George Perkins Marsh Institute


Call for Student Applications: The 2016-17 Albert, Norma and Howard Geller '77 Endowed Research Awards for Projects Relating to Sustainability

The George Perkins Marsh Institute announces the Geller Student Research Award Competition for 2016-17. The awards were established by the family of Dr. Howard Geller '77. Geller Student Research Awards are intended to support student-initiated research projects that advance our understanding of sustainability in the human use of resources and the environment. Both undergraduate and graduate students are eligible for awards. We anticipate making 3-4 awards in amounts ranging from $1,001 to $2,500, and several smaller grants, up to $1,000. It is the intention of the committee to award at least one-third of regular and small awards to undergraduate projects, again subject to the number and quality of applications received. Applications must be submitted by students. The deadline for applications is October 21, 2016 at 4:30 pm, EST. Click here for details.

Questions should be directed to Dana Marie Bauer, Assistant Director of the George Perkins Marsh Institute.

Seminar Series 2016-17 Academic Year

The George Perkins Marsh Institute and Jeanne X. Kasperson Research Library announce the 2016-17 Academic Year Seminar Series. Seminars will present cutting-edge research on human/environment interactions taking place at Clark University and are designed to catalyze discussions regarding future research possibilities. Seminars are open to all in the Clark community. The format is a 40-45 minute presentation followed by 15-20 minutes of questions and discussion. Interaction with the speaker is encouraged. Light refreshments will be provided. Please feel free to bring your own brown-bag lunch if desired. The third seminar of the series is as follows:


Justin Maxwell, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, Indiana University

"Is the Greenland Ice Sheet Melting Away?"
Debra I. and Jeffrey A. Geller Endowed Lecture, co-Sponsored with the Graduate School of Geography Colloquium Series

Thursday, October 27, 2016
12:15 – 1:15 pm
University Center, Grace Conference Room

View our full listing of Marsh Institute seminars »


The Surprising Science of Wildfires and Tree-Killing Beetles

News Deeply 9/14/2016

"SO FAR THIS year 4,636 wildfires in California have burned more than 200,000 acres. That's more fires than this time last year and more fires than the five-year average. In fact, in the last few decades, the number of large fires are on the rise across the Western United States and the length of the fire season continues to expand. ... Research published by Veblen and Clark University's Dominik Kulakowski in 2015 found that 'the best available science indicates that outbreaks of bark beetles do not increase the risk of high-severity fires in lodgepole pine and spruce-fir forests of the Rocky Mountains.' It's possible that in some cases the loss of needles would reduce the risk of crown fires, which spread from the canopy of trees and are associated with severe fires." More »

Kate Markham

Grad Student Researches Small-scale Gold-mining's Impact on Biodiversity in Peru

Madre de Dios, in the northern Amazon region of Peru, has been hard hit by the devastating environmental effects of gold-mining. "Whole areas have been transformed into veritable deserts and wastelands," The Guardian reported recently. More »


Spotted Owls vs. Barred Owls: Clark Ethicist Helps Guide Debate on Protecting Species

The Pacific Northwest is in the middle of "Owl Wars," in which the possible extinction of the northern spotted owl is being weighed against the intrusion of another -- the barred owl. After a decade of planning, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has concluded that the only way to save the spotted owl from extinction is to kill barred owls, a move that is ethically troubling for bird and nature lovers everywhere. More »

High Country News: 'California Plans to Log its Drought-killed Trees'

Over the past four years, California has lost more than 66 million trees due to drought, and now the state is planning to log dead trees to reduce the risk of devastating wildfires, according to High Country News (HCN), a nonprofit, independent media organization covering news of the American West. But the planned logging already is proving controversial. More »


Clark's CDP Program Partners with Worcester on Food Economy, Families

The professors and students in Clark's Community Development and Planning (CDP) program learn from and work alongside members of the very community they want to transform. Their research not only pursues solutions to problems besetting urban neighborhoods, but also helps governments and nonprofits aspire to a more socially just world. More »

Request for Consultant Services: Stated Preference Valuation of Water Quality Benefits

Clark University seeks a technical consultant to assist in a three-year, federal grant-funded project that will develop novel stated preference methods to estimate use and nonuse willingness to pay (WTP) for large-scale water quality improvements. The consultant will assist in various aspects of the project, including water quality modeling, development of ecological indicators for use within survey scenarios, and survey development/testing. The scope of work for the project and deliverables are provided below. Consultants may apply as individuals or teams, although we anticipate that consultant teams will be required to provide the necessary expertise. The project will begin as soon as a suitable consultant is identified and contracts established. More »

The 2015-16 Albert, Norma and Howard Geller '77 Endowed Research Awards for projects relating to sustainability

The History of the Albert, Norma and Howard '77 Geller Endowed Research Awards: The Geller Student Research Awards were established by the family of Dr. Howard Geller. Howard graduated from Clark in 1977 with a degree in Physics and in Science, Technology and Society (now Environmental Science and Policy). He earned graduate degrees at Princeton and the University of Sao Paolo an became the first executive director of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE). After twenty years of accomplishments at ACEEE, including contributions to the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act of 1987 and the Energy Policy Act of 1992, he left ACEEE to found and direct the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) in 2001. Remembering his own experience as an activist student researcher at Clark, through these annual awards Howard hopes to support other Clark students as they combine research with action that moves society toward sustainability.

Below is the list of students who received the research award*:

  • Katherine Markham, "Modeling faunal vulnerability to artisanal and small-scale gold mining in Madre de Dios, Peru."
  • Kristen Shake, "(Un)frozen boundaries: Examining the role of sea ice in the socio-legal dynamics of the Bering Sea snow crab fisher."
  • Dylan Harris, "Re-politicizing global climate change: Stories from high-mountain communities in Nepal and Bolivia."
  • Bernadette Arakwiye, "Monitoring forest loss and degradation to evaluate sustainable forest restoration priorities in the Gishwati-Mukura National Park, Rwanda."
  • Wenjing Jiang, "Understanding contemporary agrarian transformation in China: Ongoing transfer of cropland user rights in a reform era."

*Awardees were selected by a panel of Clark University faculty representing multiple departments. The selection process was overseen by the George Perkins Marsh Institute. For additional details contact Dana Marie Bauer, Assistant Director of the George Perkins Marsh Institute.