Environmental Studies Program

Departmental News

January 11, 2024

Students and Faculty Pose with Brandeis Banner in Dubai at COP28Brandeis Environmental Studies Students and Faculty attended the 28th UN Climate Change Conference, better known as COP28. They joined an estimated 90,000 individuals in attendance at this controversial conference– notorious for being held in a petrostate by the head of the UAE’s national oil company. Read about their experience at the conference here.

Brandeis' attendance was supported by the Thoreau Foundation and the Youth Environmental Alliance in Higher Education (YEAH).

November 10, 2023

Photo of Forrest Shimazu in front of bird decalForrest Shimazu '24, was selected as the winner of the campus wide bird strike decal design competition that was held as part of the Brandeis Year of Climate Action 2022-2023. His decal was installed fall 2023, and it will help prevent bird strikes on campus. Learn about bird strikes and the inspiration behind Forrest’s design here.

September 22, 2023

Professor KashwanThe New Indian Express featured an article about the use of solar geoengineering or Solar Radiation Modification (SRM) technologies to reduce climate change. Professor Kashwan weighed in about the risks such technology could create if the Global North uses the Global South as testing grounds. In response to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy report recently released, Professor Kashwan stated “It is bit ironical that the report flags potential for transboundary harms of solar geoengineering outdoor research but pays little attention to the potential for severe disruption of monsoons that are the main source of drinking water and irrigation critical to the lives and livelihoods of at least a billion people in South Asia, South-east Asia, and Eastern Africa.”

August 30, 2023

Professor Dan PerlmanThe Washington Post’s Climate Coach Newsletter featured a beautiful photo of fireflies burning bright by Professor Dan Perlman in their recent newsletter. The article mentions the impact of Professor Perlman’s tree walk lessons and “place in the woods" project in relation to how personal experiences help to restore nature.

July 12, 2023

Sabine von MeringAccording to Professor Sabine von Mering’s NPR article, while we have seen progress in the education system, many teachers say they aren’t able to fit climate education into the curriculum, given the pressures of standardized testing.

July 27, 2023

collage of photos of speakers during year of climate actionAfter nearly two years of planning, 2022-2023 became Brandeis’ first-ever Year of Climate Action. The entire year was dedicated to developing a deeper understanding of climate change as an issue of social justice. More than 3,300 people attended 57 campus events and programs. Hear 10 ways how the Year of Climate Action at Brandeis made a difference through Brandeis NOW.

July 7, 2023

Daniel on the farm with two young apple treesDaniel Block ‘25 has begun his Davis Project for Peace at Zumwalt Farms in Sheldon Illinois this summer. His project is entitled "Stewarding Sustainable Relationships Between Rural Midwestern Communities and the Soil in the Era of Climate Change." Read about his experience on Brandeis Now.

Photo/Malia Cafasso '24

June 21, 2023

Graphic of person with a ladder putting the broken pieces of the world back togetherThe phrase "repairing the world" lies at the heart of what Brandeis is all about. The expression derives from the Hebrew — tikkun olam means "world repair" — and reflects Brandeis' Jewish roots, though its meaning today is secular and universal. Mostly, it signifies the university and its community members’ commitment to making the world a better place.

Brandeis faculty, including ENVS Professor Prakash Kashwan, reflect on what repairing the world means to them in this Jewish Experience article featured in Brandeis at 75.

June 12, 2023

Brandeis Environmental Studies

ENVS student Andie Sheinbaum will conduct environmental research with Charles River Watershed Association as part of the Environmental Studies Mentorship Program this summer. The mentorship is funded by the Thoreau Foundation.
Hear about her experiences this summer through this page.

June 12, 2023

Katy Tanzer stands by a sign next to the Ballard Locks which connects Lake Union and the Puget SoundKaty Tanzer is participating in a NOAA College-Supported Internship Program this summer. Her internship is in Seattle with NOAA Fisheries where she will conduct research focused on understanding Pacific salmon ecosystems and investigate the driving forces of invertebrate drift. Katy is a rising junior majoring in Environmental Studies and Applied Mathematics. The internship is funded through the Hiatt Career Center Rauch Family Trust Internship in Climate Change. Hear about her experiences this summer through the Hiatt World of Work blog here.

June 12, 2023

Brandeis ENVSThis summer, ENVS student Madeline Logan will conduct environmental research with Earthwise Aware as part of the Environmental Studies Mentorship Program. The mentorship is funded by the Thoreau Foundation. Hear about her experiences this summer through this page.

June 5, 2023

Sabine von Mering The developers of Hanscom Field in Bedford, MA are proposing a massive expansion, enlarging the airport by more than a half-million square feet and creating 27 new hangars. Professor Sabine von Mering shared why this would be an act of climate injustice in this WBUR article.

June 5, 2023

Brian DonahueA new report commissioned by the New England State Food System Planners Partnership outlines the role New Englanders can play in making the region’s food system stronger and more self-reliant.

Professor Emeritus Brian Donahue is one of the 16 researchers behind the study exploring the opportunities and needs along the food supply chain in New England for the region to be able to feed itself in the coming years.

May 30, 2023

Brian DonahueWildlands in New England is the first U.S. study to map and characterize all permanently conserved lands in one region that are managed to be forever wild.  The report provides a baseline and a clear path forward for policy makers, landowners, conservationists, and citizens to accelerate Wildlands conservation — permanently protecting land from development and active management while allowing natural processes to unfold with minimal human interference. Professor Emeritus Brian Donahue is one of the authors of the report.

May 15, 2023

Kat Danziger stands in a riverA desire to make a difference, a love for the outdoors and little help from her mentors helped Kate Danziger ’23 find her first job after graduating from Brandeis — working for the National Park Service at the Niobrara National Scenic River in Valentine, Nebraska.

May 3, 2023

Headshot of Daniel BlockThe Davis Projects for Peace is an initiative that encourages students to design grassroots projects for peace that they themselves will implement anywhere in the world during the summer after the award is granted.

Daniel Block '25 is the awardee for Summer 2023. Daniel is majoring in Environmental Studies and American Studies, with a minor in Legal Studies. His project, entitled "Stewarding Sustainable Relationships Between Rural Midwestern Communities and the Soil in the Era of Climate Change," will be carried out in Sheldon, Illinois at Zumwalt Acres. This farm is a regenerative agriculture community working to develop a model of land stewardship in Illinois that is ecologically sustainable and socially responsible, rooted in Jewish values. It sits on the traditional unceded homelands of the Kickapoo, Peoria, Kaskaskia, Potawatomi, Myaamia, and Očhéthi Šakówiŋ peoples.

May 2, 2023

Mazzi Ingram sits behind a pile of colorful clothingBrandeis students participated in a upcycling workshop organized by ENVS major Mazzi Ingram '25 this spring 2023 during the Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts. This environmental studies major student is making an impact with her sustainable efforts both on and off campus. 

Photo/Gaelen Morse

Kate Danziger '23 wins the Molly W. and Charles K. Schiff Memorial Award in Science

May 1, 2023

Kate DanzigerKate Danziger ‘23 received Brandeis’ Molly W. and Charles K. Schiff Memorial Award in Science, which is given to one or more students who show creativity and originality in science, fine arts or archeology.
Miranda (Andie) Sheinbaum wins the Herman and Bessie Blum Memorial Award

May 1, 2023

Miranda SheinaumAndie Sheinbaum ‘24 received Brandeis’ Herman and Bessie Blum Memorial Award, which is given to a junior who contributes to the well-being of their fellow students through kindness and consideration.
Maggie Del Re wins the Joseph and Ida Burtman Award

May 1, 2023

Maggie Del ReMaggie Del Re ‘23 received Brandeis’ Joseph and Ida Burtman Award, which is given to a student who displays scholarship and general leadership.

April 6, 2023

Prof Sabine von Mering Headshot Photo

Prof. Sabine von Mering was selected as one of the "2023 Public Voices Fellows on the Climate Crisis" by The OpEd Project and the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication (YPCCC).

The year-long experience will convene "a cohort of 20 climate change thought leaders, with a focus on people with backgrounds that have been historically underrepresented in the mainstream media, and will provide extraordinary support, leadership skills and knowledge to ensure their ideas shape not only their fields, but the greatest and most urgent conversation of our age."

April 4, 2023

Prof Prakash Kashwan Headshot

Food forests are bringing shade and sustenance to U.S. cities, one parcel of land at a time. Building a food forest brings together neighbors, neighborhood associations, community-based organizations and city agencies. It represents a grassroots response to the interconnected crises of climate change, environmental degradation and social and racial inequity.

Prof. Prakash Kashwan and UNH Professor Karen A. Spiller describe how food forests are an excellent way to protect nature without displacing people using Boston Food Forest Coalition as a case study in this article in The Conversation.

April 3, 2023

Prof. Colleen Hitchcock stands next to the Project Pollinator Sign surrounded by native plants

Project Pollinator was launched almost 10 years ago to restore pollinator and herbivore populations to promote local biodiversity and beautify a favorite observation spot on campus. Prof. Hitchcock explains the history behind the project and its importance today in this video.

March 31, 2023

Bill Mckibben speaks into a podium microphone

Environmental activist and author Bill McKibben visited Brandeis as part of a daylong conference in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Center for German and European Studies and Brandeis’ Year of Climate Action.

February 23, 2023

Brandeis Environmental Studies

The 2022 Earthwise Aware (EwA) Phenology Report features research by Kate Danizger. Kate is a current environmental studies and biology double major who began to work with EwA as an intern, and continued on with the organization to conduct a senior thesis project. This report incorporates Kate’s research on the Northern red oak (Quercus rubra) and the white oak (Quercus alba).

February 23, 2023

Brandeis Environmental Studies

George Soros has taken an interest in a controversial plan to shield the rapidly melting Arctic from the warmth of the sun. Professor Prakash Kashwan was quoted in this article by E&E News/Climate Wire, making note to the dangerous power dynamics at hand should Soros fund such an initiative.

February 2, 2023

Brandeis Environmental Studies

We are sad to share that Laura Goldin, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Studies, passed away Feb. 2, 2023, at the age of 71 in Austin, Texas. Together with Attila Klein, she established the Environmental Studies minor in 1995, and in 2007 she was the driving force behind the creation of the major. Prof. Goldin was a beloved teacher and mentor. We invite you to learn more about her work through this tribute in The Hoot by Victoria Morrongiello or through the letter from Brandeis' Provost.

February 3, 2023

Photo of Prakash Kashwan, Aarti Gupta, and Bill Moomaw

The Office of Sustainability & Environmental Studies hosted an international panel on the science, policy and politics of climate geoengineering as part of the Year of Climate Action at Brandeis. The event, which was held from 2:30-4 p.m. Jan. 31 in Rapaporte Treasure Hall, featured speakers from Tufts University and Wageningen University in the Netherlands, with Prakash Kashwan, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies and Affiliated Faculty at the Heller School, moderating. Madeline Rousell's article in The Hoot provides an overview on the discussion.

Photo/Julia Birnbaum

November 9, 2022

Photo of Sabine von Mering

CGES Director and Professor of German and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Sabine von Mering has been named the winner of the Volkmar and Margret Sander Prize by Deutsches Haus at New York University.

The Volkmar and Margret Sander Prize honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the cultural, political, and academic relationship between the German-speaking world and the United States. It is awarded annually in the fall and is endowed with a $5,000 grant.

January 23, 2023

Brandeis students and faculty stand with a Park Ranger in front of a large cactus at the entrance to the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument sign and building.

Five Brandeis students traveled to the Sonoran Desert to see the environmental effects of the U.S.-Mexico border wall and to participate in a science communications workshop that was sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The students are all working under an NSF grant to the EMIGRA project, the Spanish acronym standing for "Equitable Governance of Migratory Species and their Habitats." They have been learning about how to protect migratory species across international borders.

One of the students, Cooper Gotfried, shared his account of the trip in an article in the Brandeis Hoot. Click the link to read his story.

November 6, 2022

Maggie Del Re and Matthew Baharmast attend Photo at Cop27

Brandeis Environmental Studies students Maggie Del Re and Matthew Baharmast attended the UN Climate Change Conference (Cop 27) this year in Sharm el Sheikh Egypt. The students received support from Youth Environmental Alliance in Higher Education (YEAH) Network and the Maurice J. and Fay B. Karpf & Ari Hahn Peace Endowment Award to attend. During the conference they presented about Brandeis’ Year of Climate Action at the conference.

September 1, 2022

Prof Warner in front of Warming Strip

During Brandeis’ Year of Climate Action, Professor Sally Warner decided to take on an ambitious project — sewing a 40-meter-long climate warming stripes banner. Warming stripes are a visual way of depicting the changes in global temperature due to anthropogenic climate change.

August 31, 2022

Photo of Prof. Prakash Kashwan

Dr. Prakash Kashwan joined the Environmental Studies Faculty in fall 2022. After an early career in international development, Kashwan received his PhD in 2011 from Indiana University. He joined the faculty at the University of Connecticut in 2011, most recently serving as associate professor and co-director of the Research Program on Economic and Social Rights in the Human Rights Institute.

Kashwan’s research focuses on the social and political dynamics surrounding global environment and climate issues, working at the intersection of justice, power, and governance. His scholarship engages climate justice questions from a global perspective including research on the broader fields of global climate governance, climate justice, and environmental justice. Kashwan has a demonstrated record of excellence in teaching, offering graduate and undergraduate courses on global environmental politics, environmental and climate justice, contentious politics, political economy of development, South Asia in world politics, and quantitative research methods.

August 25, 2022

Photo of Prof. Hitchcock

Prof. Colleen Hitchcock contributed to a new publication in Nature Portfolio, titled "Citizen science in environmental and ecological sciences." The publication defines citizen science, explains why it is a valuable to scientists and practitioners, identifies key issues, provides a range of examples of applications, and discusses limitation and challenges.

July 6, 2022

Photo of Prof Charles Chester

Biodiversity conservation efforts have been criticized for generating inequitable socio-economic outcomes. For more than a century, critics have pointed to how conservation has led to inequitable outcomes, often imposing a cost on those with the fewest resources.

Professor Charles Chester argues alongside scholars from a number of universities that inequities could be addressed through a form of "payments for ecosystem services" (PES) in this new publication, titled "Using Ecosystem Services to Identify Inequitable Outcomes in Migratory Species Conservation." This publication highlights problematic outcomes that can occur in efforts to conserve migratory species, and how PES could be used to address the problems.

Despite an ongoing debate over the fundamental effectiveness and equity of PES, each case study in the scholarship shows that not only has a PES not been made, but that the cost of conservation has been paid by those who are not receiving an associated ecosystem service benefit. It is incumbent on the conservation community to recognize and address such inequities. Read the publication here.

July 1, 2022

Photo of Prof. Brian Donahue

"Go Farm, Young People" is a new pamphlet by Brian Donahue, Faculty Emeritus, that urges people to do what many already want to do: help revitalize rural America. Prof. Donahue argues that revitalizing rural America is critical to reforming our food system, protecting biodiversity, and slowing climate change. The challenge is, how can young people be supported so they can gain access to land, and make a decent living? Prof. Donahue offers suggestions on how to face the challenge in this informative pamphlet.

May 24, 2022

Photo of Philip Lu

Phil successfully completed one-on-one mentoring, workshop activities, and leadership projects that furthered Federal Asian Pacific American Council's goal of equal opportunity and cultural diversity. Phil was recognized for the exceptional high quality of his work during the Career Development Mentoring Program for High Performers.

April 26, 2022

Photo of Prof. Charles Chester

Parks and refuges are important for conservation, but without connections, they're like islands. Prof Chester shared how linking parks and refuges by protecting land in between makes it possible for wildlife to move over bigger areas in this article in The Conversation.

April 21, 2022

graphic of a woman with headphones and green background with little environmental icons

While it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the effects of climate change, staying informed and taking action can mediate climate-related stress and inspire others to make a change. The Environmental Studies Faculty shared their favorite media recommendations and advice for engaging in climate action with Brandeis NOW.

Making Discoveries Below the Surface

April 12, 2022

Photo of Emily Bischoff

"If you're considering studying abroad — go for it. ...You’ll be making your own amazing memories exploring new places, trying different activities, and meeting new people." — Emily B. ’22

Biology and Environmental Studies Student, Emily Bischoff shared her study abroad experience in Panama with Brandeis Undergraduate Admissions.

April 4, 2022

Photo of Elizabeth Bradfield

"Going out there on the water and being alive — it’s a vital part of my life. Without it, I feel stuck. Grounded. Time on the water — hopefully in a way that gives back to the beings I love — feeds my ability to write, in direct and indirect ways." — Elizabeth Bradfield, Co-Director of Creative Writing and ENVS Affiliated Faculty. 

Professor Bradfield was featured in the BrandeisNOW. Read more abou her exprience as a naturalist and poet here.

March 30, 2022

Photo of Prof. Brian Donahue

It is with deep gratitude that the Environmental Studies Program notes the impending retirement of Professor Brian Donahue. Despite his youthful demeanor, Brian likes to report that he first came to Brandeis 49 (49!) years ago. Over that half century, he earned three degrees at Brandeis (BA, MA, and PhD, all in history) and was a founding member and pillar of the Environmental Studies Program.

January 19, 2022

Photo of the ocean with a fence

A tsunami raced across the Pacific Ocean after the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano eruputed in Tonga on Jan. 15, 2022. Professor Sally Warner explained the physics behind the tsumani on The Conversation.

January 14, 2022

Photo of Yellowstone National Park

Professor Charlie Chester co-authored a paper on the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Conservation Initative and its contribution to expansion of consevation in the region.

September 14, 2021

Brandeis Environmental Studies

Brandeis University’s independent student newspaper The Justice interviewed Prof. Colleen Hitchcock, about the development of the Climate Justice, Science & Policy minor. Read on to learn how and why Environmental Studies launched the minor!

August 12, 2021

Photo of Prof Charles Chester

Professor Charlie Chester reflects on the conservation history of the Appalachian trail, and where we need to head in the future in his piece for The Conversation.

July 23, 2021

Photo of Prof. Sally Warner

What generates the waves that surfers will ride at the Olympics? Where do the waves come from? And why will the new Olympians be surfing at Tsurigasaki Beach? Professor Sally Warner provides insight on the waves for surfing at the Olympics in this article on The Conversation.

July 22, 2021

Sonali Anderson ’22, Priyata Bhatta ’22, and Kate Danziger ’22 were awarded a Hiatt Career Center World of Work (WOW) Fellowship to fund their internships this summer. They will each share their internship experience on Hiatt's blog site.

July 7, 2021

Peniamina (Ben) Percival ’18 (International & Global Studies and Environmental Studies Alum) is headed to the Tokyo Olympics later this month to compete in judo, representing his home country of Samoa.

July 1, 2021

In Fall 2021, Brandeis Environmental Studies will launch the Climate Justice, Science and Policy Minor (CJSP). The CJSP minor will help Brandeis students understand climate change and its connections to social justice issues.

June 8, 2021

"Sound on Mystic" is an outdoor audio installation along the Mystic river in Medford and Arlington Massachusetts with funding from the Medford Arts Council and Arlington Cultural Council, and support from the Mystic River Watershed Association. Environmental Studies Administrator, Jazz Dottin, presented a spoken word piece titled "The Petition" which brings the words of Belinda Sutton to life not far from the Royall estate where she was enslaved in the late eighteenth century.

Download the app and walk along the Mystic river to hear her piece and the 13 additional pieces of music, spoken word, sound art and ambience.

May 28, 2021

A new paper in Insecta Mundi describes 36 new species of Chlamydastis in Costa Rica. One of the 36 is named the C. colleenhitchcockae after our very own Professor Colleen Hitchcock!

May 24, 2021

May 24, Environmental Studies held a virtual diploma ceremony to celebrate the graduating class. Congratulations class of 2021!

March 18, 2021

ENVS student Bobbie Brown '22 recently wrote an article for BrandeisNOW about how students' social lives have evolved during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how they have found ways to stay connected.

December 4, 2020

Ever wonder what makes the world’s biggest waves surfable? Prof. Warner explores this question in this piece published on The Conversation.

November 1, 2020

How does wildlife persist in cities? Students contribute data to a new study co-author by Colleen Hitchcock in Environmental Studies which outlines a framework for monitoring urban biodiversity.

April 1, 2020

Learn more about the City Nature Challenge in this Museum of Science podcast featuring Prof. Hitchcock discussing how to get involved in local nature observation.

October 3, 2019

Improved forest management — and building more tall, wooden buildings — could go a long way in combatting climate change, environmental science professor Brian Donahue said in a co-written op-ed.

September 17, 2019

Students, staff, and faculty gathered at Project Pollinator behind the Bassine Science Building to search for and document pollinators cataloguing their finds using iNaturalist.

August 23, 2019

The Question Formulation Technique, a simple yet rigorous process designed to help students formulate, work with and use their own questions, led to term papers on lemurs for Perlman's students.

July 16, 2019

Hemlocks in Massachusetts are under threat because of a sap-sucking insect called the hemlock woolly adelgid, which has already devastated hemlocks from North Carolina to Connecticut.

April 26, 2019

Associate Professor Colleen Hitchcock spends the day in the field with the National Parks Service and participants from Zoo New England’s Boston Biodiversity Initiative for girls, preparing for the 2019 City Nature challenge.

February 8, 2019

The Rev. Mariama White-Hammond draws parallels in discussion of climate change and environmental justice.

January 11, 2019

Blog features her experience with the Mystic River Watershed Association as an intern and 'Deis Does Citizen Science event.

November 5, 2018

Eric Chasalow, dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, takes us on a guided tour of the mushroom patch that was the Brandeis campus this year.

Harvard Climate Scientist Visits Campus

November 1, 2018

Professor James Anderson discusses climate change through the lenses of chemistry, physics and applied mathematics.

October 29, 2018

Even Dankowicz '20 shares his experience as a citizen scientist in the Never Home Alone project featured on iNaturalist.

October 17, 2018

Levels have fallen by nearly 13% since 2015; university plans more aggressive cuts by 2020.

July 25, 2018

Awarded grant to develop new Biology of Climate Change course.

May 31, 2018

Environmental studies minor Anna Sherman ’20 receives Boren Scholarship to China.

March 1, 2018

Students and faculty connect with citizen scientists around the city and across the globe as organizers in the City Nature Challenge.

February 9, 2018

Earthwatch scientist Mark Chandler discusses air quality and citizen science work as an example of the intersection between environmental justice and the democratization of science.

January 23, 2018

By taking actions both big and small, the Brandeis community continued its push toward a more Earth-friendly campus.

November 10, 2017

Students examine the ecology of herring migration in support of the Mystic River Watershed Association.

September 25, 2017

A new study co-authored by environmental studies professor Brian Donahue finds that New England is losing 65 acres of forest per day to land conversion.

September 11, 2017

Research by professor Charles Chester demonstrates the environmental service benefits to society from flying transborder species.

April 14, 2017

The environmental studies and business double-major has a passion for building maps with geographic information systems.

October 6, 2016

Associate Professor of American Environmental Studies Brian Donahue has a plan to help New England produce half its food by 2060, even with the negative impact of continuous global warming.

July 15, 2016

Findings indicate employees, clients exposed to above-normal carbon dioxide levels, poor ventilation.

June 6, 2016

Environmental studies major Jake Greenberg ’18 among recipients of academic prize.

November 19, 2015

Committee is charged with refreshing the university's climate action plan, created in 2009, with specific goals and objectives to reduce the university’s carbon footprint.