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A Message from the Director

From hosting six popular free public lectures -- Hot Science-Cool Talks -- to seeing the new Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Science take off at an amazing pace, the Environmental Science Institute continues to reach out to the broader public in greater numbers than ever before.

ESI held two productive meetings with our Advisory Council this year, a group of dedicated members of the public and private sectors that is led by Mr. Kevin Tuerff, co-founder and principal of Enviromedia.  The council rapidly met the goals of its Challenge Grant to support a new staff position to lead ESI’s development effort.  Support for this position also comes from generous contributions from the College of Natural Sciences and the Jackson School of Geosciences.  This is an exciting time to see such focus being brought to helping ESI achieve its mission of engendering interdisciplinary initiatives in environmental science research, education and outreach.

We are just winding down from hosting and mentoring 11 undergraduate students from around the United States in ESI’s Research Experience for Undergraduates program, which is supported by the National Science Foundation. Many of the participants capped their experience by submitting an abstract for a presentation to be given at the conferences of the Geological Society of America or the American Geophysical Union.

Recently funded ESI research projects include:

  • Integrative Biology Professor Camille Parmesan’s research on “Informing climate-related decisions with Earth systems models”, sponsored by the Rand Corporation.
  • Geosciences Professor Daniel Breecker’s research, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, which is improving how scientists reconstruct past changes in carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere through studies of calcite nodules that form in ancient soils.
  • Marine Science Professor Jim McClelland’s collaborative project “Arctic Great Rivers Observatory”, sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

Also, if you are reading this, you have entered the ESI web site -- we recently re-designed our web site to not only be more interesting, as there is always a fascinating tidbit to be found here. We have also added new features and content to keep you up to date with the latest environmental news as well as making the site easier to read from your phones and other hand-helds.

Please keep in touch with us through this website, or contact us directly at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or by phone at (512) 471-5847.


Jay Banner, Director
Environmental Science Institute

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