Bard News & Events

Press Release


Darren O'Sullivan
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—On Monday, May 23, the Bard Center for Environmental Policy (BCEP) hosts an expert panel and reception on population and the environment. The panel includes Julie Starr from the National Wildlife Federation, Melissa Thaxton of the Population Reference Bureau, and James D. Nations from the National Parks Conservation Association. It will be moderated by Michelle Orzech from the Izaak Walton League of America. The event, which is also being hosted by the National Wildlife Federation and Izaak Walton League, takes place from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. in room 115 of the Olin Language Center. A dessert reception follows from 8:30 to 9:00 p.m. Discussion topics include how population growth affects natural resources; the Millenium Development Goals; and what can be done to help women, families, and the environment, globally and here in the United States. The Millenium Development Goals represent a revolutionary sustainable development framework with the primary aims of fighting poverty, and ensuring economic and social development and environmental sustainability for the world’s poorest people by 2015. The goals include reducing extreme poverty, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equity, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS and other diseases, ensuring environmental sustainability, and developing a global development partnership. About the panelists: James D. Nations is vice president of the National Parks Conservation Association's State of the Parks Programs, which assesses the health of U.S. national parks by examining the resource conditions and threats in selected park units. Previously, Nations served as vice president for development agency relations and vice president for Latin America for Conservation International. He holds B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of North Texas and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in ecological anthropology from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. During the past 20 years, he has worked for the conservation of ecosystems in Mexico, Central America, South America, and the United States. For three years, he lived among the Lacandón Maya, a rainforest tribe in Chiapas, Mexico. He studied alternatives to deforestation in Central America for two years as a Tinker Foundation postdoctoral fellow and lived in Guatemala for three years as a Fulbright Scholar and advisor to Guatemala's National Council for Protected Areas, where his work was instrumental in the government's decision to establish the three million acre Maya Biosphere Reserve. His research has focused on the interface between human communities and protected areas, especially agriculture, population dynamics, and human exploitation of wildlife and forests. Nations is fluent in Spanish and Yucatec Maya. Michelle Orzech is the sustainable population campaign coordinator with the Izaak Walton League of America. She joined the League in July 2001 and works to expand education and advocacy efforts on the League's long-standing policies regarding population growth and related affects on natural resources. Previously, she was a project administrator and outreach coordinator at the University of Michigan-Flint's Regional Groundwater Center, where she assisted communities with drinking water protection and land-use planning. She has also worked as a program evaluator with the U.S. General Accounting Office in Washington, DC, as an environmental educator with AmeriCorps in Indiana, and on wetland preservation in southwest Florida. Orzech has a B.S. in public affairs with an emphasis on environmental policy from Indiana University and a M.P.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, with a specialization in domestic and environmental policy. Julie Starr is the population and environment specialist in National Wildlife Federation’s Northeast office in Vermont. She is responsible for coordinating public educational events on the linkages between population and the environment, and for encouraging local grassroots activism on these issues. Prior to joining NWF, Julie worked as an associate with the Advocacy Project on a variety of international human rights issues, and has worked both domestically and internationally on social and women’s issues. With the American Friends Service Committee in Santiago, Chile, she implemented workshops on gender and children's human rights. In Ecuador, she worked with government, private and academic institutions on health sector reform and health promotion projects. As a Family Support Officer with the District Attorney’s Office in San Mateo County, California, Julie managed child support cases and presented workshops on child support issues in the community. She has also taught both high school and adult level Spanish classes. Julie received her B.A. in political science and Spanish from the University of Vermont and her M.A. in International Development with a focus in public health from The George Washington University. Melissa Thaxton is a policy analyst at the Population Reference Bureau (PRB), where she supports the policy research, policy communication, capacity building, and outreach activities of PRB’s Population, Health, and Environment (PHE) program. Currently, she serves as team leader for the PHE program’s Tanzania activities, which include field-based research on HIV/AIDS impacts on the environment, working with media to improve coverage of PHE stories, and policy communication training for environmental researchers. Previously, Thaxton worked with the World Wildlife Fund in Nepal where she led WWF-Nepal’s gender mainstreaming activities and contributed to various research projects dealing with population and environment dynamics in the Eastern Himalayas. She received a master's degree in environmental management from Duke University. The Bard Center for Environmental Policy promotes education, research, and public service on critical issues pertaining to the natural and built environments. Its primary goal is to improve the quality of environmental policies by incorporating the best available scientific knowledge into the policy-making process at the local, regional, national, and international levels. The Center’s innovative graduate program, launched in 2001, trains future leaders who can translate the science behind environmental and natural resource problems into creative, feasible policies. The Center’s unique modular program offers an intensive course of study, grounded in the sciences, as well as economics, law, politics, and ethics, and emphasizes communication skills and leadership training. After a period of internships, graduates are prepared for careers in nonprofit organizations, government, and the private sector. The program leads to a master of science degree or professional certificate in environmental policy, and the Center offers joint degree programs: a doctor of jurisprudence with Pace Law School and a master of arts in teaching with Bard College and is also affiliated with the Masters International program of the Peace Corps. Reservations are requested. For more information about the forum, please call 845-758-7073 or e-mail # # # (05.12.05)


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This event was last updated on 05-27-2005