Fall 2014 Fishbowl Schedule


Thursday, Sept 11, 12:00 – 12:30 PW 204
Alex Bjork, Manager, Agriculture Supply Chains, World Wildlife Fund

Freezing the Footprint of Food: Feeding the planet and protecting biodiversity

About the talk: Agriculture currently occupies over 40% of Earth’s land area and consumes 70% of available freshwater.  Growth of the human population, projected to exceed 9 billion by 2050, and economic development in many emerging markets such as Brazil, China, India, and Indonesia will require food production to increase 70% beyond current levels. Additionally, there is an increasing reliance on agriculture to provide not only food and fiber for this growing population, but energy and renewable materials such as plant-based packaging materials.  Put simply, we rely on agriculture to provide many of our basic needs.

As a result of these trends the pressure to convert natural land cover to agriculture will increase.  Similarly, levels of food security, malnutrition, and food emergencies are on the rise as weather events and social and economic disruptions reduce food availability. Overlay these realities with the potential effects of climate change on agricultural production and it is clear that a period of demand-driven agriculture has begun, marked by uncertainty, with land and water as scarce resources.

Learn how WWF is working to freeze the footprint of food in order to feed a growing global population without increasing the land and other inputs used and in the process protect the Earth’s remaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.

About Alex: Alex is a member of the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) food and agriculture team.  He helps WWF achieve its conservation mission by working with the private sector to develop more sustainable supply chains.  Since joining WWF in 2009 he has helped launch the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef to set standards for sustainable beef production, developed an environmental and social risk assessment tool for use in international agro-commodity finance, and worked with several multinational companies on sustainable sourcing strategies.

Alex has a B.A. (History) from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN and an M.B.A. (International Business) and M.A. (Global Finance & Trade) from the University of Denver.  Prior to attending graduate school and joining WWF, Alex worked in education as a classroom teacher and community resource director.  He and his wife Amber enjoy reading, sports, the outdoors, and traveling as often as they can.


Thursday, Sept 11, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM  – Koons Hall 203
Keith Schneider, reporter for Circle of Blue and the New York Times

Reporting the global water crisis:  A talk with Keith Schneider

About Keith: A  nationally known journalist and policy strategist, Keith Schneider is one of the leaders in the United States of a new dimension in public interest communications made possible by online technology, multi-media storytelling, civic participation, and economic and environmental urgency. His work is constructed from the raw materials of a novel 21st century approach to information gathering and dissemination that integrates traditional journalism and science with open-source data management, collaborative public interest partnerships, and communications design.

Keith is a regular contributor to the New York Times, where he was a national correspondent from 1985 to 1995 and reported on new developments in agriculture, environment, natural resources, energy, and transportation. His work has been recognized with numerous honors, including two George Polk Awards for environmental and national reporting, among the most prestigious in American journalism. Earlier in his career Keith won his first Polk Award for reporting in the NRDC’s Amicus Journal on the consequences of an environmental laboratory scandal that prompted market withdrawals of hundreds of dangerous farm chemicals.

Keith’s work to merge journalism with public interest communications began in 1995 when he left daily reporting to found the Michigan Land Use Institute, a statewide research and policy organization where he was the executive director, and later served until September 2007 as editor, director of program development, and deputy director.

Keith has also served as senior editor and producer of Circle of Blue, an independent non-profit news organization that covers the global fresh water crisis from its base in Traverse City, Michigan. He contributes to Grist Magazine, Yale Environment 360, Circle of Blue, MLUI.org, and the USCAN Web site.


Carrie Diaz EatonThursday, Sept 25, 12:00 –12:30
Carrie Diaz Eaton

QUBES: connecting mathematicians and biologists

QUBES, which stands for Quantitative Undergraduate Biology Education and Synthesis, is an NSF Research Coordination Network in Undergraduate Biology Education (RCN-UBE) and was recently awarded a five-year grant from the Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) Program at the National Science Foundation.  QUBES aims to bring stakeholders together in biology and mathematics to improve learning opportunities for all students enrolled in undergraduate biology courses by reflecting the centrality of quantitative approaches in modern biology.  Come hear about the new projects Dr. Carrie Diaz Eaton and Dr. Jennifer Cartier of Unity College are pursuing in QUBES, who is currently in on the action, and how to get involved.


Stephanie WadeThursday, Oct 9, 12:00-12:30
Stephanie Wade, Tom Mullin and Heather Craigie from Maine Campus Compact.

The Fusion Project: Integrating Service-Learning and Online Learning

At this Fishbowl, Stephanie Wade and Tom Mullin will report on what they learned from Maine Campus Compact’s Fusion Project, which fuses online education with service-learning. They will be joined by Heather Craigie, a lead Fusion Project instructor from Maine Campus Compact. Come learn more about the Maine Campus Compact, the Fusion Project and the opportunities and challenges we will face as we build online programs that include experiential and community-based learning.


Tuesday, Oct 21, 11:00-12:00 :  In KH203
Brian Olsen, Assistant Professor of Biology, University of Maine

Evolutionary Succession

Ecosystems that are novel on evolutionary time scales (e.g. tidal marshes, marine islands, human-dominated habitats) are disproportionately colonized by generalist species with lower neophobia, a wider dietary niche, and higher dispersal abilities.  If the ecosystem is large enough and remains stable for long enough, however, individuals and species with narrower niches should outcompete generalist forms, although this switch to a specialist strategy will limit adaptive capacity for future ecosystem novelty and ecological state changes.  Ecosystems should thus cycle through an evolutionary succession characterized by generalist species with loose ecosystem associations and low extinction probabilities early on to communities of species with high ecosystem-specific adaptations and low adaptive capacities for change as time progresses.


Friday, October 24, 11:00 – 12:00
Porter Fox with host Will Hafford

The Deep Tour: A special Adventure Programs Fishbowl Presentation with Porter Fox.

About the event:This talk is about the sport of skiing, the miracle of snow and how climate change could wipe out both in the next 75 years. For the seven million skiers in America who dedicate their winters to tracking storms and waking up at dawn to catch the first chairlift, the lifestyle change will be radical. It will likely be far worse for the rest of the world. Fox uses primary interviews and evidence, mixed with groundbreaking scientific studies, to explain exactly how and when the Great Melt will play out—and the tremendous groundswell that is rising up to stop it. DEEP provides firsthand accounts from skiers and scientists who are mapping a way to mitigate climate change, reduce human impact on our planet and repair the water cycle. As it turns out, their efforts to save snow and ice might end up saving the world.

About the Speaker: Porter Fox grew up skiing in northern Maine and graduated in 1994 from Middlebury College, where he ski patrolled for the Middlebury Snow Bowl and sold season passes for Mad River Glen. After college, he moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where he worked for the Jackson Hole News and Daily News. There, Fox co-founded backcountry ski and snowboard ’zine The Pass. In 1999 he was hired as the senior editor of Powder Magazine. He has since skied on five continents and written more than 50 features for the magazine.

Since 2002 Fox has lived in Brooklyn, New York, and worked as the features editor for Powder. He earned an MFA in creative writing from The New School in 2004 and has published fiction, essays and nonfiction in The New York Times Magazine, The Believer, Outside, Men’s Journal, National Geographic Adventure, Narrative, The Literary Review and Third Coast, among others. He has been anthologized in Best American Travel Writing and nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and the 2009 Robert Olen Butler Fiction Prize.

More info: Recent article by Porter in the NYTimes and press release about tour.


Thursday, Oct 30, 12:00–12:30
Stephanie Wade and Christa Straub

with opening remarks by John Zavodny

Allen Island and the Environmental Citizen

Crista Straub and Stephanie Wade will speak about connections between sustainability science, the Unity College Environmental Citizen Curriculum, and the June 2014 Allen Island General Education Retreat. They will define the framework of transdisciplinary sustainability science, they will trace the implementation of this framework, and they will describe a project that emerged from the Allen Island Retreat.


Tuesday, Nov 11, 11:00-12:00
Lucas St. Clair with host Tom Mullen

Land Conservation, Outdoor Recreation, and the 21st Century Economy of Maine’s Northern Forest

Lucas St. Clair will be presenting on his family’s effort to establish a national park and recreation area in the Katahdin region of Maine’s northern forest. He will discuss the social, cultural, and political challenges they are facing, as well as the benefits of making conservation work for rural Maine economies.