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Erle Ellis asserts value of social sciences in defining onset of human impact on Earth

Anthropocene science is an emerging, interdisciplinary field, which requires a variety of voices be at the table, Ellis argues. Answering the question of when and how humans began transforming Earth might guide us, he suggests, toward “more desirable outcomes both for human societies and for non-human nature.” Continue reading Erle Ellis asserts value of social sciences in defining onset of human impact on Earth

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UMBC’s Huemmrich uses NASA satellite to measure effects of climate change on evergreen forests

Will longer growing seasons help slow climate change, or will increased drought speed it up? New research demonstrates a remote-sensing technique has the potential to help us figure that out, and follow-up studies are already putting it to work. Continue reading UMBC’s Huemmrich uses NASA satellite to measure effects of climate change on evergreen forests

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Washington Post and WAMU call on Jeffrey Halverson to explain causes of devastating Ellicott City flood

Complex meteorological conditions and other factors contributed to the storm that ravaged Ellicott City July 31, but the town is determined to rebound. Jeffrey Halverson explains how “humble rain…quickly turns deadly,” and Pres. Hrabowski addresses the UMBC community. Continue reading Washington Post and WAMU call on Jeffrey Halverson to explain causes of devastating Ellicott City flood

Claire Welty in the field.

Urban Water Innovation Network connects UMBC students and faculty with research partners nationwide

The Baltimore Sun highlights UMBC as a university that offers students various research opportunities. UMBC undergraduate students are involved in research that impacts UWIN’s goal of creating solutions to help prepare communities to respond to water crises. Continue reading Urban Water Innovation Network connects UMBC students and faculty with research partners nationwide

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UMBC expert examines urban wildlife management questions in New York Times column

Following up on recent sightings of wildlife in the New York City area, The New York Times published an opinion series exploring the question of how urban dwellers should cope with urban wildlife. Dawn Biehler, an associate professor of geography and environmental systems, … Continue reading UMBC expert examines urban wildlife management questions in New York Times column

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“Science” article argues Earth has entered a new epoch defined by human impacts on the planet

Robust evidence supports the finding that humanity has entered a new geological era, reports a new paper in Science, co-authored by Erle Ellis, professor of geography and environmental systems. The Anthropocene is defined through the impacts that human activity has … Continue reading “Science” article argues Earth has entered a new epoch defined by human impacts on the planet

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NASA’s Operation IceBridge confirms observations on ice shelf collapse, JCET researcher Shuman explains

NASA’s Operation IceBridge, a survey of polar ice, carried out parallel flights in the north and south poles for the first time in seven years. The mission to the Antarctic Peninsula recorded a big drop in height of the two … Continue reading NASA’s Operation IceBridge confirms observations on ice shelf collapse, JCET researcher Shuman explains

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UMBC researchers collaborate to improve sustainability, with impacts in Maryland and across the nation

Local sustainability researchers and thought leaders took center stage on October 16, 2015, at a forum for urban sustainability in Baltimore, hosted by UMBC’s School of Public Policy. The forum was designed to examine how collaborations among government agencies, companies, … Continue reading UMBC researchers collaborate to improve sustainability, with impacts in Maryland and across the nation

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NASA renews partnership with UMBC’s JCET for $46 million over five years

For twenty years JCET has brought leading scientists to UMBC in research areas that align with NASA’s Earth science interests, such as climate and radiation, atmospheric chemistry and dynamics, and solar system sciences, including geophysics. UMBC is now ranked among the world’s top universities for geosciences. Continue reading NASA renews partnership with UMBC’s JCET for $46 million over five years

Andrew Miller, Geography and Environmental Systems, Highlights UMBC’s Role in the Urban Water Innovation Network

UMBC is a founding member and partner of a new consortium of 14 institutions to develop strategies to keep urban water systems healthy and address challenges that threaten them both nationally and internationally. The Urban Water Innovation Network, or UWIN, is led by Colorado State University and will build locally on research by UMBC geography and environmental systems professors Andrew Miller and Christopher Swan, with Claire Welty, a professor of chemical, biochemical and environmental engineering and associate director of research for UWIN, leading UMBC’s participation in the program. UMBC was recently featured in The Daily Record for its role in the project. “In the … Continue reading Andrew Miller, Geography and Environmental Systems, Highlights UMBC’s Role in the Urban Water Innovation Network

Qassim Abdullah, GES, Awarded ASPRS Presidential Citation

Qassim Abdullah, adjunct professor of geography and environmental systems for UMBC at the Universities at Shady Grove, was awarded the Presidential Citation from the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS). Presidential Citations are given by the ASPRS President in recognition of contributions to the operation or advancement of the Society and its interests. Abdullah received the award at the 2015 ASPRS Conference on Wednesday, May 6, in Tampa, Florida for authoring “Positional Accuracy Standards for Digital Geo-spatial Data”. Click here to read more about Abdullah’s award and work. Continue reading Qassim Abdullah, GES, Awarded ASPRS Presidential Citation

Matthew Baker, Geography and Environmental Systems, Publishes Article on Ecological Restoration in Science

A new article published by an interdisciplinary team of scholars in Science calls on policy communities to take up a set of holistic guiding principles for ecological restoration projects. Matthew Baker, an associate professor of geography and environmental systems, is co-author of the article and is part of an interdisciplinary working group on restoration funded by the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC). “Bringing their collective perspectives to bear in a series of workshops, the interdisciplinary team determined that restoration projects should be guided by four comprehensive principles to maximize benefits such as conserved biodiversity and sustained livelihoods. The authors concluded that … Continue reading Matthew Baker, Geography and Environmental Systems, Publishes Article on Ecological Restoration in Science

Dawn Biehler, Geography and Environmental Systems, on Science for the People Radio

On May 1, Dawn Biehler, an assistant professor of geography and environmental systems, was a guest on Science for the People Radio to discuss her book Pests in the City: Flies, Bedbugs, Cockroaches, and Rats (University of Washington Press). “Science for the People” is a syndicated radio show and podcast based in Edmonton, Alberta, that broadcasts weekly across North America and aims to explore intersections among science, popular culture, history, and public policy. During her interview, Biehler examined several topics, including the environment and policies in the early twentieth century which created more disadvantages for low-income city residents in dealing with pest control. … Continue reading Dawn Biehler, Geography and Environmental Systems, on Science for the People Radio

Christopher Swan, Geography and Environmental Systems, Discusses Maryland Green Prisons Initiative in the Baltimore Sun

Christopher Swan, an associate professor of geography and environmental systems, is leading the Maryland Green Prisons Initiative, which was launched in partnership with the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, Baltimore Office of Sustainability and other local collaborators. As part of the program, Swan works with inmates at the Metropolitan Transition Center in Baltimore to spruce up and test wildflowers and grasses in vacant West Baltimore lots. Swan was recently interviewed in the Baltimore Sun about the initiative. “One of the goals of the project is to bring nature into the prison,” he said. “Cities all over the place are having a … Continue reading Christopher Swan, Geography and Environmental Systems, Discusses Maryland Green Prisons Initiative in the Baltimore Sun

Erle Ellis, GES, in The New Yorker

In response to recent research published in the journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution that argued scientists should spend more time studying apes’ behavior in places where humans are disrupting their lives, Erle Ellis was interviewed for a recent article in The New Yorker about his Anthropocene research. In the article, Ellis, an associate professor of geography and environmental systems, discussed his research on human influence on ecosystems around the world. “This is the ecology that matters now,” Ellis said. “It’s become the most pervasive context. If you’re interested in working across the span of habitat that species are living in, it’s very likely … Continue reading Erle Ellis, GES, in The New Yorker

Erle Ellis, GES, Co-Authors Article on the Anthropocene in Science

Erle Ellis, geography and environmental systems, co-authored a recent article in Science about the beginning of the Anthropocene. The Anthropocene refers to the part of the world’s history where humans significantly impact earth systems. The article reviews differing views on how to ascertain the beginning of the Anthropocene, with some claiming that the epoch started in the 1700s and others favoring a 1945 start date. The authors address the debate and recommend using the term informally in order to identify specific time periods within the larger epoch. “In this way, we could avoid the confinement imposed by a single formal … Continue reading Erle Ellis, GES, Co-Authors Article on the Anthropocene in Science

GES Seminar Series: Children’s Rights From a Critical Geographic Perspective (3/25)

The Department of Geography and Environmental Systems (GES) is delighted to announce that Dr. Stuart Aitken, Professor of Geography and the June Burnett Chair of Children’s and Family Geographies at San Diego State University, will be presenting a talk on Children’s Rights from a Critical Geographic Perspective as part of the GES Seminar Series on March 25th, from 12-1 p.m., in ITE 231. Dr. Aitken directs the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies of Young People and Space (ISYS) and is internationally recognized for his research on children’s geographies, youth activism, critical theory, and qualitative methodologies. His recent books include The Ethnopoetics of Space and Transformation (2014), The Fight … Continue reading GES Seminar Series: Children’s Rights From a Critical Geographic Perspective (3/25)

Erle Ellis, GES, Discusses the Anthropocene in Nature

A recent article in Nature outlines the debate surrounding a movement to establish the Anthropocene as a new global epoch. The Anthropocene refers to the part of the world’s history where humans significantly impact earth systems. In the article, Erle Ellis, geography and information systems, argues against the current effort to formalize the Anthropocene as an epoch. He states, “We should set a time, perhaps 1,000 years from now, in which we would officially investigate this. Making a decision before that would be premature.” Click here to read, “Anthropocene: The human age” in Nature. Continue reading Erle Ellis, GES, Discusses the Anthropocene in Nature

Christopher Swan, Geography and Environmental Systems, in the New York Times

Christopher Swan, an associate professor of geography and environmental systems, was quoted in a recent New York Times article about an urban ecology study that found millions of tiny insects are consuming the equivalent of 60,000 frankfurters a year in Manhattan. The study concluded that street litter and discarded food is a major source of food for rats and other pests. In the article, Swan discussed the need for more urban ecology studies and how the recent study like the one conducted in New York City could serve as an example of how such research could be performed in the future. “We … Continue reading Christopher Swan, Geography and Environmental Systems, in the New York Times

UMBC Featured in The Baltimore Sun’s Special Section on Education

The Shriver Center’s Governor’s Summer Internship Program (GSIP) and the Department of Geography and Environmental Systems’ Costa Rica Field Course were featured in The Baltimore Sun‘s September special section on education. Collin Wojciechowski ’13, political science and media and communication studies, and Michele Wolff, Director of The Shriver Center, were quoted in an article focusing on a hands-on approach to learning politics and government. Wojciechowski, who is currently special assistant to the Deputy Chief of Staff in Governor Martin O’Malley’s office, said part of his experience that led to his job came thanks to GSIP: “It gives you a chance to directly shadow … Continue reading UMBC Featured in The Baltimore Sun’s Special Section on Education

Erle Ellis: Nature

Erle Ellis, Geography and Environmental Systems, was recently quoted in the Nature article written by Virginia Gewin, Science and politics: Hello, Governor. “Although there is little disagreement that abrupt shifts occur in Earth systems, including climate and the composition of ecosystems, some scientists baulk at the suggestion that there is enough evidence to predict a single tipping point for the whole planet. “I thought it was a great review of the evidence for rapid shifts in ecology, but then it switched to a series of unsupported statements — at best a hypothesis — about how a global tipping point in the … Continue reading Erle Ellis: Nature

Erle Ellis, GES, on WPR and Die Zeit

Erle Ellis, geography and information systems, recently discussed how humans are changing the planet with Wisconsin Public Radio and Die Zeit. Ellis explains the idea of the Anthropocene, a term that signifies a new geological epoch where humans significantly impact the earth’s systems. He says, “It’s out of date to see the earth as a natural ecosystem that is disturbed by people. Rather, the earth has become a human system with embedded natural ecosystems.” Click here to listen to “The Future Of Humans’ Transformation Of The Planet” on Wisconsin Public Radio. Read “Planet of the People” on Die Zeit by … Continue reading Erle Ellis, GES, on WPR and Die Zeit

Matthew Baker, Geography and Environmental Systems, in The Washington Post

Earlier this month, the Montgomery County Council tentatively agreed to new limits on construction in Clarksburg’s Ten Mile Creek watershed. The straw vote of 9 to 0 came in the midst of contentious debate over the future of economic development in the county’s northern edge. Matthew Baker, an associate professor of geography and environmental systems, was mentioned in the article for previous information he had provided to the council: “[Baker] told the council on Feb. 11 that streams in excellent health, such as Ten Mile, are especially sensitive to even tiny environmental changes. By the same token, portions of the … Continue reading Matthew Baker, Geography and Environmental Systems, in The Washington Post

Dawn Biehler, Geography and Environmental Systems, on WHYY Philadelphia

Entomologists believe bed bugs have started making a comeback in places like Philadelphia in recent years. A report that aired on WHYY in Philadelphia January 17 examines the city’s battle with bedbugs and how it has evolved. Dawn Biehler, assistant professor of geography and environmental systems, was interviewed for the story and commented on the history of bedbugs in the United States and how they appeared consistently up until the 40s and 50s. “It was almost kind of an accepted condition of urban life that every once in a while, you were going to get bedbugs,” Biehler said. “Some people had … Continue reading Dawn Biehler, Geography and Environmental Systems, on WHYY Philadelphia