GCSC Seminar – Jack Williams “Achieving global ecology via dispersed community curated data resources”

“Achieving global ecology via dispersed community curated data resources:  Neotoma and PalEON” Jack Williams, Center for Climatic Research, Professor of Geography, University of Wisconsin  | 4pm, 210 asb  | read more

Ecologists often seek to study processes operating at continental to global scales from amalgams of data originally collected at local to regional scales. Ecological data are, increasingly big data, characterized by large data volumes, high heterogeneity of data types, and methods (variety), multiple potential sources of uncertainty and error (veracity), and, increasingly, high rates of data generation and analysis (velocity).  In response, multiple groups have begun to build and coalesce around multiple nodes of ecological data, with big data in ecology beginning to emerge as a network of networks. This talk describes the close partnership between two distinct efforts:  the Neotoma Paleoecology Database (Neotoma, www.neotomadb.org),  and the Paleoecological Observatory Network (PalEON, https://www3.nd.edu/~paleolab/paleonproject/). Analyses of historic forest surveys from the Public Land Survey and fossil pollen records have demonstrated significant shifts in tree-climate relationships over the last two centuries due to historic land use and climate change and subtle but significant trends in forest composition in the north-central US over the last two millennia, possibly in response to regional cooling.  Current work is focusing on assimilating these pollen-based reconstructions with terrestrial ecosystem model simulations for the last millennium. Read More


John (Jack) Williams is a professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a former director of the Center for Climatic Research. Dr. Williams’ research focuses on the responses of plant species and communities to past and future climate change. Research themes include novel climates and ecosystems, the causes and consequences of past species extinctions, the capacity of species to respond to abrupt climate change, and the last deglaciation as a model system for understanding 21st-century climate change. Awards include the Cooper Award from the Ecological Society of America, the Phil Certain Distinguished Faculty Award and Romnes Faculty Fellowship from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellowship from the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, and an Institute for Advanced Study Fellowship at Durham University. More information can be found at https://williamspaleolab.github.io/ or via Twitter @IceAgeEcologist

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GCSC Seminar – Ananya Chatterjea – ” Choreographies of Resistance: Dancing Ecosystems”

” Choreographies of Resistance: Dancing Ecosystems”– Ananya Chatterjea, Professor of Dance, University of Minnesota

Read more about Dr. Chatterjea’s work here.


In this talk, I will trace the intimate relationship between embodied and environmental sustainability as I have come to understand it in my creative research. What might be some specific methodologies of choreographing eco-feminist stories from the perspective of women artists of color? I will refer to some of my recent choreographic works in order to identify the complex conceptual frames and staging strategies that I have had to work with in order to offer critical and nuanced images of the entanglements of bodies of women of color, the environment, and questions of equity.


Ananya Chatterjea is a choreographer, dancer, and thinker whose work brings together Contemporary Indian dance, social justice choreography, and a philosophy of #occupydance. She is Artistic Director of Ananya Dance Theatre (www.ananyadancetheatre.org), a Twin Cities-based professional dance company of women artists of color. The company’s work, described as “people powered dances of transformation,” includes concert performances and participatory performances in non-traditional spaces, where audiences become co-creators of movement explorations with the dancers. Ananya is the recipient of a 2011 Guggenheim Choreography Fellowship, a 2012 McKnight Choreography Fellowship, and a 2016 Joyce Award (with The O’Shaughnessy Theater). Ananya is currently writing her second book, Heat, contestations in line, about re-framing understandings of Contemporary Dance from the perspective of dance-makers from a location in the global south. Ananya recently received the Sage Outstanding Dance Educator Award (2015) and an NPN Creation Fund Award (2016) and the National Dance Project Production Grant (2017) for Shyamali (2017), her most recent work about women and dissent.


GCSC Seminar – Lisa Dilling “Learning lessons from managing drought: Adaptation in an interconnected, uncertain world”

“Learning lessons from managing drought: Adaptation in an interconnected, uncertain world” – Lisa Dilling, Director, NOAA Western Water Assessment; Professor of Environmental Studies, University of Colorado


Cities in the U.S. have been adapting to drought for many years, implementing a combination of mechanisms to cope with climate and water variability and increasing population. These experiences provide a wealth of data on how communities navigate water scarcity in different contexts. Furthermore, these data allow us to examine potential opportunities and challenges for managing future water risks under uncertainty and climate change.


Lisa Dilling is Associate Professor of Environmental Studies, a Fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) and a member of the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She is Director of the Western Water Assessment, a NOAA Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessment project that studies and facilitates the use of climate information in decision making in the Intermountain West. Her scholarship focuses on decision making, the use of information and science policy. Her research topics include drought and urban water management, climate adaptation in cities and on public lands, carbon management, and geoengineering governance.

GCSC Seminar – Natalie Gochnour “What’s missing in Utah’s economic prosperity?”

“What’s missing in Utah’s economic prosperity?” – Natalie Gochnour, Director, Gardner Policy Institute, Associate Dean, David Eccles School of Business, U of Utah

The Utah economy receives accolades for rapid job growth, low unemployment, industrial diversity, and upward mobility. Economic growth, however, brings challenges as not all areas of the state are prospering and new residents enlarge the state¹s development footprint, demand greater quantities of treated water, contribute to air quality problems, and create other sustainability challenges . The presenter will describe the current status of the Utah economy, provide insights about what¹s missing in our current economic development efforts, and consider public policy interventions that can help us meet the economic needs of future generations.