not recommend an internship through the NPS in Wrangell-St. Elias to another Yale student because the internship was not well organized. However, my own experience was valuable in learning about how Alaskans live and depend on the land, and how the management of the land must take that into consideration. I have great respect for many of the Alaskans I met, as their knowledge of the natural world comes from direct interaction with it. I will certainly take that appreciation with me, and I have already taken up some interests related to it.

    Kent Gould and Lisa Rothman, Architecture '04
    Environmental Design for Extreme Climates (On-site Research in Iceland, Morocco, and Brazil)

    Anna Gross, Environmental Studies '04
    Feasibility of Adaptive Management as a Strategy for Conservation

    Feasibility of Adaptive Management as a Strategy for Conservation
    Anna Gross, Environmental Studies '04

    This summer I did research in the Yale Myers Forest with Catherine Burns, a PhD student under the guidance of Professor Oswald Schmitz. For the past five years, Cat has been researching the white-footed mouse population in various parts of the forest. She has focused on the aspects of habitat selection and, in doing so, has analyzed population viability and the general trends that govern the success or failure of a given group of animals. The two primary methods by which Cat collects her data are through nest box surveys and live trapping. Over the course of the summer I learned how to employ both of these research methods to study population dynamics.

    We conducted nest box surveys every ten days at four sites. The sites represented the following habitat types: hardwood, pine, bog, field and hickory. The nest boxes were placed three to four feet above the ground, either in trees or on stakes. The main purpose of the boxes is to monitor reproduction, as females use them to give birth and raise their young for the first few weeks of their lives. When we came to a nest box that had mice in it, we weighed, sexed and tagged the animals, and also noted if the females were pregnant or lactating. Using this data, we were able to assess which habitats had the greatest level of reproductive success by monitoring the number of mice born and their survival rate.

    In addition to the nest box surveys, we had one live trapping session per month at each nest box site, plus some additional sites. A session consisted of three consecutive nights of trapping, in which we would set the traps on the ground every 15m and bait them with seeds. Unlike the nest boxes, this type of monitoring was not exclusive to white-footed mice, and we caught many other species, such as voles, chipmunks, shrews, weasels and squirrels. We took the same measurements on the live-trapped mice as on the nest box mice, and released the other species. Thus while Cat does not have extensive records of the populations of the other species, she has data on how many of each type have been caught in each habitat type.

    In my senior thesis, I plan to use the multiple species data to look at the distribution of small mammals in the Yale Myers Forest in a more general way. I will be able to use both the data I have collected and some of Cat's backlogged data from the past three years that she is not planning on using herself. I plan to compare the habitats of these small mammal species. I would like to look at where different species are found, what types of habitats are preferred by the species, whether certain species exclude others, and the general population dynamic of the studied areas. I will focus on the parameters used to determine population viability and reproductive success in order to develop an understanding of the variation in quality of the different habitat types.

    After I analyze the ecological data, my ultimate goal is to use that information as a case study for understanding the function of habitat conservation planning. I would like to analyze the effectiveness of current habitat conservation plans and look at the extent to which they are backed by thorough research. Through my knowledge of the research process that I gained this summer, I hope to be able to suggest means for improving habitat conservation planning as a strategy for maintaining biodiversity. Having a firm grasp of the ecological factors behind habitat selection before I attempt to tackle the legislative aspect will strengthen my argument. By combining the scientific and political aspects of the question, I hope to understand how the two might be used to mutually benefit each other.

    My experience this summer allowed me to organize my ideas and gain a tighter focus on my research goals for the next year. Having the option to participate in this type of research the summer before my senior year means that I have a big head start on my thesis. I would definitely recommend this experience to anyone who thinks that they might be interested in field ecology. It was also really nice to work with a program that is affiliated with Yale because it makes it much easier to continue my research throughout the year. Both Cat and Prof. Schmitz are around campus and easy to contact with any questions, and I have access to all the data I would need. While it might not have been as exotic as other internships, working in the Yale Myers Forest was a very beneficial experience for me. I met many people from the Yale School of Forestry and learned a great deal from them. Again, the fact that they are based in New Haven and I have the option of contacting them throughout the year is a huge advantage.

    The basic setup of my internship was similar to the structure of a National Science Foundation Internship, yet I had greater control over what I was studying as I shared my interests with both Professor Schmitz and Cat, who were then able to guide me towards aspects of their research in which they thought I would be interested. Any student that has an interest in ecological research and can find a project with someone who is doing work in the Forest should definitely take advantage of the opportunity.

    Kathryn Henderson, Geology & Geophysics '04
    Deformation and Fluid Flow During Metamorphism and Mountain Building in Crete, Greece

    Deformation and Fluid Flow During Metamorphism and Mountain Building in Crete, Greece
    Kathryn Henderson, Geology & Geophysics '04

    For the past summer, I was awarded funding from the Environmental Studies department to purchase the equipment I would need to carry out research for my senior project in Crete. Armed with rock hammer, field boots, compass and hand lens, I traveled to Crete for two weeks, with another student and our professor from the Geology and Geophysics Department here at Yale. For the first week, we participated in a summer school program with other students from Yale, as well as from the University of Crete, who were involved in various ecological research projects in Crete. We were given lectures on the history, flora, fauna and geology of Crete, as well as its significance in the Mediterranean, in order to understand the background for all of our research. Lectures took place in the Natural History Museum of Crete, as well as at the University of Crete, given by various professors and researchers affiliated with the museum.

    We also visited sites of interest, such as a marine biology institute, an aquaculture center and tourist sites around the capital city, Heraklion. Every night, the group of about twenty students and professors would gather for a traditional three-hour long Greek dinner, with local cuisine and even Greek dancing one night at a family restaurant. These dinners would last well into the night, but each morning we were up early to keep up with the busy itinerary. In that week, we also took an overnight field trip to the longest gorge in Europe, the Samaria gorge. The hike down this limestone gorge is a seven-hour trek that ends in a small village on the southern coast, which is only accessible by boat. After this, we traveled back to the capital, stopping at various geologic and tourist sites to observe structural geology, fault planes and even preserved fossils.

    For the second week, the small group of geologists embarked on our own in-depth geology field trip around the island. Headed by the director of the Museum's Geology group, we traveled to a new location everyday, where we observed structures and took pictures of minerals, while collecting samples of various limestone rock types and taking GPS readings. We looked for evidence of fluid flow through studying the veins running through strata and noting crystallization patterns and crystal sizes. The island is so dry that there is little vegetation covering the rugged landscape, and so, it was an excellent area for observing unique exposures and features, such as incredible folds, stromatolitic beds and fault scarps (see attached pictures). Most rocks that we observed were carbonate rocks that has been intensely deformed and affected by the metamorphism of the area.

    I plan on using the samples collected to continue work this semester on my senior project. The rocks will be cut and used to make thin samples, which will then be analyzed for their crystal structures, compositional make-up, as well as porosity and permeability. We also collected samples of well-preserved fossils, which suggest that these rocks may be porous enough to retain fluid, such as carbon dioxide. I will also carry out tests using the samples to determine potential for fluid flow and retention.

    This experience was indeed a wonderful opportunity to learn about the geology of an entirely new region, as well as carry out interesting research that will form the basis for my senior project. Besides the intellectual aspect, I was also extremely pleased to be exposed to the Greek culture and cuisine, together with the incredible historical sites, such as Knossos and the museums of the area. I would definitely recommend the program to another student, especially as the Natural History Museum hopes to continue the summer school idea. Next summer, students from Crete will be coming to Yale to complete their own research, working alongside Yale professors, researchers and students.

    Emmy Hoy, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology '04
    Environmental and Human Health Effects of U.S. Military Testing in Guatemala City, Guatemala

    Environmental and Human Health Effects of U.S. Military Testing in Guatemala City, Guatemala
    Emmy Hoy, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology '04

    For three months this summer I conducted research on Chagas Disease in Guatemala. Chagas disease is a parasitic disease that affects humans in areas of Central and South America. It is caused by a protozoan parasite, Trypanosoma cruzi, which is carried by blood-feeding insects of the Reduviidae family. Chagas disease can cause threatening damage to the heart and digestive tract of adults, and in infants and children it can cause a fatal swelling of the brain. Between 12 and 15 million cases of Chagas disease are estimated to occur each year, resulting in approximately 50,000 deaths. There is no vaccine for Chagas disease and treatment is effective only during acute stages of infection when most people are unaware that they are infected. Prevention by the control of the insect vector population using insecticides is the main approach being taken to control Chagas disease; however, due to the cost and negative environmental consequences of insecticides, new approaches are necessary.

    One new approach uses paratransgenic techniques to transform Rhodococcus rhodnii, the symbiotic gut bacteria of the insect vector, with a shuttle plasmid, so that the bacteria produce an antitrypanosomal peptide, called cecropin A, that makes the insect unable to transmit Chagas disease. The research conducted this summer attempted to determine what the consequences are of releasing these transformed bacteria into the wild and the possibility of horizontal gene transfer through mobile genetic elements.

    The first two weeks of the summer were spent on an insect collection field trip to the indigenous villages in the rural department of Alta Verapaz. During this time the team and I stayed in a UN field station in a town where we were based and traveled everyday to the villages to search the houses and buildings for the insects. We traveled with two members of the Guatemalan Ministry of Health who also served as translators since the villagers did not speak Spanish but instead one of the 23 Mayan languages spoken in Guatemala. In addition to searching their houses for insects we gave the families pictures of the insects and explained to them the dangers of being bitten and what to do if someone was infected. With the public health team I was able to get a glimpse of a side of Guatemala that outsiders rarely see. These villages seemed untouched by technology such as cars, electricity, and running water, and the people followed traditional customs of work and dress. We were welcomed into their homes and I was able to see what their lives were actually like. In some of the villages they had not seen an American for twenty years so I was constantly watched by curious eyes. It was really an incredible experience to be able to be accepted into a culture so different from my own.

    The remainder of the summer was spent in the Medical Entomology Research Training Unit/Guatemala laboratory in Guatemala City, where I conducted my laboratory research. The specific aims of the project were altered slightly due to the lack of sufficient live samples found in the field, but the overall goal of the research was the same. The general aim of this project was to characterize the mobile elements of the bacteria of the insect gut to eventually help determine the effect of genetically altered bacteria on the environment. The specifics aims of this project were 1) to test different plasmid isolation protocols to determine the optimal conditions for the isolation of plasmids from Rhodococcus rhodnii, 2) to perform the optimized plasmid isolation procedure on samples of the insect gut bacteria from the field to determine the plasmids present in these bacteria, and 3) to perform phage isolation procedures on soil samples collected in areas where insects were collected to detect the presence of Rhodococcus rhodnii bacteriophages.

    In five of the field samples new plasmids slightly larger than 12,000bp in size were isolated that were not present in the control Rhodococcus strain. It was also found that there were bacteriophages present in the soil surrounding the homes where insects were found and that these bacteriophages were able to infect control Rhodococcus bacteria and bacteria from the fecal matter and from the intestines of field caught insects. These results indicate that there are indeed different mobile genetic elements already present in the wild bacteria and in the environment that may interact with the transformed bacteria and that more research needs to be done in this area before a field release is attempted. Since a shuttle plasmid containing the genes for cercropin A, the antitrypanosomal peptide, is being used to transform the gut bacteria, the presence of other plasmids in the field bacteria samples needs to be taken into account. Already existing plasmids could affect the likelihood of bacteria to uptake the shuttle plasmid and could also lead to unintended horizontal gene transfer to different bacteria. If the designed plasmids were taken up by bacteria other than the target bacteria unintended affects could arise. Similarly if the transformed bacteria were taken up by organisms other than the Chagas insect vectors cecropin A could cause damage in other organisms.

    In addition to the importance of characterizing the plasmids naturally occurring in wild symbiotic bacteria, determining the presence of bacteriophages capable of infecting the symbiotic bacteria in the environment surrounding the insects is necessary. Phages capable of infecting the wild symbiotic bacteria and also other strains of bacteria occurring in other locations in the wild could potentially transmit genes from the designed plasmid into these non-targeted bacteria through transduction. Once incorporated into another bacteria the genes could continue to be spread into the environment. This research attempted to characterize the environment that the altered bacteria will be released into and the implications of that these elements will have on the spread of the altered bacteria in the environment.

    This project was a very valuable academic experience. In the field I was able to see the real-world applications of the research and the people who will benefit from the research. Sometimes while doing specific research in the lab it is easy to forget the larger picture and I believe that this trip really helped to remind me of the overall importance of the work that I was doing. In the lab I learned many new lab techniques and received practice conducting numerous procedures. This was also an excellent opportunity to experience the challenges of conducting research in a developing country, where supplies and technology may not be available as they are in the United States. I think this type of research promotes ingenuity and resourcefulness on the part on the researcher and has made me more flexible and able to think on my feet in any situation.

    This was an incredible experience and was intellectually challenging both scientifically and culturally. It really opened my eyes to the complex challenges of the actual implementation of research due to cultural differences and the lack of resources. I am continuing to conduct related research at a lab at the Yale School of Epidemiology and Public Health and I would like to return to Guatemala in the future and continue research there. This was an amazing opportunity that has increased my interest in this field and broadened my perspectives.

    Peter Isaacson, Geology & Geophysics '05
    Summer Field Course in Geology at Indiana University

    Summer Field Course in Geology at Indiana University
    Peter Isaacson, Geology & Geophysics '05

    This summer I participated in the YBRA Field Course in Geologic Methods administered by the University of Pennsylvania. The five week course focused primarily on techniques involved with creating geologic maps, and the course projects consisted primarily of a 3 to 4 day field mapping project, followed by cross section drawing in the classroom. The course was taught in 3 segments, with 2 different professors for each segment. We looked at a wide range of locales in our mapping project, from primarily sedimentary structures, to classic fold-and-thrust mountain belts, to pre-Cambrian metamorphic sequences. The course was surely an intense five weeks, but I believe that all of the students came out of it thinking that it was one of the better experiences of their educational careers.

    The course professors emphasized many topics which are very important to the construction of geologic maps, and to scientific field work in general. As students' backgrounds varied widely, techniques were taught thoroughly, but quickly, so as to allow students to get out in the field and actually learn by doing. Much of the learning in the course was very hands-on; at times, it felt as if students were thrown out into the field to "sink or swim", in a way. The faculty were always there to help and answer questions, and were quite supportive, but they did not get in the way of students learning by doing (this was highly encouraged). The first day of the course involved exercises designed to teach students to measure distances by pacing. We walked along a measured length of ground, and were able to calculate the distance of their pace. The professors also gave a quick demonstration of various types of measurements which could be done with the Brunton compass (a special type of compass used by geologists which is capable of taking many types of measurements), such as bearings, vertical angles, strike and dip of bedding, trend and plunge of linear features, and so on. Following the exercises, we paired up, and constructed a simplified map of the camp, using just bearings, vertical angles, and pacing. We were able to check the accuracy of our measurements by comparing the final results of our maps to the actual map. The map consisted of a series of 9 station points, and we had to navigate from the beginning to the end. Our error was apparent in the amount of difference we had between the actual location of the first point and the location we had arrived at in navigating between the stations using bearings, pacing, and vertical angles.

    Following the first few days' activity, we were thrown into the first mapping project. It of course seemed quite difficult at the time, but in retrospect was really quite easy, when compared with the rest of the projects to come! We were split into groups of 3, and given sections (approximately 2 square miles each) of a large, plunging anticline structure called Elk Basin. This anticline structure, caused by the uplift of the central part of the area, created a large pooling of petroleum, and a fairly large oil field is located in this area; it's total reserves (combination of extracted and remaining) are estimated to be something like 1 billion barrels. The mapping was challenging only because it was really the first map any of us had ever constructed. The idea of determining where the contacts between the formations were, if there were any faults (my area turned out to have several!), taking data, and transferring everything to a map was very foreign to most of us. We spent three days in the field working on the maps, but if this area had been assigned later in the course, we would have breezed through it. In hindsight, it was an extremely easy area, as nearly everything was exposed. There was very little guess-work involved, as there was sure to be in our future projects. The difficulty of the areas seemed to change right along with our abilities, and this is a good example; it seemed challenging to us at the time, but would have been a bit too easy a few weeks into the course.

    The next project (after a one day mapping project dealing with triangulation techniques, and then a day of glacial outwash terraces and moraines) dealt with the area surrounding the camp itself, the infamous Beartooth Front mapping project. We were lucky enough to have Don Wise as a professor, because Don did his doctoral thesis on this area back in the Archean (actually the 1950's), and has been studying it ever since. To say he is an expert would be an understatement. Confusion and frustration were abundant, as rock outcroppings where we could actually see what we were supposed to be mapping were few and far between, structural relationships were confusing to say the least, the geographic areas assigned were far larger than those for the Elk Basin project, and the topography was much more difficult to navigate over and around. The professors were again helpful, but I think that most students sacrificed a good amount of their hair to this map! The cross sections for this area were also a challenge, as we had to think about the processes that would cause the structural relationships we were seeing, which we determined to be due to a large-scale fault propagation fold associated with the frontal thrust of the Beartooth range; as the land was compressed, the mountains were formed through uplift, and this was accommodated often through this thrust faulting. Essentially, the Beartooth block had been uplifted and thrusted outward, and the structures we observed were the remnants of the fold created at the front of the thrust fault as pressure from behind and friction from below caused the material to buckle up into these classic fault propagation folds. After finishing this project, we really felt that we had accomplished something.

    The next few projects dealt with a metamorphic series of rocks near Dillon, in which we defined the units we would map, and then went out and were thoroughly confused by the variations we saw (Metamorphic rocks don't make nice, clear boundaries very often, so we were essentially forced to define what the boundary between "units" was, and then try and stay consistent throughout the area. We often tried to bring small samples along with us to compare, both with ourselves and with other groups when the inevitable "border wars" between sections of the map erupted.). Miraculously, we ended up piecing together two large composite maps (the main group was split into two, and each subgroup was divided into three, with each of these groups getting a third of the entire area) which actually resembled each other somewhat. Everyone was shocked, to say the least! Our final project was probably the most difficult, in terms of geographic area, and the complexity of the structures involved. The area was near Block Mountain, about 45 minutes outside of Dillon, Montana. The main structure was an anticline which formed as the surface representation of a fault propagation fold caused by a thrust fault at depth. The entire area was strewn with a complex web of thrust faults, and this exercise left most of us feeling like we had learned nothing, that we were essentially unfit to call ourselves field geologists. By the end of the third day, however, we had somehow pieced together maps which actually looked like they might make sense. We were given a taste of reality, however, when told that we could not do cross sections from our maps; we had to do them off of the professor's map, as ours weren't good enough. No matter, we thought. Of COURSE we could have done a better map if we'd had more time.

    I learned as much geology in this short course as I could have hoped, and probably more. Having never done any extensive field work in geology, this camp provided a fantastic opportunity to see what real field geologists do. There is obviously more to it than making maps, but I think that making maps introduces you to the methodology and thought process required to be a good, diligent field geologist. Getting into the habit of taking down rock descriptions, locations, measurements, and observations of scale, structure, etc. for every outcrop visited was stressed heavily in this course, and I think that this is why the course is based around constructing maps. It is an important skill in itself, but is also an important teaching tool; in constructing a good map, you are forced to employ many of the techniques demanded of a good field geologist.

    This course was a fantastic experience in every respect. The exercises were well thought-out, and were well-chosen for the experience level of the group as it advanced. The professors also interspaced the mapping projects with field trips to different areas, where we would spend a day or so learning about the geology of different regions, such as the Stillwater Complex (a very interesting layered mafic intrusion), the Heart Mountain detachment (a block of material which sits over 10 miles away from similar material, on top of much younger sediment, the explanation for which is still being debated), classic examples of drape folding (a fold where a formation hangs over the edge of an uplifted block like a tablecloth) in the Clark's Fork Canyon (the infamous YBRA "death march" through a significant part of the region's stratigraphic column), and many other very interesting locales. I learned a great deal about geology that I could not hope to learn in the classroom, but I also learned in another respect. Being in the presence of 30 other geology students, a few of them already having entered the world of graduate school, and a few professors completely willing to talk about their experiences in the professional world and academia, helped me a great deal in thinking about the future and where I want to go after graduation. I am extremely glad that I was able to have this experience, and I would say that the schools that make a program like this a requirement for a degree in geology have the right idea

    Judith Joffe-Block, History '04
    Facilitating Transitions in Mexican Agriculture: Rediscovery of Traditional Knowledge and New Findings in Agroecology

    Sparsh Khandeshi, Environmental Studies '04
    Alpine Meadow Management in Sequoia / Kings Canyon National Parks with the White Mountain Research Station REU Program

    Amy Kohout, History '04
    Internship with Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness in Minneapolis

    Internship with Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness in Minneapolis
    Amy Kohout, History '04

    This summer I interned with Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, a small environmental non-profit in Minneapolis, Minnesota, dedicated to the preservation of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and the Quetico-Superior ecosystem. I had the opportunity to work on several ongoing projects. I arrived at an exciting time for the Friends. During my first week, the Forest Service released the draft of its proposed management plan for the Superior and Chippewa National Forests, and I had the opportunity to attend two press conferences promoting the release of an 18 month independent inventory of roadless areas in Minnesota completed by volunteers and members of Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness.

    The Forest Plan will shape the management direction for national forest lands in Minnesota for the next ten to fifteen years. Before the plan is adopted, the Forest Service releases a draft, and there is a three month public comment period. My main task this summer was to assist our policy director in writing the Friends' official comments on the Proposed Forest Plan and the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (documents each the size of a New Haven phonebook). This project gave me the opportunity to research and write about the timber industry, old-growth forest, the relationship between wilderness and economic growth, and to learn more about the use of fire as a management tool.

    The other side to the Forest Plan comment period is the public part of it. I participated in a staff-wide effort to attempt to generate unique comments from our members, the members of other organizations, and to other interested parties by writing form letters, delivering comment cards, and researching events to attend. Originally, the public comment period was scheduled to end on August 11, 2003, which was the beginning of my last week with the Friends. However, after requests from both the timber industry and a coalition of Minnesota environmental groups to extend the deadline were refused, the congressional delegation made the same request, and this time, the Regional Forester granted a one month extension. The extra time will give organizations time to continue researching and writing their comments, and more importantly, it gives us more opportunities to generate comments from our members and other concerned citizens. Although I won't be around to see this project to completion, I plan to remain in contact with my friends at Friends of the Boundary Waters. I'm extremely interested to hear the Forest Service's response to the comments it receives.

    Though the Forest Plan was my main project this summer, I also worked on smaller projects related to different arms of the organization. I worked with our Executive Director to develop a board manual that new board members will receive in January, and had the opportunity to present a sample copy to the Board Governance committee. We also began some preliminary planning for what will hopefully become an annual new board member orientation. I also worked on revising a curriculum the Friends is developing. The curriculum encourages middle and high school students to think about the connections between everyday and wild places, and culminates with an essay assignment. We hope to find funding to publish a collection of the essays written as a part of this curriculum. The project is still in the planning stages, but I have really enjoyed the discussions I have had with other staff members about this project and its goals, and I feel that my input will help shape the development of this curriculum when it is revisited by the Education Committee.

    Earlier in the summer I had the opportunity to gather information and talk to members about the closure of a portage that serves as an entry point to the BWCA. An historic portage granting access to the Boundary Waters that crosses private land was closed by the landowner. This action violated a Minnesota state statute, and I had the opportunity to talk to Friends' members about the situation. I learned a lot about the relationship between the Forest Service and the Minnesota DNR during this time, and had the chance to research management of Burntside State Forest and explore access issues. I also had the opportunity to update the Policy Committee on this issue during the July meeting.

    This summer I had the opportunity to learn firsthand what it means to work for an organization dedicated to preservation. I learned that in order to sell preservation, you often have to present it in terms of recreational opportunity. I learned that donations and activism do not often go hand in hand. This summer I learned what it feels like to enjoy going to work everyday. My experience this summer forced me to reexamine both my thoughts on environmental issues and the reasons for my commitment to them.

    I worked with a small group of passionate and committed individuals, and I was lucky enough to really get to know them as coworkers and friends. Sadly, I feel that my experience is more unusual in terms of summer internships than most Yalies would like to admit, and I am extremely grateful to the staff of the Friends of the Boundary Waters for welcoming me and giving me the opportunity to work on so many different projects. I would encourage any students interested in working on environmental issues to consider interning with Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness.

    I arrived in Minneapolis hoping to gain a better understanding of the daily goings-on of a small environmental nonprofit, and I have returned to Yale feeling as though I have made a very real contribution to the work of the Friends of the Boundary Waters this year. My experience has helped me to realize that I could see myself working for a similar organization someday. Who knows, I might even go to Forestry school.

    Katherine Lo, Anthropology '05
    Internship with the International Society for Ecology and Culture in Ladakh, India

    Christopher McPhee, Environmental Studies '04
    Dendrochronology and Dendroclimatology in the Southwestern United States

    Dendrochronology and Dendroclimatology in the Southwestern United States
    Christopher McPhee, Environmental Studies '04

    For my summer project I had the chance to sample some of the most amazing organisms in the world. I connected with a small group of researchers at the Laboratory of Tree Ring Research at the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ and had the pleasure of joining them on a month long session of fieldwork. I worked alongside Dr. Matthew Salzer, and research assistants Rex Adams and Jim Parks collecting samples of Bristlecone Pine (Pinus Aristata and Pinus Longeva). The samples are going to be used for research funded by the National Science Foundation examining climate predating the instrumental record. I was able to help the team by adding another member to carry weight, take notes, photograph and mark the specimens and core and cut many of them as well.

    In the field I learned the skills needed to identify an attractive subject, to core a tree and protect the sample, to cut a cross-section and how to keep detailed notes on the sampling process. All work was done in the field, with only a few days of introduction at the Tree Ring Lab. After a week of skill building, I was left to work independently – finding subjects and sampling them while recording their location, elevation and various other aspects. I learned how to use a Global Positioning System device to mark the trees for compilation in the larger database being kept by the Tree Ring Lab. During the field time we collected two to four samples from nearly 200 different specimens of bristlecone pine. The data that we collected as a team in Northern Arizona, Eastern Nevada and Southeastern California were comprised of core samples and cross-sections taken from living trees, standing snags (deceased) and deadfall. Our research permits allowed us to remove wood from pristine and protected wilderness where the trees are least effected by direct human impact (such as timber extraction), thus collecting data most reflective of the climatic trends of the past 10,000 years.

    The trees that we worked with are a marvel of nature – living for thousands of years in some of the most rugged and inhospitable areas of the Southwestern United States. We collected samples at elevations ranging from 10,500 feet to 12,500 feet where available oxygen and carbon dioxide are at 45-55% of the quantity available at sea level. The weather is also quite harsh – the month that we spent in the various locations recorded an average relative humidity of 10-20%, which is extremely dry. Yearly precipitation is very low, so the growing season of the pine trees is limited to about two months. That is part of the secret to their extremely long lives – the pines only grow a small amount every year. The oldest living tree in the world has been sampled numerous times by the lab at the University of Arizona, and I was given the chance to meet "Methuselah," who is approximately 4,850 years old. The slow growing trees are helpful to researchers because a single tree-ring sample can contain anywhere between 200 and 2000 rings (years) of data per sample. Each ring contains information about the contemporary climate corresponding to the growth year. A narrow ring signifies a cooler, drier year that allows less growth. A wider ring signifies a more prosperous growth year for the tree and, thus, less inclement weather. Dendroclimatology stems form the ability to match ring widths with specific qualities of climate to create an image of what basic climatic attributes were present during the period of time before the instrumental climate record. Repetitions of such large sample sizes create very robust data sets that are statistically trustworthier than other species used in tree ring studies.

    After gathering the majority of our samples, Dr. Salzer taught me the basics on tree-ring data analysis. We prepped a few of our samples, counted rings and created skeleton plots. In these plots we recorded ring widths relative to neighboring rings using a standard methodology used among dendrochronologists. Using these plots, we could line each individual specimen's plot up with the master chronology (compiled using older samples from all over the Southwestern region) and could find a best fit. Since all of the trees of the two bristlecone pine species grow at the same relative rate when exposed to the same weather, all trees from a localized area can be compared and matched up. Thus, comparing our samples to the master chronology, we were able to date our findings with a high level of accuracy. I also learned how these plots are constructed more precisely with microscopes and specialized computer software for matching that will prove almost statistically perfect. This analysis made me appreciate the effort expended by the dendrochronologist to create data sets like those I will be using in my senior project.

    Along with the skill building I was able to do during my internship, I also had the chance to meet some of the most talented and experienced figures in the fields of dendrochronlogy and dendroclimatology. I was able to speak with them about my research interests and my senior project. They were very helpful in providing me resources and references for my project, including published and unpublished works and information derived from their fieldwork experiences. I will most certainly use these professors and post-doctoral students as references for my research

    The program was a very enriching experience and also a good deal of fun. I had the chance to put my leadership and outdoor skills to use in helping Dr. Salzer and the team make decisions on route finding and sample selection. The areas we visited were stunningly beautiful and we had the luck of having perfect weather (if even a little too dry). The team was excellent – we all got along very well and enjoyed sharing the workload. For those interested in tree ring studies, the Tree Ring Lab is the only lab of it's kind in the nation and one of two major labs in the world (the other is in Germany). All of the professionals at the lab are at the head of their fields (climate, hydrology, fire science, etc) in relation to tree ring data. After working with such amazing people, I have become inspired to investigate their graduate programs and will almost certainly apply to the university in the spring. They appreciated my help doing grunt work (though more fun than making copies or answering phone calls) and invited me back for their fieldwork next summer. I hope that the Environmental Studies program can keep this connection alive for any student interested in tree ring studies, as they could always use volunteers for collection and analysis. It was a wonderful opportunity that I'm grateful to have experienced, and I would recommend this type of research to any student who loves to experience the harsh realities of the outdoors firsthand while also enhancing their academic life.

    Todd Montgomery, Environmental Studies '04
    Issues in Land Management and Development: The Canyon Club Project in Jackson, Wyoming

    Issues in Land Management and Development: The Canyon Club Project in Jackson, Wyoming
    Todd Montgomery, Environmental Studies '04

    Jackson, Wyoming, is currently faced with a serious challenge. The economy of the area is based largely on tourism and real estate costs, both of which are intricately tied to the protected lands and species in and surrounding the town. However, the land development regulations drawn up by the county seem unable to curtail the booming, often irresponsible growth of the central city and surrounding private lands. Because the Jackson Hole area is entirely surrounded by protected lands, the demand for the fast disappearing developable private land in the area is extremely high, leading to extremely costly real estate. The amount of money within this market is so high that it becomes very difficult to ensure that the growth of the city continues to meet the ideals set forth in the County's development plan, which is largely put in place to protect the wildlife and wilderness of the area. My goal this summer was to try to find out if development within Jackson can continue under the regulations set forth within the County Development Plan while still achieving the goals set forth within the same document.

    While attempting to answer this specific question, the broader idea for me is that there are many areas in this and other countries in similar situations. It is not uncommon for a small strip of land that existed privately before surrounding lands were protected to become a precious commodity and subsequently have to deal with explosive growth that may occur faster than the changes in local land management that deal with this growth. As a result, regulation becomes a reactionary practice, which in many instances leads to unhappiness within the population. As Jackson "grows-up" and out of its classical, ranch-based economy and crosses over to focus more on high-end outdoor attractions like fishing, mountain biking and camping, much of the local governance concerning land management remains in the ranching days. Today there exists in Jackson the entire spectrum from old-time ranchers to second or third home-owning summer vacationers, and the county regulations do their best to appease all parties. Unfortunately, this is a remarkably difficult task, and one that has been approached with varying degrees of success.

    The bulk of my research in Jackson was based on the case of the Canyon Golf Club located along a near-pristine stretch of the Snake River just south of town. This development was first proposed in 2000, and has been one of the major stories in the area from then until today. The goal of the development was to build a world-class, 18-hole golf course and 71 high-end properties on 360 acres of this former low-impact ranch-land. The developer claims that the goal of the project was to protect as much land as possible through land-exchanges and sensible planning and design while creating an income (the golf course fees and real estate costs) steady enough to support a limited, economically not self-sufficient ranching operation that will remain on the other half of the developer's land. Jackson's land regulations specify that one of their major goals is to protect the wildlife of the area, which, in the case of the Canyon Club, includes four eagle nests and critical areas for other species, the fishing industry and river rafting companies. However, another equally important goal of the same land regulations is a goal of protecting the private ranchers who still work the land and give the area much of its western character.

    I spent the summer in Jackson trying to find out as much as I could about the process up to this point. Through a lot of work looking at county planning documents, county land regulations, state and federal documents, past newspaper articles (of which there were probably two every week), interviews with many of the key figures at all levels of the process, and a look at some of the other recent developments in the area, I think I was able to gain a pretty strong handle on the process as it had occurred. What is more, I think I was able to gain a real understanding of the difficulties of land management, and the process as a whole. In a very dynamic and diverse area like Jackson, the amount of regulatory agencies and interested parties is amazing, and to see the actions taken by these people to demand representation was inspirational. I feel that in a small way, this summer allowed me to become a part of this dynamic community and to gain a sense of their values with regards to the natural environment.

    My senior paper is going to be based largely on my research on the Canyon Club. I would like to analyze the process more thoroughly and find other areas of the country that have faced similar challenges of land use. I think this summer was immensely challenging and easily one of the most productive and positive experiences of my life. This opportunity allowed me to look at a very pertinent problem, but more importantly it allowed me to look at myself and my own predispositions, and work through this to arrive at sensible, objective conclusions on how to improve the situation and move toward more sustainable goals that satisfy Jackson's common interests.

    Christine Pham,  Environmental Studies '04
    The Nexus Between Environment and Development in Tanzania from a Food Security Perspective

    The Nexus Between Environment and Development in Tanzania from a Food Security Perspective
    Christine Pham,  Environmental Studies '04

    With support from the Environmental Studies Summer Fellowship, I was able to work in Arusha, Tanzania between mid-June and late July 2003 in the fields of sustainable agriculture, rural development, and farmer education. Along with three other volunteers under Global Service Corps (GSC), a non-governmental organization based in San Francisco, I spent one month leading training sessions in sustainable agriculture for local farmers, and two weeks conducting interviews and independent research. This fall, I intend on integrating this data into my senior thesis, which will examine the efficacy of the GSC project compared to other rural development strategies that target small-scale subsistence farmers in similar sub-Saharan African regions.

    "Rural development" has become a loaded term within modern development discourse, and its definitions and boundaries continue to blur significantly. Current theorists speak of a growing "depeasantization" of the world, where the "world market" continues to disintegrate agrarian societies and their constituent small-scale economies. Thus, small-scale subsistence farmers experience either slow incorporation into "modern economies," or they are left behind.

    What I found in Arusha, Tanzania, was a situation that lay between those two poles. For several decades, at least 80% of the country's population has consisted of small-scale subsistence farmers, due to a large development project initiated after colonial independence in which the government divided and distributed the country's land into 1-2 acre parcels. Since the 1970's, these farmers have experienced either stagnating or slowly declining yields of maize, beans, collard greens, and other staple crops grown on their land. The reasons behind this stagnation are complex and owe to market obstacles, soil degradation, lack of transport/communication/social infrastructure, among other reasons that I observed. To compound the problem, the government of the United Republic of Tanzania has not yet addressed the fate of the smallholder farmer, focusing instead on the large, export-oriented agricultural sector that sends species of exotic vegetables, cut flowers, and spices abroad. What, then, is the fate of the smallholder Tanzanian farmer whose subsistence needs are barely met, but who also hopes for larger economic development?

    The Global Service Corps program attempts to address this question by beginning at a reasonable point: how do we help farmers to grow more food? Before addressing the larger social/political/economic issues, it was necessary to alleviate food insecurity and poverty by providing a method for sustainable, low-capital agriculture. The answer that we found was Biointensive Agriculture (BIA), a multi-part method of organic farming that claims to boost yields 2-6 fold while using little water, no agrochemicals, and no unaffordable machinery.

    What became clear during my month of teaching BIA, however, was that the farmers whom we were teaching were mainly interested in increasing their food production, not for market purposes, but solely to feed their families. However, the leadership of the training program, which consisted mainly of professors at the Ministry of Agriculture Training Institute (a governmental program), had much larger hopes. In a series of interviews, I gathered that they were hoping to develop a market for this locally-grown chemical-free produce in Arusha in hopes of bringing more income to the farmers and their families.

    Where is the demand for this produce? For the short-term, and possibly the long-term, the project leaders have secured some contracts with tourist hotels and restaurants, where tourists are aware of and demand for organic produce. Arusha happens to be the largest tourist hub in East Africa, outside of Nairobi, and thus has an enormous tourist sector. My question to them, however, was how secure and sustainable this sector is in serving as the demand side, to which they had no answer; it all remains to be seen.

    And how about the supply side? Can BIA, which is still highly experimental in this region of Tanzania, supply the amounts of produce needed to support this market? What will it take for the farmers to achieve the level of organization and production required of them by the demand? Furthermore, are there agronomic limits inherent in the BIA method that would be ceilings to production? Would BIA still be ecologically sensitive and sustainable at that level of production?

    All these questions serve as the motivation behind my senior essay, and my first-hand experience in Arusha gave me the direction and insights needed to approach them.

    Anya Raredon, Architecture '04
    The Interaction of Environment and Vernacular Architecture in Mesoamerica

    Michael Renda, Economics and Environmental Studies '04
    Internship with the U.S. EPA in the Office of Policy, Economics and Innovation

    Internship with the U.S. EPA in the Office of Policy, Economics and Innovation
    Michael Renda, Economics and Environmental Studies '04

    Introduction and Summary

    This summer I was fortunate enough to be an intern at the National Center for Environmental Innovation (NCEI), a division of the Office of Policy, Economics, and Innovation (OPEI) located in the Office of the Administrator (OA) of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Working in the heart of the District of Columbia at 1301 Constitution Avenue, I spent the majority of my summer experiencing my first taste of the government lifestyle while working on two major projects. The first project, under the supervision of the National Center for Environmental Innovation, involved researching innovative practices in state-level water clean-up programs. The other project was through the National Center for Environmental Economics, and while it was on the same floor as NCEI, it was much more quantitative in nature and involved compiling research on water and wastewater rates and using that data for analysis of some policy issues. The summer provided a solid glimpse into the public sector that contrasted quite a bit with my previous summer's work at Environmental Defense (a national non-profit). Working in a professional environment was well suited to my interests, as it has helped to shape my thoughts about a career in the environmental or government sectors. I would recommend this internship to anyone that would prefer working in a professional atmosphere compared to a research-type internship, as it offered a serious glimpse at the epicenter of national environmental policy.

    Project 1: Innovations in State TMDL Programs

    The first major project that I worked on involved state TMDL programs. TMDL stands for total maximum daily load, which refers to the amount of a pollutant that can be allowed in a waterbody up to the point that it is still meeting its water quality criteria as defined by the state. Essentially, state environmental agencies are asked to submit biannual lists of water bodies that do not meet their "designated use," as declared by the state and based on actual use. For example, a reservoir used for drinking water requires the highest level of cleanliness, while waterbodies that are marked for recreation can have lower quality standards. (Of course, the pollutant criteria designations are created by the states, but they have to be approved by the EPA, anyway.) Waterbodies that are not meeting their designated use are labeled "impaired" and the pollutant that exceeds its appropriate level is labeled as an "impairment." Impairments can range from acid mine drainage (heavy metals) to temperature from a power plant, so long as they limit biological productivity. Next, states need to develop clean-up plans (also known as TMDLs) for each waterbody. This was originally required by the Clean Water Act. However, the EPA failed to enforce this upon states, and by the late-1990s, most states (around 43) had been sued, along with the EPA, for the lack of clean-up plans. Most of the court decisions required that all impaired waterbodies would need TMDLs in an expedited process for each state, and these states have until about 2012 to complete all of these studies.

    As a result of the court orders, EPA granted most states (about 40) the right to conduct TMDL surveying processes (or contract them out to private firms) and subsequently, develop implementation plans for cleaning them up. Unfortunately, the rate at which the TMDLs are being written is quite high, almost too high for EPA Region Offices to review and approve them in a timely manner. Additionally, because of the number of the plans, the federal EPA office, where NCEI is located (a few Region Offices have similar divisions), is all but unable to keep track of which TMDLs are approved and likewise, what they entail or require of polluters. In addition, communication across regions and even states is limited, so what has happened is that states have little knowledge of what other methods are being used in TMDL production, program management, and implementation plans. What I was asked to do was to look for trends or innovative practices (as the role of NCEI is to support innovations in environmental policy and regulation) among the state TMDL programs and to create an informational document that could be distributed to state and regional offices to better inform them of what else is happening in the TMDL arena. Ideally, I would have been able to suggest innovative implementation schemes (such as pollutant trading, caps, stakeholder involvement, public committees to dole out allocations, etc.), but the sheer number of TMDLs prevented that from occurring. Towards the end of the summer, I began to receive some suggestions from state offices on innovative TMDL implementation programs, and my supervisor will be working this fall to put together a document on them.

    As for my document, I detailed innovations relating to the manner in which states run and coordinate their TMDL programs. Some of the better examples include draft TMDLs for certain common impairments and unique scheduling that involves completing TMDLs for one impairment over a short time period. To further encourage discussion, I also included contact information for states whose innovations I highlighted and a brief description of the interesting practices that were occurring. Although I worry somewhat that my document will not be taken seriously, the lack of information of the federal level about TMDL programs as suggested by employees in other offices encouraged me heavily, and my document will hopefully be looked at carefully by these officials as well as those on the state and regional levels. The TMDL program is now such a huge part of each state agency's budget that whatever innovations they can use will increase efficiency and the speed at which TMDLs are authored and eventually implemented. This, of course, promotes clean-up efforts of polluted waterbodies, a key resource for all.

    Project 2: National Survey and Analysis of Water and Wastewater Rates

    The second project required most of my summer and was completely different in nature, as it involved quantitative data work on water and wastewater rates. The origin of the project was a study recently commissioned by the EPA on water infrastructure that highlighted how outdated the nation's infrastructure was and how, over the coming years, massive failures could cost billions of dollars. It suggested that far more investment was needed over the next twenty years. With this in mind, my supervisor, an economist in the National Center for Environmental Economics (which was, incidentally, on the same floor and just down the hall) had me create a massive data set on water and wastewater rates and to do a number of projects using this data. Essentially, I took data from consulting firms that had already investigated the issue at the request of some of the states and local water companies along with some EPA studies on Community Water Systems in 1995 and 2000. For each system (a city, town, etc.), each data point had information about the cost (monthly bill) of water (drinking water) and / or wastewater in terms of x number of gallons, population, and median household income. Ideally, we would be able to figure out what the "average" user would use in a month, and then extrapolate this cost and be able to compare costs across various factors such as EPA region, system size, and household income. One issue that would be particularly interesting is the issue of affordability, which is the ability of a household to pay for a service based on its income.

    I compiled a massive data set using as much information as we could find, and then I performed a number of tasks. First, I used a data set from a 1995 survey of water rates by the American Waterworks Association, an association of drinking water suppliers around the country, to put together an estimate of average water use per person across the nation. Next, I took a very current survey that included data on only major cities that operated water and wastewater systems for the same populations. From this, I was able to calculate a water-wastewater use ratio, which would be very useful later. Ideally, wastewater use is exactly equal to water use (since water should just flow down the drain into the wastewater system), but obviously, some water uses, such as lawn watering or car washing, cause water to not enter the wastewater system, at least not directly.

    The third project that I undertook was a time-sensitive project whose results ended up being used in an important discussion regarding wastewater treatment plants. The EPA had recently been sued over the issue of blending, which is a process of WWTPs that occasionally bypass the final treatment stage to prevent massive system failure due to heavy rainstorms. While there are relatively small environmental effects of doing this (as the rainflow is mostly clean freshwater), EPA had issued a series of different permits to WWTPs concerning when and under what situations they were allowed to blend. However, there was little logic in this permitting process, and the basis of the suit was that there needed to be a clear policy concerning the issue. The Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance decided, quite arbitrarily, that systems should be allowed to blend up until the point that not blending would raise the cost of wastewater services to above 2% of median HH income of their service population. For example, systems would have to raise costs to afford additions to handle the increased load from heavy storms or to install faster cleaning mechanisms. However, NCEE found this argument to be quite flawed, as 2% had no historical basis as the level of HH spending on wastewater bills. My project involved defining the cost gap between total revenue and certain percentages of HH income that existed based on the number of systems that would be blending at any one time. My final project involved looking at some trends in the data set based on system size, median household income deciles, and regions. As expected, the percentage of HH income spent on water and wastewater decreased in richer systems and decreased in larger systems.

    While past studies had focused on the level of HH income spent on only water or wastewater bills, this project examined the sum of the bills for each system. Fortunately, the data set was designed to adjust automatically for varying levels of average water use and water-wastewater ratios, allowing future user input if better average use data is collected. This cost information will be very valuable to the EPA, as it has had to justify water and wastewater quality rules for various system sizes and flow levels, and it hopes to set policies that produce suitable levels of affordability for systems. Additionally, my supervisor and I came to the conclusion that data on the subject of water and wastewater rates was fairly inadequate for EPA to be setting affordability policies, and as such, it should begin collecting information on rates in the future.

    Impressions of the EPA

    This summer was my first adventure in government, and it provided a number of insights and the EPA itself. To begin, the EPA is heavily dependent upon the current administration for support, both financially and in terms of its policies. The agency is somewhat underfunded, and (at least my office) was lacking in employees and a decent level of technology, as the computers were quite old and slow. Second, the EPA seems to be continually at odds with the administration, and this effect trickles down and causes reduced employee morale. Events throughout the summer like the deletion of global warming from the State of the Environment Report and the sudden resignation of the Deputy Administrator were echoes of this problem. Finally, government life is slow, and to a slight degree, lacking of most drive. While a good deal were wholeheartedly excited about their work, some were quite happy drifting through work. However, it was a good place for me to be this summer, as the professional atmosphere was a solid introduction to the way that a business or government runs. For anyone not interested in a research or field position, this job is perfect, especially for someone majoring in social sciences. OPEI dedicates itself to looking at environmental problems through a policy perspective, and this worked very well for me, as I am a double major in Environmental Studies and Economics. While my first choice for an environmental career is not the EPA, I could see myself working there someday.

    If you would like to intern in the summer for OPEI, I would gladly put any interested person in contact with the Summer Intern Head, Suganthi Simon.

    Linda Shi, Environmental Studies and International Studies '04
    Effect of Tourism in Sao Tome on Culture, Environment, and Economy of the Island

    Effect of Tourism in Sao Tome on Culture, Environment, and Economy of the Island
    Linda Shi, Environmental Studies and International Studies '04

    This summer, I traveled to São Tomé e Príncipe (STP), a small, African island nation in the Gulf of Guinea, to conduct research for my senior thesis in Environmental Studies. As this was a last minute alternative to an internship in China, I knew little about the country's real situation. Thus, while my initial proposed line of study was ecotourism – its current state, possibilities of expansion, and policy guidelines, I soon came to see that tourism was neither the most important issue nor was likely to become a solution in the near future for the immense problems facing the country. Instead, I decided to investigate the impact of international aid on conservation and rural development. While focusing on conservation, I sought to understand the state of environmental protection and current dangers thereof within the context of assistance in general. São Tomé receives the highest per capita rate of assistance of any country in Africa and 80 percent of its national income comes from aid; yet, it is questionable whether the past ten years of contributions have led to any significant improvement. Today, the country is months away from receiving its first payment (many times its current GDP) from oil developers as it begins to take advantage of the offshore oil reserves in its joint development zone with Nigeria. Many of these international funders are going to be decreasing funding as a result, and/or shifting their backing from actual assistance to guidance in governance and management of the new revenues and their use. What do these international institutions leave behind? Is the country really ready, or any more ready than ten years ago, to develop sustainably, equitably, and profitably? What is the role of international aid in conservation, and what is the role of domestic government?

    In my first week, I was fortunate in having Henrique Pinto da Costa, former Yale World Fellow and native of São Tomé, take me all over the island so that I could get a real look at what lay hidden in the plantations away from the capital. An agronomist by training, Henrique was among the first Sãotomenses to receive a higher education; later, while his brother was president, he held various positions in government; and today, he works as a freelance consultant and is establishing an environmental NGO in STP. I could not have asked for a more knowledgeable guide, nor anyone better acquainted with the geography, history, politics and ecology on the island. Leaving the few paved roads in his Jeep, we drove to various plantations, down dirt paths now rapidly being overtaken by tropical plant life, and across railroad tracks now barely visible through the dirt. Henrique stopped often to pick fresh cacao, coffee beans, or élan (the essence of French perfume), or to ask a farmer for a taste of her cacao, kola nut (the cola in coca cola), coconut, or palm seed. Sometimes we were impeded from going further by the road conditions, e.g., a felled tree. Once, we stopped to attempt to rescue a marine turtle from a hunter, only to have it die in our hands, and once we ran into a family cutting and burning trees for charcoal.

    Hidden behind the greenery, lie the remnants of the plantations, still inhabited by farmers, who use the old servants' quarters. The people, possibly more impoverished now than during colonial times, are relying on this subsidy of the past that is every year the worse for wear. In colonial times, the 1,000 square kilometers of São Tomé e Príncipe was carved into various plantations bequeathed upon nobles of Portugal that grew sugar, coffee and cacao. Each of these plantations was a microcosm, with its own hospital – the grandest structure on the plantation, a big house for the manager, servants' quarters, workshops, railroad, train, and port facility. Most of this infrastructure was located at the headquarters, with numerous outlaying dependencias, where more workers lived. In 1976, after gaining independence from Portugal, the new socialist government decided on a land distribution policy that gave former plantation workers 1-10 hectares of farmland, larger farmers 10-100 ha, and kept a few plantations whole. Given the political and cultural history, there was little recourse to such a giveaway; however, when unaccompanied by agricultural support and given larger economic forces, this proved to be a solution that has impoverished both the people and the environment.

    The old plantation system had an assembly line style of working, so that each worker knew his job but not the entire process. The island also was uninhabited before the Portuguese discovery, and the inhabitants were brought over from all the other Lusophone colonies. No other nation was so entirely enslaved and deprived of indigenous cultural roots, connections, and subsistence agriculture lifestyles. Thus, when they were handed over the plot of land, many did not know how to farm it well. Nor were they given any information, seeds, or equipment. In addition, while São Tomé was once a chief producer of cacao, world prices have plunged in recent years, leaving it a highly unprofitable crop to plant. According to the director of the forestry department, a farmer with 1.5 ha of land, will be able to grow at most 60-75 kg of cacao per year, which at the current price of 3000 dobras/kg (US$0.30), will yield about 180,000-225,000Db, or US$20-25 a year. Older plants also yield less fruit and must be replanted, which takes a certain amount of capital, so that productivity has declined over the years. On the other hand, cacao must be grown in shade, and has in the past been grown with various hardwood trees; given the need for quality construction wood, these trees have become quite precious. A hectare of farmland will hold about four or five such trees, which can sell for US$300 each. This disparity has led to the trend of farmers cutting down the trees on their plot, selling it, cutting down the cacao and replanting with a more profitable crop, such as fruits and vegetables. Or, they replace the hardwoods with banana plants and breadfruit trees, which also give shade. The disturbance, however, has led to increasing cases of a fungal disease, Rubrucintus, that attacks cacao when it does not receive the perfect light conditions. It also indicates a radical change in the composition of the rural landscape, and of the ecology of the entire island. Outside of urban environmental problems, concentrated mostly in capital city, this deforestation and conversion of the entire island seemed to me to be the most crucial environmental problem on the island.

    After touring island, I interviewed project leaders, people in the UNDP, and foreign embassies, government officials, and heads of various institutions to get an idea of the international aid in the country, and the state of the environment. It was exciting and not just a little daunting to be coming up with the interview questions and my own line of research on such a scale, for the first time. As I speak several languages, the interviewee at least was able to be comfortable speaking in his or her best language (interviews were conducted in Portuguese, Spanish, and Chinese, with documents in all those languages as well as English and French). I was also able to have various interviewees take me to their project sites or meet them in informal settings, where people became much more candid in their views.

    Overwhelmingly, the focus of the aid is on rural development, which is unsurprising given the poverty on the island, especially on the plantations. There are French projects for building houses and giving agricultural extension, Taiwanese projects for growing new fruits and vegetables and chickens, Portuguese projects in education and farming, Spanish pepper projects, and Italian fishing projects, to name a few. By and large, these governments come to the government with a certain amount of money and the government plans with them how to use this money. However, there is no cohesive land use plan within the government, nor any current integration and communication between the projects. The environmental sustainability of these different programs vary – some maintain that importing genetically modified substances and fertilizers is bad and illegal; others depend on fertilizer and enhanced feeds for their projects. Some programs try to construct houses out of mud to alleviate the stress on wood, while mostly the houses are made of hardwoods. There is no national law on the environmental requirements, or accountability, for these foreign projects.

    Representing environmental aid is ECOFAC (ECOsystèmes Forestiers d'Afrique Centrale), an EU-funded sustainable development program. Despite its stated mission on sustainable development, conservation is the primary focus, with a goal in each of the seven Central African countries of creating a national park. Obo National Park, a largely naturally protected area due to its inaccessibility, covers a large portion of the upper reaches of the volcanic island of São Tomé. First envisioned ten years ago, when ECOFAC entered STP, the park is still not legally extant, as the assembly has not yet approved it. ECOFAC's legacy is mainly one of data collection and scientific research on biodiversity and endemism, especially of orchids, ferns, and birds. It built a botanical garden near the entrance of the park, and gives a bit of funding to the Department of Forestry. As EU funding is being cut off at the close of this year, ECOFAC will be leaving. The foreign director believes that the government, with its new oil revenues, will now be able to pay for its own environmental protection. People at the Department of Forestry are highly skeptical, fearing that a complete loss of funding and shortage of technical assistance will mean that the garden will have to be closed and that activities will grind to a halt. The other international environmental program comes from the UNDP, which conducts research on carbon trading forests in São Tomé. France also funded, until recently, the Center for the Investigation of Agriculture and Technology, which conducts agro-experiments, including organic cacao for a niche market.

    Based on the projects that were present in São Tomé, it is notable that, despite the rhetoric on sustainable development, there are still few examples to demonstrate the possible coexistence of these two trajectories in the real world. On the island, projects on development and conservation are still handled very separately. Furthermore, the international assistance focuses on protecting what it considers to be international patrimony – biodiversity, carbon sequestration, which does not necessarily in this case coincide with the most critical environmental concerns. If parks even on the mainland are questionable, then they become even more dubious on island nations, where ecosystems are much more fragile and must be protected holistically. A small park on a 20km by 40km island will go very little towards long-term preservation. This begs the question of what is environment, and environmental protection, and does international assistance towards what it considers to be environmentally worthy of protection actually lead to the long-term health of the overall environment in developing countries? What is the role of environmentally oriented international NGOs? The organizations said that they were there to set an example, to create a model, but have they created the conditions in which those examples can be multiplied and followed? Over and over, development workers noted how frustrating it was to work with people who expect you to give, give, and give, and how if you turn the other way, all work will stop. Does that indicate that their activities have actually failed to address issues truly important to the local people? How can aid work if it does not foster a sense of ownership? To be fair, São Tomé has been a democracy for little over a decade, and little has been done because they are in a state of preparation. Just as the international environmental community has been working on solutions, agreements and treaties in the past few decades, the next decades will be for actual implementation of the environmental laws and replication of models in São Tomé as well as the rest of the world. Perhaps the lack of implementation of sustainable development is emblematic of the uncertainty at the global level as to how this can really be achieved.

    To make things even more exciting, there was a military coup near the end of my trip, which meant the government stopped working and I had to stay at home. Major Pereira, who led the coup, criticized not only the rampant corruption and lack of accountability in the government, but also went on to ask, "Sãotomenses owe US$295 per capita to the World Bank. What has this money done for the country, for the government? The United States, European Union, France, Portugal, Taiwan, they all take advantage of us." Certainly, both donors and recipients have been milking the situation to their advantage, but how can Sãotomenses and the environment both come out on the winning side?

    Lastly, I cannot thank the Environmental Studies Fellowship enough for having given me this opportunity to test my own intellectual abilities, to learn so much from people, to travel to such a beautiful land. I look forward to writing my thesis this coming year, and hope to make some contribution to São Tomé, who has enriched my life and understanding of conservation and development so much.

    Katherine Sims, History of Art '04
    Researching Clean Energy Alternatives with the Vermont Sierra Club

    Researching Clean Energy Alternatives with the Vermont Sierra Club
    Katherine Sims, History of Art '04

    I am grateful for the Environmental Studies Internship Grant that gave me the opportunity to intern with the Vermont Chapter of the Sierra Club during the summer of 2003. The Sierra club is a grass-roots organization whose stated goal is to preserve, protect, and enjoy the natural world. Since 1892, the Sierra Club has been a leader in many areas of environmental advocacy. Although the Vermont Chapter works on a wide-range of issues from agricultural, to transportation, to environmental justice, I focused on clean energy issues.

    Meeting the challenge of a clean energy future is a critical undertaking for advocates and for our planet. Our current energy path leads toward disaster on several fronts: polluted air, global warming, habitat destruction, and fouled water, to name a few. The technologies for a clean energy alternative are rapidly emerging and policy makers are beginning to set in place legislation to ensure aggressive clean energy standards. In particular, the Northeast Governors and the Eastern Canadian Premiers created a Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP) in 2001. This plan set in place a number of target goals for the states and providences relating in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As part of their Energy Futures Project, the Vermont Sierra Club, in partnership with other Sierra Club Chapters in the Northeast Regional Conservation Committee (NERCC), has been working to monitor the commitments made by the Governors and Premiers in the CCAP.

    The first part of my internship was primarily focused on independent research related to the CCAP. The goal for my research was to gather enough data about current, as well as future, energy sources, uses, and regulation in the New England states to draft a final report card for each of the states. For my research, I reviewed printed documents by both governmental offices and advocacy groups, researched on the web, and interviewed government officials and members of advocacy groups. I also worked closely with members of the Sierra Club from all the New England States. After my research was completed, I produced a draft outline of the energy policies and plans for the New England states that was submitted to the other members of NERCC. Combined with the data for the Eastern Canadian Provinces, our group produced a report card for the New England States and the Eastern Canadian Provinces. This report card reviews each state or province's accomplishments and suggests opportunities for change towards a clean energy future in line with the goals of the CCAP.

    My experience this summer taught me a great deal. I was able to garner a clear understanding of many of the major issues related to clean energy policy. I also have a more thorough understanding of where New England is today and where it should head if we want to effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions. My research brought in touch with people from many different sectors of the clean energy debate who provided me with a diverse range of information. I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to attend a conference on clean energy put on by NERCC, as well as, attend the Vermont Solar Fest.

    I will be able to directly apply what I learned through my internship to my studies here at Yale. Not only was I able to hone my research gathering and proposal drafting skills, but also my research done during the internship will relate to my senior essay. As an art history major, I plan to write my senior essay on sustainable architecture. An understanding of climate change, energy efficiency and clean energy alternatives is critical to architecture because any sustainable design should have a positive impact on the environment, rely energy efficient systems, and use renewable energy sources. I now have a clearer understanding of why clean energy is so critical and what opportunities are out there. In addition to informing my academic work at Yale, my experience has piqued my interest in other related projects. Although I am not particularly interested in working on regional policy issues again, I am very interested in more local and direct initiatives related to the implementation of clean energy policy and programs. Overall, my experience with the Sierra was truly edifying, engaging, and worthwhile.

    Marina Spitkovskaya, Environmental Studies and International Studies '04
    Contamination, Health, and Injustice in Vieques, Puerto Rico

    Contamination, Health, and Injustice in Vieques, Puerto Rico
    Marina Spitkovskaya, Environmental Studies and International Studies '04

    This past summer I spent eight weeks on the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico. This island has been used for weapons storage and training exercises by the U.S. Navy for over sixty years. As a result, there has been serious environmental contamination of the air, water, soils, vegetation, and fisheries. This chemical contamination has jeopardized the health and well-being of Vieques residents, especially those whose livelihoods depend on the natural resources that have been compromised. Today, the Navy has relinquished control of all but several small areas of the island, and the pressing issue is the contamination and environmental degradation that remains and how it will impact the future of Vieques.

    Vieques residents, as well as international activists and legislators in Congress, have called for the Navy to clean up the contamination and compensate Vieques residents for the health impacts it has caused. Studies of environmental contamination and health impacts are unclear, however, and the Agency for Toxins and Disease Registry – a part of the Centers for Disease Control - has found no significant risk to Vieques residents through any of the environmental media. The EPA is evaluating the possibility of classifying Vieques as a Superfund site; however, it is unclear whether this will ultimately achieve the necessary cleanup seeing that Superfund is severely underfunded and cannot meet its responsibilities even in the continental U.S.

    The purpose of my stay on Vieques was to explore the fishing industry on the island and the behavior patterns of Vieques fishermen. I accomplished this by spending much of my time at the fishing dock, where Vieques fishermen come in and sell their catch. In this way I got to know the fishing community and succeeded in interviewing over fifty fishermen regarding their fishing and the fish consumption patterns of their families. I gathered a large amount of data regarding the demographic characteristics of fishermen and their families, the species of fish they catch and the quantities and seasonal differences, as well as the species of fish they consume, the frequencies, and methods of preparation. I explored how these patterns of consumption vary by season, gender, and age within the community.

    Over the course of the eight weeks, I believe I spoke with the vast majority of fully active Vieques fishermen. Although there are over five hundred registered fishermen on Vieques, far fewer are actively fishing as their primary form of earning a livelihood. Because the summer months are the slow season for fishing, the fishermen I met at the dock were naturally those who fished most seriously and year-round.

    In addition to performing interviews of fishermen, I spent time getting to know the other key players in Vieques natural resource management. I spoke with Mark Martin of the Vieques Historic and Conservation Trust and Oscar Diaz of the Fish and Wildlife Service. I also met with Robert Rabin of the Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques and Colleen McNamara of the Technical Review Committee for the designation of Vieques as a Superfund site. In addition, I met with the leaders of the four fishermen's associations on Vieques. Getting to know the various community members on Vieques was abundantly interesting and helpful in getting to know the issues at play.

    Through this process, I became interested in the social and environmental implications of the process through which environmental health issues are addressed in the U.S. I became frustrated with the lack of accountability to the victims of environmental contamination and the way the greatest burden is placed most often on the victims and not the polluters. I hope to address these questions in writing my senior thesis this year. I hope to explore the issues pertaining to Vieques and consider broadly their implications for other cases of environmental contamination due to U.S. military activity, both in the U.S. and internationally. I would like to evaluate the existing protocols for evaluating risk to health and environment, in particular those used by the ATSDR, to determine why they so frequently place the greatest burden on the victims and not the polluters. I would like to consider Superfund and evaluate its effectiveness in protecting the health of affected communities in the U.S. Finally, I hope to compare the framework in place to protect victims of contamination in the U.S. to that pertaining to victims of U.S. military base contamination internationally, in locations such as Okinawa, Japan, the Philippines, Panama, and islands in Micronesia.

    Elizabeth Turnell, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Track '04
    Internship at the Marine Resources Center at Woods Hole

    Internship at the Marine Resources Center at Woods Hole
    Elizabeth Turnell, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Track '04

    This summer I worked as an intern at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA. The Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) is an international center for research, education, and training in biology, biomedicine, and ecology. I interned at the Marine Resources Center (MRC), which is a research facility as well as a holding facility for the field-collected marine organisms studied by MBL scientists.

    Most of my time at the MRC (30 hrs/wk) was spent in the lab of Dr. Gabriele Gerlach, a biologist who studies behavioral ecology, population genetics, evolutionary biology, and conservation biology. I conducted a research project that explored the role played by visual cues in the mate choice behavior of zebrafish (Danio rerio). Extensive research has been conducted on the genetics and development of zebrafish, which are known as "the new white mice." However, very little is known about the behavior of these animals. The goal of my project was to determine whether zebrafish use visual cues to select mates, and, if so, which visual characteristics are most important.

    The experimental setup was as follows: The subject (an individual zebrafish) was placed in a tank (54 liters) situated between two computer monitors. Each monitor displayed a 3-D computer animated image of a swimming zebrafish. Computer animation was used instead of real fish because it allows for the manipulation of experimental visual characteristics and guarantees the uniformity of non-experimental visual characteristics. Each subject was kept in the tank for 4 sets of 5 minutes, between which the screens were covered for 1 minute and the images switched between the monitors. The percentage of time the subject spent on each half of the tank (i.e., in proximity to each of the two images) was recorded. Time spent in proximity was used as an indication of mating preference, so the image near which the subject spent more time was taken to be the image which the subject found more attractive. Several pairs of images were tested, and in each case the two simultaneously displayed images differed in one characteristic only. For example, one pair consisted of an image of a fish with a normal horizontal stripe pattern and an image of a fish with an abnormal vertical stripe pattern. Another pair consisted of a female-shaped image (with a large belly) and a male-shaped image (with a small belly). Other characteristics tested included normal vs. pale coloration and normal vs. small size.

    My results indicated that zebrafish do in fact use visual cues during mate selection. Male zebrafish strongly preferred the female image over the male image, and female zebrafish strongly preferred the male image over the female image. This indicates that zebrafish use belly size to distinguish between the sexes of conspecifics during mate selection. Male zebrafish also strongly preferred the female image with horizontal stripes over the female image with vertical stripes, and female zebrafish strongly preferred the male image with horizontal stripes over the male image with vertical stripes. This indicates that zebrafish use stripe pattern to facilitate species recognition during mate selection. A preference for normal coloration over pale coloration was found in both sexes, although it was not significant. At the end of my internship I presented my findings at the MBL General Scientific Meetings. My study will be published in the MBL Biological Bulletin.

    In addition to conducting my research project, I also spent 10 hrs/wk on animal care. This involved feeding the MRC animals, cleaning and maintaining holding tanks, culturing live food sources, performing water quality tests, and assisting with veterinary care and necropsies.

    I would definitely recommend this internship to other students. I found the research aspect of my internship to be very educational and intellectually stimulating. Conducting my own research project was an extremely valuable experience. I learned a lot not only about fish behavior, but also about research methodologies and techniques in general. Presenting my findings to the scientific community, both through an oral presentation and a published report, was likewise an important experience. This internship has prepared me for the independent research I hope to conduct in the future as a graduate student, whether it is in fish behavior or in another field of biology.

    The animal care aspect of my internship was also educational and very enjoyable. It was exciting to learn about the many different marine animals housed at the MRC and to take part in their daily maintenance. I gained extensive hands-on experience and a better understanding of the biology of many important organisms.

    Finally, the atmosphere at the MRC was wonderful. Everyone who worked there, from the researchers to the animal care staff to the interns, were incredibly dedicated and exceptionally friendly, and it was a pleasure to work with them.

    Rachel Wasser, Environmental Studies '04
    Harnessing Capitalism: A Study of Women and the Community Based Natural Resources Management (CBNRM) Program in Botswana

    Daniel Wei, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology '04
    Genetic Examination of A. gambiae Species Complex: Understanding the Population Biology of the Main Vector of Malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa

    Genetic Examination of A. gambiae Species Complex: Understanding the Population Biology of the Main Vector of Malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa
    Daniel Wei, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology '04

    In many developing countries, specifically in various African regions, malaria remains an economical and medical threat. The mosquito acts as the vector for transmission and appears to possess the strongest possibility for control of the disease. With increasing resistances to pesticides in mosquitoes and antibiotic resistances to a variety of malaria drugs, understanding mosquito populations has become key to controlling malaria.

    This summer, I spent time sequencing and cloning a variety of mosquito samples from various regions in Sub-Saharan Africa from up to twenty years ago. The two main vectors, A. gambiae and A. arabiensis, are known to interbreed to create viable hybrid females. The regions sequenced were introns of novel genes pertaining to the fecundity of mosquitoes. With samples from the two main vectors from a variety of countries, an analysis was undertaken to determine whether introgression had occurred. Samples from the species A. melas and A. merus were utilized as outgroups. The research involved utilizing a variety of techniques and equipment to sequence and compare the various samples to create a phylogenetic tree. Ultimately, the goal of researching the mosquito is to create a mosquito incapable of carrying the malaria virus and to have it out compete other species. As a result, knowing how genes have been transmitted between species is vital to the success of the project.

    From the research, I learned a great deal about the tedious process of scientific investigation and about the many setbacks that occur. I've also gained experience working through problems independently and researching previous papers to gain a better understanding of possible solutions. The experience with the various electronic devices, especially the sequencer, was extremely valuable as I was granted opportunities at working with machines typically not given to undergraduates. A great deal of research was accomplished and much of the data will be utilized in an upcoming grant. As a senior, the internship was also an excellent way to gain more time on my senior project, thereby allowing me to explore a topic in greater depth. Because of my summer internship, I've come into my senior year with a bit of experience on the various techniques and confidence in the protocols. I'm also aware of the modifications needed to get the various scientific equipment and techniques to work more effectively. Ultimately, it allowed me the opportunity to research a larger senior project without having to utilize the intensive research course.

    I felt the internship was an excellent opportunity and would highly recommend it to anyone interested in experiencing independent laboratory work. The material was also intellectually stimulating; the constant reading and different techniques kept me interested throughout the summer. I was also allowed a great deal of freedom and independent thinking with the project. With a concrete goal for the end of my senior year, I was allowed to pace myself and to focus on certain areas I found more interesting than other areas.

    The only shortcoming of the program was the lack of field experience. Although flying to Africa and back in time is impossible, experience with terrestrial arthropods nearby would have made the program more complete. Possible work with the West Nile virus and mosquito vectors could have allowed a better incorporation of the two but malaria clearly affects a wider population of individuals and funding is clearly easier to obtain with such a large project. The summer was also focused primarily on performing the laboratory work so that analysis of the data was next to impossible (because the time frame was too short). As a result, the internship would probably be best utilized prior to research performed during the school year so that all aspects of the project, from laboratory work to a written paper, can be completed.

    Xizhou Zhou, Environmental Studies and International Studies '05
    Internship with the World Wildlife Fund on the East Dongting Lake Wetland Conservation Project, China


     
  • 2002

    Margaret Aiken, American Studies `04
    Fluctuation in the Population Density of Hemidactlyus frenatus in Careyes, Mexico; Yale Tropical Field Ecology of Mexico Course

    Laura Bozzi, EEB `03
    An Investigation of Phragmites Populations on the Coastal Wetlands of Narragansett, Rhode Island.

    An Investigation of Phragmites Populations on the Coastal Wetlands of Narragansett, Rhode Island
    Laura Bozzi, E&EB `03

    I spent my summer working with the Biological Control Laboratory at the University of Rhode Island, investigating the newly emerged issue of native versus non-native Phragmites autralis.

    Phragmites australis (common reed grass) has become widely distributed throughout the Northeastern US, bordering ponds, marshes, and roadways. The dense stands of the plant, with its tall stalks and bushy heads, are considered by many to be a nuisance. It has been determined (by Kristin Saltonstall of Yale's EEB department) that this 'pest' species is actually a non-native of European origin. In its new environment, it has out-competed not only other plant species, but also strains of Phragmites that are native to North America. The exotic strain has been so successful in comparison with the native that at present the majority of Phragmites stands we see are of the European origin.

    Since the distinction between the native and exotic was discovered, scientists and wetland managers we have been attempting to find remaining sites of native Phragmites. Thus far, only a handful have conclusively found, ranging across the country from Maine to Washington State. My research this summer thus was to try to find such stands in Rhode Island.

    Looking back, I realize that my research methods were fairly haphazard. I was given quite little guidance, and I think that my excitement to begin looking refrained me from creating an organized approach. I began by making countless contacts with people statewide that might be able to give me direction and advice. Once I had a list of potential sites, I set out on daily trips to the sites – driving, hiking – out to fresh, brackish or saltwater sites that ranged from well-protected to extremely disturbed. Once I had found four sites that seemed promising (based on their morphological characteristics), I brought samples down to Yale where I spent two days with Kristin in the lab. Using the PCR/RFLP processes she developed, we tested these samples to know conclusively if they were in fact native. They were not. Still, I found those days working with her extremely educational.

    By the end of the summer, I had traversed a good deal of the state, hiked to some amazing areas and walked through beautiful beaches, but I never found a site of native Phragmites. This fact is frustrating. My consolation is that I feel that the experience taught me the realities of working in a lab, as well as how not to do research.

    I doubt that other Yale students would be interested in following the same path that I took this summer. I would not recommend it anyway. But the issue of native and exotic Phragmites is an extremely interesting and burgeoning one about which I would highly suggest students learn, particularly for future senior research. And of course, I highly recommend that if students are establishing their own project within a lab (and therefore are given little direction), they must be formal and forward-thinking at the start so as to assure the most scientifically sound results.

    Geoffrey Chaiken, Economics '04
    Study of the Luminous Life and Fluorescent Proteins in Cnidaria of Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

    Noah Chesnin, Humanities `04
    Internship with Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI), Washington, D.C.

    Lance Ching, EEB `03
    Population Density Dynamics and Foraging/Basking Behavior of Bataguridae Turtles in Careyes, Mexico; Yale Tropical Field Ecology of Mexico Course

    Kyla Dahlin, EEB `03
    Investigation of Weather Patterns and Rate of Tree Growth in Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest.

    Investigation of Weather Patterns and Rate of Tree Growth in Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest.
    Kyla Dahlin, EEB `03

    This past summer, with the help of a Thoreau research fellowship from the Environmental Studies department at Yale University, I lived and worked at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest (HBEF) in the White Mountain National Forest, near Woodstock, New Hampshire. HBEF is a beautiful, fun, and interesting place where researchers live and work together with enthusiasm.

    HBEF was established by the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service in 1955 as a center for hydrologic research. Since that time researchers from centers around the northeast (primarily Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Syracuse University, Yale University, the Institute of Ecosystem Studies (IES) and the U.S. Geological Survey) have used the forest for major ecological research and experiments. In 1987 HBEF was awarded a Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) grant from the National Science Foundation, making it the longest running LTER in the country.

    The forests in this area are composed primarily of northern hardwood species and Hubbard Brook is no exception. The most commonly found species are sugar maple (Acer saccharum), beech (Fagus grandifolia), and yellow birch (Betula allegheniensis), with red spruce (Picea rubens) and balsam fir (Abies balsamea) in the higher altitudes (the watershed ranges from from 222 to 1,015 m). With the exception of a few experimental areas, the forests have remained uncut since around 1916, when the land was bought by the Forest Service. The Hubbard Brook watershed has been carefully mapped and divided into smaller catchments, allowing for research within small topographical regions. Different treatments have occurred in five of the main watersheds over the past 30 years, from clear cutting to calcium deposition to composition studies, while watershed 6 has remained the "control" watershed, untouched except by researchers looking for baseline data.

    In 1970 watershed 4 was divided into 25 meter wide lateral strips and between 1970 and 1974 the entire area was clear-cut. All trees 5 cm in diameter at breast height (DBH) were felled, and a logging contractor removed all products of commercial value using a rubber-tired skidder. Since that time the watershed has been allowed to regrow, making its oldest trees just over 30 years in age.

    For my Thoreau research project Professor Tom Siccama (Yale's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies) and I extracted 0.34 cm cores from sugar maple, beech, and yellow birch trees in watershed 4. We took at least 10 cores from each species, noting their DBHs. Tree corers remove a pencil-sized cylinder of wood, from bark to pith, allowing tree rings to be counted and measured. These measurements can then be used to calculate growth rates, as well as to infer years of drought, years of heavy rain, etc.

    When I return to Yale in January (I am spending this fall semester in New Zealand, studying restoration ecology), I will measure the rings in these cores, then compare them to cores from watershed 6 trees, which are near 100 years old. The objective of this comparison is to look at how fast young trees grew in the early 1900s as compared to the current rates of growth for new trees. It has been suggested that growth has been arrested by new environmental pressures, such as pollution and acid rain. The results comparison will either support or refute this claim. If the results are conclusive, I may present this research at the next HBEF annual meeting, to be held in July of 2003.

    Melissa Garren, MCDB `03
    Is Coral Bleaching Adaptive?
    Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama.

    Is Coral Bleaching Adaptive?
    Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama.

    Melissa Garren, MCDB `03

    This summer I spent eleven weeks in Panama doing a study of coral bleaching at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. I worked with Oliver Balmer of Yale University, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Professor Nancy Knowlton of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The goal of the project was to evaluate two competing hypotheses regarding the recovery of bleached corals.

    Coral bleaching occurs when corals under stress lose their symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) that normally inhabit the coral. The loss of the zooxanthellae leaves the corals more vulnerable due to deprivation of valuable nutrients provided by the symbionts. There are two different hypotheses explaining how stony corals are recolonized after bleaching by different species of zooxanthellae. One hypothesis is that bleaching is an adaptive strategy whereby corals expel their zooxanthellae in response to altered environmental conditions thereby allowing a better suited species to colonize. An alternative hypothesis is that corals bleach under stress and that the recolonization occurs in a specific progression of species starting with the same pioneer species, regardless of environmental conditions.

    The hypotheses will be evaluated by studying which zooxanthellae species recolonize the stony corals after bleaching. Two months after bleaching and then again one year after bleaching samples of zooxanthellae will be taken and genotyped. Once all of these genotypes are known we will be able to evaluate the validity of each hypothesis.

    During the course of this summer, the groundwork was laid for this evaluation. We determined the original genotypes living in each sample colony and bleached them so that in a year we will be able to evaluate the change in zooxanthellae taxa.

    While I was working on the coral bleaching project, Dr. Nancy Knowlton invited me to do a separate project as my senior research. I collected the samples I will need while I was there and brought them back to Yale to analyze in Dr. Gisella Caccone's lab.

    The Bocas Del Toro region of Panama has never been surveyed to see which genotypes of zooxanthellae are found in which species of coral and how those distributions may correlate to environmental conditions. So, I collected samples of three species of stony coral at the full range of depths in which they each grow at 10 different reefs that are representative of the variety of environmental conditions found in Bocas Del Toro. (i.e. in open water, near freshwater inlets, protected lagoons, heavily visited, very little human traffic, different parts in the current patterns, etc) Over the course of this year, I will assess the genotype of each sample using restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis. Once the genotypes are established the depth, species, and location data will be evaluated for correlations.

    I would highly recommend a fellowship or internship with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama for any Yale student. It was a well-organized institution with many great mentors on hand to guide a student. For me, it was a priceless opportunity to try marine field biology that combined my molecular and ecological interests. Learning to work underwater opened my eyes to the vast differences between recreational scuba diving and scientific diving, which I had not anticipated. My suspicions that this is a field I would like to pursue were confirmed, and I am excited that I have the opportunity to do so over the course of the next year.

    Philip Gerhardt, Environmental Engineering `04
    Strategies for Sustaining Tropical Ecosystems and Organic Farming Methods in Costa Rica, School for Field Studies.

    Strategies for Sustaining Tropical Ecosystems and Organic Farming Methods in Costa Rica, School for Field Studies
    Philip Gerhardt, Environmental Engineering `04

    The Henry David Thoreau Internship Grant allowed me to spend one month this past summer in Costa Rica performing field research under the guidance of the School for Field Studies. As I pursue a B.S. degree in environmental engineering, this experience was a great opportunity to begin a career in the research of methods to protect the environment.

    Costa Rica has developed an economy predominantly driven by agriculture and eco-tourism, making it a perfect place to explore the viability of organic farming in place of traditional farming. The local community is largely based upon coffee farming, and the local coffee cooperatives are very active in the research and efforts of SFS to investigate organic coffee costs, marketing, pest management, and species diversity. Currently Costa Rica is facing many common problems due to traditional farming practices, putting much of the biodiversity and natural resources at risk, in part because of water contamination from pesticide use, and soil erosion. Therefore, while organic farming appears to be a promising alternative, the costs and risks associated with this drastic change must be evaluated before it can be implemented on an agriculturally dependent economy.

    The course was taught by three teachers in the subjects of economy, ecology, and natural resources of Costa Rica. In addition to regular class work on campus, each professor led his own field trip to various parts of the country including the costal regions and rainforests where we performed research in their subject. These frequent trips provided an excellent opportunity to experience the culture of Costa Rica while at the same time setting an educational atmosphere. These research projects included analyzing insect populations in bromeliads as indicators of rainforest health, examining the relationships between the national parks and the local communities through surveys, and an analysis of best land management practices for private owned parks. After each research assignment, the class of twenty eight students was broken into groups to write up lab reports on our results and conclusions, which were then presented in class. The teachers also assigned weekly reading assignments, which was necessary to gain a greater understanding of the material and field research. All topics covered in class, the readings, and the field research was tested in a final exam after the third week of the course.

    The final week of the course consisted of a directed research topic, led by one of the three professors. The topic I chose was using macroinvertebrate diversity and population size in pristine streams as a determinant of water quality and ecosystem health. Pristine streams were used since the ecosystem was healthy there, and then from these results we can derive what populations a healthy stream should have. This topic was examined by using a fine netting to capture insects present on rocks and in the sediment of two streams. The process of collecting and identifying the insects was performed with a group of six other students and our professor, but then this group was separated into pairs to derive our own conclusions from the results. My partner and I examined the viability of using predator orders and their prey as indicators, because of the dependent relationship which the predators have on their prey. From this we identified members of the order Odonata as the best indicators due to their consistently high populations throughout the seasons in a variety of microhabitats and consistent prey. Research in this topic is going to continue at the school over the next five years, so that at the end of that period we may have a baseline standard with which we can compare other streams and account for variances in seasons.

    In addition to this research, other trips were led to organic and conventional farms where we compared practices and the results of these methods. We explored a variety of different parks, from community owned, national, and private, and the positives and negatives of each. While much of the course revolved around the effects of ecotourism, these other trips presented the opportunity for us to examine other critical aspects of a developing agricultural economy.

    Overall, I found this to be an extremely valuable experience for many reasons. This was my first chance to perform research outside of the lab, which I found very interesting and exciting, and has opened me up to a career in research. In addition, I was also given the great opportunity to experience a new culture. We were given many chances to practice our Spanish, whether it was through conducting interviews or simply interacting with people in town. Finally, the course allowed me to interact with other students from all over the country, and faculty from all over the world, and since then we have been keeping in close touch. I would absolutely recommend this course to any other Yale student interested in the environment.

    Lauren Gold, MB&B `03
    Researching Health-Related Environmental Policy with the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, State Department, Washington D.C.

    Researching Health-Related Environmental Policy with the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, State Department, Washington D.C.
    Lauren Gold, MB&B `03

    As an intern with the U.S. State Department Office of International Health Affairs (IHA), within the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES) this summer, I wore the hat of research assistant, note-taker, ambassador to other offices, and odd-job manager of the office itself, and I think I learned as much as I contributed.  I saw firsthand U.S. government action, programs, research and initiatives to combat the epidemic and those ignorant to its reach.  I learned that the role of the office is to coordinate U.S. foreign policy on health issues, the major health issues today being HIV/AIDS as well as tuberculosis and malaria.  Through meetings, briefings, and interagency preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, I saw the vital intersection of health issues with security, agriculture and food supply, economics and development, demographics and social structure, and I saw the vital work done in by the OES bureau.

    As the State Department's arm for all scientific and environmental international issues, OES deals with air and space, biotechnology and genetic engineering, science and technology cooperation, health, and environmental issues.  Climate change, toxic chemicals and pesticides, biological diversity, forest loss, and ocean depletion are the most common environmental issues dealt with by the State Department in partnership with the EPA, the World Bank, the UN, NGOs, CBOs, and the private sector.

    Likewise, IHA brings together executive, legislative, and educational departments in partnership to deal with health issues.  IHA provided major contributions towards the structure, support basis, and litigation of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria.  A non-political and non-UN affiliated funnel for individual, national, and collective funds for government and NGO-sponsored programs in developing countries, the Fund is currently reviewing its second annual round of applications and has already promised over 400 million to projects in 40 nations. GFATM represents a major international step in the fight against infectious disease worldwide, and the U.S., as the largest contributor to the Fund, is dedicated to its success.

    I learned that the State Department often functions as a microcosm of the controversy and competing interests and agendas of the U.S. itself, and that a major role of the office I worked in was promoting interest and commitment to health issues among the various regional bureaus which coordinate bilateral and regional relations. To this end, every member of OES serves a specific regional area, updating country officers within the State Department as well as negotiating directly with health and environmental ministers and national officials worldwide.

    Members of OES also serve as ambassadors in various multilateral fora. A major part of my work was spent researching health issues in preparation for the U.S. delegation to the WSSD, the World Summit on Sustainable Development, held this August in Johannesburg. More than just "Rio+10," a reaffirmation of the goals and progress since the Earth Summit, delegates to WSSD set out to broaden support, commitment towards, and understanding of sustainable development as well as concrete and quantifiable action.  In addition to the Platform for Action reminiscent of each UN-sponsored international conference, WSSD embarked on a mission to coordinate "Type II" intra- and international partnerships to act on the goals in health, energy, water, oceans, biodiversity, and agriculture.

    The concept of partnerships, I learned, was not left for the international agenda. Much U.S. action on health and environmental issues was geared towards moving responsibility out of the hands of government and into the private sector. "Public-private partnerships" are underway throughout Washington and the nation as a key strategy towards tackling infectious disease.  To this end I helped coordinate and research for a conference on Public-Private Partnerships in Sustainable Development, at which Secretary Powell spoke to CEOs and government officials eager to work together to meet the goals of WSSD.

    A multi-sectoral approach, as I became aware, is the only realistic way to fight HIV/AIDS and the only way to fight for sustainable development.  OES is committed to promoting a broadened understanding of the ramifications of health and environmental issues and to prioritizing these issues within current U.S. policy.  To do this, we must begin to understand issues of sustainable fisheries, or transboundary water issues in the Middle East, child labor, community-based forests, climate change in the arctic, HIV/AIDS, and national security as intertwined and interdependent.  The issue is no longer whether to treat or to prevent AIDS, to eliminate pesticides or to promote biodiversity.  The issue now is how we can integrate programs and foster real partnerships.  As Dr. Zedillo and Dean Merson stressed at Yale's own briefing on the Barcelona Conference on AIDS this past week, creative and sustainable approaches to these issues are no longer optional, as they have touched and will continue to touch us all.

    Scott Goldberg, Economics and Studies in the Environment `03
    Tropical Ecology in Costa Rica, Organization for Tropical Studies.

    Andrew Hamilton, Undecided `05
    Investigation of the Epiphytic Relationships of Orchid Species Growing in Costa Careyes, Mexico; Yale Tropical Field Ecology of Mexico Course

    Investigation of the Epiphytic Relationships of Orchid Species Growing in Costa Careyes, Mexico; Yale Tropical Field Ecology of Mexico Course
    Andrew Hamilton, Undecided `05

    For my field project I originally had hoped to study the local orchid population of Jalisco, Mexico, cataloguing the species present in the tropical semi-deciduous forest, studying their preferred substrates, tree partiality, light requirements, or perhaps population density. However, after two weeks of trekking through the topical semi-deciduous forests in the vicinity of Costa Careyes, I realized much to my dismay that the local orchid population, though significant in certain areas, was too inaccessible to feasibly study. Determined to not put my weeks of neck craning to waste, my focus changed to the remaining populations of epiphytic plants: the bromeliads and tillandsias.

    Both bromeliads and tillandsias are commonly found tropical and subtropical plants of a monopodial habit that commensally inhabit the branches of many trees and shrubs throughout the forest. They are of varied size and structure but most commonly possess multiple fleshy lanceolate leaves, often with a serrated edge, arranged in a radially symmetric pattern around a central apex of growth. Though anatomically quite similar their principal taxonomical difference lies in the manner through which they epiphytically affix themselves to a tree's branches. While bromeliads have strong wiry roots that tightly wrap around the exterior of a branch, tillandsias have no visible roots, bearing only a rhizome that attaches each subsequent year's growth to the previous one. Ultimately the tillandsias are of a vine-like construction and drape themselves across the branches of a tree creating net-like clumps that tangle with the tree's branches to securely fasten themselves into the tree while bromeliads are more often found as individual plants tethered to the top and sides of branches.

    As I began to study these other species, I found that they lived in a broad range in altitude in the forest canopy; some fell at eye level while others soared more than a dozen meters in the air. As I trained myself to distinguish between bromeliads and tillandsias, I wondered if the two kinds of plants were found at interchangeable ranges and shared a common habitat or if due to their varied anatomical structures the plants had different potential needs and occupied two stratified levels in the tree's branches. As such I designed a field project that intended to survey and analyze the heights of bromeliads and tillandsias throughout the forest in the hope of better understanding their habitat distributions and resource requirements.

    Ultimately I am both pleased and satisfied with the results of my project. Given the restriction of the allotted time, I feel my study capably demonstrated the clear existence of a relationship between the heights of bromeliads and tillandsias and even went as far as to provide a basic structure for that relationship. The data I collected illustrates that bromeliads and tillandsias do occupy two different habitats and that most likely this is the result of resource partitioning. The study failed to define the confines of these habitats, but clearly showed that this relationship merits further examination. I am confident that with an increased sample size of five hundred individual trees a more distinct and defined trend would exist in the data. Coupled with more powerful mathematical tools and techniques, this extended study would create a more substantial data set in which outlying data points could be reliably distinguished and removed from the data set so as to further solidify my data and would also perhaps elucidate a causal relationship between the habitat of the bromeliad and that of the tillandsia.

    Additionally, in this restructured study I would attempt to find a better way to sample the population. Though in the confines of this study the sampling method was adequate, in a more advanced study I would devise a way to randomly sample specific trees over a greatly increased area, perhaps taking into account a broader variety of forests requiring a stratified random sample , or find a logical way to randomly select one epiphyte of each variety from a tree until five hundred data points apiece were collected . I would also only sample trees in which both bromeliads and tillandsias were present as through the results of this study I demonstrated that there was a distinct and direct relationship between the heights of the bromeliads and those of the tillandsias in which the bromeliads continually preferred the higher habitat. Ultimately I would find a laser measuring device to replace the geologist's measuring tape, as all of my calculations were based upon my distance from the tree's base and not the exact position of each individual epiphytic specimen, as this level of accuracy was impossible to acquire with the very basic tools I had available to me here in the field.

    If after conducting this study a distinct range in habitat height could be produced from the data, I would then extend the project once more to form a study in which species of tree and epiphyte would be taken into account. Only with this information could the study produce information with a broader scope useful for locating specific species of bromeliads in certain areas within a forest. Without the tree species, or even the bromeliad or tillandsia species, the practical applications of the study are greatly reduced as the data fails to address particular species or individuals within the forest. However given sufficient time, research, funding, and technology, I would not be surprised if a correlation could be proven between epiphytic growth and certain species of trees of a particular height and stature. This information would provide invaluable insight into the epiphytic plants' selection process for host substrates and would allow invaluable knowledge of the intricate workings of the population dynamics of the tropical semi-deciduous forest's ecosystem as a whole.

    Emily Hurstak, EEB `03
    Research and Development of Policy on the Preservation of Ecosystems and Endangered Species with the United States Department of State, Bureau Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Washington D.C.

    Research and Development of Policy on the Preservation of Ecosystems and Endangered Species with the United States Department of State, Bureau Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs,
    Washington D.C.
    Emily Hurstak, EEB `03

    The Environmental Studies Fellowship allowed me to pursue an internship and independent research while working for the Bureau of Oceans, International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES) at the United States Department of State. OES develops foreign policy in the areas of US policy on the environment, international development, terrestrial conservation, global climate change, marine conservation, emerging infectious diseases, and science and technology. This summer I aided the office of Ecology and Terrestrial Conservation (ETC) in preparation for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). My principal assignment was to prepare research binders and working/speaking notes on key subjects for the participants at the CITES 12th Conference of the Parties (COP-12) to be held in Santiago Chile in November.

    Illegal logging and the international trade of mahogany are important issues for the upcoming COP-12. Since early February, the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has withheld millions of dollars in shipments of mahogany from Brazil due to concern over the validity of CITES export permits and legal origins of the wood. Several US veneer corporations are currently suing APHIS and the US government due to the detainment of such shipments. OES contributed research and advisory position directives for the handling of this case. I was able to read through the legal case documents and identify certain mistakes or missing information on CITES licenses and/or permits as well as incorrect reading of the Convention documents in general. I also completed research on the current support for the proposal to list mahogany under Appendix II of CITES, thus offering it more protection under the Convention. Other tasks included preparing working notes or talking points on key issues for WSSD and CBD. One of the highlights of the internship was attending a hearing before the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works and the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations during which the Assistant Secretary of State John F. Turner (OES) presented information on the implementation of environmental treaties.

    My internship with OES was very instructive and I was able to learn about many key environmental issues while also seeing how the government functions in relation to foreign policy and the environment. My office encouraged me to pursue topics and projects that I found intriguing and gave me the flexibility to attend hearings and other interesting meetings. Although I found that the research I completed didn't necessarily aid in my senior project as directly as I had previously thought it would, I still found the experience very edifying and helpful for future career deliberation. Unfortunately, my clearance was not processed until midway through the summer even thought I had prepared and submitted my paperwork several months before the due date. Although the intern office informed me that this year was particularly slow for the processing of security clearance, I understand from other students that this has happened to others in the past as well.

    Fortunately, I was able to find another unpaid internship with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Regional Office of the World Health Organization (WHO) during the time that I waited for my clearance to be processed. At PAHO I worked in the HIV/AIDS Division for a Dr. who specialized in infectious diseases and specifically on behavioral research on HIV/AIDS. I researched and wrote a paper that was presented at the International AIDS Conference in Barcelona in July. My paper summarized and presented all of the large-scale behavioral surveys/studies on sexual behavior that have been completed in Latin and South America over the past 5 years. This data was presented in order to clarify and highlight some sexual norms and general population knowledge of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in Latin America. It was intended to emphasize the areas that have not been focused on in the past and to motivate greater sexual education for the general population. I also worked on a database that will be linked the PAHO website and present all of the published behavioral studies in Latin America.

    My internship at PAHO was very flexible and allowed me to work very independently on my own project. I was also able to attend conferences on global health and environmental health issues as PAHO hosted a speaking series in celebration of its 100th Birthday. Although my internship didn't focus on environmental health, I think the Environmental Studies Fellowship should support future research opportunities on environmental health with PAHO. It was a wonderful place to work and I found the experience very worthwhile and gratifying. As for the State Department, I think it is a wonderful place to work granted they make some guarantee to future interns that they will process clearance before the summer has started. I know they didn't even start on my file until June, even though it had been submitted in February. Unless they develop a better system, it doesn't seem like an appropriate internship for motivated students considering other exciting options in environmental studies. I was lucky enough to find another good opportunity, but others might not be so fortunate. I really appreciate the opportunity the Environmental Studies Fellowship provided me with. I was able to pursue two exciting unpaid internships while living in Washington D.C., an experience that would have been impossible without the Fellowship's support. My future career aspirations and education goals have developed further as a result of these experiences.

    Judith Joffe-Block, History or EP&E `04
    Finca Loma Linda Agroecology Internship: Coto Brus, Costa Rica. 

    Finca Loma Linda Agroecology Internship:
    Coto Brus, Costa Rica. 
    Judith Joffe-Block, History or EP&E `04

    My Thoreau Internship allowed me to spend 8 weeks in a coffee growing community in the Coto Brus valley in Southeastern Costa Rica. My internship was with the research farm Finca Loma Linda and Programa Pueblos, a brand new organization that was founded in 2000 in Agua Buena, Costa Rica. The program's aim is to work with both the coffee cooperative in town, Coopabuena R.L., as well as community farmers on an individual level to transition to sustainable farming methods as well as more equitable (more profit for the farmer) methods of distributing their coffee.

    The Programa Pueblos Internship stemmed out of a pre-existing relationship between UC Santa Cruz and Darrell Cole, the director of the internship. Cole is an American-born farmer and researcher who runs Finca Loma Linda, a research farm devoted to the goal of reducing chemical use in Agua Buena. It was the collaboration between Cole's Finca Loma Linda and the head of Coopabuena R.L. that brought about Programa Pueblos. Before the inception of Programa Pueblos, undergraduates from UC Santa Cruz would come to the Agua Buena area to assist Cole with his research in organic growing techniques and soil nutrition on his research farm, Finca Loma Linda. Undergraduate interns continue to do home-stays during their internships, which range from 7 to 10 weeks. There are about half a dozen families in town that regularly host students, and the majority of these families are farmers who have already began to utilize sustainable methods on their personal plots.

    Currently, undergraduates involved in the program focus their time on the projects of Programa Pueblos which are: education and outreach to the community about organic and sustainable farming, reforestation of the hillside surrounding the village, and direct marketing of the coffee from Coopabuena R.L. directly to contacts in the U.S.

    I decided to focus on the education and outreach element through working at the demonstration site in the center of town. The site was established by former interns, and includes an organic vegetable garden (no chemicals are applied, but it would still not be certifiable as organic because of other synthetic inputs and chemical residues), a greenhouse, a compost battery, and a demonstration in sustainable livestock is in the works. I spent most of my time tending to and extending the demonstration vegetable garden. No synthetic chemicals or fertilizers are added to the garden crops, and the garden is intended to demonstrate the principles of rotation, diversity, and organic soil nutrition. I spent a lot of time digging beds in the garden, which was a long process as in order to create a rich substrate for the vegetables to grow in, each bed was made by first digging out soil, then laying out a layer of sod on the base, and then alternating soil layers with broza--decomposed coffee berry husks, which is a waste product of the coffee production process. I also participated in collecting data in the greenhouse for an experiment in the production of radish, corn, cabbage and beans in soil-less substrates. The aim of the demonstration site is to serve as an outdoor classroom to farmers in the community who are interested in learning new techniques that do not involve pesticide use, as well as educate the youth in the community as the plot is directly across the street from the elementary school. The focus of the site is vegetable production rather than coffee because given the crisis in coffee prices, it is in the best interest for coffee farmers to diversify from coffee monoculture and produce vegetables on the side for household consumption or possibly the market as well.

    Besides learning economical techniques in sustainable agriculture appropriate for the rainy tropics, perhaps the other most fascinating element of the internship was the ability to see a movement toward sustainable development in such a young stage. Many farmers in the region still do not know about goals of Programa Pueblos and there is still much of the program that has yet to be defined. It is clear that there is much to be done by the way of educating the entire community about the program, and gaining more involvement and input from the farmers themselves.

    I am very grateful to the Environmental Studies Internship because my experience in Costa Rica was incredibly rich, and I never would have been able to go had it not been for the monetary assistance I received. I learned a tremendous amount in the field about organic growing techniques and scientific procedures for research. Furthermore, I was able to view agriculture and global trade from a new perspective. My project of working with Programa Pueblos was especially intense because it combined science and a concrete education in sustainable agriculture techniques with the political and sociological element of being in the middle of an effort that ultimately is hoping to change the way farmers in the community grow and sell their crops.

    As a history major, part of my goal was to try and understand the reasons that farmers had for transitioning to sustainable techniques. Through informal interviews with a number of farmers who had stopped using chemicals on their plots, I learned that their answers ranged from the economic benefit of not buying agrochemicals, to a religious obligation to nature. I also learned that most conventional coffee cooperatives in Central America cannot survive with the current coffee prices, and that either fair-trade certified (this cooperative, Coopabuena R.L., qualified as fair trade—but it was still only a small percentage of their coffee that received the fair trade premium) or organic-certified coffee is the only way for a cooperative to produce coffee profitably in the current market. Therefore, this project of attempting to get the members of the coffee cooperative to transition to sustainable methods as a whole is not only about the environment and health, but also about the need for these producers to adapt to a new coffee market.

    My experience with this project has made me want to continue researching in this field for my senior essay. I am interested in pursuing research to see what other coffee growing communities in Latin America have done in the wake of the coffee crisis. I am still in touch with people from the village that I stayed in, and they are in the process of making arrangements to have their coffee be available to be marketed directly to the U.S. I plan on working with these friends in Costa Rica to find contacts in the U.S. who are interested in purchasing coffee from Coopabuena R.L. at a price that is cheaper than what a distributor would charge, and the farmers would still get more profit because no middle men are involved. Such a program will hopefully allow some money to come back into the community and encourage new advances in sustainable techniques on a larger scale in the Agua Buena area.

    Andrea Kanner, EEB and Anthropology `04
    Internship with the Sierra Club on Reducing Suburban Sprawl around Washington D. C. 

    Internship with the Sierra Club on Reducing Suburban Sprawl around Washington D. C. 
    Andrea Kanner, EEB and Anthropology `04

    This past summer, I worked with Sierra Club, a grassroots organization focused on various environmental issues, in Washington, D.C. Although Sierra Club focuses on many different issues, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Office was focused on a clean air campaign to improve air quality throughout the metropolitan region. Currently, the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region is known for having some of the worst air quality in the nation. The goal of the clean air campaign is to inform citizens about the state of the air quality and ways in which it can be improved.

    Our main goal over the summer was to reduce the construction and expansion of highway lanes. Although people have a tendency to think that widening roads will solve traffic and air quality problems, it actually only perpetuates them. When a new road is built, people perceive less traffic, so they decide not to carpool or use mass transit, and the new lanes merely fill up again. Additionally, new roads allow businesses to push out into rural areas, since the news roads make it easy for people to patronize the business. This additional driving causes the release of more emissions into the atmosphere, and increases the health problems in the area. Sierra Club wanted to highlight these problems, and promote more mass transit.

    My job focused on two different areas of the Clean Air Campaign. The first was to promote the construction of the Purple Line metro line on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. The bridge is currently being expanded to include more lanes of highway to service the growing population in the area, as well as HOV lanes, which are high-occupancy vehicle (carpool) lanes. Although this does promote carpooling, which reduces the emission of nitrogen oxide compounds (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), it is a temporary solution. Sierra Club wants a long term solution, so since the Department of Transportation is already widening the bridge, Sierra Club also wants them to plan for the future, and provide cost-effective metro service which can transport as lanes of traffic during rush hour.

    The second aspect was to inform non-traditional allies about the health problems resulting from more driving and more emissions. My job was to coordinate presentations of an air quality video that highlighted the health effects of widening lanes and increased driving, like lowered immunity to respiratory problems and decreased lung function, and listed ways to improve air quality, such as reinvesting in metro-accessible areas and clustering businesses around metro stops. The target groups of non-traditional allies included civic associations, parent- teacher organizations, and senior centers. By informing people about how air quality affects them (or, particularly, their children and parents), people are more likely to stand by a cause. Sierra Club realized that it can't merely use environmental reasons to reduce sprawl. Instead, they have to focus on how sprawl affects people. People in general may be in support of a clean environment, but they aren't going to change their daily routine overnight without good reason.

    This facet of the internship took the majority of my time. Since the video had only recently been finished, my job was to organize the presentations from scratch. I had to create handouts and an information packet for local volunteers to help them make the presentations throughout the metropolitan region. I also had to create a database of potential places to present the video, and contact people from the group to set-up times to present the video. Since my job was only the beginning in a year-long effort to promote clean air education, it is difficult to summarize the result. However, most of the groups that we made the presentation to supported our campaign, and many were willing to sign-on to a letter that Sierra Club is sending to the Governors of Maryland and Virginia. The campaign has started out well, but many target groups were on hiatus over the summer, so Sierra Club hopes that once they get the opportunity to make the presentations to these groups, they will also be responsive.

    Overall, this internship was worthwhile. Not only did I have a concrete job responsibility, I was also able to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes at a grassroots organization. For instance, Sierra Club was in a lawsuit with the EPA over the fact that the EPA gave the metropolitan region an illegal extension to meet clean air standards highlighted in the Clean Air Act. Sierra Club won the lawsuit, forcing Washington leaders to formulate new ideas to meet the stricter regulations imposed on the area. It was very interesting to be able to go to those meetings, and hearing the ways the region hopes to improve air quality. Whereas other interns can feel that they were performing trivial labor, I really was thrown into the thick of things, and was able to hold a specific responsibility and complete it my own way. I would recommend those interested in the environment to apply for an internship with Sierra Club. Sierra Club gave their interns real responsibilities and flexibility as to how they were to perform their tasks. Additionally, I learned about how the government works with the environment, and what needs to happen in order to improve the environment through legislation.

    Hanan Karam, Environmental Engineering `03
    Tradeoff Analyses of Different Combinations of Mixed Crop and Livestock Systems with the International Potato Center at La Molina in Peru.

    Tradeoff Analyses of Different Combinations of Mixed Crop and Livestock Systems with the International Potato Center at La Molina in Peru.
    Hanan Karam, Environmental Engineering `03

    Funding from the Environmental Studies department at Yale helped me cover the expenses of my twelve-week internship at the International Potato Center (known as CIP, its Spanish acronym) located in Lima, Peru. CIP is a nonprofit scientific institution that works to bring about sustainable increases in the production and utilization of potato, sweetpotato, and other roots and tubers in developing countries. It is one of the 16 centers worldwide under the umbrella of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, which is primarily sponsored by the World Bank and the United Nations.

    I interned in the Department of Production Systems and Natural Resource Management at CIP, under the supervision of the head of the department, Dr. Roberto Quiroz. During the first eight weeks, I learned about using remote sensing, and particularly satellite images, in natural resource assessment and monitoring. I learned the techniques used in processing satellite images and statistical methods used in analyzing spatial patterns in these images.

    I worked specifically on a satellite image of the Peruvian Altiplano. The Altiplano, in southern Peru, western Bolivia, and northern Chile forms one of the world's highest and largest plateaus, second only to Tibet, with an average elevation of 12,000 feet. Livestock production is the mainstay of the population in the harsh environmental conditions of the Altiplano. Remote sensing has very important applications in monitoring the condition of rangelands over the large area of the Altiplano, especially because of the high temporal and spatial heterogeneity over the region due to the effect of natural variations in climate and soils, in addition to variation in management.

    I traveled for two weeks to Puno, the capital of the Peruvian Altiplano located on the shore of Lake Titicaca. I worked with colleagues in the department and with members of rural communities around Puno to carry out ground-truthing of portions of the image. The processed image that we produced is being used by the department within research and development projects targeting the region and its people.

    In the final four weeks, I worked on the assignment of writing a literature review about the developments in research on overgrazing. Overgrazing occurs as a result of inadequate management of grazing in pastoral systems leading to a decrease in the productivity of rangelands. It is especially prevalent in arid and semi-arid environments.

    The review will contribute to a research/development project aimed at increasing the productivity and sustainability of livestock production systems in mountain agroecosystems, with benchmark sites in the Andean Altiplano, the Tibet plateau, and the Ethiopian highlands.

    My internship experience helped me develop a research project for my senior thesis. I will make use of and continue to build on the skills and knowledge I acquired in processing and interpreting satellite images, as well as my understanding of the dynamics of arid and semi-arid environmental systems and the effects of different forms of resource use and management on these systems. My senior project will consist of studying changes in landscape patterns in the arid and semi-arid regions of Syria over time, using satellite imagery, to understand their association with biophysical factors and human use.

    In the bigger picture, my internship at CIP helped me gain confidence in the field of natural resource management, which I have always been interested in but had not had the opportunity to pursue during my first three years of coursework at Yale.

    I strongly encourage people who are interested in natural resource management, agriculture and rural development to pursue an internship there. The department has many ongoing projects and there is a lot of opportunity for interns to learn and contribute. Their work is rigorous scientifically and advanced technologically and involves a lot of modeling of different production systems and environmental processes. The department's primary focus currently is working on agricultural and livestock production systems in mountain agroecosystems, with partners in Tibet and the East African Highlands within the Global Mountain Program

    CIP in general provides a great working environment. The other departments in CIP include integrated pest management, genetic research, development of food processing technologies, peri-urban agriculture, and conservation of biodiversity. I strongly encourage you to check out the website: www.cipotato.org and write to the supervisors of the projects you're interested in.

    You don't need to know Spanish to intern at CIP, but if you're learning Spanish, it's a great opportunity to practice it. There is a lot to see in Peru, and working at CIP allows interns to learn more about the country than the average tourist would. I had no problems with safety there.

    Taylor Larson, EP&E `04
    American Crocodile Conservation; Yale Tropical Field Ecology of Mexico Course

    American Crocodile Conservation; Yale Tropical Field Ecology of Mexico Course
    Taylor Larson, EP&E `04

    With the grant I received from the Environmental Studies Department I was able to fund my participation in Yale's Field Ecology of Mexico class, which took place during the summer of 2002 in an area along the Jalisco Coast of Mexico. This experience was one of the most unique and interesting of my life and certainly a major highlight of my Yale career so far.

    The class had eight students and was led by Yale Professor Theodora Pinou. For approximately two and a half weeks the class took trips every weekday to study nearby ecosystems. This area of Mexico is home to an extraordinary array of biological diversity, both in flora, fauna, and the ecosystems as a whole. During these excursions we listened to lectures by Professor Pinou and by many local experts who took time to speak with us. We collected animal and plant samples for later study, and all the while we were required to keep detailed field notes, which were later transcribed into field notebooks and turned in.

    At the end of this time each student transitioned to his individual field project. My project was to estimate the population of the American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) in the mangrove swamps that occurred in a nearby piece of property. Before I began, however, an unexpected opportunity presented itself. I was able to spend four days living and working with a pair of local crocodile biologists who were on a trip studying other nearby populations of C. acututs, during which I had the opportunity to learn to count and capture crocodiles in the field.

    Upon returning to the class, I borrowed a small boat and electric motor from a local man and recruited classmates to drive the boat. Each night, roughly between the hours of nine and 12, I entered the nearby mangroves to conduct my population study. I navigated the boat in a straight line through the narrow bodies of water, marking each turn I made as a waypoint on my Global Positioning Satellite device. I scanned the water with my headlamp, looking for the reflection of the crocodiles' eyes as they floated just beneath the surface. Once a crocodile was spotted, I approached it as closely as possible to estimate its size. I then recorded the time and its location and size.

    My results revealed a large and healthy population of C. acutus in the region, and I concluded that the reason for this health was that the land had been undeveloped and isolated from poachers. My directive for future action was simply that the land be kept undeveloped.

    In this course I learned a great deal about tropical ecology, but what I value even more is the opportunity I had to conduct my own research project. It was through this endeavor that I learned not only about a creature that fascinates me but also about research methods that will be valuable to me in the future.

    Michelle Lee,  EEB `04
    Recolonization of Bird Populations in a Tropical Shrub Forest; Yale Tropical Field Ecology of Mexico Course

    Madeleine Meek, Environmental Studies `04
    An Introduction to Sustainable Development Projects In and Surrounding Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar.

    Damon Nakamura, EP&E `04
    Nesting Behavior and Conservation of Green Sea Turtles; Yale Tropical Field Ecology of Mexico Course

    Nesting Behavior and Conservation of Green Sea Turtles; Yale Tropical Field Ecology of Mexico Course
    Damon Nakamura, EP&E `04

    The 2002 Thoreau Fellowship enabled me to take part in the Yale Summer Programs Tropical Ecology Seminar in Mexico from July 9 - August 10. The month long summer program was located the town of Careyes in Jalisco, Mexico. Careyes is an extremely small pueblo, of population no more than 100, and set directly across from our residence, Hotel El Careyes. Our group of eight students also had some household accommodations along with nightly dinner with a local family, the Peña's, who graciously accepted our class into their lives as both clients and friends. The experience had three significant components: formal academic work, independent research projects, and exposure to new cultural and social systems.

    Academically, the first two weeks of the class were spent learning about the general ecological and geological makeup of the region. We took a number of significant field trips to accomplish this purpose. One afternoon was spent visiting an area called Teopas Beach, where we saw standard coastal ecology and the surrounding mangrove inlets along the estuaries. Another was spent looking at the tropical deciduous forest, located at the Chamela Field Station run by UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico). We also visited a nearby coastal town called Tamarindo, which displayed the majestic, tropical palm forests, an area that more closely typified what I expected the tropics to look like. Finally, we studied the effects that clear cutting areas of trees had played on the ecosystem in a local farmland called Rancho Sarco. Though hectic, this initial study of the area was useful to understand the components before beginning our research projects.

    The final two weeks was devoted to my independent project, an examination of the nesting behavior of the Olive Ridley Sea Turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea). Assisted by Alejandro Peña, the local caretaker and naturalist, I adopted a nocturnal schedule and learned how to locate, handle and protect the egg clutches of females who nest nightly from the end of July through November. From July 22 through August 6, forty two turtle nests were found over four beaches, each with clutches ranging from 68-120 eggs. In eight of these cases, the female turtle was spotted, and measured. The actual data that I collected, which consisted of situational variables, most importantly GPS coordinates, were all compiled into a study looking for correlations between relative nest placements. The preliminary results did show some patterns in nesting locations along certain portions of the beach, leaving interesting questions about the year to year nesting habits of sea turtles and their memory and tracking capabilities.

    The location and format of this program really made the experience. The act of living together as a class of eight diverse individuals and a professor was on the one hand a challenge and on the other hand an extremely reward social situation. Of course there were personal differences and conflicts in living habits, but as a whole, we all had the chance to participate in a stimulating environment. Over the month we snorkeled, sunbathed, toured, relaxed, argued and subsisted together. We spent a weekend on an organic farm. We attended the town's first communion and local party. We frequented the local disco. We learned Spanish together. We caught crocodiles. And of course, we studied ecology. It wasn't always perfect. It wasn't always pretty. But looking back, it certainly was valuable.

    William Parish, EP&E `04
    Community Forestry Research with the Tata Energy Research Institute in India.

    Community Forestry Research with the Tata Energy Research Institute in India
    William Parish, EP&E `04

    I am extremely grateful to the sponsors of the Thoreau Internship fellowship for giving me the opportunity to carry out my Hindi language study and community forestry research project in India this past summer. With no previous study of the language, by the end of the summer I was able to have a wide range of basic conversations in Hindi. This allowed me to interact with and get to know many non-English speakers, and was particularly useful on the field visits I took for my research. In the research component of the project, 1) I learned strategies for conducting independent social science research, 2) I became knowledgeable about forestry (and particularly community-based forestry) in India, and 3) I produced a 20 page report on my findings, which I submitted to the NGO I worked for and many officials in the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

    I began the summer's project with a three-week intensive Hindi language course in a hill town 5 hours north of Delhi called Mussoorie. I took four hour-long, one-on-one classes every day with very good language teachers and spent evenings doing homework, reading and listening to language tapes. I lived with a wonderful family in the town with whom I ate all my meals, had many conversations and spent a lot of time. I learned reading, writing, essential grammar and basic conversation skills at the school, and just began to appreciate and understand some of the complexities of the culture by living with the family.

    I spent the remaining eight weeks doing research on Joint Forest Management (JFM) with an environmental NGO called the Tata Energy Research Institute that Gus Speth, Dean of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, recommended to me. JFM is a twelve-year-old program designed to protect and regenerate government forestland (97% of India's forests are government owned) with the active involvement of local communities. Deforestation is a major problem in India for any number of social and environmental reasons, and since the JFM program covers 20% of India's forests and appears to be working very well in some areas, I thought it was an important topic to try to understand.

    For my research I a) reviewed existing literature on JFM, b) conducted 22 individual 30-100 minute interviews with JFM experts working with a variety of government and non-government organizations, and c) visited JFM projects in three different states. My final report examined nine key issues in JFM and offered methods of dealing with some of the primary challenges facing the program and ideas about several promising opportunities for the future. I made a presentation for the Forestry Division of the Tata Energy Research Institute and submitted my report to the officials I had interviewed in the Ministry of Environment and Forests. I am attaching my final report, which contains the conclusions I drew from my research.

    My experience this summer was not only wonderful and interesting, but it was also very important for me in figuring out what I want to study and possibly even what I want to do with my career. Before the summer, I was majoring in EP&E and focusing on environmental studies. I am now trying to create my own major to study sustainable development, and have broadened my perspective on what are the most important problems that need to be addressed in both the developed and developing world. I gained a much better understanding of the perspective of people in developing countries, and began to appreciate the connections between poverty and environmental degradation, healthcare/education and poverty, etc. I am taking Economics of Developing Countries and Economics of Sustainable Development this semester, and am considering doing my senior essay with a focus on India.

    There are few recommendations I would make to improve the fellowship program. For me, although I received little guidance from my sponsoring organization, the experience of doing independent research was extremely rewarding. It was also useful for me to learn that I am less interested in research than more directly focused action – either from a policy, journalistic or NGO perspective. Overall, it was an extremely valuable experience for me, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to other students.

    Adam Schempp, EP&E `03
    A Case Study of the Lower Colorado River: Evaluating the Effectiveness and Rationality behind Major Streamflow Diversion as a Possible Solution to Water Shortages.

    A Case Study of the Lower Colorado River: Evaluating the Effectiveness and Rationality behind Major Streamflow Diversion as a Possible Solution to Water Shortages
    Adam Schempp, EP&E `03

    My Thoreau Internship Grant supported my summer research of Lower Colorado River water allocations in Washington, D.C. I found it to be a tremendously enlightening experience and vital to the foundation of my senior thesis work. I plan to use the information that I gathered from human and literary sources while there to write my senior essay, which is intended to provide a concise but detailed understanding of the entirety of the issues surrounding the Lower Colorado River Basin and evaluate the rationality of such a solution for future water shortages.

    Upon reaching Washington, D.C., I contacted Christine Karas of the Bureau of Reclamation, which is a division of the Department of the Interior. Throughout her career, she has been involved in many Lower Colorado River Basin projects, making her a wealth of knowledge about the many interests on the Colorado River. Her specialty is environmental protection, so she was able to explain many of the ecological concerns facing the Lower Basin.

    My next pursuit was to find maps of the Lower Colorado River Basin. I was fortunate to find and copy a map of the Lower Basin that contains all the current and proposed water projects of that region. The map was created by the Bureau of Reclamation and included their projects as well as those of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Energy, and many more. I also found a map of the principal power facilities in the Western United States and the power grid that connects interconnects them. The map was created by the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) and neatly displays the intended destination of the bulk of the power production from these power plants due to the capacity of the lines and what cities they extend to. This information can be very useful for determining the value of energy production, not per megawatt hour, but by the industrial production of the areas that rely on it.

    After having found good visual resources, I wanted to find answers to my more technical questions. I had arrived in Washington knowing what information I was unable to find in Yale libraries and on the Internet. I searched the Library of Congress' database for all resources pertaining to the Lower Colorado River Basin and found quite a lot of information. I spent several days skimming those books that appeared to be of greatest benefit to my study. Three resources in particular answered many of my questions, provided me with many quantitative estimates, and filled some gaps in my understanding of the Colorado River system.

    In addition to the knowledge that I gained while in D.C., my research established new areas of concern for me to pursue and the contacts and resources necessary for that end. Few studies concentrate on more than one issue on the Lower Colorado River, let alone approaching the entire system holistically, which leaves me with a lot of new territory to cover and a lot of research do. My senior thesis could never be as comprehensive as it will be without spending time in D.C.

    Linda Shi, Environmental Studies `04
    Summer Internship with the Center for Biodiversity and Indigenous Knowledge in Kunming, China.

    Benjamin Smith, EEB `03
    Analyzing the Viburnum dentatum Complex for Ecological, Morphological, and Molecular Patterns.

    Analyzing the Viburnum dentatum Complex for Ecological, Morphological, and Molecular Patterns
    Benjamin Smith, EEB `03

    This summer was an adventure in plant collecting. Throughout the months of June, July and August, I embarked on several plant collecting trips, looking for the mysterious Viburnum dentatum species complex, and learning the techniques of field collection, culminating in a 4- week trip down the coast from New Haven, into the Southern states. Dentatum is a species rich in morphological variation that presents itself drastically as you drive along the North-South cline of North America.

    "Collecting plants?" I thought at the beginning of the summer, "that'll be a cinch." I soon found out that I was quite wrong. I drove down to South Carolina, where I was to start my coastal journey, spent a night with a friend, and set out on route 17, South, looking for my plants This summer was an adventure in plant collecting. Throughout the months of June, July and August, I embarked on several plant collecting trips, looking for the mysterious Viburnum dentatum species complex, and learning the techniques of field collection, culminating in a 4- week trip down the coast from New Haven, into the Southern states. Dentatum is a species rich in morphological variation that presents itself drastically as you drive along the North-South cline of North America.

    "Collecting plants?" I thought at the beginning of the summer, "that'll be a cinch." I soon found out that I was quite wrong. I drove down to South Carolina, where I was to start my coastal journey, spent a night with a friend, and set out on route 17, South, looking for my plants on the sides of the roads. After 10 stops that day without a hit, I finally found some of the desired plants, right before it got dark. Being in a completely different ecosystem than the ones around campus had thrown me off, and I had lost my sense of where Viburnum would grow. I collected a few samples, felt a little better about myself, and bunked down for the night only to be devoured by voracious mosquitoes.

    The next week, I started to get a sense of the local surroundings. The South was amazingly different than what I was used to complete with weird vines, mud chiggers, and strange accents. But the local environment started to grow on me. I learned that the plants I was looking for grew in only the wettest of places in the South, and I started to recognize the indicator species for this type of environment. I got better and better at finding my plants, stumbling upon them on an intuitive hunch and excitedly running back to my car to get my plant collection materials.

    I drove down from South Carolina, through Georgia and into Florida, West through the Jungle-like diversity of the Apalachicola river basin and the Gulf of Mexico, and north through Alabama and the Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia, and the Smokey Mountains of North Carolina. I had variable success along the way, as I waded through disparate ecosystems sometimes finding my plants exactly where I thought they would be, and sometimes going for quite a while without finding anything. However, my missed attempts at finding the plants were just as beneficial to my learning process as my successes. The action of driving 4000 miles up and down the North-South axis of the country, searching for one species group in particular, and observing the total changing surroundings in general, was extremely helpful for my sense of how ecology, species distribution, and individual plant morphology all change with large distances.

    Immediately after crossing the Virginia border from North Carolina, my car, an old one, sputtered to a halt and refused to start up again without serious repair. I camped out for 4 days in Virginia Beach, waiting for the car to be made operational, and finally resigned myself to the abandonment of my samples, and took a 20-hour bus ride home to New Haven, arriving just in time for school to start. I then traveled back down to pick up my car the following weekend. When I arrived back home with my samples, I had 60-odd individual samples of various shapes and appearance. This fall, I will analyze the samples for quantifiable morphologic variation, and attempt to map out a phylogeny of the various samples.

    I don't know what I will find in the coming analysis of these samples, but the collecting journey I went on this summer is a wonderfully concrete way to ground the abstract nature of the lab portion of the experiment and hopefully this year will provide a wonderful way to extend the adventure and learning of the summer.

    Abhimanyu Sud, MCDB and Linguistics `03
    Urban Agriculture in Bangalore, India with the NGOs Agriculture, Man, and Ecology, the Karnataka Compost Development Corporation, and the Women's Dairy Co-Operative, Sampark.

    Urban Agriculture in Bangalore, India with the NGOs Agriculture, Man, and Ecology, the Karnataka Compost Development Corporation, and the Women's Dairy
    Co-Operative, Sampark
    Abhimanyu Sud, MCDB and Linguistics `03

    I worked with the non-profit group Mythri Sarva Seva Samithi (Mythri) to develop an urban agriculture project in Bangalore, India. This project allowed me to work with a whole range of people I would not otherwise have even met, given that we were from different linguistic, cultural, social and economic communities. Despite these communal differences some very strong relations developed from which I learned a great deal about urban agriculture, 'development' projects and a whole range of other issues.

    The notion of urban agriculture is currently not very prevalent in Bangalore and thus my primary purpose while there was to make it a viable activity. I did this in several ways. The first was the development of actual site for urban agriculture. An area of about 550 square feet was made into cultivatable land, where we grew sunflower, beans, peas, melons, squashes, potatoes and the like for local consumption. This may be called the physical aspect of the project. It is hoped that this garden site can be used as a model and inspiration for future projects in Bangalore and other cities.

    Second is the social aspect, where the project was associated with other viable and vibrant social activities: the activities of a women's group advocating for the safe and proper development of their living conditions and the waste management and labour organizing activities of Mythri. These groups are very interested in continuing a relationship beyond Bangalore as am I, so that we keep in close touch even now.

    This contact shall allow for several things. Firstly, we can continue our discussions of urban agriculture in general as well as the specifically the development of the Bangalore site. Furthermore, it leaves avenues open for those in Bangalore interested in coming to Canada or the U.S. to develop an urban agriculture project here and also for future students (at Yale and elsewhere) and activist to return to Bangalore and work on the existing project there. I am eager to facilitate such an exchange, and will work primarily to make it a true exchange, instead of the one-way movement of people and ideas (from Canada/U.S. to Bangalore), which is predominant now.

    This experience has given me a great deal. Immediately, I hope to use it as the basis for a senior project for the Biology major. The challenge for this is to incorporate the social and 'activist' nature of urban agriculture into the rational and experimental approach of typical biological research. More importantly, for me however, is the ultimate impact of this project, i.e. on future directions that my work can take. My understanding of urban agriculture has broadened immensely and there are now several long-term projects related to this field that I will be pursuing. Particularly powerful for me has been this idea of developing urban agriculture for specific purposes, which was so pressing in Bangalore given the strong profit-motive amongst residents there as well as the novelty of the activity. My experience in Bangalore has given me the energy and experience to begin pursuing urban agriculture projects earnestly and intelligently upon graduation.

    Dow Tang, Environmental Engineering `05
    Internship in Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park Monitoring Sea Turtles and Controlling Invasive Exotic Species.

    Internship in Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park Monitoring Sea Turtles and Controlling Invasive Exotic Species
    Dow Tang, Environmental Engineering `05

    My trip to Hawaii where I researched the effects of invasive species on the native plants and animals of Hawaii taught me much about the troubles that the Hawaiian native habitats face. The biodiversity of Hawaii is not only endangered by the careless spread of non-indigenous species, but also the continuous flow of tourists that visit to see the island. Since my trip was an independent study project, I also ran into logistical and financial troubles. However, the independent study taught me many valuable life lessons that an environmental study program could not have.

    During my three weeks in Hawaii, I spent about two and a half weeks of my time on the southeast part of the Big Island of Hawaii in the Volcano's National Park, and half a week in Oahu studying at the University of Hawaii. In the park I hiked and camped around studying the various habitats that the invasive species lived in. From the beach to the rainforest to the volcanic rock areas, the impact of invasive species on the native plants and animals within the park was evident. I personally saw many mongooses and rat homes all over the park. I never saw a feral pig, but those are very hard to come by. Before I went on the trip, I read about the natural history of Hawaii and found that the Big Island has many species of birds. However, I did not see a wide variety of birds in the National Park, and I have come to the conclusion that the invasive species are behind this lack of numbers. The National Park was very accessible, but I first had to find out where it was safe to hike and camp. There are areas of the park where only Hawaiian locals should be, and one should definitely not camp anywhere near the lava flows. Other than that, camping in the National Park was very straightforward.

    The last half-week, I flew to Oahu in order to do research at the University of Hawaii's Library where they have a large collection of works that deal with this problem of the Hawaiian islands. It was there that I learned the names of professors to contact who were also researching the same issue as I was. I have been in contact with them and want to stay in contact with them so that I can learn more from the data they collected in the National Park.

    I believe that the impact of invasive species on the native plants and animals of Hawaii are extremely great. It was sad to walk through what once were rainforests, dry lands, and coastal areas filled with native plants and animals. However, I believe through dedication we can turn back the sands of time and restore the Hawaiian Islands to their once original pristine conditions.

    I thoroughly enjoyed my work in Hawaii. The lodgings were great (mostly outdoors) and the scenery could not have been anymore beautiful. My hikes were not too long. My maximum hikes were ten hours and along the way I would take pictures of the different birds, plants, and if we were lucky (I was never quick enough) animals. Mongooses were much too quick to take pictures of.

    I learned a lot about the Hawaiian islands socially, economically, and politically. For me personally, it was really interesting to see that I was the majority there in terms of race. I was considered an islander, and was treated with more respect than the tourists of non-Asian descent. Honestly, it was nice to be part of the majority and to be part of a brotherhood. It taught me from a first hand experience of how subtle racism can be.

    Elizabeth Waldman, History `03
    Internship in Kununurra Branch of the Governmental Organization Conservation and Land Management (CALM) in Western Australia.

    Internship in Kununurra Branch of the Governmental Organization Conservation and Land Management (CALM) in Western Australia
    Elizabeth Waldman, History `03

    As an intern for the Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM) in Kununurra, Western Australia, my original project for the summer was to create a video documentary recording the life, experiences and knowledge of the oldest Traditional Owner (aboriginal people) of the Mitchell River Plateau, Wilfred Goonack. Unfortunately, Mr. Goonack became seriously ill in late May and passed away in mid-June, soon after I arrived in Australia, so that I was unable to complete my original project. David Grosse, Senior Operations Officer at CALM, and I brainstormed other possible projects I could effectively complete in the duration of my internship and decided that I should work to research and compile a detailed, informative report about all aspects of the Mitchell River Plateau, which would then be used to develop visitor information packets, signs, and brochures and would eventually serve as the foundation of a book.

    The Mitchell River Plateau, home to the Wunambal-Gaambera people, is one of the most inaccessible parts of Australia and as a result the Plateau remained relatively unexplored and developed until the Reynolds Metal Company and AMAX Mining Company set up exploratory camps in the area in the mid-60s. The mining company's creation of basic infrastructure on the plateau allowed for scientific access for the first time and in 1976 scientists from the Western Australian Museum conducted an extensive Biological Survey concluding that the Plateau is one the most biologically rich areas in all of Australia. In 2000 Western Australian Premier Richard court announced the creation of the new Mitchell River National Park at which point CALM took over management of a significant portion of the Plateau. Therefore, CALM's tenure in the area is relatively recent and while there is a great deal of information about the area available, no one has yet made any significant effort to compile and organize it into a systematic report.

    In conducting my research I used a variety of sources including internal reports, interviews, published histories, Internet sources, and scientific studies. My final report was over 70 pages long and organized into 10 sections: Introduction, European History, Aboriginal History and Culture, Geology, Flora, Fauna, Climate, Management, and Tourism. I hope that the report, which I produced, will serve as a valuable tool for designing visitor information pamphlets and programs as well as serving as the foundation for a book to be published about the area within the next 2 years.

    Overall, I felt that my internship was a very valuable experience. I enjoyed the opportunity to learn about the internal workings of a government agency and the chance to work closely with rangers and other personnel in the office. Producing the report gave me an opportunity to learn extensively and in great detail about the Mitchell Plateau and a great deal of insight into how to design and manage extensive research projects.

    Unfortunately the research that I conducted this summer is not easily continued into a history senior essay. However, I do plan to continue to work in the environmental field and hope that my experience with CALM may serve as a foundation for other jobs in the field of environmental management.

    While I enjoyed the opportunity to conduct such extensive and systematic research and to learn deeply about this incredible area, the highlight of my summer was not the research itself by the opportunity that it gave me to visit the Mitchell Plateau. As one of the most remote areas in all of Australia, the Plateau is incredibly difficult and expensive to reach. However, it is also one of the most beautiful, renowned for its diverse flora and fauna and breathtaking scenery so that tourists from around the world pay to travel to the Plateau and see its spectacular waterfalls, aboriginal rock art, and rare wildlife. However, as an intern for the Department of Conservation and Land Management I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to visit the Plateau several times this summer with CALM employees and spent a significant amount of time exploring and appreciating the amazing natural beauty of this remote area.

    Patricio Zambrano, Economics or Environmental Studies `03
    Internship with POEMA in their Program to Spur Sustainable Development and Reverse Environmental Degradation in Amazonia.

    Internship with POEMA in their Program to Spur Sustainable Development and Reverse Environmental Degradation in Amazonia
    Patricio Zambrano, Economics or Environmental Studies `03

    My work at POEMA began in full as I came to understand its strengths. POEMA struck me as an institutional breakthrough, functioning as an umbrella that brings together the NGO POEMAR and all its projects, and the enterprise POEMATEC, defying common misconceptions about NGOs and corporations incompatibility. It also keeps academic and educational links as part of the Environmental Nucleus of the Federal University of Pará, and it creates a multidisciplinary atmosphere where professionals can do research and work towards the goal of sustainable development in the Amazonia. This functional network demonstrates with practical examples that preconceptions about different social, economic and political bodies. It shows that an innovative gathering of different perspectives--whether social, economic or academic-- brought together with strong coordination can produce similarly innovative responses to problems like environmental degradation and poverty.

    I joined Bolsa Amazonia , a Regional Program that promotes the commercialization of sustainable Amazonian products. As a Program developed by the NGO POEMAR that works with a number of independent communities, it allowed me to work at a mid-operational position, where I could meet distinct people with different roles. The Bolsa Amazonia bridges the gap between marginal economic actors and the international markets, while simultaneously presenting economic opportunities for rural Amazonian communities and through the sound use of natural resources. I had a particular interest in working there. Environmental degradation may be unconsciously triggered when small communities are overexposed to international demand, which usually has unsustainable patterns of production-consumption. The Bolsa works closer to the more vulnerable side of the market, and my experience there taught me that this gives them a chance to have a broader perspective and to be fairer arbiters.

    One of the most valuable lessons I acquired from my internship is so obvious that is often underestimated. Those of us who work in sustainable development must understand that, fundamentally, we have to look for an interest convergence. This is perfectly illustrated with the case of POEMATEC. Part of my internship consisted in visiting each stage of production of the fiber auto parts (see photos). Rural communities near the city of Belém like Praia Grande utilize what would normally be their waste and transform it into the raw material for auto parts: fiber ropes. Like Praia Grande, there are 10 other communities and towns involved in the initial stages of the production chain. The personnel involved at this stage are part of the community. The partnership with POEMATEC and DaimlerChrysler has provided mainly two important resources for the community: wind powered batteries for electricity and potable water. DaimlerChrysler trucks in Brazil are improved not only by tangible elements, like natural fibers, but also by abstract factors like social and environmental responsibility.

    After careful examination of my activities in POEMA, and after entertaining insightful discussions with the main coordinators of the Program, Dr. Nazaré Imbiriba and Dr. Thomas Mitschein-- we agreed that improvement of sustainable development internships was necessary. Interns usually arrive in organizations like POEMA with specific objectives and with the aim to gain certain knowledge. POEMA benefits from the help interns can provide while learning, but only during a limited period of time (the time spent by the interns at the organization). The tangible, long-term benefits are disproportionate: while interns can gain a number of useful skills for future applications, institutional hosts cannot gain as much, considering that the intern's return is not guaranteed. In terms of sustainable development, this is crucial. Social, environmental, cultural, and rightful economic values have to be promoted not only by the words of interns, but by joint action of both hosts and guests. I have been thinking about the possibility of offering an enhanced experience where people like Thomas and Nazaré can visit Yale and, for example, join panels or offer talks, as much as they do in other international venues. New partnerships can be established by coordinating research projects by the Forestry School, for example, and POEMA, and by working on similar issues simultaneously.

    The fundamental idea behind this is that governments, establishments and organizations in countries like Brazil cannot longer be seen uniquely as objects of study, but as subjects of action and as potential collaborators for mutual benefit. Having said this, I not only recommend my experience to more students. I recommend the University to join as well.


     
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