"SUSTAINABILITY IN MY WORLD" LECTURE SERIES

For Spring 2013: Selected Mondays, 1-2 PM, in Warren Auditorium

All lectures are free and open to the public.

The lecture series explores wide-ranging issues of environmental sustainability through specific issues in the Russian River watershed. Funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, this lecture series, open to the public, is part of a two-semester course sequence for first-time freshmen, immersing them in real-world issues of environmental sustainability.

This year-long public lecture series, part of the SSU's SCIENCE 120/121 transitional course for first-year students, features prominent local water experts and topics ranging from our local creeks to atmospheric rivers in the sky. Attendees includd students and faculty from around campus as well as community members and activists.

Videos of the fall lectures available on the SSU YouTube channel

 

Opening shot of lecture series YouTube video

 

 

 

 

SPRING 2013

More lectures to be announced soon!

 

FEBRUARY 11: "WATER QUALITY PROJECTS ON COPELAND CREEK"

Speakers:
Becca Lawton, Research Director, Geologist, Sonoma Ecology Center
Dr. Claudia Luke, Director of SSU’s Field Station & Nature Preserves

 

FEBRUARY 25: "COPELAND CREEK RESTORATION PROJECT"

Speaker:
Alison Malisa, Conservation Education Coordinator, Southern Sonoma County RCD.

 

MARCH 25: “Working in Science, Politics, and Policy of Local Watersheds: A Look Back at My Career”

Speaker:
Jake Mackenzie, Rohnert Park Council Member and recent Mayor of Rohnert Park

 

 

FALL 2012


AUGUST 29: "THE IMPROBABILITY OF WATER: AN INTRODUCTION TO WATERSHEDS"

Speaker: Dr. Claudia Luke, Director of SSU’s Field Station & Nature Preserves

Let go of your preconceptions of water and explore interactions and role of this ubiquitous substance in your daily life. Dr. Luke takes us on a one-hour tour of water -- from molecular behaviors to global effects – focusing on the fascinating processes that go unnoticed under our noses and yet are critical to our existence on the planet. This enjoyable intellectual journey will leave you feeling more closely connected with your local landscapes.

Dr. Luke has 20 years of experience directing university field stations for the University of California and California State University. Throughout her career, she has developed research, education and management collaboratives to address regional environmental challenges, including watershed management and habitat connectivity.

SEPTEMBER 12: "IT'S ALIVE! THREE MOSTLY FACTUAL STORIES ABOUT THE CREEK ON YOUR CAMPUS"

Speaker: Mike Thompson, Assistant General Manager for the Sonoma County Water Agency

Copeland Creek flows through the Sonoma State Campus.  This talk will address why it’s here; how sediment, fish, and urban debris travel through it; and what, with the help of Sonoma State University, it could become.

Mr. Thompson has helped guide the transformation of Sonoma County’s flood control channels into living streams over the past 15 years.  He has also helped lead development of the Sonoma County Youth Ecology Corps, which provides at-risk teenagers and young adult employment and environmental education opportunities. Mr. Thompson holds Master of Administration and Master of Science degrees from U.C. Davis. 


SEPTEMBER 26: ATMOSPHERIC RIVERS: THE EMERGING SCIENCE OF FLOODING IN THE RUSSIAN RIVER WATERSHED

Speaker: Dr. Marty Ralph, Chief of the Water Cycle Branch at NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory/Physical Sciences Division in Boulder, Colorado; Research Associate at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

New scientific advances over the last 10 years, many taking place right in Sonoma County, are transforming our understanding of storms and flooding on the West Coasts of the US, Canada, Europe and South America. New technology (for example, radars, unmanned aircraft, satellite, etc.) now allows us to observe and track atmospheric rivers, vast ribbons of air in the sky that often carry as much water vapor as 10 times the equivalent discharge of liquid water by the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico. Dr. Ralph will provide an introduction to these "rivers in the sky" and discuss how this concept is being used to evaluate and improve short-term precipitation forecasting and could lead to improved regional climate projections of flooding and water supplies in the Russian River Watershed.

Dr. Ralph is a research meteorologist whose work focuses on understanding the physical processes that cause extreme rain events, prototyping methods for improving weather predictions, and advancing climate projections. He has published over 60 scientific articles and has led the NOAA Hydrometeorology Testbed (HMT), which has explored the causes of extreme events in the Russian River watershed and accelerated the infusion of new science and technology into weather and climate forecasting.


OCTOBER 10: GENES TO OCEANS: THE SCIENCE OF SALMON RECOVERY

Speaker:  Paul Siri, consultant to local agencies, the state and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization on a variety of seafood sustainability issues.  

Sonoma County leads the nation in creating science-based sustainable water and energy systems that conserve and restore ecosystems needed for a sustainable economy.  Mr. Siri reviews exciting scientific discoveries ranging from molecular genetics to environmental sensor technology that are shaping the way we use and reuse water. These discoveries are transforming our understanding of how ecosystems work, and allowing us to craft coherent policies for fisheries, agriculture and energy that protect the resiliency of our ecosystems. 

Mr. Siri has researched aquatic and marine animal behavior and physiology for over 40 years.  While serving as the UC Bodega Marine Laboratory Associate Director he was designated the UC Project Leader for the Sacramento Winter Run Chinook Captive Breeding Program, the state’s most ambitious species recovery plan. Mr. Siri, recognizing the lack of understanding of ocean dynamics in forecasting and hind-casting salmon abundance, joined the national effort to create the Integrated Ocean Observing Program. His interests in sustainability include developing renewable energy sources for coastal communities.

 

OCTOBER 24: AQUATIC MICROBIAL ECOLOGY THROUGH THE EYES OF A WANDERING MICROBIOLOGIST

Speaker: Provost Andrew Rogerson, SSU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Description: In this introduction to microbial ecology, Dr. Rogerson will emphasize the amazing numerical importance and diversity of microorganisms in all water bodies and touch on their emerging roles in ecosystem function, biotechnology and applied microbiology. He will use some of his own research, conducted mainly on one type of microbe (naked amoebae), to illustrate how microbial ecology has ‘come of age.’ It is mission impossible to cover microbial ecology in one hour – but the audience will leave with a sense of wonder about life on the planet that is invisible to the unaided eye.

Provost Rogerson came to Sonoma State University after serving as Dean of Science and Mathematics at Fresno State, Dean of Science at Marshall University and Associate Dean at the Oceanographic Center of Nova Southeastern University. His research interests are varied and include the microbial ecology of protists, the biomineralization of silicon in diatoms, the taxonomy of naked amoebae, fecal contamination of beaches, the efficacy of ballast water treatment systems and microbial pathogenicity. He has over 120 published articles in books and journals.

 

NOVEMBER 7: FOREVER CHANGING ITS MIND: COPELAND CREEK AND THE LAGUNA HEADWATERS -- PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE

Speaker: Arthur Dawson, Historical Ecologist/Consultant at Baseline Consulting

Description: Sometimes to see the future, we need to explore the past. Join us as we travel through time and discover what Copeland Creek, the SSU campus, and the surrounding area were like before Mexican and American settlers arrived. We’ll take a fascinating look at how early maps, illustrations, and accounts can be pieced together to reconstruct the surprisingly dynamic landscape that was here less than two centuries ago. We’ll finish with a look to the future and how restoring or mimicking natural patterns can reduce soil erosion, filter water, reduce flooding, and restore habitat.

Integrating fieldwork with archival sources, Arthur Dawson’s work focuses on creating detailed ‘pictures of the past’ that bring to light trajectories of landscape change. He directed the Sonoma Ecology Center’s Historical Ecology Project for many years. He has worked on projects for NOAA, California Department of Fish and Game, Sonoma County Water Agency, Sonoma Land Trust, Sonoma County Agricultural and Open Space District, and Pepperwood Preserve, and is author of several books. His column on local place names appears in the Sunday ‘Towns’ section of the Press-Democrat.

 

NOVEMBER 28: RESTORING CONNECTIVITY IN CALIFORNIA RIVER CORRIDORS

Speaker: Marcin Whitman, Senior Hydraulic Engineer for California Department of Fish and Game

California's rivers are dying. Modifications have led to great declines in fish and other aquatic organisms that depend on these river corridors to the point that most salmon in California are now listed as threatened or endangered. Efforts are underway to reverse this trend by reconnecting the river reaches and regaining continuity of stream processes. Whitman will give examples such as dam removals, road crossing upgrades and fish ladders that have recently completed or are ongoing in coastal California. Many of these projects have also improved conditions for people too.

Since 1989, Marcin Whitman has worked for the Federal or State government on the interface between fisheries and engineering. He is a past president of and has served on committees for the American Fisheries Society Bio Engineering Section.  He is currently chairing a joint committee of American Society of Civil Engineering and AFS on fisheries engineering issues.