bren news spring 2013 - Bren School of Environmental Science ...

bren news spring 2013 - Bren School of Environmental Science ...

Bren News is a publication of the

Bren School of

Environmental Science & Management

University of California, Santa Barbara

Spring 2013

Bren News

The NCEAS Era …

and the birth of “synthetic”ecology

Digging into Data

James Frew tracks the past behind your bytes

Charlie Kolstad Retires

Career impacts of an environmental economist

Quantifying Nature’s Value

Bren alumnae thrive in ecosystem services


Dean’s Message


2 Dean’s Message

News Briefs

3 Gift for Water Markets

Walton Family Foundation

establishes a new program at Bren.

5 Digging into Data

Tracking the past behind your bytes.

6 Charlie Kolstad Retires

The renowned economist contributed

to the Bren School for twenty years.

8 The NCEAS Era

A bold experiment that transformed

a scientific discipline.

10 No Legal Limit

An innovative program teaches

essential law to master’s students.

11 Making the Message Matter

Strategic communication is the focus

of a new collaborative offering.

13 Donors and Partners

14 Alumni News

Bren grads in the world.

15 Quantifying Nature’s Value

Bren alumnae are thriving in the

field of ecosystem services.

Bren School of

Environmental Science

& Management

2400 Bren Hall

University of California

Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara, CA 93106-5131

Program information:

(805) 893-7611

Giving opportunities:

(805) 893-5743


Copyright 2013 Bren School

of Environmental Science

& Management

Dean: Steve Gaines

Editor & Writer: James Badham

Design and Production:

Monica Pessino, Ocean o’ Graphics,

Marine Science Institute

Cover: Penguins and Erebus Glacier

crack by Lydia Kapsenberg; scuba

diver and mountain with river by

Ron McPeak; deer at Sedgwick

Natural Reserve by PhotoHunter

Diversity and affirmative action are integral

to the University of California Santa

Barbara’s achievement of excellence,

enhancing the ability of the University

and the Bren School to accomplish their

academic missions. Educational excellence

that truly incorporates diversity promotes

mutual respect and makes possible the

full and effective use of the talents and

abilities of all to foster innovation and

train future leaders. For information on

University policies regarding affirmative

action, please contact the Director of Equal

Opportunity at 805-893-4504.

If you require this information in another

format as an accommodation, please call


The interdisciplinary nature of environmental

challenges is widely acknowledged, but

solutions rarely arise from a superficial

marriage of the relevant disciplines.

That requires real innovation and deep

integration. Two institutions at UCSB having

strong ties to the Bren School illustrate the

power of bringing rich disciplinary insights to

interdisciplinary problems.

NCEAS, the National Center for Ecological

Analysis and Synthesis (P.8), was formed

at about the same time as the Bren

School to promote probing, synthetic

analyses of ecological topics through group

collaborations that function not unlike Bren

Group Projects. Although NCEAS was created

to advance the science of ecology, physicists,

economists, chemists, and political scientists

have ignored the ecological limits implied

by the center’s name, melding their insights

with those from other fields to achieve

comprehensive ecological syntheses.

The impacts on conservation have been

profound, and many Bren faculty and

students have been key players.

The other “institution” is Charlie Kolstad

(P.6), who recently retired from the Bren

School. During his twenty years as a force

in its design and development, Charlie

passionately promoted our core principle of

interdisciplinary collaboration in education

and research. In his own research, he

has drawn on the

diversity of economic

theory and empirical

insight to tackle an

array of issues in

environmental science

and policy, particularly

in the areas of energy,

pollution, and climate


Innovation also led Steve Gaines

to a novel solution to

the challenge of integrating environmental

law throughout the Bren School in the

absence of a law school at UCSB. The

Council of Legal Advisors (P.10) brings a

team of some of the nation’s most talented

environmental lawyers into the core of the

Bren curriculum.

Finally, one of the biggest obstacles to

successfully implementing great solutions is

communication, the challenge of generating

understanding of, and buy-in to, a complex

solution to a complex problem. The new

Strategic Environmental Communication and

Media Focus (P.11), created in collaboration

with the media-centric Carsey-Wolf Center,

is the latest approach to ensuring that Bren

students distinguish themselves further by

having the tools they need to communicate

their great ideas effectively.

NOAA Head Named Commencement Speaker

Jane Lubchenco, Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans

and Atmosphere and Administrator of the National Oceanic and

Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) during President Barack Obama’s

first term, will deliver the keynote address at the 2013 Bren School

Commencement exercises. The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. on

June 14 in the Michael J. Connell Courtyard at Bren Hall, with music by

Brengrass and a reception to follow.

Dr. Lubchenco, the first woman to hold the top position at NOAA, is

a widely recognized marine ecologist whose expertise lies in oceans,

climate change, and interactions among elements that affect both the

environment and human well-being.

She has served as president of the American Association for the

Jane Lubchenco

Advancement of Science, the International Council for Science, and

the Ecological Society of America. She also participated in the National Academy of Sciences

study “Policy Implications of Global Warming” under President George H.W. Bush.

A previous recipient of a MacArthur “genius” award, Dr. Lubchenco is one of the most

highly cited ecologists in the world, and eight of her publications are recognized as “Science

Citation Classics.” She was named “2010 Newsmaker of the Year” by the scientific journal

Nature. Following her service in Washington, she resumed her position as a faculty member

at Oregon State University.

News Brief

Ozone Expert Is Next

Distinguished Visitor

The 2012-2013 Zurich Financial Services

Distinguished Visitors Program on Climate

Change concludes in

May with a visit from

Dr. Don Wuebbles,

who has conducted

science indispensable to

addressing a number of

important atmospheric

challenges. A chemist by

training, Dr. Wuebbles

is the Harry E. Preble

Professor of Atmospheric

Science at the University

of Illinois. He will lead a

Don Wuebbles

short course titled “The

US National Climate Assessment: From Science

to Policy,” and on May 15, he will deliver a talk

at a public colloquium at Bren Hall.

Professor Wuebbles developed one of the first

comprehensive urban-air-quality models and

co-authored the 1986 paper that provided the

basic principles explaining the existence of the

Antarctic ozone hole. In recognition of those

and other contributions, he was elected to the

International Ozone Commission in 2000. As a

convening lead author for the first and second

assessments of climate change sponsored by the

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, his

concepts have been incorporated into the Kyoto

Protocol and most carbon-trading applications.

Award for Nano Center

In January, the UC Center for Environmental

Implications of Nanotechnology (UC CEIN)

received the California Governor’s Environmental

and Economic Leadership Award, the state’s

most prestigious environmental honor, in the

field of Green Chemistry. UC CEIN is a research

center based at UCSB and UCLA, and three Bren

School professors — Patricia Holden, Arturo

Keller, and Hunter Lenihan each lead one of

seven CEIN themes, with Keller also serving as

associate director.

“When the UC CEIN began in 2007, little was

known about the environmental implications of

nanotechnology,” said Bren School dean Steve

Gaines. “Rather than waiting for problems

to emerge, the people behind this incredibly

successful collaboration have proactively

generated findings that are informing policy

being developed around the world to guide the

safe production and use of nanoparticles.”

Read more here:


Gift to Study Water Markets

Walton Family Foundation contributes $800,000

The Walton gift aims to develop market-based solutions to water challenges in the West.

A gift of $800,000 has been received by the Bren School to establish the Walton

Family Foundation Sustainable Water Markets Fellowship program (SWM) for

the study of market-based solutions to freshwater challenges in the American

West. In its first year, SWM will provide career-oriented training for four Bren

master’s students and two Bren PhD students.

“The Bren School is immensely grateful to the Walton Family Foundation for

its continuing vision and commitment to environmental sustainability,” says

Dean Steve Gaines. “Its partnership programs serve to develop not only

knowledge, but perhaps more importantly, environmental professionals who will

drive innovation for many years to come.”

Through its environmental program, the Walton Family Foundation creates

partnerships among conservation, business, and community interests to build

durable solutions to big problems. The foundation’s Freshwater Initiative

focuses on sustaining the health and resilience of both human and wildlife

communities in the Colorado and Mississippi river systems, and the Sustainable

Water Markets program will enable the Bren School to contribute to that work.

“We’re pleased to support the Bren School in training leaders who will make

substantial contributions to employing market-driven strategies for addressing

water challenges in the western United States,” said Sam Walton. “From its

location to its curriculum to the expertise of its faculty, the Bren School is the

right place for this kind of program, and we’re excited to have a role in making

it happen.”

SWM will address the critical importance of water in the western US in

general and the Colorado River Basin in particular. Existing decades-old waterapportionment

law no longer reflects the realities of the area, and as a result,

water rights are incompletely defined, water markets are localized and limited,

and water remains misallocated.

Aimed at qualified master’s and PhD students, SWM is intended to “advance

water conservation and sustainable water management practices by preparing

future environmental leaders with a unique grounding in the science,

economics, policy, and law of market-based sustainable water management,”

according to the program description.

A further goal of the program is “to have these students lead water

management reform in the US by contributing new knowledge, shaping policy,

and creating market-based solutions.”



Faculty and Staff News

Tom Dunne John Melack

Longtime Bren professors

Tom Dunne and John

Melack have both received

Fulbright awards for

next year. From January

through August 2014,

Dunne will be working at

the Earth Observatory of

Singapore (EOS) at Nanyang

Technological University.

EOS specializes in research on geophysical risk analysis, and

Dunne says he is going there “to learn how to analyze flood risk

in densely settled floodplains of large rivers that are subjected

to monsoonal climates, large sediment supplies from tectonically

and volcanically active mountain ranges, and crustal sinking.”

Melack will be based at the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da

Amazonia in Manaus, Brazil. He will spend 70 percent of his time

working on a data-synthesis project to quantify carbon exchange

in Amazon floodplains, a research focus he has pursued for more

than a decade, and 30 percent mentoring graduate students and

teaching an intensive course on limnology.

Professor Bruce Kendall is the new

associate dean at UCSB’s Graduate

Division. As one of only two faculty

members on the Graduate Division staff,

Kendall brings a student- and academiccentered

perspective to strategic

planning. One area of focus is providing

graduate students with professional

skills, such as writing and presenting,

particularly for the growing number of

Bruce Kendall

PhD students who pursue non-academic

careers. He is also coordinating a new

Graduate Division–funded program, called “Crossroads,” in

which three faculty members from at least two departments

collaborate to run a year-long research seminar for PhD

students. The seminar will lead to a collaborative research

product and develop new content for an undergraduate course.

“The experience of working in a team is valuable in itself, both

in academic and nonacademic fields,” says Kendall. “I’m excited

to take the lessons we’ve learned in interdisciplinary education

and professional development at the Bren School and apply

them to graduate education across campus.”

Jay Means is a new adjunct faculty

member who will be teaching

Ecotoxicology (ESM 213) in the Bren

School master’s curriculum. He is the

retired dean of the College of Science at

Southern Illinois University, where he was

professor of toxicology and chemistry.

His expertise lies in how chemicals, such

as aromatic hydrocarbons, pesticides,

and herbicides, are introduced into and

Jay Means

move among air, water, and soil/sediment

organic matter in the environment, as well

their adverse effects in ecosystems. His research has focused on

mechanisms and consequences of genetic damage in organisms.

He has developed and applied trace-analytical methodology and

its applications in water, sediments, biological tissues, colloidal

materials, and air. Dr. Means has published widely in these

areas, as well as in environmental chemistry and environmental

toxicology of hydrophobic organic chemicals in North American

freshwater and saltwater aquatic systems. He and his wife,

Teresa, live in Solvang.

Andrew Plantinga is the newest member

of the Bren School faculty, arriving from

Oregon State University. As an economist

who specializes in econometrics, he seeks

to understand relationships between

market incentives and land-use decisions

as they relate to ecosystem services.

He also evaluates carbon sequestration

in forests and studies uncertainty in the

context of designing policies “that have

Andrew Plantinga a chance of working in the real world.”

He was drawn by several aspects of the

Bren School, including “the fact that you have people who first

and foremost are experts in a discipline, whether economics,

ecology, or hydrology, but are excited about the problems that

people with different expertise can contribute to solving.” He

also values “the strong relationship between the Bren School

and the Economics Department, which allows a graduate student

to work on environmental problems while enrolled in Economics

or the Bren School.” He and his wife, Alexandra Regan, who will

be working at Davidson Library, will relocate to Santa Barbara

permanently with their two children in June.

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School website:



Digging into Data

James Frew wants you to know where your bytes have been

In his Bren Hall office, James Frew’s computer screen displays diagrams of data relationships.

A large blue diagram fills the computer

monitor in Associate Professor James

Frew’s Bren Hall office; it represents the

history of data used to create a map of

ocean color around the world. Several

thin, tightly spaced vertical lines run down

the left side of the screen, illustrating

the flow of information toward the end

product. As Frew scrolls down, small

boxes containing data-source labels come

into view on the right side. Horizontal

lines lead from them to the vertical lines

on the left, mapping how each boxed data

source feeds into the main flow.

“In a sense, I’m pointing to this oceancolor

result and saying, ‘Where’d it

come from?’” explains the expert in geoinformatics.

His prototype system, he says,

“is designed to apply a set of rules to the

provenance, or origins, of each bit of data

all the way back to the start. And at each

point it asks, ‘Is this information good?’”

Frew scrolls down, evaluating each

box as he goes: “In this case it’s good

because the file name matches a pattern

we trust, and the file hasn’t been modified

since it was put there. This one lives in a

standard place and is part of the operating

system, so I trust it. I trust this next one

transitively because it was created with

verified data and a verified process.”

Finally, using his index finger to draw

a circle in the air around all the boxes on

the right side, he says, “Because I trust

all this stuff, I trust the ocean color that

came from it, the idea being that if we

trust all the antecedents, we will trust,

by derivation, the end result. That’s

provenance at work.”

Provenance has long been used in the

art world to track the chain of ownership of

valuable objects, mainly to determine their


“The minimal amount of providence in

art is, ‘I bought this from Sotheby’s, and

they’re reputable, so I trust that it’s not a

forgery,’” says Frew. “The ‘reputable’ part is

important because, lacking that, you need

a lot more detailed information.”

Frew is a member of a working group

within the World Wide Web Consortium

(W3C) led by Tim Burners Lee, inventor

of the World Wide Web and leader of the

W3C. The international collaborative project

seeks to develop a universal language for

creating, storing, reading, moving, and

sharing what might be thought of as data

tracers that establish digital provenance.

Currently, such provenance information is

essentially unavailable. Frew has developed

his own Earth System Science Server

software as a “passive” system designed

to generate provenance files for everything

done on a computer. It might be activated

through a menu item after logging in, and

it would then collect the information in the

background as work is done.

That type of provenance data could be

important to policymakers. “The kind of

information environmental managers care

about starts with a sensor, a model, or a

field observation but winds up as a decision

to, say, close a beach because the coliform

count is too high in the water,” Frew says,

so it’s important to trust the information

(data) that informs such decisions.

“Information is coming at us raw and

unmediated, with ever fewer gatekeepers,”

he adds. “It’s up to us to make judgments

about whether to trust a source or not. If

I have the provenance, I ought to be able

to instruct a program to walk backward

through it and tell me if there’s anything

it doesn’t like, according to rules I set up.

So I might be reading along and come

to something that sounds bogus, and all

of a sudden my bot pops up and says,

‘Warning, significant assumption in article

came from Source X.” I don’t trust that

source, so I’ve written a rule telling the bot

to flag anything that traces back to it.”

Those same concerns play out in the

scientific sphere.

“You need some level of confidence in

the origins of the data and what was done

to it,” Frew explains. “You might know

where it came from, but assumptions may

have been made in selecting or interpreting

information, or a sensor or a program

might have gone haywire.”

Frew gives an example from his work

on remote sensing of snow, referring to

a model that showed a lot of snow in

the middle of Mono Lake, which is highly

alkaline and therefore never freezes.

“That’s not right,” he says. “So we went

back and saw that it wasn’t bad satellite

data; it was our algorithm, a numerical

problem. At least we knew that all the

field data that we went to a lot of trouble

to measure, and all the satellite data

we collected were OK. We could fix the

algorithm and rerun the model, as opposed

to saying, ‘Oh, no! We have bad snow data

and no clue where it went wrong.’”

The challenge for provenance is making

it an international system that works for

every computer everywhere. “The big

idea is to try to weave this language into

the fabric of the Web so that provenance

data — like hyperlinks, html, news feeds,

and JavaScript — are part of the Web

architecture, and everybody agrees on

how they ought to work,” Frew says. “Once

there is general agreement, the rest of it

involves people saying, ‘Gee, if I want to

play in this pool I should do it that way.’”


Faculty Retirement

Charlie Kolstad Retires

The environmental economist’s impact on his field, the Bren School, and UCSB

When professional colleagues talk

about Charlie Kolstad’s career, the

phrase “institution building” tends

to come up. Though not the most

sizzling of words, they describe the

indispensable effort required to turn

concepts and ideas into academic

entities that resonate over time,

whether as research centers, think

tanks, curricula or public policy.

Such daily-grind duty is not for the

indecisive, the uncommitted or the

self-centered. It takes knowledge,

thought, creativity, flexibility, tenacity,

public mindedness, and wisdom.

Kolstad, who recently retired from

UCSB, brought those qualities with

him when he began contributing to

the Bren School. The school had just

opened and had no building of its own,

no faculty, and a master’s curriculum

that was skewed toward the natural

sciences and quantitative tools.

“Students had to take partial

differential equations as part of the core curriculum, which

was challenging but more like a pre-PhD than a professional

master’s degree,” Kolstad recalls. “It didn’t yet connect with

the kinds of jobs that were out there for master’s students.”

Given the vision for the school, that was a reasonable

obstacle to encounter, Kolstad says: “If I wanted to start an

economics department, I’d just look around the country and

copy somebody. But we were starting from scratch. There

was no model for a truly interdisciplinary professional school

of environmental science and management, so we did a lot

of experimenting.”

Kolstad, whose UCSB faculty appointment was divided

between Environmental Studies and Economics, was asked

to design the core environmental economics course as a step

to bringing more social science into the Bren curriculum. In

doing so, says Professor Jeff Dozier, the school’s first dean,

“He taught us a lot about how to be interdisciplinary.”

By the time Kolstad came to UCSB, he had spent a decade

on the economics faculty at the University of Illinois and

was well on his way to becoming, as Bren professor Gary

Libecap describes him today, “probably the most highly

regarded environmental economist in the world.”

But Kolstad did not always see academia as his natural path.

He grew up as one of three children on a small

“gentleman’s farm” in Maryland. His father was a physicist

Charlie Kolstad has retired from UCSB after 20 years.

who worked for the US government.

His mother, Christine, taught high

school history. Kolstad studied

mathematics and physics as an

undergrad at Bates College, and was

enrolled in a PhD program in pure

math at the University of Rochester

but dropped out, instead earning a

masters degree in 1973.

He had also spent a couple of years

in the Peace Corps teaching at a

high school in Ghana and exploring

neighboring countries by motorcycle.

That experience — he calls it “a real

eye-opener” — shifted his thinking,

but he realized it only after beginning

his doctoral work in math.

“The world seemed so much

greater than the experience I thought

I’d have as a mathematician, sitting

in an office proving theorems for the

rest of my life,” he says. “There was

a disconnect there for me. It happens

to a lot of math majors. They don’t

want to be academic mathematicians, so they go off in

different directions to apply it.”

Kolstad’s direction led him to Los Alamos Scientific

Laboratory in New Mexico, where he generated mathematical

models related to volcanic activity. While working on a

project concerning environmental policy, he developed an

interest in social systems, which led him to economics. He

received his PhD in a combination of economics and applied

math from Stanford in 1982, became an assistant professor

at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and

developed what would be his long-term focus on air pollution

from both energy and environmental perspectives.

“They’re two sides of the same coin,” he says. “Most

pollution comes from combustion of fossil fuels, and most

energy issues relate to fossil fuels. That’s been my focus.

Whatever is really hot when you go to graduate school is

generally what you end up doing for the rest of your life.”

Energy and the environment were hot in the 1970s, and

Kolstad’s research has reflected that ever since. Major themes

have included urban air pollution, competitive behavior in

energy markets, the comparative advantage of regulatory

options, energy consumption, and regulation of CO 2


“For me, my best papers come from a real-world problem

that puzzles people,” he says. “You think to yourself, You

know, the economic tools to answer that aren’t really there.


That’s why people are puzzled. I see the puzzle, I think I see

it clearly, and I think I can figure out a way around it.”

While living in New Mexico, Kolstad fell in love with the West,

which is what brought him to UCSB from Illinois. He arrived

at UCSB before the Bren School was created, but in 1997,

he joined the Bren faculty, bringing with him a solid record in

both theoretical and applied economics and a firm grip on the

problem-solving perspective behind the new school.

“Charlie was unique in that he got the concept that Bren

was a professional school and that the economics component

would need to fit its students’ needs,” recalls former

assistant dean Laura Haston, who worked closely with him

in developing the master’s curriculum. “He took a problemoriented

approach from the get-go.”

That was reflected in his efforts to improve the master’s

Group Projects, a signature of the school, by insisting that

the projects have real clients, an


instinct he traces to his days working

on policy at Los Alamos.

“Living that policy support role

made me realize that it’s important to

have a goal and a purpose for what

you’re doing instead of just wandering

around a subject that seems

interesting,” he says.

While helping to build the Bren

School as an institution, he was also

devoting attention to the Economics

Department, where he served as

department chair and vice chair and

championed the work being done in

environmental economics at UCSB.

“He is the person most responsible

for the fact that UCSB’s environmental

and resource economics program

has been ranked as high as number

three in the world,” says Robert Deacon, a distinguished

economics professor and Bren affiliated faculty member.

Kolstad’s public service had a lot to do with that. He serves

on the Research Screening Committee for the California

Air Resources Board and has served on numerous science

advisory boards and committees, testified before Congress,

and appeared as an expert witness in environmental

lawsuits. In 2007, the United Nations Intergovernmental

Panel on Climate Change, for which Kolstad was a lead

author, won the Nobel Peace Prize for findings that have

significantly increased global awareness of climate change.

“One of the most impressive and important aspects of

Charlie’s career is his continued participation in the policymaking

process, says UCSB associate professor of economics

Olivier Deschenes. “He has made policy a priority, and

in that regard, he serves as a role model for the new

generation of environmental economists.”

Kolstad has left his mark in every corner of his discipline.

Charlie got

that Bren was

a professional

school, and he

took a problemoriented

approach from

the get-go.

He rescued one failing professional journal and returned it

to prominence. He also began and edited another aimed at

policy makers and academic economists, an example of his

ability to link economic theory to application by adjusting

how it is presented to different audiences. The journal

quickly became one of the most widely cited in the field.

He was elected president of the 1,000-member Association

of Environmental and Resource Economists, he is a faculty

research associate at the prestigious National Bureau

of Economic Research, and he authored Environmental

Economics, the leading advanced undergraduate textbook on

the subject.

Kolstad conceived of and secured NSF funding for the

Economics and Environmental Science PhD emphasis at

UCSB, which attracted top doctoral students in economics

and provided them with supplemental education in

environmental science. It also further

raised the profile and standing of

UCSB environmental economics.

Kolstad was also co-director

of the UC Center for Energy and

Environmental Economics. Funded by

the UC Office of the President, the joint

undertaking between UCSB and UC

Berkeley provides, among other things,

visiting-faculty fellowships for young

UC faculty and more senior faculty as a

way to build capacity in environmental

and energy economics.

Through all of these activities, many

of which relate directly to building

institutions, Kolstad has remained

personable and approachable, perhaps

most notably to students, who

often gave him the highest teaching

evaluations on end-of-year surveys.


“He was always a Bren busy body in the very nicest

way,” says Laura Haston. “He was engaged and involved

and constantly thinking about students and curriculum and

courses. He had a sense of what was the right thing to be

doing, and he kept working to push it forward.”

Together with Bren professor of economics Chris Costello

and other UCSB environmental economics faculty, he also

created Ivory Tower wine, an annual group winemaking effort.

Perhaps most telling is his dedication to the institution of

family: his wife of many years, Valerie, and their two grown

children, Kate and Jonathan.

“Charlie is a pioneer in environmental economics,” says

Costello. “But what I think is so impressive about him is that

while he is able to simultaneously demonstrate academic

success, teaching excellence, professional and community

service, and policy relevance, somehow he still finds time to

be an involved husband and father — and he makes pretty

drinkable wine, too.”


Cover Story


How the UCSB National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis revolutionized

research and changed a discipline while creating close ties to the Bren School


NCEAS director Frank Davis at the center’s Santa Barbara headquarters

When UCSB’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and

Synthesis (NCEAS) opened its doors as the nation’s first

“synthesis center” in 1995, it initiated a revolutionary approach

to scientific research, with National Science Foundation (NSF)

funding locked in for five years. The Center was renewed twice

to provide fifteen years of NSF and state funding, which was

supplemented by contributions from the David and Lucille

Packard Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation,

and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Last year, as a new funding era began, a celebratory event

was held at NCEAS headquarters in downtown Santa Barbara.

The keynote speaker was Jane Lubchenco, administrator of

the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration during

President Obama’s first term and president of the Ecological

Society of America (ESA) when NCEAS opened. She described it

as “a magnificent experiment,” “one of the best things NSF ever

did,” “an astonishing incubator of creativity,” and “a safe place

to push the boundaries and ask really tough questions — even

those that might not even have answers.”

The event was opened that night by Bren School professor

Frank Davis, who served as the center’s initial deputy director

and became its current director in 2011. He gladly accepted the

challenge of leading NCEAS into the future.

“I’m doing it because I think the place is a national treasure,”

Davis says. “I’ve gotten a lot out of NCEAS over the years, and

so many other people who have used NCEAS love it and would

hate to see it go. Our challenge is finding new funding sources at

a time when federal funding has never been tighter.”

At the time NCEAS opened, ecologists often worked

alone and concerned themselves with small, local problems;

academic papers had one or two authors (now they routinely

have twenty); and the value of “applied ecology” — research

conducted expressly to serve society — was a subject of what

Lubchenco describes as “often-divisive debate” within the ESA.

Scientists working in isolation jealously guarded their data,

according to Bren School Dean Steve Gaines, a veteran of more

than ten NCEAS working groups, “because they thought that

there was always more they could glean from it or that someone

else would get credit for their ideas.”

But times were changing. Many ESA members supported

applied ecology and NSF was ready to fund a synthesis center.

“There was a desire to pull back and search for general

patterns and principles of ecology by analysis and synthesis

across the pieces,” Davis says.

NCEAS also responded to the fact that, in the mid-1990s,

ecologists were being asked increasingly to solve societal

problems, something they could not do at a meaningful scale

working alone.

“The concerns were loss of biodiversity and how to design

effective conservation interventions,” Davis explains. “Climate

change was also very much on the minds of ecologists. Driven

by policy, many government agencies, private entities, and

NGOs were looking to the ecological community to help out.”

The NCEAS model established a new paradigm. It funds

neither new data collection nor individual research. It expressly

values application and problem solving. It obtains results

through data sharing, cutting-edge processing of multiple

data sets, and creative collaboration within working groups of

up to about twenty individuals. And it has the explicit goal of

discovering broader truths that can benefit society.

Within a couple of years, the center had changed the game,

ushering in a new era of big-picture ecology and transforming

the entire field. By 2011, 4,000 of the 10,000 ESA members had

participated in multidisciplinary NCEAS activities.

“Before NCEAS, ecology had been done by one investigator

at one site finding out something and reporting what he

found,” Bren professor David Tilman said at a panel during

last year’s celebratory activities. “The brilliance of NCEAS was

understanding that there was something more we could do

and that we needed to do. And when we did it, it proved to be

incredibly powerful. NCEAS changed our discipline forever.”

Ecologists — and scientists from other disciplines, including

economics — have come from far beyond the United States to

participate in NCEAS working groups.

“The multidisciplinary aspects of NCEAS have linked it strongly

to the UCSB campus, a longtime leader in ecology, and to the

world at large, while aligning it with the Bren mission of trying

to address major environmental issues,” Davis explains. “Having

NCEAS at UCSB brings people from around world to Santa

Barbara, where they can interact with faculty at the Bren School;

the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology; the

Department of Geography; and the campus at large. Through

NCEAS, UCSB faculty can create and participate in international

working groups focused on major environmental issues. And

as NCEAS moves forward, we’re engaging a broader range of

disciplines because of the kinds of problems we’re addressing

in conservation: coupling conservation outcomes to improving

human welfare, adapting to climate change, and so forth.”

“I don’t think it was chance that NCEAS and the Bren School

evolved here at UCSB at about the same time,” Gaines adds.

“You had a very interdisciplinary campus with not many walls

between departments, so these new models emerged — one an

educational model and the other a research synthesis model.”

The NCEAS model has been widely emulated by the nineteen

synthesis centers that are now scattered around the world,

from the University of Maryland to the US Geological Society in

Colorado to Australia and France. That’s because it works, as

demonstrated by the numerous breakthroughs NCEAS working

groups have come up.

Lubchenco joined Gaines, Bren professor of economics Chris

Costello, Bren assistant dean for academic programs Satie

Airamé (then a science advisor to the Channel Islands National

Marine Sanctuary), and twenty other collaborators on an early

group that worked on marine protected areas (MPAs).

“When we started, word on the street among managers,

NGOs, policy makers, and industry was that there was no

conclusive scientific information about the impact of MPAs or

any guidance about their design,” Lubchenco recalled at the

2012 event. “Three years later, the team

had [synthesized research to] transform

the understanding of MPAs, providing

compelling evidence for their efficacy and

insight into design criteria.”

In 2001, Bren professor Hunter

Lenihan was part of a working group

that included archaeologists and

anthropologists and synthesized historical

data from around the world to describe

changes in marine ecosystems through

history and relate them to cultural

transitions within human society. Their

initial paper, “Depletion, Degradation,

and Recovery Potential of Estuaries and

Coastal Seas,” had a big impact when it

appeared in Science in June 2006.

“NCEAS revolutionized ecology because

more people began to think that ecology

wasn’t just small-scale experiments

you do in the field — very mechanistic,

based on experiments, and quantitatively

rich,” Lenihan explains. “NCEAS opened

the door to a bigger idea, to think more

broadly about problems.”

Ecologists’ initial fears that sharing

data would lead to lost opportunities

proved unfounded as well. In fact, Gaines

says, the opposite occurred: “When

you share your data, all the things you wanted to do with it get

multiplied many times over, because it stimulates new ideas and

interactions, which lead to new uses of the data you would never

have imagined.”

Synthesizing data from many different places and times has

ramped up efficiency by eliminating duplication of isolated efforts.

“We as scientists re-invent the wheel all the time, because we

look at a problem but don’t synthesize what we already know;

we don’t learn all that we could from what’s been done already,”

says Gaines. “NCEAS has shown that a good synthesis should be

the starting point for any problem.”

Bren School professor John Melack has served on several

NCEAS working groups, including one, a collection of scientists

from Europe and the US who assembled under the title

“Integrating Terrestial and Aquatic Carbon.”

“We studied the role of inland waters on the global carbon

cycle and produced a new paradigm in terms of understanding

those relationships,” he explains. “As a result of the

collaboration, we produced a series of papers that continue to

be widely cited in the field. The working group lasted for two to

three years, but the people in it have kept in touch and continue

to write papers together. Thanks to NCEAS, that group was able

to advance the concept of global limnology.”

Of course, hiccups do occur. Bren associate professor Naomi

Tague, who is currently on a group studying forest mortality,

recalls her first NCEAS experience, in 2002, as less than ideal.

“The crossing-disciplines part of this group was really frustrating,

so much so that we would go out to a bar every night after

work and whine and complain about how it wasn’t working,” she

says, adding that eventually, “the chief whiner and complainer”

published a paper, titled “Train Wrecks in Environmental Science,”

about the challenges of interdisciplinary work.

But even that group paid long-term dividends, Tague says:

“As much as we whined, it was during

that time that I started working with

[Oregon-based geomorphologist and US

Forest Service research scientist] Gordon

Grant, and since then, we’ve published

five or six papers together that came from

conversations we had in that working


“That’s part of what happens here,”

says Davis. “At first groups do wrestle,

and it’s always hard in these short bursts

of activities to make sure you’re all

understanding the language and getting

on track.”

Through NCEAS, ecologists accustomed

to working in isolation found that they

enjoyed collaboration, notes Bren

professor Bruce Kendall. He was the

first in a long and continuing line of

postdoctoral researchers at NCEAS, and a

member of the inaugural NCEAS working

group, which coupled ecological data

and modeling in an unprecedented way

to yield powerful new predictive abilities

related to population dynamics.

Kendall recalls it as “my first experience

with successful collaboration,” and says it

allowed him “to discover the pleasure of

working in a group of very smart people

who don’t have their egos on the table and want to discover things

and figure things out.”

Future funding received a boost recently when the Moore

Foundation provided $2.4 million to the center to support a

partnership with The Nature Conservancy and the Wildlife

Conservation Society. The collaboration will apply the

NCEAS model to synthesis research focused on the nexus of

conservation, environmental security, and human well-being.

“Our future is still uncertain,” says Davis, “but this new

partnership is setting NCEAS on an exciting and path-breaking

course for the future.”



No Legal Limit

UCSB does not have a law school, so the innovative Council of Legal Advisors steps in to

provide students with focused training in an area critical to their careers

Most Bren School master’s students find

jobs in government, businesses, NGOs,

and consultancies, and in each area,

law and management intersect. Because

law is such an intrinsic component

of environmental policy making and

management, Environmental Law & Policy

(ESM 207) was added to the master’s core

curriculum in 2001 and has been taught

every year since then, primarily by Duke

Jim Salzman

University law professor Jim Salzman.

“I want students to have an appreciation

for how the law works and how lawyers approach problems,” he

says. “I want them to be able to engage at a very sophisticated

level when they come out of school.”

That enables students to be better collaborators, according

to Council of Legal Advisors member Russ McGlothlin, of

Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck.

“To graduate from Bren and start a career without having a

grasp of basic legal principles would be problematic,” he says. “In

my field, water resources, it’s important for industry participants

to possess a general understanding of water law to avoid making

decisions or proposing solutions that are legally deficient.”

Council member and UCSB alumnus Brooks Beard, an

attorney with Morrison & Foerster LLP, and a member of its

Cleantech Steering Committee, expands on the necessity — and

the inevitability — of Bren students’ engaging with the law.

Environmental and natural-resource

issues are so heavily driven by federal,

state, and local administrative law that

no matter which direction you’re coming

from to address such issues in a business

setting, you’re going to face legal issues

and impediments,” he explains. “Providing

these exceptionally bright students with a

legal perspective before they go out into

the world with new ideas that may inform

Russ McGlothlin

or direct policy in the future will make

their positions that much stronger.”

The focus of the legal courses echoes the Bren School mission

by emphasizing application rather than rote memorization.

“Anyone can memorize black-letter law,” Salzman says. “I

want students to understand not just what the law says but

why it works as it does and how it can adapt and change. Most

importantly, I want students to be able to apply facts to law and

law to facts. That the law says ‘X’ is not very useful; you need to

understand where the ambiguities are and how they can favor

one side or another.”

For some years, the Bren School sought a full-time law

professor to broaden the legal curriculum, “But without a law

school on campus, it was difficult to attract a truly top-notch

professor with a national reputation for a full-time appointment,”

Salzman explains, “so we had to figure out a different approach.

We decided to get top people to come for shorter periods and

offer a range of courses.”

That led to the council’s being formed in 2010. (The other

council members are Ernest Getto, former global chairman

of the Litigation Department at Latham & Watkins; Maureen

Gorson, a partner in the Environmental & Land Development

Group at Alston-Bird, LLP; Edward Norton, senior advisorenvironment

at TGP Capital, LP; and Howard Susman (UCSB

’75), chair of the solar initiative within the renewable-energy

group at Stoel Rives, LLP.) The members provide multiple

services, which include mentoring students and teaching

full- and half-day courses on specific

legal topics lying within their individual

expertise. Courses are also taught by

visiting lecturers not on the council.

“The Council of Legal Advisors has

created an amazing program here by

linking together a breadth of talent and

expertise in environmental law that’s

perfectly aligned with the needs of our

students and that you could not find, really,

Brooks Beard

at any law school,” says Bren School dean

Steve Gaines.

“In some respects, this is a better model, because you have

experts in particular areas who are actively practicing and can

focus their workshops or classes to address the unique needs of

Bren students,” Beard says, “whereas, if you are tethered to an

existing law school, the students end up taking classes that are

already in the core law school curriculum, covering topics that

may be less focused on what is important to the Bren student.”

Since the council was formed, the legal education at the Bren

School has expanded dramatically, with a growing list of course

offerings focused on such topics as natural resources, land use,

climate change, renewable energy, international agreements,

and coastal marine issues.

“Our students are probably not going to become lawyers;

that’s not the issue here,” says Gaines, “but they will be

impacted by legal issues in a big way, from testimony if they’re

scientists to lawsuits if they’re trying to stop or take an action.

It’s important they understand how people use environmental

law to drive environmental change, and these experts can

convey that to our students.”

Beard is clear about the rewards deriving from the support and

teaching he and other council members provide. “It’s fun,” he

says. “Some of the most interesting conversations I’ve had about

environmental and natural-resource issues have been with the

Bren students. They’re thoughtful and energetic, and they come

at existing and developing issues from a new perspective, all of

which helps me think about those issues in a new light.”



Making the Message Matter

A new focus based on media theory, storytelling, and technology takes communication

training at the Bren School to a new level

A partnership with the UCSB Carsey-Wolf

Center has resulted in the “Strategic

Environmental Communication and

Media” focus, a new academic offering

that will significantly enhance the Bren

School’s existing emphasis on developing

communication skills.

The focus, which can be pursued by

any master’s or PhD student at Bren,

has its roots in Blue Horizons, a Carsey-

Wolf summer program in which students

study communication and produce

environmental documentary films to

deliver science-based information. Bren

School students who took the course

expressed interest in having a similar

offering in the Bren curriculum.

“The idea came from students who

wanted to use video, advertising,

radio, TV, and other media to deliver

science-based environmental solutions

resulting from the research focus of the

Bren School,” says Professor Hunter

Lenihan. “We’re trying to enhance the

ability of strong communicators to create

high-production presentations to get

their messages out.”

Lenihan chaired a faculty committee

that spent a year working with Carsey-

Wolf executive director Richard

Hutton, former associate director and

Bren alumna LeeAnne French (MESM

2010), Bren School dean Steve Gaines,

assistant dean for academic programs

Satie Airamé, and Department of

Communication PhD candidate Lisa

Leombruni to develop the year-long

focus, launching this spring quarter.

“Our students need to understand

the psychology of how people respond

to information and how to build an

effective narrative about an issue,”

Airamé explains. “To expand their skills

accordingly, we looked for partners who

actually train people to use the evolving

tools of communication. We found them

at the Carsey-Wolf Center.”

“This is an important initiative,

both for the Bren School and for us,”

says Hutton, who, as a filmmaker, has

produced numerous award-winning

documentary series. “A huge challenge to

anyone working in environmental areas

is how to get your messages across to

increase awareness, raise saliency, and

change behavior. It’s essential that our

students learn to think in creative ways

about how to communicate better.”

The focus begins with a course

divided equally between communication

theory and specific communication and

storytelling skills. In the fall and winter

quarters of the following year, students

will take electives designed to build

skills in specific areas, such as survey

design and public opinion; grassroots

organizing, outreach, and campaigning;

social media and web design;

entrepreneurial marketing; writing for

a general audience; and environmental

media production. Finally, during spring

quarter, they will use their new skills

to create a media campaign for an

actual client, either as an extension of

a master’s Group Project or an Eco-

Entrepreneurship Project, or something

completely new.

Gaines, long a champion of

communication training for scientists, sees

the focus as an element that will further

distinguish the Bren School and enhance

students’ effectiveness in the world.

“The Bren School has been an

innovator in terms of integrating

communication training into graduate

education,” he says, “but this is an

entirely new model for integrating

multifaceted communication training

into an environmental science and

management program. I don’t know of

anyplace else that does this.”

The focus may also enhance Bren

graduates’ employability, says Airamé:

“We hear from essentially every

Carsey-Wolf executive director Richard Hutton

employer we work with that what they’re

looking for in a Bren School graduate is

someone who not only understands the

science or the law or the policy, but is

also a great communicator.”

Becoming a great communicator today

requires new tools.

“There’s very little about media now

that would be familiar to somebody in

the early twentieth century,” Hutton

says. “What we’re really doing with

this focus is thinking about how to

create more-sophisticated citizens of

the twenty-first century — people who

understand how media affects them and

how they can use media to communicate

effectively to others.

“It’s as important a tool as you can

imagine, and it’s the first time we’re

actually exporting some of those ideas

across campus to another group,” he

adds. “It’s very exciting.”

We are grateful to John and Suzanne

Steed for their generous contribution to

help launch this new focus.



Service Beyond the School

Bren students and alumni make a big impact on sustainability at UCSB


Linda Kwong (left) and Michelle Wagner (both MESM 2013) volunteer at a

native-planting restoration event near Coal Oil Point.

An ever-changing group of Bren School students and Bren

alumni employed by the university are working hard to help

UCSB reach its sustainability goals.

Year after year, students on the Bren School Sustainability

Committee (BSSC) accomplish the group’s mission of

“enhancing the environmental performance of Bren Hall and

its students while encouraging active participation of the

Bren community.” But they also participate in UCSB campus

restoration activities made possible through the combined efforts

of the student-funded UCSB Coastal Fund and the Cheadle

Center for Biodiversity & Ecological Restoration.

Two Bren students, Jenna Driscoll and Carey Batha, are

serving on the current Coastal Fund board, and this year, a

group of BSSC students have spent two days planting native

plants at Coal Oil Point Reserve and around the UCSB Lagoon.

Some BSSC members also support the Plastic Pollution

Coalition, and BSSC has worked with the Graduate Student

Association (GSA) to reduce waste at its weekly bagel hour

in the UCSB Multicultural Center. This year, Bren School GSA

representative (and BSSC co-chair) Molly Troup began

composting all the coffee grounds from the weekly event.

BSSC members are represented on the campus Change Agents

team, a collaboration among staff, administrators, students,

and faculty to identify issues and develop and implement

sustainability projects on campus.

The six-student Water Action Master’s Group Project is

another entity that is making a big difference. Second-year MESM

students Matthew O’Carroll and Katie Cole, both interested in

water when they arrived at the Bren School, proposed the project

in response to a call from the UC Office of the President (UCOP)

for every campus to submit a long-term water action plan.

While every campus must develop a proposal, most do not

have six master’s students who can devote nine months to the

project. In meeting various Group Project deadlines, O’Carroll,

Cole, and their partners, Rebecca Dorsey, Dane Johnson,

Briana Seapy, and Jewel Snavely (all MESM 2013) completed

their proposal ahead of the UCOP deadline. It was adopted by

UCSB in March, and the group is now working with UCOP to

share and exchange ideas and findings with the other schools.

“We designed the plan with transferability in mind,” says

O’Carroll, who is active in water and waste issues at UCSB.

He and classmate Sunny Sohrabian are on the selection

committee for The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF), which

distributes approximately $150,000 per year from UCSB student

fees to campus sustainability projects.

O’Carroll is also the refuse and recycling intern for UCSB Facilities

Management. Officially putting in 20 hours per week, he

handles everything regarding waste management programs and

operations on campus except for what is addressed by Associated

Students, where Bren alumna Sarah Siedschlag serves as

staff coordinator for AS recycling. The two of them also work frequently

with UCSB LEED program manager Jordan Sager, sustainability

coordinator and TGIF grants manager Kate Kokosinski

(both Bren MESM 2009), and Andrew Riley (MESM 2012),

recently named Student Affairs sustainability coordinator.

“Facilities doesn’t have a refuse manager right now, so I’m

the guy,” O’Carroll says. “Between Sarah and me, Bren has a big

influence on what occurs regarding waste management.”

Here are just a few of the projects O’Carroll has led in nearly

two years of working for Facilities:

• Created the first zero-waste UCSB athletic event. All

waste generated at two men’s soccer games and one

women’s game was diverted from the landfill.

• Established a post-consumer food-waste composting

service for all UCEN dining facilities, diverting about 80

tons of waste per month.

• Provided a GPS position for every outdoor public trashcan

at UCSB to determine which were most efficient.

Facilities then removed 21 unnecessary receptacles and

introduced 11 new recycling cans to reduce eyesores and

unnecessary service work for grounds staff.

• Made rounds starting at 4 a.m. for a week to check

capacity of every dumpster on campus. Unused and littleused

containers were removed, saving the university

$5,000 per month.

• Introduced solar-powered “Big Belly” trash compacters

at dining entities, reducing waste volume and service

needed. Service of receptacles at the Courtyard Café was

reduced from 3 times per day to 1.5 times per week, for

another huge savings in labor.

“To me, what’s important is seeing some results at the end,

to make a difference, and Bren people are doing that,” O’Carroll

says, “When you look across the table at a UCSB sustainability

meeting and see Jordan, Sarah, Kate, and Andrew on one side of

the table, it’s a testament to Bren and the education people are

getting here, but also to the university for having enough faith

and trust in the program to hire us.”

Donors & Partners

Verizon Backs

Student Teaching

Sarah Stark (left) and Jessica Mkitarian

Two Bren School master’s students have

designed and taught a course in the

School for Scientific Thought (SST), a

program of the Center for Science and

Engineering Partnerships (CSEP) within the

California Nanosystem Institute at UCSB.

A $12,500 grant from the Verizon

Foundation, a Bren School Corporate

Partner, enabled Jessica Mkitarian

and Sarah Stark (both MESM 2013) to

develop and lead “Greening Your Eggs and

Ham.” Students in the course worked in

groups to create hypothetical restaurants

as a way of examining the environmental

impacts of food choices.

SST provides UCSB science and

engineering graduate students with the

opportunity to develop teaching and

leadership skills by designing and leading

a short course focused on an area of

science, technology, engineering, or math

(STEM). Five SST courses are offered in

fall quarter and five in winter quarter.

The courses meet on five Saturdays and

attract students from Santa Barbara

County, Ventura, and Bakersfield. The

2012-13 SST lineup includes courses on

robotics, the neuroscience of addiction,

materials science, stem cells, forensic

anthropology, and more.

CSEP associate director Wendy

Ibsen said that Greening Your Eggs

and Ham is the first SST course to focus

on sustainability, a field with a growing

demand for curricula. The Verizon’s grant

enabled CSEP to establish two Verizon

Fellowships, allowing Mkitarian and Stark

to become the first non-PhD students to

participate in the program.

“Verizon welcomes the opportunity

to support UCSB’s innovative School for

Scientific Thought, as well as master’s

students at the Bren School, with which

we have enjoyed a long relationship,” said

New Corporate Partners

Corporate Partners invest in corporate sustainability and the development of Bren

students as future leaders in the field of environmental science and management.

Allen Associates

is a 30-year-old


Santa Barbara–

based construction

company and the

leading green builder

in the region. Founder and chairman

Dennis Allen (UCSB 1964) is a member

of the Bren School Dean’s Council, and

company president Bryan Henson is

a Bren alumnus (MESM 2003). Allen

Associates create and remodel homes and

commercial buildings that incorporate a

wide array of sustainability-enhancing

materials and features.

For more about the Bren School Corporate Partners Program, visit us on the web at: www.bren.

Recent Donors

The Bren School would like to thank the following for their recent gifts of support.

Susan Anon

Ariana and Christopher


Elizabeth Brown

Kiernan Brtalik

John and Gail Campanella

Zoë Carlson

Taylor Carroll

Tim and Janey Cohen

Stewart and Louisa Cushman

Brent and Dagny Dehlsen

Kristina Tierney-Estudillo

Breanna Flanagan

Dennis and Patricia Forster

Paul Fournier

Steve Gaines and

Peggy Lubchenco

David Garner & Lynn Carter

Marc and Sheryl Stuart

Elizabeth Green

Michelle Guillebeaux

Fred and Pamela Harris

Janice Hubbell

Erin Hudson

Dennis Jung

Elaine and Herbert Kendall

Jesus Torres, Verizon director of external

affairs. “Providing high school students

the ability to learn and Bren students the

chance to teach STEM skills in order to

thrive in an innovation-based economy is

the central theme of this grant.”

The Bren students’ experience in the

SST dovetails with their Bren School Eco-

Entrepreneurship Project — a business

model for a company called Smarty

Pants, which would create online science

education curricula for teachers.

Takashi and Kyoto Kiuchi

Emmeline Kiyan

Daniel Klaus

Jonathan Koehn

David Kramer

Cheryl Lee

Jenny Marek

Dominique Monie

Mary Moslander

Amy and Christopher


Amelia Nuding

John and Katrina Onderdonk

David Parker

Lindene Patton

Thomas Peters and

Joy Dittburner

Matthew and Andrea Riley

Timothy Robinson

Patrick Roehrdanz

Lynn Scarlett

Deborah Schwartz

Michael Schwartz

Joan and Richard Setty

Jota and Claudia Shohtoku

During its 33-year history, Niagara

Conservation Corporation has earned

a reputation as the premier resource for

water- and energy-conservation products

ranging from showerheads and faucet

aerators to low-flow toilets, high-efficiency

lighting products, and weatherization

materials. The company also has planned,

developed, and managed energy-efficiency

programs for some of the leading electric,

natural gas, and water utility companies in

the United States.

Geoffrey Slaff &

Dale Zurawski

Aubrey Spilde

Howard and Rosamund


Daniel and Dianne Vapnek

Nicole Virgilio

James Walsh

Denise White

Robert Wignot

Danielle and Mel Willis

Corporations &


AECOM Corporation

Association of Environmental


Bank of America

Michael J. Connell Trust

Danvera Foundation

Deckers Outdoor Corporation


The Nature Conservancy

Niagara Conservation

Verizon Communications

Waitt Foundation

“We’ve been speaking to a lot of

teachers for our project, but we don’t

have teaching experience,” Mkitarian said.

“This was be a good opportunity to better

understand what they’re dealing with, and

Verizon made it possible.”

“We thought it was perfect for us

because it tracks with our Eco-E project,”

Stark said. “We’ve been trying to create a

mini-communication focus through classes

and extra activities, so this adds another

element to that.”


Alumni News



Daniel Wilson (MESM) and his

company, Wilson Environmental

Contracting, won the California

Landscape Contractors Association

(CLCA) Sustainable Project Award,

the Santa Barbara Contractors

Association Best Landscape

Award, and, for the second year in

a row, the CLCA’s prestigious Bob

Baier Memorial Award for 2012.


Jorine (Lawyer)

Campopiano (MESM) went

from working on wetlands

and water issues at US EPA

to serving as regional Schools

Environmental Health Coordinator

for the Children’s Health Program.

She and her husband, Marc

Campopiano (MESM 2000),

also have a third baby boy,

Joseph Maverick Campopiano.

Jamie Goldstein (MESM) was

named 2012 Man of the Year by

the Capitola-Soquel Chamber of

Commerce. Goldstein, who serves

as Capitola city manager, was

recognized for his work in “getting

the city through its worst tragedy

in decades,” after two floods

destroyed several businesses

and “left Capitola’s budget in a

precarious situation.”


In January Mark Kram (PhD,

below) co-chaired the “ASTM

International Symposium

on Continuous Soil Gas


Worst Case Risk

Parameters” in


Florida. The


followed from

a paper Mark


titled “Dynamic Subsurface

Explosive Vapor Concentrations:

Observations and Implications,”

published in the Journal of



Ann (Cavanaugh) Pattison

and her husband, Trevor,

welcomed a daughter, Grace

Taylor, on May 25, 2012. The

family lives in Santa Barbara,

where Ann was promoted to

president of LufftUSA.


Karen Setty (MESM) works for

the Southern California Coastal

Water Research Project and has

spent the past few years on a

report titled Forty Years after the

Clean Water Act: A Retrospective

Look at the Southern California

Ocean. It was released last


After five years of sustainability

consulting work at PE


Zahller relocated to Chicago for

her new position as the product

stewardship manager at Baxter

Healthcare Corporation. She is

also engaged to be married to

Mike Enos in August.


Leo Finley DuBuisson was born

November 11, 2012, to Max

DuBuisson and Jennifer



(both MESM)

in Redondo


California. Max

is senior policy

manager at the

Climate Action

Reserve, and Jen is associate

manager of global sustainability

for Mattel, Inc.

Last December, after threeplus

years as associate director

of conservation at American

Rivers and a year as business

development manager for The

Climate Trust, Kavita Heyn

(MESM) became sustainability

coordinator for the Portland

Water Bureau in Oregon.

Last September, Marcy

Protteau (MESM) started a

new job as a technical editor

at Sonoma Technology, Inc.,

an air-quality and meteorology

consulting firm in Petaluma,



Lara Polansky (MESM)

received a temporary, fourmonth

promotion at the US

Forest Service. She is leading a

reorganization of the Sustainable

Operations Program and building

partnerships and capacity to

enhance the agency’s progress on

goals set forth by sustainabilityrelated


Julie (Randall) Colbert and

her husband, Cort, welcomed

their daughter,

Shelby Rose,

on September

5, 2012. Julie is

currently in her

fifth year as the

water quality

specialist for

the Santa Ynez

Chumash Environmental Office.


Remembering Leanna Struzziery

Shortly after the fall 2012

issue of Bren News went

to press, we received

word that, following

a four-year struggle

with breast cancer,

Bren alumna Leanna

Struzziery (MESM 2004)

had died on September

27 near her home in Frederick,

Maryland. She was 33. Supported by

her husband, Herb, and many friends

Andrea Blue (MESM) and

Michael Brown became parents

to a baby girl,

Emily Marie

Brown, on


20, 2012. The

couple are going

to be married in

May this year.

Kristin Clark (PhD) was

recently awarded a $252,000

grant from the Joint Improvised

Explosive Device Defeat

Organization to study “Forensic

Detection of Homemade

Explosives from Hair. “The project

seeks to link users of readily

during her illness, Leanna

helped countless others

through her volunteer work,

writings, and indomitable

perseverance and positive

spirit. You can read a tribute

to Leanna, co-authored by

her Bren School classmates

Andrea Chaddon Berkeley,

Jana Hartline, and Helene Scalliet,



available chemicals to nefarious

devices, such as homemade

explosives,” Clark says.

Aliana Lungo-Shapiro

recently took the title of

sustainability manager at UCLA

Housing & Hospitality Services. In

that position, she develops new

sustainability initiatives for staff

and students in the residence

halls, apartments, guest house,

and conference center.

After working in Frank Davis’s

lab and then interning with the

National Audubon Society and

Conservation International in

Washington, D.C., Anderson

Shepard (MESM) has accepted

a position as a conservation

planning associate for Defenders

of Wildlife.


Last summer, Max Broad

(MESM) became a research

analyst in the Biomass

Technologies Office of the US

Department of Energy (DOE).

He works on sustainable

domestic biofuels and oversees

redevelopment of the Bioenergy

Knowledge Discovery Framework,

a DOE website designed to

advance bioenergy research.

John Ellis (MESM) was hired

by the Norwegian University of

Science and Technology (NTNU)

to serve as a research fellow

on a four-year project. He will

earn his PhD while researching

topics relating to multi-trophic

aquaculture and corporate social

responsibility in salmon farming.

Alumnae Profile

John and his family will move to

Norway this summer for a year.

Theresa Nogeire (PhD; MESM

2006) and

her husband,

Brad McRae,

welcomed their

daughter, Eliza,

to the world

on September

1, 2012. Her

interests so far,

says Theresa,

include “playing with her feet and

chewing on a stuffed fox.”

Jennifer Price (MESM) has

relocated from California to

Alabama to pursue her PhD

in Wildlife Sciences at Auburn

University. She is fully funded

and working on an adaptive

management project for white

tail deer in the state.

Quantifying Nature’s Value

Bren alumnae thrive in the field of ecosystem services

Kelli McCune joins stakeholders (from left) Chris Storm, Craig Ledbetter, and John Ledbetter of Vino Farms to

celebrate riparian-habitat restoration on a section of the Mokelumne River that passes through Vino Farms land.

Paolo Vescia

After graduating, Mike

Schwartz (MESM) returned

to New York City, where he is

working at CINCS (pronounced

syncs), a start-up that is

designing a software tool to

help organizations manage their

impacts on natural resources.

Last August, Danielle Storz

(MESM) was married to Matthew

Scott, a general contractor in

Santa Barbara.

Geneva Travis (MESM) and

the rest of the Wastewater

Group Project team — Kiernan

Brtalik, Marina Feraud,

Kevin Huniu, Dana

Jennings, and Howard

Kahan — authored an article

about their project for the

Water Environment Federation’s

Water Engineering & Technology

Journal. It came out in February.

Harry Vickers (MESM) coauthored

the Little Forest Finance

Book, released at the United

Nations Convention on Biological

Diversity Conference of the

Parties in Hyderabad, India, last

October. The book is intended to

catalyze funding for forest-friendly

development.” Read an e-version


Bren School professor Arturo Keller recently

served as a science advisor for a project

that reduced nutrient loading, mainly from

agricultural fertilizers, in the Ohio River. It also

established a market-based trading system

allowing those who reduce their flows below the

required level to earn credits that can be sold

to farmers who are not in compliance.

A similar program is reducing pollution in

Chesapeake Bay, and in western Colorado,

home to a great deal of energy development,

Katie Riley (MESM 2012), a project manager

at the Lake Tahoe-based consulting firm

Environmental Incentives, is involved in

another incentive-based pilot program to protect

habitat for the sage grouse, which could be

added to the endangered species list in 2015.

Ranchers and other land owners who protect or

restore sage grouse habitat on their land earn

credits, which energy companies can purchase

to offset impacts of their development activities.

Those three projects fall under the umbrella

of ecosystem services (ESS), and Riley is

one of several Bren School master’s alumnae

employed in this growing field in the western

United States. The group includes Ann Hayden

(2002), Kelli McCune (2009), and Carrie

Sanneman (2011), who work at different

organizations but frequently interact.

The natural environment has long been

recognized as having value, but while food,

timber, and other “provisions” of natural

systems have been bought and sold for

millennia, monetary value has not been

assigned to the ecosystems and associated

functions that they provide to human

populations. As a result, when natural systems

have been degraded or destroyed, the loss of

the services they provide has not registered on

any balance sheet.

ESS is a new conservation paradigm in

which the natural environment, its ecosystems,

and the services they provide are seen as

not only intrinsically good, but also as having

quantifiable economic value.

Those working in the field are creating

protocols to quantify ecosystem functions

and services, methods to develop and

monitor protective or restorative projects,

and programs that use a variety of financial

incentives to reward conservation actions. In

the process, ESS has expanded the definition

of an ecosystem service from the obvious, like

food or timber, to the more subtle, such as

soil fertility, pollination, flood control, water

purification, and climate regulation. They have

also called attention to the financial advantages

of preserving or restoring natural systems

rather than using expensive technology to

replace services lost when they fail.

“Twenty years ago, the tools for

conservation looked different,” says McCune,

senior project manager at Sustainable

Conservation in San Francisco. “The focus

was more on lawsuits, which are sometimes

needed but also take time, cost money, and pit

the business environment against the natural

see Ecosystem Services on page 16


Ecosystem Services

continued from page 15

environment. Our idea is to partner with the private sector to find

environmental solutions that make economic sense.”

Bren students find that they are well qualified for ESS, a highly

interdisciplinary field that integrates natural science, policy,

law, economics, modeling protocols, and business and requires

excellent management and communication skills.

“The exposure to the various disciplines at Bren added sufficient

depth for me to actually be able to speak the language of law,

science, and policy,” says Hayden, senior program manager

for Working Lands, part of the Environmental Defense Fund’s

national Land, Water and Wildlife program. “I’ve heard first-hand

that that is really attractive to EDF.”

Bren did a great job of emphasizing the importance of being

able to communicate to diverse audiences and describe the

sometimes complex work we’re doing in a way that makes

sense to a variety of groups simultaneously,” adds Sanneman.

She is ecosystem services project manager for the Willamette

Partnership, which was established by the Oregon government

with the mission of “restoring the Willamette Valley in a way

that would address the facts of rapid growth in the area and its

economic importance to the state.”

Hayden interacts with everyone from ranchers and farmers to

water-treatment utilities and corporations to incentivize ecosystem

conservation in the Mokelumne River watershed, which flows

from the western Sierra to the San Francisco Bay and supplies

90 percent of the water for residents of Oakland and Berkeley.

She and McCune are partners on the project, and she regularly

coordinates with Riley as their organizations collaborate to establish

wildlife habitat exchanges in California and across the US.

“We’re developing the infrastructure for a program that can

measure how far individual projects are moving you toward your

environmental goal,” Riley says. “Our work is centered around the

idea of having a quantified outcome or a credit. The premise is

simple: get more information to make better decisions that get the

most value for the money and effort put into conservation.”

McCune particularly enjoys her extensive interaction with

stakeholders. “As a project manager, I get to bring people

together, meet with farmers and ranchers, and work to recognize

them for the positive actions they take, which haven’t been

recognized before,” she says.

She recommends that Bren students go the extra mile wherever

stakeholders are concerned. “If a Group Project has an issue that

multiple stakeholders might care about, take the time to go to

those groups’ meetings, meet the people, understand their goals,

and figure out how they work,” she suggests.

Hayden also interacts regularly with Sanneman, who is

described on the Willamette Partnership’s website as “the go-to

on market activity.” Her duties reflect the breadth of ESS work

and include interacting with stakeholders and regulatory agencies

to develop crediting protocols and standards, receiving eligibility

documentation for projects seeking to earn credits, accrediting

third parties to verify projects, and making decisions about how to

apply models and other quantification methods.

Sanneman says she used all the tools provided by the Bren

School Career Development office to find her job: informational

interviews, relationship building, networking, and more. After

becoming interested in the partnership’s work at a conference, she

e-mailed executive director Bobby Cochran and her Bren contacts,

and then kept at it.

“I made sure to stay in communication so Bobby would know

I was interested,” she says. “When a position opened up, they

contacted me to let me know that I should apply.”

They contacted her. Job hunting doesn’t get better than that.

In This Issue


Santa Barbara, CA 93106-5131

Digging into Data

James Frew wants you to know where your

bytes have been.

Page 5

University of California, Santa Barbara


A bold experiment in “synthetic” research is

linked closely to the Bren School.

Page 8

No Legal Limit

An innovative expert-lecturer program teaches

MESM students essential environmental law.

Page 10

Putting Numbers on

Nature’s Value

Bren alumnae thrive in ecosystem services.

Page 15




Bren School of

Environmental Science & Management

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