1998-1999 Annual Report
Prepared by Emil Morhardt, 9/1/99
The principal goal of the Roberts Environmental Center (REC) is to involve students in real-world environmental issues and to train them to analyze the issues from as broad a perspective as possible, taking science, economics and policy into consideration. Students and faculty working in the REC have their main academic focus in one of these areas but are interested in the other areas as well, and many of the students involved with the REC have chosen the Environment, Economics, and Politics (EEP) major which incorporates all three disciplines.
A secondary goal is that of increasing the visibility of the REC and the main vehicle has been the development of informational websites on topics appropriate to the Center and the development of position papers both in hard copy and distributed through the web.
There are two classes of environmental issues specifically being addressed by the REC: 1) corporate environmental management and 2) natural resource management. The REC focus for corporate environmental management is the ISO 14000 environmental standards; the focus for natural resource management is the management of public wildlands, particularly wilderness areas.
ISO 14000 is a family of voluntary standards developed by the international ISO consortium of national (industrial) standards institutes and is controversial both for its potential as an impediment to free trade and for its lack of environmental performance requirements. Organizations certified under the standard are required to establish and maintain an environmental management system but are required neither to meet levels of environmental performance stipulated by local law nor to improve environmental performance. Nevertheless, it is possible that adoption of the standard will have profound beneficial effects on environmental performance, particularly in developing countries. REC faculty and students are studying this aspect of the standard. Study of the ISO 14000 standards and their implementation gives students a comprehensive view of the environmental issues facing industry, and a clear sense of how they can be dealt with, positioning students well for corporate environmental leadership.
Managing public lands to retain natural characteristics is becoming increasingly difficult as the human population grows. There is no widely adopted set of ethical principles to guide such management, nor is there a well-established set of standard practices. Land management agencies in the United States are gradually taking measures to detect and prevent overuse but there are few data on the effectiveness of various approaches, and there are many approaches being tried with very little effort spent on serious assessment of the results. And few agency employees are aware of the approaches, often successful, being used in other developed countries including New Zealand and Australia as well as those in western Europe and in parts of South and Central America. REC faculty and students are studying techniques used around the world and developing a major website to analyze and disseminate them. This global overview of natural resource management practices serves students well in a variety of potential graduate programs and careers.
Finally, students anticipating careers related to the environment or expecting to hold positions that influence an organization's environmental posture need to understand current methods of environmental analysis. The EEP clinics, thesis projects, and independent study in the REC provide opportunities to conduct environmental analyses using geographic information systems (GIS), sophisticated database management techniques, and environmental simulation models.
Activities during the 1998-1999 Academic Year
EEP Clinic Program
The goal of the REC clinic program in 1998-1999 was to establish a major informational website about ISO 14000, the newly promulgated international organizational environmental standard. The site, http://www.roberts.mckenna.edu/iso14000/iso14000.asp , is entirely driven from the REC ISO 14000 database, using active server page (.asp) technology. Already it probably has more information about ISO 14000, certified companies, websites, and consultants than any other site on the web and will increase considerably in content during 1999-2000 as student-employees of the REC continue to do web-based research and add information to the database. If you type "iso14000" into the Yahoo search box, our site is the fifth one listed...not bad for a student-developed and maintained site less than a year old. Fifteen students worked on this site during 1998-1999 as a part of the EEP clinics.
The 1999-2000 EEP clinics will do the same thing for the much broader topic "Natural Resource Management".
Other Environmental Courses
Prof. Morhardt taught a course in Natural Resource Management (Biology 159) to 24 students in the fall of 1998, and a seminar in Advanced Topics in Environmental Biology: Adaptive Environmental Management (Biology 165) to 16 students in the spring of 1999. The REC also continued to sponsor a course in Environmental Law (Government 120) taught by a practicing environmental attorney, Thomas McHenry, to 25 students in the spring semester.
Student Employees and Summer Internships
Mark McMahon (00), Yee Kee Lam, (00), Colin Cannell (01) and Justin Meek (99) worked part time in the REC during the academic year and Saul Armenta (99) worked part-time during the summer. Grant McMurren, a graduate student at CGU also worked part time during the academic year with the REC GIS systems.
Three students spent the summer of 1999 at the CMC Mono Basin Field Station at the Burger Reserve. Kristen Staiger (99) was funded by a grant from the Joint Science Department to work on bighorn sheep with the U. S. Forest Service; Megan Wargo (00) and Cho-Yi Kwan (00) were funded by the REC to collect data to aid in development of the REC natural resource management web site.
The REC also supported Sedina Banks (00) who worked for an environmental NGO in Anchorage, and gave a travel grant to Yee Kee Lam who spent the summer in Bejing working for the Gerling Sustainable Development Project supported by the Gerling Group of Insurance Companies, a German corporation.
Finally, the REC provided logistic support to Pieter Johnson and Kevin Lunde who published a seminal paper in the journal Science on research showing that parasites, not pollution, may produce frog deformities. This research attained a good deal of national news coverage, frequently with the mention of Claremont McKenna College and the REC.
As indicated in the overview, the main research agenda of the REC is the analysis of the efficacy of various approaches to both corporate environmental management and natural resource management. Both topics are of great interest to students, and both have important current issues that students can be effective in exploring. Most EEP senior theses address one or the other of these general topics, and most students affiliated with the REC are involved either with ISO 14000 or with wildlands natural resource management.
The feasibility of cost-free web-based surveys now makes it possible, in theory, to collect large amounts of management information from sources around the globe. The approach we are using is to develop questionnaires that can be filled-out on a web page, then notify the people to be surveyed by email with a hot-link to the survey form. Once the web form is completed the results automatically go into a database on our server which is pre-programmed to analyze the results and if desired, to write them to a results web page. Justin Meek (99) tested this concept as a part of his thesis with a simple environmental awareness survey that he announced on a general interest listserv mailing list. He got 450 responses over a weekend. This coming year we will be using this technique on carefully targeted audiences to explore issues associated with implementation of ISO 14000, and with management practices on public wildlands.
Faculty research during the 1998-1999 academic year included a paper on the use of passive integrated transponder tags on wild trout following up on faculty/student research in the eastern Sierra during the summer of 1998. Another ongoing project is the critical review of software products, books, and manuals intended to aid in the implementation of ISO 14000. This research is primarily intended to increase the value of the REC ISO 14000 web site, but a proposal to write a book based on the software reviews is before publishers now. The combination of rapidly changing software and limited market may make a traditional publication uneconomic. Since the REC has already obtained all the existing software (by donation from the publishers) and reviewed much of it, we are going to begin to publish individual reviews to our ISO 14000 website as Adobe Acrobat .pdf documents. That may be the preferred venue in any case, and we intend to explore demand for a collection of all of them in book form. This is envisioned as an ongoing project with reviews added and updated as software changes.
The REC brought five speakers to the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum during the academic year:
- Douglas Wheeler, Secretary of Resources, State of California
- Larry Goldzband, Director, State of California Department of Conservation. Goldzband also made a presentation and answered qustions in the Natural Resource Management class.
- Sunniva Sorby, Member of the first all-woman expedition to the South Pole
- Jamail Tenzing Norgay, son of Tenzing Norgay, first [or second] ascender of Everest
- Adam Werbach, former president of the Sierra Club
Environmental speakers, sponsored by the REC and already confirmed for the fall 1999 include:
- Paul Watson, Founder of Greenpeace and the Sea Shepherd Society
- Lois Gibbs, Love Canal activist and founder of the Center for Health, Environment, and Justice
- Joshua Farley, Ecological Economist at the University of Maryland
- Loren Finklestein of the Free The Planet College Environmental Network
In June 1999 seven CMC seniors graduated with the EEP major (thesis titles follow names):
Kristen EdwardsThe earnings gap, determinants of wages and gender discrimination
Suchada EickemeyerLake Davis: The controversy surrounding a poisoned lake
Brent J. HobergA Qualitative Analysis of the Ecosystem Effects of Grazing in Mountain Meadow Ecosystems
Courtney JungHong Kongs Environmental Past, Present, and Future Related to the Politics of the 1997 H andover
Justin Carter MeekISO 14001 and Employee Environmentalism: A proposed measurement technique
Rachel RichardsMinimizing the Risk of Globalization
Jeffrey SteinWater Politics in the Middle East: An analysis of resource scarcity and proposed solutions.
All theses except that of Kristen Edwards were directed by Emil Morhardt. Professor Morhardt also directed two biology theses:
Camille GriepForest Fire Ecology, Management, and Policy in the United States
Kristen A. StaigerAn Investigation of Federal Land Management of Rangelands and Response of Meadow Ecosystems to Grazing by Domestic Sheep (Ovis canadensis): Glass Creek Meadow
and was second reader on three more:
Erin A. LynchThe Puente Hills as a Microcosm for Terminal Environmental Protection: An investigation of the fight to save Coal Canyon as a biological corridor
Eric F.MillerThe Effect of Dietary Supplemental L-arginine on White Seabass (Atractoscion nobilis)
Nicole Ann VajdaThe relationship of Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorous) Group Size to the Abundance and Distribution of spatially Heterogeneous Habitat Features.
All of these theses as well as several others in the Joint Science Department made use of the REC facilities and equipment.
Current EEP majors
There are currently 13 seniors, 7 juniors, 3 sophomores, and 5 freshmen registered as EEP majors, a total of 28 majors, the same number registered at the beginning of Academic Year 1998-1999. Prof. Morhardt is the Senior Thesis Advisor for most of the seniors.
Activities of EEP GraduatesThere have been 45 EEP graduates since 1994 and we know the current positions of about half of them. Most of these positions deal in some way with environmental matters and reflect a continuation of the interests which led these alumni to choose the EEP major.
Dona Anderson 1996 Energy Consultant, Peace Corps, Slovak Republic
Dana Armanino 1995
Kate Beardsley 1997 Graduate Student, Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment
Molly Blumer 1996 Business Manager, The Press Restaurant, Claremont
Thomas Casey 1995
Jose Cevallos 1995 Project Engineer, Kemp Bros., Covina
John Cherry 1995 2Lt/Platoon Leader, U. S. Army
Robert Cole 1995 Systems Dev. Support Specialist, Mani Glob. Comm
Eric Craig 1994
Sean Dempsey 1995 Analyst, Mergers/Acq. Deutsch Morgan Grenfell
Kristen Edwards 1999
Suchada Eickemeyer 1999 United States Army
Gwendolyn Fanger 1994 Law Student, Washington University St. Louis
Gary Feramisco 1997
Sarah Frazee 1995 Program Assistant, Conservation International
Kathryn Gaffney 1998 Environmental Specialist, ICF Consulting, Los Angeles
Sally Garrison 1995
Patrick Gorgue 1996
Brian Gross 1995
Graham Guess 1994 Env. Engineer, Ogden Environmental, Santa Barbara
Courtney Jung 1999
Christopher Hamilton 1997
Brent J. Hoberg 1999
Carlos Jallo 1994
Rachel Kokjer 1996
Thomas Lambakis 1995 Staff Consultant, Tucker Alan, Inc., Los Angeles
Greger Larson 1996
Brett Lim 1998 Geographic Information System Marketing Representative
Scott Marshall 1996
Justin Carter Meek 1999 Management Consultant
Megan Murphy 1997 Law Student, University of Washington
Nicole Puckhaber 1996 Business Assoc., The Boston Consulting Group
Greg Rasner 1995 Research Analyst, Law & Economics Consulting
Rachel Richards 1999 Management Consultant, Deloite and Touche, Los Angeles
Julie Rodriguez 1994 Law Student, University of Michigan
Tom Sheets 1998
Susan Shepard 1996
Jeffrey Stein 1999 Taxpayers for Common Sense, Washington, D. C.
Deena Tibshraeny 1994 Group Sales Manager, Macy's
Michael Trowbridge 1996 Soseiworld Corporation Group, Japan
James Uwins 1998 Environmental Specialist, Environmental Management Associates, Brea, California
Eric Wilson 1996
Tina Wang 1998
Mary Wong 1995 Cust. Svc., Recycler Classified (Advertising)
Trevor Yeats 1996 Research Analyst, ICF Consulting.Washington D. C.
Richard C. Adams, Jr. '62, Bart K. Brown '59, Dale Burge, Terry D. Evans '59, Michael G. Graber '74, Brent F. Howell '62 Chair, Suzanne Maltby-Burger, J. Emil Morhardt Director, George R. Roberts 66, Marshall C. Sale '62, Gary J. Smith 73, Jack L. Stark '57
Roberts Environmental Center at Claremont McKenna College
W.M. Keck Science Center
925 N. Mills Avenue
Claremont, CA 91711-5916
(909) 621-8190 or (909)621 8698 or (909) 621-8298
FAX (909) 607-1185