Read the latest installment of The Commons, a bi-monthly newsletter for Nelson Institute alumni and friends.
Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies University of Wisconsin–Madison THE COMMONS
Nelson 50th logo
As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Nelson Institute and the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we invite you to join us in celebrating Earth Day every day during the Year of the Environment. This special year-long celebration will feature lectures, films, performances, and special events that will honor the legacy of Earth Day founder and Nelson Institute namesake, Gaylord Nelson, while expanding the Institute’s mission to inspire and educate the next generation of environmental leaders. To learn more visit our 50th web site.
Rendezvous Logo
Be sure to RSVP for the 2019 Rendezvous on the Terrace, which will take place on Friday, September 20 from 5-7 p.m. at the Memorial Union. Catch up with old friends, meet fellow alumni, and chat with Nelson Institute students, faculty, and staff. We will also present our Rising Star and Distinguished Alumni Awards.  Be sure to RSVP by September 12 to attend!
Tales from Planet Earth Logo
Join the Nelson Institute and its partners for the kickoff of the Tales from Planet Earth film series and the world premiere of Anthropocene: The Human Epoch, a film that will showcase the provocative and unforgettable experience of our species’ breadth and impact. Watch the award-winning team of Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier, and Edward Burtynsky as they follow the Anthropocene Working Group, an international body of scientists who, after nearly 10 years of research, are arguing that the Holocene Epoch gave way to the Anthropocene Epoch in the mid-twentieth century, because of profound and lasting human changes to the Earth. This FREE viewing is a part of a nationwide screening event on September 25, that coincides with the U.N. Climate Action Summit. Click here to view the trailer. And, watch for more dates in the Tales from Planet Earth film series happening during the Nelson Institute Year of the Environment.
Nelson Store Image
Show your Nelson Institute pride and join us in commemorating our 50th anniversary, by purchasing branded merchandise from the Nelson Institute store and posting a photo of yourself in the gear using #IamNelson. For a limited time only, there will be Nelson Institute t-shirts available for purchase. Be sure to order your t-shirt by September 20 to secure this special edition design, and watch for more special t-shirt designs during our Year of the Environment.  Please note that all items will be  shipped directly to the buyer. Click here to start shopping.
The Nelson Institute’s Community Environmental Scholars Program (CESP) is designed for students who want to link their passion for the environment with a commitment to the community. It provides hands-on advising and mentoring and a supportive, cohort-based experience for its participants, all of whom hail from traditionally underrepresented groups, including communities of color and non-traditional students (e.g., first-generation college, veterans, etc.). All students who participate in CESP receive critically-needed scholarship support. In honor of this program’s 10th anniversary – and the outstanding young leaders who have emerged from it, please consider making a gift in support of its future.
April Image
From the lush rainforests of Napo Province, Ecuador to the golden shores of Coron Island in the Philippines, Nelson Institute alumna, April Sansom has traveled the world to work with communities on land rights and conservation initiatives. A long-time believer in the power of community-based conservation, Sansom focuses much of her work on small scale conservation projects that empower local groups to independently manage land use and conservation projects. Although her first experience with this work occurred during her time with the United States Peace Corps, she became deeply involved in community-based conservation during her time as a graduate student at UW-Madison, forming relationships that she continues to foster in her new role as Director of Community Conservation. Read more.
UdeG Logo
This summer, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Guadalajara in Mexico made a decades-old partnership official with the signing of a new, three-year cooperative agreement that will expand collaboration on projects relating to socio-environmental topics while continuing the legacy of this partnership, which began in the late 1970s. Read more.
Alumni Award Winners Graphic
Whether it is advancing social justice and equity, improving renewable energy solutions, educating the next generation of environmental leaders, or championing conservation, Nelson Institute alumni are at the forefront of important efforts around the world. Such impactful work is deserving of recognition, which is why the Nelson Institute is proud to honor outstanding alumni through the annual Rising Star and Distinguished Alumni Awards. Read more.
Jordahl Logo
This year, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Nelson Institute and Earth Day,  the Jordahl Lecture will include two, special events. On September 12 & September 19,  the Nelson Institute will host a two-night Jordahl Public Lands workshop that will help participants to learn to communicate the importance of our natural resources through storytelling. Then, on October 10, we invite you to join us for this special storytelling event that will feature diverse voices sharing personal stories about the importance of public lands. From stewardship to recreation, be a part of this meaningful discussion that will highlight public lands and the impact they have on our lives.

Additionally, we invite you to consider making a gift in support of this event and in honor of Bud Jordahl, who helped establish the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, the Namekagon–St Croix National Wild and Scenic Riverway, the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund, and many other public conservation treasures. He made a difference and so can you. Gifts in any amount are needed and appreciated.
Michael Hernke Image
A recent review out of the University of Wisconsin—Madison suggests that the increasing elevations in carbon dioxide may pose direct risks for human health. Led by an interdisciplinary team of researchers, including Nelson Institute affiliate and Wisconsin School of Business Lecturer Michael Hernke, the review titled, “Direct human health risks of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide,” compiles the latest research on the health risks associated with increasing atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide, including inflammation, reduction of high-level cognitive abilities, and more. Read More.
Sheamus Image
Nelson Institute graduate student, Sheamus Cavanaugh has been named a 2019 Letter and Science Teaching Fellow in recognition of his outstanding success as a student and teacher at UW-Madison. This prestigious award includes a rigorous nomination process that requires department endorsement, student evaluations, and a personal statement from the nominees regarding their teaching philosophy. As one of the selected honorees, Cavanaugh received monetary support as well as the opportunity to lead a teaching assistant workshop. Read more.
Image of Nelson students
From October 21-25,  Nelson Institute students will attend educational sessions as a part of the career preparation event, Leveling Up: A week of tips and assists for your postcollege game plan.  This event will help students to jump-start their environmental careers and alumni participation is key to a successful week! If you are interested in participating, please contact Assistant Director of Community Engagement & Alumni Relations, Emily Reynolds.
Upcoming Events
September 12 & 19, 2019

September 20, 2019

September 23, 2019

September 25, 2019

October 10, 2019

Tuesdays, 9:30 AM,
811 AOS Building

Thursdays, 4:15-5:15 PM, 1163 Mechanical Engineering
Earth Day at 50 Logo
April 20, 2020
Monona Terrace

2019 Freedom Farmers: Agricultural Resistance and the Black Freedom Movement
Monica White >>

2018 Jordahl Lecture - Wild and Scenic Rivers: An American Legacy
Tim Palmer >>

2018 The Great Lakes to Great Lakes Initiative
Russ Feingold >>


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Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison · 550 N Park Street · Madison, WI 53706 · USA