Environmental & Health Sciences Department News 2008-09
To evaluate student progress in some of his classes, Professor Les Kanat uses an innovative, pyramid-style exam in which students make a transition from an independent portion to a group portion. He reports, "Watching the students work together, learn together, and answer questions together in this type of setting is inspiring." The exam format represents Professor Kanat's modification of a technique he learned through a workshop
funded by the National Science Foundation and presented
by Hamilton College's Barbara Tewksbury.
The Vermont Genetics Network has announced pilot awards for faculty and JSC has done well. Pilot grants have been awarded to Professor Gina Mireault (Behavioral Sciences) and EHS Professor Liz Dolci.
Bob Genter received a Vermont EPSCoR Baccalaureate Faculty Research Award in connection with the Streams Project for his investigation of "Phosphorus concentrations and microbial ribotyping analysis in cultivated, urban, and forested watersheds of the Lamoille River, Vermont."
In mid-March Professor Tania Bacchus attended the Faculty Institute for NASA Earth and Space Science Education (FINESSE) at NACCTEP in Reno, Nevada.
Brad Moskowitz obtained certification as a Single Pitch Instructor (in rock climbing) through the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA). The process included a three-day training, extensive documentation of personal and professional climbing and guiding experience, and passing a two-day examination. The AMGA is the nation's only representative to the IFMGA (International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations), the international governing body responsible for guiding standards and education around the world. Brad also refreshed his medical and evacuation skills in a two-day training with the Mount Mansfield Ski Patrol. He will once again serve as a volunteer patrol for Stowe Mountain Resort and plans to log more than 25 volunteer days this season.
This fall, Brad worked with external organizations and students to coordinate and carry out two separate service projects designed to promote stewardship, conservation and the responsible use of our public lands. The "Prospect Rock Cleanup" occurred in October. Several students and two professional staff members from the Green Mountain Club worked with Brad to install improvements on sections of the Long Trail, to clean up trash, broken glass and illegal fire pits, and to improve conditions at the base of many of the popular climbing routes (easing access and mitigating further erosion). In November, Brad coordinated efforts with the Catamount Trail Association to clear the Jay section of the Catamount Trail and prepare it for winter use. Doug Kensicki, a senior in the Outdoor Education Program, provided leadership and coordination efforts for both of these events, while Jesse Osmun from the Center for Service Learning, assisted with the Catamount Trail cleanup.
In February Karen Uhlendorf attended the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance's Eastern District Association annual convention in Newport, RI. Majors Scott Graner and Amanda Thomas also attended and were honored at this regional event for being selected as Vermont's Outstanding Future Professionals this year. Scott and Amanda were involved in a series of professional development workshops specifically designed for the state award winners during this convention.
Anthony Curtis, a student intern under the supervision of Tania Bacchus, is working at GoGreen Recycling LLC. As part of his internship, he wrote a grant proposal to the State of Vermont to study how recycling crushed gypsum wallboard in the soil would affect that environment. This proposal for a new type of recycling program for construction materials has been tried in other states but not yet in Vermont. He just learned that his proposal will receive state funding.
Karen Uhlendorf and Brad Moskowitz attended the Northeast Regional Conference of the Association for Experiential Education at Sargent Center for Outdoor Education in New Hampshire in April. The conference's theme of place-based education was highlighted by keynote speaker David Sobel, a recognized author, researcher and practitioner of methodologies that ground learning in a sense of place through investigation of surrounding natural and human communities. JSC outdoor rducation alumna Amanda Barnard and current majors Colin Hartnett and Sean Hylind also attended.
In Chamonix, France, part-time faculty member Mark Puleio passed his final ski mountaineering exam to become fully certified with the International Federation of Mountain Guides Association (IFMGA/UIAGM) completing a pursuit that has taken five years. In the U.S. there are approximately 40 guides who have completed this training and examination process.
Hans Haverkamp has been busy. In March he received a Project Grant Award funded by the Vermont Genetics Network. He attended the annual meeting for the Northeast region of the American College of Sports Medicine in Boston, MA on March 28 and the Vermont Genetics Network Undergraduate Student Career Day on April 16. Hans was also co-author of a poster presented by undergraduate student George Kamenos on Career Day. Hans participated in the Governors Cup Race on May 15 in Montpelier and attended the Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine May 28-31 in Indianapolis. This summer he
will be doing research in the Human Performance Laboratory along with two JSC students.
Hans Haverkamp has been awarded a $70,000 Vermont Genetics Network project grant to study "baseline airway mechanical function and airway function during exercise in asthma." Reviewers called his a solid and interesting project and described him as a promising new investigator. Liz Dolci was a major asset in the development of his successful proposal.
Since November 2007, Brad Moskowitz has been serving as a volunteer ski patrol at Stowe Mountain Resort. He has received multiple days of training on topics such as emergency medicine, musculoskeletal injuries, medical emergencies, lift evacuation, crisis management, toboggan training, and has completed coursework and received certifications in the National Incident Management System and the Incident Command System from the Emergency.
In February, Bob Genter taught a field course for Upward Bound students entitled "Ecology of Subtropical Ecosystems." This course was taught in conjunction with Tony Blueter (Upward Bound) for the sixth year and helps prepare first-generation college-bound high school students for higher education.
Leslie Kanat gave testimony to the Vermont Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy on March 12. He presented a hydrologic perspective of waste storage at the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant in Vernon, VT. Two students from his first-year seminar on nuclear energy attended.
During the February break, Brad Moskowitz once again brought eight JSC students to the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho for an extended classroom experience that forms the basis of the Winter Expedition class. The expedition was chock full of learning opportunities and the students experienced a variety of challenges, from strenuous days with heavy backpacks to morning and evening lectures on avalanche phenomena, snow science, mountain weather, and human factors in decision-making. Patrick Graham (Outdoor Education, 2005), who is a guide for Sun Valley Trekking, Inc., co-instructed the field session and served as an exceptional mentor to the aspiring students. All of the students received Level One Avalanche certifications through the American Avalanche Association.
Students Tim Thurston and Greg Perry were awarded $4,000 stipends to work with Bob Genter on Vermont EPSCoR's Vermont Streams Project. They will study sources of phosphorus loading and varieties of coliform bacteria in streams in the Lamoille River drainage basin that flow into Lake Champlain.
In early December, Les Kanat was asked to present his views — a geologist's perspective on nuclear power — to an energy study group in Montpelier.
Professor Leslie Kanat was invited to participate in an environmental sciences forum at the headquarters of Pearson Benjamin Cummings (PBC) publishers in San Francisco, CA recently. He shared his reviews of several books published by PBC and met with several authors and editors.
Professors Liz Dolci and Karen Uhlendorf and Jan Herder (Dibden) attended the Vermont Environmental Consortium conference on Educationin the New Environmental Economy at Norwich University. A van full of JSC students, organized by student Elizabeth Wiren from the Green Solutions Club, as well as some of Karen's students also represented JSC. The need for thorough environmental education was discussed as well as the urgent need for students to enter the workforce as engineers, biologists, chemists, policy makers and scientists.
Alumnus Jerry Potter (2000) successfully defended his dissertation; he is earning his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Vermont. His doctoral research involved the
synthesis and study of organic photovoltaic materials — a subject which Les Kanat (Environmental and Health Sciences) introduced him to in an Energy and Mineral Resources course. He is the third departmental graduate, this year, to receive a Ph.D. in the sciences. The other two are Mike Balshi (2000) and David Krayeski (1995).
Scott Graner and Amanda Thomas, both Physical Education licensure students, have been honored by the Vermont Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (VAHPERD) as this year's recipients of the organization's Outstanding Future Professional Award. Only two of these awards are given each year to students majoring in one of the disciplines represented within VAHPERD, a state-level professional organization of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance Dance (AAHPERD), and this year both of the honorees are JSC students. Scott and Amanda were recognized at the state VAHPERD conference in Killington. They will also attend the AAHPERD Eastern District Association Convention in early 2008 in Newport, Rhode Island. There, they will again be recognized and be considered for selection in the next tier of Outstanding Future Professional awards at the district level. The award is based on academic achievement, professional involvement in HPERD and college organizations, contributions to their major department and community, professional potential, leadership qualities and individual accomplishments.
New faculty member Hans Haverkamp attended an August meeting in Burlington of the Northeast Regional IDeA Conference. At the meeting he presented a poster on "Evolution of airways hyper responsiveness and its physiologic basis after chronic allergic airways disease." Professor Haverkamp's research interest is asthma.
Brad Moskowitz spent much of the summer leading extended classroom experiences, traveling with his family, and engaging in professional development activities. The summer began with the Camp Abenaki Outdoor Education Program, where JSC students plan and carry out a weeklong outdoor learning experience for all 6th graders from the Island Schools. He and Karen Uhlendorf (Environmental and Health Sciences) along with 16 JSC students carried out the 35th season of this collaborative effort between JSC, YMCA of Burlington, and the Grand Isle Supervisory Union. Days later, Brad took seven students on a 17-day expedition to the southwestern states where they met with an elder from the Zuni Pueblo, backpacked for seven days in Grand Gulch, mountain biked and hiked near Arches National Park, and learned to guide rafts in class 3 whitewater.
In July, while in British Columbia with his family, Brad took a six-day advanced alpine ice climbing course with the American Alpine Institute, one of the premier guiding and training organizations in the U.S. This course enabled Brad to synthesize his skills in rock, ice and snow climbing, high angle rescue, client management and leadership, and remote mountain travel and apply them to big mountain glaciated terrain. The course culminated in a summit push of Mount Baker in Washington, via the technical north ridge.
Several naturalists from around Vermont, including Gustav W. Verderber, have been featured on WCAX television, the Burlington, VT CBS affiliate, to inform viewers about our state’s outstanding natural history. Meteorologist Sharon Meyer hosted a brief segment during the evening news in which she accompanied a naturalist into the field and reported, on location, about migrating trout, bird eruptions, celestial events, or unique species such as freshwater jellyfish, as well as the best places to spot a moose or view the fall foliage. WCAX also posted video clips of these episodes to their Web site