Robert & Patricia Switzer Foundation
Fall Newsletter 2013

From the Executive Director
Lissa Widoff
Executive Director
Lissa Widoff

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!


2013 Fellows

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.


New Grants 

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

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

Ongoing Grants 
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:
Switzer Network News logo

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.

Upcoming Events
October 6, 2013
From 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.

October 30, 2013
Webinar: Reporting from the Fracking Front

Join us for a presentation and discussion with Switzer Fellows Evan Hansen and Dr. Dustin Mulvaney about how shale drilling and hydraulic fracturing impacts water resources in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. This webinar will highlight the findings from a collaboration between EarthworksDownstream Strategies, and San Jose State University that was supported by a Switzer Network Innovation Grant. They will also describe how their project to estimate quantities and represent water quality impacts using water footprint indicators was hampered by insufficient reporting practices and requirements. 


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]).

In This Issue
From the Executive Director
Meet the 2013 Fellows
New Grants
Switzer Network in Action
Upcoming Events
Fellow Survey Results
Quick Links
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Switzer Foundation
2013 Switzer Fellows
Program Guidelines
Switzer Network News

2014 Fellowship Application Period
Now Open
Online Applications New Being Accepted
The goal of the Switzer Environmental Fellowship Program is to support highly talented graduate students in New England and California whose studies are directed toward improving environmental quality and who demonstrate the potential for leadership in their field. Fellowship applications for the 2014-2015 Fellowship year are due January 10, 2014.
Read more about
the Fellowship Program

For any questions on our grant programs, please contact Program Officer Erin Lloyd.
2013 Fellows

Mike Antos
Mike Antos
Integrated water management
in California
Anne Clark Baker
Anne Clark Baker
Paticipatory planning using visualization tools
Bret Callaway
Bret Callaway
Developing market-based
solutions for California's water
Jia-Ching Chen
Jia-Ching Chen
China's emerging role
in the global green economy
Caitlin Cleaver
Caitlin Cleaver
Engaging fishing community
in New England ocean
planning processes
Angela Doerr
Angela Doerr
Sustainable long-term use
of marine resources
Devaughn Fraser
Devaughn Fraser
How wildlife is affected by
disruptive anthropogenic
Robert Heilmayr
Robert Heilmayr
Drivers and effects of
forest expansion in Chile
Caroline Howe
Caroline Howe
Community-based environmental initiatives and social enterprise
Erica Krimmel
Erica Krimmel
Maximizing accessibility and usefulness of environmental research data
Kevin Kung
Kevin Kung
Turning solid organic waste
into solid fuel
Lily Lewis
Lily Lewis
Developing conservation
and education programs
for the world's high latitude

Maxwell Ludington
Challenges surrounding
land conservation in
developing nations

Sarah Moffitt
Rapid environmental change
in upper ocean ecosystems
Valerie Moye
Valerie Moye
Scaling urban sustainability solutions to national and global levels
Meredith Niles
Meredith Niles
Farmer adoption of climate mitigation and adaptation
Isella Ramirez
Isella Ramirez
Combining environmental justice with planning tools to transform collective community action
Sarah Sharp
Sarah Sharp
Marine animal health and disease and minimizing human impacts
Lisa Stoddard
Lisa Stoddard
Sustainable livestock production
Amanda Subalusky
Amanda Subalusky
Impacts of large wildlife on water quality in Africa
Jessica Veysey
Jessica Veysey
Better integrating the physical and social landscapes of sensitive ecosystems
Paige Weber
Paige Weber
Impact of the built environment on transportation and energy use
A Vibrant Community of Environmental Leaders
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