From the Executive Director
By now most of us have settled into the autumn season. It may be a return to teaching schedules, new initiatives, conferences and perhaps garden harvest. Since I'm amidst garden harvest and Switzer Fellows retreats, I've been thinking about how impressed we are with our cohort of new 2013 Fellows as well as the ongoing harvest of inspiring news from our Fellow alumni, who are leaders in all spheres - academic, nonprofit, business, government and as volunteers in their communities at home and abroad.
As we read applications, interview and interact with candidates and finally select the Fellowship recipients, we are seeing more clearly that our investment in Fellows, beyond the Fellowship funding, continues to reap great rewards. We have been far more intentional about building the Fellowship network, allowing Fellows to serve as mentors, advisors, colleagues and friends to new Fellows, as well as seeing Fellow alums take part in our communications trainings at fall retreats.
With our 2014 Call for Applications, we are expanding our commitment to building and enhancing the leadership development and training component of the Fellowship. The Fellowship will continue to provide a $15,000 cash award for academic study, but now will include two required retreats that will include leadership training - on leadership practices, communications and collaborative and networked leadership. We are thrilled to expand our commitment to strengthening environmental leadership in ways that can best serve our complex and connected world that can only find meaningful solutions through interdisciplinary and collaborative leadership.
Join me in welcoming our new Fellows and helping us find the next cohort of environmental leaders who want to invest in themselves as well as the issues they care about!
The core program of the Switzer Foundation, the Switzer Fellowship Program, supports highly talented graduate students working towards environmental improvement, who demonstrate the potential for leadership in their fields.
This year, twenty-two new Fellows joined the Switzer Network of 530 Fellows located across the country and around the world.
See all of the new Fellows in the sidebar on the right or read the bios of all 2013 Fellows.
The Foundation helps advance the professional careers of Fellows by awarding Leadership Grants of up to $40,000 to qualified organizations that can benefit from Fellows' expertise on critical environmental issues.
In May 2013, International Rivers received a $40,000 Leadership Grant to create a new position for 2008 Switzer Fellow Dipti Vaghela as Energy Solutions Coordinator. In this position, Dipti will integrate with staff in the organization's Energy Solutions and Climate programs to analyze the potential for micro hydropower as an alternative to large dams to address the energy needs of local, rural communities. Dipti brings expertise in micro hydropower after years in India bringing small scale, renewable energy to rural communities in the state of Odisha.
Read more about the Switzer Leadership Program.
The Foundation also supports Fellows working together across disciplines to solve complex problems through the Network Innovation Grants program.
$15,000 was awarded to the Global Diversity Foundation for a project led by Switzer Fellows Susannah McCandless and Melissa Nelson in which they will convene the North American Community Environmental Leadership Exchange next month. This Exchange will bring together leaders from indigenous North American communities for peer learning and skills building, creating a network of support for them in their ongoing work to protect the biological and cultural resources of their tribal lands. The Exchange starts with a four-day intensive workshop leading up to the 2013 Bioneers conference in San Raphael, California, where selected participants will present key stories and strategies to an international audience. Read more
Switzer Fellows Evan Hansen and Dr. Dustin Mulvaney are researching the life cycle and regional impacts of water use in fracking operations in the Marcellus Shale in the northeastern U.S. with Earthworks. Read more
or register for our upcoming webinar
Switzer Fellows Christine Lee, Nancy Steele and Linwood Pendleton are collaborating on the technical, policy and economic dimensions of a proposed shift in EPA protocols for water quality monitoring of beaches and waterways. Read more
The Switzer Network in Action
Environmental Impacts of the
Goods Movement Industry
Many of our Fellows work on issues related to the goods movement industry and its impacts on ecosystems and human communities across the globe. We produced a series of Switzer Network News reports on the topic this year, featuring our Fellows' contributions to solving important issues in the industry:
Inaugural National Adaptation Forum and Climate Adaptation Help Panel
We include among our Fellows many national leaders on climate adaptation. This year, we sponsored two events that allowed our Fellows to lead the discussion on this important topic. In December we hosted a Climate Adaptation Help Panel webinar that featured Dr. Lara Hansen (1995) of EcoAdapt, Amber Pairis (2001) of the California Natural Resources Agency, Patrick McCarthy (1990) of The Nature Conservancy, and Healy Hamilton (1991) of the Marine Conservation Institute and Sound Science, LLC. Then in April, Amber and Lara joined forces again to organize the Inaugural National Adaptation Forum, which drew nearly 500 people to its 60 symposia, 28 working groups and 12 training sessions.
Retreat and Study Tour:
Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta
The 2013 California spring Fellows retreat, held March 23-25, 2013, was an opportunity for Switzer Fellows and colleagues to examine critical environmental issues in the region from an interdisciplinary perspective and to share expertise and creative exchange. We were fortunate to have the leadership of several Switzer Fellows and colleagues who are extremely knowledgeable about the region to host an insider's tour of this special and surprisingly remote place, with a focus on the North Delta region. Read more
Retreat and Workshop:
Marine Spatial Planning From Policy to Practice: Competition or Coexistence
The Switzer Foundation sponsored a spring retreat and workshop on Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) in Woods Hole, MA, April 5-7, 2013, organized by a star team of Switzer Fellows with professional and research interests in the marine realm. This event was such a popular topic that we expanded our vision for the event and included Switzer Fellows from New England, DC and California and graduate students from area marine science and policy programs. Marine Spatial Planning is a concept that has grown out of the National Ocean Policy and calls for balancing resource protection and a multitude of uses. It is a tool that aims to collect, analyze, and map information and develop policy guidelines for management. The Northeast Regional Ocean Council (NROC) is developing a regional plan for federal waters, but in the meantime, a few states have developed plans of their own for State Waters. Read more
Spring 2013 Newsletter: Energy Efficiency
In our spring 2013 newsletter, we highlighted several Switzer Fellows who are taking up the call to action to reduce energy use in their own lives - at work and at home - very seriously. Whether through new home design, "net-zero" co-housing, or urban housing retrofits, Fellows are personally incorporating the values of sustainability for cost savings as well as serving as a role model and catalyst for others. Fellows are also working on local, state and national policy actions that can promote more responsible energy use, sending a message to markets, consumers and policymakers that energy efficiency makes economic and social sense. Topics included:
Reducing Demand Through Energy Efficiency Programs in Marin, California
Making Affordable Housing Green in Cambridge, Massachusetts
Chicago Conservation Corps Builds on Volunteer Efforts for Weatherization
How Will California Get to 33% Renewables by 2020?
Keeping Solar Clean in California and Across the Nation
Zero Net Energy Residential Project on Lopez Island, Washington
Building an Energy Efficient Home From the Ground Up in Santa Cruz, California
- Moving Beyond Payback in Washington State
Read the full newsletter
Interested in tapping Switzer Network expertise for your organization? Contact Lissa Widoff, Executive Director ([email protected]) or Erin Lloyd, Program Officer ([email protected]) for more information about how our interdisciplinary network of Fellows can provide expertise or problem-solving for your organization, or on an issue with which you are working.
|October 6, 2013
rom Silent Spring to Silent Night: A Tale of Toads and Men
with Dr. Tyrone Hayes, UC Berkeley. Join us for the keynote at our Fall Fellows Retreat at 11:30 a.m. at NatureBridge in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Sausalito, CA. Dr. Hayes will talk about his research into the effects of atrazine on male amphibians and links to public health. Meet the 2013 Fellows from California as part of Alumni Day. Contact Erin Lloyd
if you would like to attend.
To be notified of upcoming webinars and events, be sure to sign up for one of our social media feeds using the sidebar links!
Switzer Fellow survey results
Each year, the Switzer Foundations surveys 20% of its Fellows. In addition to getting feedback on our programs and services, we track information on career paths, publishing, environmental outcomes and leadership experience.
We are finding that the results are quite consistent year to year, especially with respect to career track. Since we do fund PhD as well as Master's students, it is not surprising then that 32% of Fellows in our recent survey are in academia. About 80% of these Fellows are in tenure track positions with the rest in research positions. The next most likely career path is for an environmental NGO (22%), followed by government, self-employed/consulting work, other NGOs and private business positions.
We find that close to 100% of our Fellows remain in environmental work, take on leadership positions with greater responsibility and are becoming more adept at sharing their work at conferences, through publishing, social media and communication with lay audiences through blogs, public presentations, etc.
It is also common for Fellows to be recipients of other Fellowship and professional awards, and many have gone on to Washington, DC, as recipients of AAAS, Knauss and Presidential Management Fellowships. Many conservation science Fellows have also been selected as Smith Fellows.
We are proud of all their successes and will be sharing more news via our website and through social media in coming months!
New website to launch in early 2014
We are currently revamping our website as part of our ongoing mission to tell our Fellows' leadership stories, and to enhance their networking opportunities within and outside the Network. We have contracted with a web design firm and are hard at work on the initial phases of the project now. Important goals include:
- Providing all of our audiences (Fellows, environmental organizations, policy makers, and more) with rapid access to targeted content about our Fellows' work;
- Integrating social media to enable people to follow our Fellows' work wherever it is most convenient for them;
- Providing Fellows with a robust platform for sharing their professional bios.
We would like to thank everyone who provided input during the RFP stage of this project. If you have additional suggestions, please send them to Communications Manager Lauren Hertel ([email protected]