Read the latest installment of The Commons, a bi-monthly newsletter for Nelson Institute alumni and friends.

The Commons

For Nelson Institute Alumni and Friends

January/February 2016
Submit a nomination for the 2016 Nelson Alumni Awards
Nearly 4,000 Nelson Institute alumni are applying their knowledge and skills to make the world a better and more sustainable place. Our alumni awards help spotlight these accomplishments and impacts. Winners will be honored at the 10th Annual Earth Day Conference on April 25. Know someone making a difference? Submit your nominations by Feb. 1.
Bahr named president-elect of American Geosciences Institute
Jean Bahr, a UW-Madison professor of geoscience and faculty affiliate of the Nelson Institute, has been named president-elect of the American Geosciences Institute, a nonprofit federation of geoscientific and professional associations representing geologists, geophysicists and other earth scientists. Bahr, who holds degrees from Stanford and Yale, was also president of the Geological Society of America from 2009-10.
Read more.
Research spotlight: Pinpointing greenhouse gas emissions from freshwater
Do not underestimate the babbling brook. When it comes to greenhouse gases, these water bodies have the potential to create a lot of hot air. According to a new analysis by researchers at UW-Madison and colleagues, the world’s rivers and streams pump about 10 times more methane into our atmosphere than scientists estimated in previous studies. Lead author Emily Stanley says this is another reason to pay attention to water quality. Read more.
Environmental studies alumnus named Rhodes Scholar
Colin Higgins, an alumnus of the Nelson Institute, has been named a recipient of a Rhodes Scholarship. Higgins completed his undergrad studies in May, triple majoring with comprehensive honors in environmental studies, geography and history. The scholarship funds two to three years of study at England's Oxford University, where Higgins plans to research environmental governance. Read more.
Capstone helps students understand racial discrimination and food insecurity
Last semester, 14 students in the Building Food Justice Capacity in South Madison service learning capstone class worked to understand and combat racial discrimination and food insecurity in collaboration with community leaders. The project was designed to address inequities in South Madison’s current food system, while at the same time establishing employment opportunities for former inmates. Read more about the capstone.
Our Waters, Our Future writing contest
What’s your vision of a positive future for water and people in south-central Wisconsin? The “Our Waters, Our Future” writing contest seeks inspiring short stories that can fuel conversations and actions to ensure healthy waters and vibrant communities for generations to come. The winning story will be published in Madison Magazine and top finalists will receive other awards. Submit your story by
Feb. 1. The contest is open to all Wisconsin residents and students ages 18 and up. Enter your story today!