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  Ursinus Environmental   Studies Program

 Ursinus College
 Focus the Nation
 601 E. Main Street
 Collegeville, PA 19426

 phone: 610-409-3000
 ext: 2645, 2594
 fax: 610-409-3771

Guest Speakers

Richard W. Alley Richard Alley is Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences and Associate of the EMS Environment Institute at The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania. There he teaches and conducts research on the paleoclimatic records, dynamics, and sedimentary deposits of large ice sheets, as a means of understanding the climate system and its history, and projecting future changes in climate and sea level. Dr. Alley has spent three field seasons in Antarctica and five in Greenland. He is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, and has been awarded a Packard Fellowship, a Presidential Young Investigator Award, the Horton Award of the American Geophysical Union Hydrology Section, the Easterbrook Award of the Quaternary Geology and Geomorphology section of Geological Society of America, the Wilson Teaching Award of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences and the Faculty Scholar Medal of The Pennsylvania State University. His book on abrupt climate change, The Two-Mile Time Machine, was the national Phi Beta Kappa Science Award winner for 2001. Dr. Alley chaired a recent National Research Council study on Abrupt Climate Change, and serves, or has served, on many other advisory panels and steering committees. He was invited to breakfast with a sitting U.S. Vice President to discuss climate change, and was invited to testify to a Senate committee. He has authored or coauthored more than 135 refereed publications, and is a "highly cited" researcher as indexed by ISI. Dr. Alley is happily married with two children, a ranch house, a cat, a minivan, and two bicycles, and resides in State College, Pennsylvania, where he coaches recreational soccer and occasionally plays some. He received his PhD in geology, with a minor in materials science, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1987, and earned an MSc degree (1983) and BSc degree (1980) in geology from the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.


Margaret Bowman – Margaret Bowman is a senior program officer at The Pew Charitable Trusts, where she directs the Lenfest Ocean Program, a marine research program aimed at reversing the decline of the global marine environment. Prior to joining Pew in 2004, Margaret was vice-president for conservation at American Rivers, a group dedicated to protecting and restoring healthy, natural rivers and the variety of life they sustain for people, fish and wildlife. As vice president, Margaret managed all of American Rivers' conservation campaigns and led the organization's foundation fundraising efforts. As American Rivers' senior director of dam programs from 1999 to 2002, Margaret created and directed American Rivers' Dam Removal campaign. From 1994 to 1999, Margaret served as director of American Rivers' Hydropower Campaign and chaired the national Hydropower Reform Coalition. Margaret's environmental experience also includes directing the Environmental Program for Central and Eastern Europe for the Environmental Law Institute, and work as an independent contractor to the Czecho-Slovak government. Margaret has also worked as an attorney in private practice in Washington, D.C. Margaret received a Bachelor of Arts degree with high honors in archaeology and classical civilization from Wesleyan University and a Juris Doctor degree, cum laude, from Harvard Law School, where she served as managing editor of the Harvard Environmental Law Review.

Nancy Cole – Nancy Cole is Director of Climate Outreach for the Union of Concerned Scientists, where she runs UCS's Sound Science Initiative. SSI is a special project designed to help scientists present accurate, credible information about global warming and other issues to policymakers and the media. A grassroots-organizing veteran, Cole now works with scientists across the country to bring the voice of the scientific community to bear on critical global environmental issues. Cole joined UCS in 1992 as campaign organizer for a national drive to educate citizens about renewable energy options. She subsequently became director of public outreach with overall responsibility for planning and developing UCS's education, organizing and outreach efforts. In 1995, she co-authored the book Renewables Are Ready: People Creating Renewable Energy Solutions. Before joining UCS, she worked for the national organization INFACT, a consumer-oriented, corporate accountability group, for 10 years, serving as its executive director from 1984 to 1992.

Heidi Cullen – Dr. Heidi Cullen is the climate expert at The Weather Channel. She is the host of Forecast Earth: This Week, the first weekly television series to focus on climate issues, and oversees the content on the TWC broadband channel devoted to topics that deal with climate and the environment. Since joining The Weather Channel in 2003, Dr. Cullen has played a key role in building the network’s climate program, adding explanation, depth and perspective to climate stories and strengthening the network’s relationships within the scientific community. She has also become a called-upon expert with other media, appearing on Fox News Channel, CNN, World News Tonight, The View, and in print media including USA Today, Entertainment Weekly and the Atlanta Journal- Constitution. Before joining The Weather Channel, Dr. Cullen was a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, CO. She received a bachelor's degree in engineering/operations research from Columbia University in New York and went on to receive a Ph.D. in climatology and ocean-atmosphere dynamics at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. Her dissertation focused on understanding the impacts and dynamics of the North Atlantic Oscillation, an important climate influence. As a post-doctorate, she received a NOAA Climate & Global Change Fellowship and spent two years working at the International Research Institute for Climate Prediction.

Brian J. Hill is President and CEO for the Pennsylvania Environmental Council. From May 2005 he served as executive vice president of the Council, where he helped direct the Council’s public policy efforts and worked with the Council’s five regional offices on programs and policy. Prior to serving as Executive VP for the Council, Hill worked as an Executive Policy Specialist in Governor Rendell’s Policy Office where he focused primarily on transportation and environmental issues. Before joining the Governor’s Policy Office he served as the Senior Vice President for Watersheds for the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC). He also served as director of the French Creek Project based in Meadville, PA.

Congressman Jim Gerlach – Congressman Jim Gerlach has spent the last 15 years in public service representing the citizens of Southeastern Pennsylvania. His distinguished career began in 1990 with the first of two terms in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, which was followed by two terms to the state Senate. Jim is currently serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives, first winning the open 6th Congressional District seat in 2002. During his 12 years in the state legislature, Jim established himself as an effective advocate for Pennsylvania taxpayers. His efforts helped promote efficiency and streamline government, which saved taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. Jim was the prime sponsor of landmark welfare reform legislation that reduced the state's welfare rolls by over 150,000 cases. Furthermore, Jim's historic land use legislation provides local officials the tools needed to combat "sprawl" and promote "smart growth." Since being elected to Congress, Jim has continued to champion issues of concern to his constituents. His priorities include ensuring all people have access to affordable healthcare, preserving the region's environmental resources, and improving and maintaining the area's transportation network. He is also working hard to re-establish commuter rail service from Reading to Philadelphia through the Schuylkill Valley Metro passenger rail project.


Dale Jamieson – Dale Jamieson is Director of Environmental Studies at New York University, where he is also Professor of Environmental Studies and Philosophy, and Affiliated Professor of Law. Formerly he was Henry R. Luce Professor in Human Dimensions of Global Change at Carleton College, and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where he was the only faculty member to have won both the Dean's award for research in the social sciences and the Chancellor's award for research in the humanities. Dr. Jamieson's most recent book is Morality's Progress: Essays on Humans, Other Animals, and the Rest of Nature ( Oxford, 2002). He is also the editor or co-editor of seven books, most recently A Companion to Environmental Philosophy (Blackwell, 2001), and Singer and his Critics (Blackwell, 1999), named by Choice as one of the outstanding academic books of 1999. He has published more than eighty articles and book chapters in such journals as Analysis, Environmental Ethics, Environmental Values, Utilitas, Ethics, Journal of Value Inquiry, Global Environmental Change, Climatic Change, Risk Analysis, Science, Technology and Human Values, Society and Natural Resources and Philosophical Studies.


Richard Kerr – Richard Kerr is a senior writer for the Research News section of the journal Science, published by the American Academy for the Advancement of Science. For the journal, he covers earth and planetary science, including environmental, energy, and climate issues, among many others. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Rhode Island in chemical oceanography. Kerr has been widely recognized for his journalism, receiving awards from the American Meteorological Society, American Geophysical Union, American Geological Institute, and Geological Society of America. He has also received the James Shea Award of the National Association of Geology Teachers for excellence in geoscience writing. He was elected a Fellow of the Geological Society of America in 1995.


Joe Kruger – Joe Kruger is Policy Director of the National Commission on Energy Policy. He joined the Commission in December 2005. He previously served as a Visiting Scholar at Resources for the Future (RFF), where his work focused on the design, implementation, and evaluation of emissions trading programs. From 1986-2003, he held several staff and management positions at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Most recently, he managed a branch within the Clean Air Markets Division that was responsible for technical and policy analysis of greenhouse gas trading and inventory issues. Prior to that position, he led a group responsible for the initial economic and environmental assessment of the landmark sulfur dioxide trading program. Joe holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley, and an A.B. in Government and Economics from Cornell University.


Bob Mensch -  Pennsylvania State Representative Bob Mensch brings 35 years of business and management experience, coupled with political leadership and public service to his first term in the State House, serving the residents of the 147th District. Bob served as a Marlborough Township Supervisor in 2004 and 2005, and was elected chairman in January 2006. During 2006, under Bob’s leadership, the board preserved two additional tracts of open space—one consisting of 151 acres; and the other consisting of 46 acres. Additionally, in 2006, Bob oversaw the creation of a Parks and Recreation Council, which is now moving forward with plans for a butterfly preserve on a tract of 82 acres of open space; a plan for active recreation for the community on a tract of 81 acres of open space; and an ambition plan to restore several historic buildings on two other sites. He also served as chairman of the Upper Perkiomen Valley Regional Planning Commission, where he established an initiative to have all five regional planning commissions in the western half of Montgomery County work cooperatively on multi-regional issues. In 2002, Bob joined with several residents of neighboring Milford Township, Bucks County, and together they established the Unami Watershed Conservancy. Today the conservancy uses its newly renovated Nature Center to conduct an environmental education series during the summer months; and the center provides a fine location for stream fishing.

Henry PollackHenry Pollack is Professor emeritus of geophysics at the University of Michigan, a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and a faculty member of The Climate Project, the organization established by former Vice President Al Gore. In the scientific community, he has earned a reputation as one of the world’s leading experts on the temperature of the Earth, both today and in the geological past. An award-winning teacher with a gift for explaining science to non-scientists, Professor Pollack has taken a special interest in helping leaders in government, business and the general public understand the scientific developments associated with global climate change. Over the course of his career, he has educated generations of students, published widely in scientific journals, led his department as chairman, served as an advisor to the U.S. National Science Foundation, testified before Congress, and launched the first international efforts to coordinate research into geothermal evidence of global climate change. His principal research efforts have been in geothermal and other geophysical studies as applied to the dynamics and evolution of the solid earth and its recent climate. He and his students have constructed a geothermal laboratory and conducted field measurement programs in Africa and South America. His geothermal research has contributed to an understanding of the thermal and petrological evolution of continents and of the earth as a whole. Currently he is making use of subsurface thermal data to investigate climate change and global warming. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Geophysical Union. Most recently, he served as a member of the National Research Council Committee to review U.S. Climate Change Science Program’s Synthesis and Assessment of Scientific Uncertainty in Climate Decision Making.



Timothy J. Ragen – Tim Ragen is Executive Director of the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission. He is a marine mammal biologist who received a Ph.D. in oceanography in 1990 from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, USA. His dissertation focused on both field and modeling studies of the northern or Alaska fur seal. After completing his dissertation, he completed a National Research Council Associateship at the U.S. National Marine Mammal Laboratory, where he continued modeling studies of the northern fur seal. He completed the Associateship in 1991 and joined the Honolulu Laboratory of the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service, where he served as the program analyst for the Hawaiian monk seal recovery program. He left that position in 1997 to serve as the Steller sea lion recovery coordinator for the Alaska Region, National Marine Fisheries. In this position, his work was focused primarily on the potential for indirect interactions between the endangered Steller sea lion and the Alaska groundfish fisheries. At the end of 2000, he moved to Washington, D.C., to assume the position of Scientific Program Director for the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission. He held that position until October 2006, when he was appointed to the position of Executive Director for the Commission.


John Rafferty – Senator John C. Rafferty Jr. represents the residents of Pennsylvania's 44th Senatorial district, which includes parts of Berks, Chester and Montgomery counties.  He was re-elected for a second term with the Senate in November of 2006.  A former state deputy attorney general, the Montgomery County native has an extensive background in public service and local government.  Rafferty's top legislative priorities include reducing the property tax burden, protecting the environment, reducing health care costs, providing quality care for senior citizens, fighting prescription drug abuse and ensuring that our police and firefighters have the resources they need to do their jobs. He is recognized among Pennsylvania State Senators for his leadership on environmental issues.


Andrew Revkin – Andrew Revkin is a senior environmental correspondent for the New York Times. He has spent nearly a quarter century covering subjects ranging from Hurricane Katrina and the Asian tsunami to the assault on the Amazon, from the troubled relationship of science and politics to climate change at the North Pole. He has been reporting on the environment for The New York Times since 1995, a job that has taken him to the Arctic three times in three years. In 2003, he became the first Times reporter to file stories and photos from the sea ice around the Pole. He spearheaded a three-part Times series and one-hour documentary in 2005 on the transforming Arctic. Before joining The Times, Mr. Revkin was a senior editor of Discover, a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, and a senior writer at Science Digest. Mr. Revkin has a biology degree from Brown and a Master's degree in journalism from Columbia. He has taught environmental reporting as an adjunct professor at Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism. His most recent book is The North Pole Was Here: Puzzles and Perils at the Top of the World (Kingfisher, 2006). In spare moments, he is a performing songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who often accompanies Pete Seeger at regional shows and plays in a folk-roots band, Uncle Wade.


Sara Steele Artist Sara Steele is widely known for her vivid floral, landscape, still life, and abstract watercolor paintings. Her work has been featured in more than fifty solo exhibitions in both the U.S. and in Europe, including the renowned Monestario de San Lorenzo de El Escorial in Spain. Much of her work is displayed in books such as In Bloom, The Floral Art of Sara Steele, the more recent Sara Steele-Blueprints for Paradise, and in an annual calendar of her work, continually published and distributed internationally since 1981. The paintings she creates explore her concerns for our beautiful natural world and our fragile environment, with the hope of inspiring others to work for needed change. She is an activist in areas of ecology, peace, social justice, feminism, and family violence prevention. Many organizations have benefitted from her work, among them the Nature Conservancy, the National Wildlife Federation, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, National Women’s Studies Association, SANE, Living Beyond Breast Cancer, MANNA, and Action AIDS. She has received numerous awards for her art and social activism including the Peace and Freedom Award of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), the Crystal Stair Award from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Work, and the Brandt F. Steele Aesthetic Award for the Promotion of Peace & Prevention of Violence from Primary Children’s Medical Center, Salt Lake City, UT.


Mike Vereb – Mike Vereb was elected to represent the 150th Legislative District in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania in November 2006. As a state lawmaker, Rep. Vereb has provided leadership on open space, improving regional traffic planning, and state government reform. Before being elected to the State House of Representatives, Mr. Vereb served as president of the West Norriton Board of Commissioners, where he worked hard to make government more responsive and accountable to the taxpayers by holding the line on taxes, preserving open space and supporting first responders.


Judy Wicks
Judy Wicks is owner and founder of Philadelphia’s 24-year-old White Dog Cafe, and is a national leader in the local, living economies movement.  She is co-founder and co-chair of the national Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), and founder of the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia (SBN). She is also president of the White Dog Community Enterprises (formerly White Dog Cafe Foundation), a non-profit 501c3 dedicated to building a local living economy in the Philadelphia region. Judy has won numerous awards, including the prestigious Business Enterprise Trust award, founded by Norman Lear, for creative leadership in combining sound business management with social vision.  More recently, she received Business Ethics Magazine’s first “Living Economy Award,” and the James Beard Foundation’s Humanitarian of the Year, 2005. Other accolades include American Benefactor’s “America’s 25 Most Generous Companies,” Oprah Magazine’s “5 Amazingly Gifted and Giving Food Professionals,” and Inc. Magazine's 25 favorite entrepreneurs in the country. Judy co-authored The White Dog Cafe Cookbook: Multicultural Recipes and Tales of Adventure from Philadelphia’s Revolutionary Restaurant, and is currently working on a book about her business and the local living economy movement to be published by Chelsea Green.


Dar Williams
One of the most acclaimed singer-songwriters of her generation, Dar Williams has been engaging audiences with her musical artistry since the early 1990s when she rose from the Northeast coffeehouse circuit to the national spotlight. A native of New York’s Hudson Valley, where she still resides, Williams maintains in her life and music a strong system of values, idealism and community involvement. She has released seven albums, including 2005’s critically acclaimed My Better Self, and her first-ever DVD, Live at the Bearsville Theater. Throughout her career, Williams has toured with artists such as Joan Baez, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Ani DiFranco, Shawn Colvin, etc. Few performers create a bond from the stage with an audience like Williams does. Because her songs succeed with storytelling–intimate, honest and whimsical travails and triumphs–listeners lean forward to catch the details, which are copious and meaningful. Williams' devotion to activism remains strong as ever.  Her causes celèbrés range from environmental protection to social action; she has helped spearhead grassroots organizations around the country alongside her legions of fans. In 2005 she inaugurated a program called the Echoes Initiative that allows her to formally partner with various local organizations to help raise funds and awareness for their missions. Dar has also branched off into the publishing realm as an author of two novels for young readers, Amalee and Lights, Camera, Amalee, both published by Scholastic Press. Williams continues to tour regularly; a new album is due out in 2008.