ENVS Seminars | Spring 2021
The theme of the Spring 2021 ENVS Seminar Series was “Diversity, Inclusion and Justice in Relation to Natural Resources and the Environment.” Thank you to all of our great speakers! These seminars were recorded and a Recorded Video Link can be found on each week’s page. Please enjoy and share these recordings!
Spring 2021 Seminars
February 17, 2021
Seminar Title: Environmental Justice of Urban Natural and Built Environments
Speaker: Dr. Lauren E. Mullenbach
Dr. Lauren Mullenbach is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management at NC State University. Lauren is a scholar of urban environmental justice, focused on parks, green spaces, climate change adaptation, and wellbeing. Her current work assesses community engagement practices in urban park development; identifies strategies to prevent environmental gentrification; documents injustices related to urban built and natural environments; and analyzes equity outcomes from city climate change adaptation strategies. She received her Ph.D. from Penn State in 2020, and her MS and BS from the University of Georgia.
To learn more about Dr. Mullenbach, visit her website at:
February 24, 2021
Seminar Title: Land-Grab Universities
Speakers: Tristan Ahtone and Dr. Robert Lee
Tristan Ahtone is a member of the Kiowa Tribe and is editor-in-chief at the Texas Observer. He has reported for multiple outlets including PBS NewsHour, National Native News, NPR, Al Jazeera America and High Country News, where he served as Indigenous Affairs editor. Tristan’s stories have won multiple honors, including investigative awards from Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Gannett Foundation. He additionally was awarded a Nieman Fellowship to study at Harvard University in 2017. Tristan is a director of the Muckrock Foundation and is a former president of the Native American Journalists Association.
Dr. Robert Lee is a lecturer in American History at the University of Cambridge, a fellow of Selwyn College, and a junior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, a land-grant university. You can follow him on Twitter: Bobby Lee(@bobby_L33)
Utah State University is a land-grant university. Our presenters this week are the authors of an in-depth investigation of the history of “land-grab” universities that was published in High Country News in March 2020. They will talk about their work and how land-grant/grab universities are responding to what the authors have revealed about their institutional histories. Their work has received much media attention with many interviews and stories readily available online.Resources From High Country News:
Land Grab Universities
March 3, 2021
Seminar Title: Wilderness, Settler Colonialism and the Erasure of Black Culture
Speaker: Dr. Aby Sene-Harper
Dr. Aby Sene-Harper is an assistant professor of Parks and Conservation Area at Clemson University. Her work advances socially and ecologically just approach to public lands and cultural resources management in the US and Sub-Saharan Africa. Her research is situated at the intersections of protected areas, Race and ethnicity, tourism and livelihoods. In the US her work examines how African Americans have historically engaged with nature in ways that challenge the dominant models of dehumanization, extraction and commodification. In Sub-Saharan Africa, her work centers on the potential of integrated conservation and development approaches (e.g., livelihood projects, ecotourism, community-based conservation) to yield positive and sustainable results for community development and protected areas.To learn more about Dr. Aby Sene-Harper, visit her website at:
March 10, 2021
Seminar Title: Embracing Discomfort: Equity and Inclusion in the Outdoors
Speaker: Sergio Avila
The book that Sergio Avila referred to and recommended during his seminar is:
Clean and White: A History of Environmental Racism in the United States, by Carl A. Zimring (NYU Press, 2016)
Biologist Sergio Avila has worked on local and regional conservation efforts along the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, as a wildlife researcher and catalyzer of bi-national conservation projects for more than 20 years. Sergio graduated from the University of Baja California with a Master’s degree in Arid Lands Management (2000), and the University of Aguascalientes with a B.S. in Biology (1997). For over ten years, Avila tracked and studied borderland jaguars and ocelots in Sonora and Arizona; he studied mountain lions in Baja California, Cactus-ferruginous pygmy-owls in Sonora, and led efforts to protect Monarch butterflies' migration corridor. Avila currently works for the Sierra Club in the Outdoor Activities Team. His focus is to support staff and volunteers in New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and Utah, with the mission to connect people with the natural world and with the Sierra Club, by maintaining and enhancing diversified, volunteer-run outdoor activities that support the Sierra Club’s conservation mission. Sergio has lived and worked in Tohono O'odham and Pascua Yaqui ancestral lands in Arizona since 2004 and became a U.S. Citizen in 2016. He is a member of the City of Tucson’s Committee on Climate, Energy and Sustainability; a Trustee in the Progressive Workers Union; a Conservation Science Fellow with the Wilburforce Foundation, past Board member of the Society for Conservation Biology, North America Chapter, a certified wildlife tracker with CyberTracker. Sergio enjoys trail running, gardening, bird and butterfly watching, and looking for wildlife tracks. He lives in Tucson with his wife Jenny, their three cats Lupe, Carlos, and Pancho, and Toby, the desert tortoise.
Links to learn more about Sergio Avila:
High Country News: Why a wildlife biologist became a social justice advocate
Desert Museum: Northern Jaguars: Over a Decade of Field Observations in the Mexico-US Borderlands by Sergio Avila
PLOS Biology: The jaguar and the PhD by Sergio Avila-Villegas
Human Nature: Episode 54: A Life for Science (podcast)
National Geographic: Wildlife Biologist: Sergio Avila
USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station: Wildlife survey and monitoring in the Sky Island Region with an Emphasis on neotropical felids by Sergio Avila-Villegas and Jessica Lamberton-Moreno
PeerJ: Ecology of an ocelot population at the northern edge of the species’ distribution in northern Sonora, Mexico, by James C. Rorabaugh, Jan Schipper, Sergio Avila-Villegas, Jessica A. Lamberton-Moreno, Timothy Flood
Sierra: Protecting and Celebrating El Jaguar in the Borderlands by Sergio Avila and Dan Millis
March 17, 2021
Using Rights of Nature to Better Protect Water Resources in the United States
Speaker: Dr. Robin Kundis Craig
Robin Kundis Craig, J.D., Ph.D., is currently a University Distinguished Professor and the James I. Farr Presidential Endowed Professor of Law at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. She is also affiliated faculty of the Wallace Stegner Center for Land, Resources, and the Environment, the Global Change and Sustainability Center, and the University’s Water Center. Craig specializes in all things water, including the climate change and water; the food-water-energy nexus; water quality and water allocation law; and marine protected areas and marine spatial planning. She is the author, co-author, or editor of 12 books and over 100 law or science articles and book chapters. Craig is an elected member of American Law Institute and the American College of Environmental Lawyers and a member of the IUCN’s World Commission on Environmental Law. Her comments on contemporary marine, water, and climate change issues have been quoted in National Geographic, The Atlantic, The New York Times, Popular Science, and many other news outlets. At the University of Utah, she teaches Environmental Law, Water Law, Ocean & Coastal Law, Toxic Torts, Property, and Civil Procedure. Craig will be joining the USC Gould School of Law in Los Angeles in July 2021.
To learn more about Robin Kundis Craig, visit her website at:
March 24, 2021
Seminar Title: Weaving Knowledge and Values for Climate Adapted Stewardship of the Boa Ogoi Cultural Site
Speakers: Dr. Sarah Klain with Cole Stocker and Will Munger (Dept. of Environment and Society at Utah State University) and Darren Parry (Northwest Band of the Shoshone Nation Tribal Council)
Dr. Sarah Klain will lead this seminar focused on work that she and ENVS students Will Munger and Cole Stocker are doing with the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation. Dr. Sarah Klain is the Andrew J. Senti Assistant Professor of Ecosystem Services. She earned a BA at Reed College in Biology and Economics, then worked as a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Analyst at the non-profit Ecotrust followed by two years of service as a Peace Corps volunteer conducting sea turtle and crocodile conservation in Micronesia. Sarah earned an MSc then PhD in Resources, Environment and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia. Her research has advanced methods for incorporating social and cultural values into ecosystem service assessments to inform environmental management. She has also conducted various studies on offshore wind farms, ranging from factors that shape perceptions of environmental risk, community engagement adjacent to proposed wind projects, and willingness to pay for offshore wind farms that are ecologically regenerative. Her current research focuses on perceptions of negative emissions technologies, ways to make renewable energy landscapes more socially acceptable and better for biodiversity and weaving indigenous knowledge with western scientific knowledge in the context of restoration. Sarah is also an Associate Editor for the journal People and Nature as well as Ecosystems and People.
Darren Parry is the former Chairman of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation. He currently leads efforts to develop the Boa Ogoi Cultural and Interpretive Center. In 2019, he authored the book The Bear River Massacre: A Shoshone History. He serves on the Board of Directors for the American West Heritage Center, the Utah State Museum board and serves on the Advisory Board of the Huntsman Cancer Institute. He attended the University of Utah and Weber State University where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education, with an emphasis in History. He also teaches Native American history at USU.
To learn more about Dr. Klain, visit her website at:
March 31, 2021
Seminar Title: From the Inside Out: The Fight for Environmental Justice within Government Agencies
Speaker: Dr. Jill Lindsey Harrison
Dr. Harrison will talk about her book, From the Inside Out: The Fight for Environmental Justice within Government Agencies (2019, MIT Press). Dr. Harrison (PhD, University of California at Santa Cruz, 2006) is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her research focuses on environmental sociology, sociology of agriculture and food systems, environmental justice, and political theories of justice, with a regional emphasis on the United States. She has used her research on political conflict over agricultural pesticide poisonings in California, recent escalations in immigration enforcement in rural Wisconsin, and government agencies’ environmental justice efforts to help identify and explain the persistence of environmental inequalities and workplace inequalities in the United States today. In addition to numerous articles and chapters, she published Pesticide Drift and the Pursuit of Environmental Justice (MIT Press, 2011), which won book awards from the Rural Sociological Society and the Association of Humanist Sociology, and From the Inside Out: The Fight for Environmental Justice within Government Agencies (MIT Press, 2019), which received Honorable Mention for the 2020 Allan Schnaiberg Outstanding Publication Award from the American Sociological Association’s Section on Environmental Sociology.
To learn more about Dr. Harrison, visit her website at:
April 7, 2021
Seminar Title: Environmental Stories Within Indigenous Affairs: A Reporter’s Perspective
Speaker: Anna Smith, Assistant Editor of High Country News’ Indigenous Affairs Desk
Anna V. Smith is an award-winning journalist from the Pacific Northwest. She currently works for High Country News as the assistant editor for HCN’s Indigenous affairs desk. Her work has appeared in outlets such as the New York Times, Audubon, Undark, Slate and Mother Jones. Her most recent piece published in High Country News was on the return of the National Bison Range to the Confederated Tribes of the Salish and Kootenai. And in 2020, this piece on the Arrow Lakes Band (formally declared 'extinct' by the Canadian government) asserting their transboundary hunting rights won a Best Feature Award from the Native American Journalists Association, of which she is a member. For more: annavsmith.com or follow her on twitter at @annavtoriasmith
April 14, 2021
Seminar Title: The Legacies of Uranium on the Navajo Nation Told Through the Lens of Adventure Storytelling
Speaker: Dr. Len Necefer
Dr. Len Necefer, a member of the Navajo Nation, is the founder and CEO of Colorado-based outdoor apparel company NativesOutdoors. After earning his PhD in Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University, he worked for the US Department of Energy. His work focuses at the intersection of indigenous people and natural resource management policy. He has published academic articles on the legacy of uranium mining for the Navajo Nation, directed a film on energy infrastructure impacts to food security for the Gwich'in people near the Artic Circle, and is a board member of the American Alpine Club as well as the Honnold Foundation.
To learn more about Dr. Necefer, visit this website:
April 21, 2021
Seminar Title: Centering Indigenous Fisheries in ‘4R’ Research, Teaching and Outreach
Speaker: Dr. Andrea Reid
Dr. Andrea Reid is an Indigenous fisheries scientist who employs community-based approaches and Indigenous research methodologies in her study of culturally significant fish and fisheries. Her freshwater and coastal research creates space for fishers, knowledge keepers, youth, and other community members to be full partners in the research process. Together, they investigate: (i) leading threats to aquatic ecosystems and their interactive effects for fish, people and place; (ii) consequences of fisheries-related stressors for fish and methods to ameliorate survival; (iii) Two-Eyed Seeing approaches to assessing aquatic ecosystem and fish health and evaluating associated changes through time and space; and (iv) Indigenous understandings and methodologies for effectively stewarding fish and waterways.
To learn more, visit her website at: https://oceans.ubc.ca/andrea-reid/