AESS News Bulletins

Kat Owens Intro

Welcome President-Elect, Kat Owens!

Kat Owens was elected to the President-Elect (2020-22) and will transition to AESS President for a two-year term beginning 2022.

Kat Owens is an associate professor in the department of Politics, Economics, and International Studies at the University of Hartford in Connecticut where she is also director of the University Interdisciplinary Studies program. 

Owens’ work crosses the social and natural sciences, seeking to link environmental science with policy. In 2015, working under a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, she created a open source college course on marine debris. In this experiential course, students used scientific methods to collect and catalog debris from Connecticut’s shoreline, and then shared the results with state-level policy makers. In 2016, Owens was one of fifteen inaugural faculty to join ENACT (The Educational Network for Active Civic Transformation), created by Brandeis’ International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life. In ENACT courses, students conduct research, create policy briefs, meet with lawmakers, and write opinion editorials advocating for or against bills in the state legislature. Through funding from the National Geographic Society while on a Fulbright Nehru grant, she worked in 2019 to train stakeholders in Thiruvananthapuram, India in data collection and policy-advocacy methods. A second project, also sponsored by National Geographic (currently postponed by COVID19), will entail similar work in Tororo, Uganda. 

She started attending AESS meetings in 2016 after years of trying to find an association or society that appreciated and supported interdisciplinary work. She was thrilled to find a welcoming community of vibrant and talented researchers, teachers, artists, and advocates in AESS. Kat lives with her husband, three children, dog, and six chickens in central Connecticut. 

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JESS Festschrift to honor Monty Hempel

New Deadline –

Call for Papers and Media Contributions: Special Edition of Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences to Honor Lamont (Monty) Hempel 

A festschrift to honor the life of Dr. Lamont (Monty) Hempel will be published in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences in Summer/Fall 2021. The volume will include 15-20 peer-reviewed articles. We welcome contributions on subjects related to Monty’s personal and professional interests, including: 

  • Environmental media and communication; 
  • Environmental politics, policy, and governance; 
  • Experiential environmental education; 
  • Sustainability; and, 
  • The Anthropocene – climate change, biodiversity and other aspects 

Appropriate contributions include research articles; review articles synthesizing scholarship in relevant areas; articles addressing to implications of research and scholarship to environmental policy, governance and politics; and, non-text contributions. Non-text contributions may include video and images related to Monty Hempel’s work on environmental documentaries and his use of art to communicate and inspire understanding and appreciation of environmental issues. 

On December 4, 2019, Monty Hempel, Hedco Chair in Environmental Studies and the Director of the Center for Environmental Studies at the University of Redlands, passed away following a brief illness. Monty was an innovative interdisciplinary scholar, educator, mentor, and talented documentary filmmaker. His scholarship focused on environmental science, governance and politics, communication, and experiential education, emphasizing climate disruption and marine environmental protection. 

Monty Hempel served as the first president of the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences (AESS) and as a member of the executive committee of the national Council of Environmental Deans and Directors (CEDD). His pragmatic idealism and personal modesty belied his significant achievements over more than four decades. 

Please submit for consideration Abstracts (required) of at least 250 words to Dr. Peter Saundry, Johns Hopkins University, by September 17, 2020. Articles should consist of approximately 4,000 – 9,000 words (before references) and conform to guidelines in the journal’s “Submission Guidelines” found at the journal’s website, Completed first drafts of articles must be received by November 19, 2020 to begin the peer review process. 

Dr. Lamont (Monty) Hempel Festschrift Editorial Committee: Peter Saundry (Chief Editor), David Blockstein (AESS Senior Adviser), Wil Burns (American University), Tony Rosenbaum (University of Florida), Kimberly Smith (Carleton College)

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Two New Resources for AESS Members

The AESS Professional Development Committee is excited to share two new resources to assist with 2020-2021 teaching. These resources are available to AESS members after they have logged into their account at

AESS Expert Network

In order to support online and socially distanced teaching this coming year, the AESS Professional Development Committee has created a list of AESS members who are willing to:

1) do virtual class visits to discuss their research;
2) do virtual class visits to discuss their community sustainability work; and/or
3) collaborate with faculty in other locations to connect their students with community stakeholders and activists in your city or town.

Teaching Out-of-Doors Workshop Notes

This compilation is available to AESS members as a benefit of membership.

keywords: agroforestry, sustainable food systems, climate geoengineering, environmental justice, environmental ethics, sustainability, global environmental negotiations, supply chain, eco-art, economics of national parks, environmental science, dragonfly behavior, coyote distribution, energy for international development, climate change, participatory budgeting, renewable energy policy, forest management, Indigenous environmental justice, ecosystem restoration, Anthropocene, congressional oversight, environmental planning, landscape architecture, fieldbooks, urban planning, cultural geography, natural resource restoration, biogas, behavior change during covid-19, community development, health, fossil fuel divestment, transportation justice, religion and environment, climate engineering, science communication, stormwater management, water quality, information literacy, library research, toxicology, equity, diversity
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AESS Calls for Racial Justice, Equity and Inclusion

AESS Calls for Racial Justice, Equity and Inclusion

The Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences is saddened and outraged by the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other Black people as part of practices operating under systemic racism and institutional injustice, including racism and persecution by law enforcement.  We write in support of the multitude of people who are suffering the harm of racial prejudice.   We write in solidarity with the protestors who are mobilizing around the world to raise awareness of the need for justice and recognition that Black Lives Matter.  We note the work of our AESS Diversity Committee and in particular our collaboration with Antioch University on the Diversity and Environment Webinar series.  On Thursday June 4, 2020, the webinar by Sarika Tandon focused on “Race and Environment” had more than 500 registrants who had the opportunity to become more educated on this important topic (slide deck and recording available here:  Antioch University Community Resilience Center website).  We also realize the magnitude of the problem and the ongoing, constant need for education and action.

The theme of our upcoming low carbon conference (July 15-17) is “Research and Action.”  We call for action toward issues of racial and environmental justice that so many of our researchers study.  The white privilege of the majority of scholars, professionals, and activists in Environmental Studies and Sciences, so strongly colors our perspective on environmental issues that AESS will not be able to be an excellent professional organization without continued attention to diversifying our organization and promoting equity and justice within our organization, our communities, our institutions, and the fields of Environmental Studies and Sciences.  Environmental issues disproportionately impact people of color and will never be satisfactorily addressed while embedded in a racially unjust system, as so compelling explained recently by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson in Racism Derails our Efforts to Save the Planet.

Working in collaboration with one another and our communities, we can make a positive difference. Our AESS Diversity Committee works to engage a broader set of voices, those of ESS professionals and students of different intersectional identities, in order to positively shape our organization (AESS Diversity Committee Charter).  They have organized an open session at our upcoming AESS Low Carbon Conference 2020 .  Antioch University and AESS are co-sponsoring upcoming Environmental Advocacy Webinars that feature talks on environmental justice and mobilizing the power of local communities and youth.  Yet, we recognize that we are not doing enough work on racial justice as an organization and that we need to continue to make steps forward.   Educating ourselves is an important ongoing measure.  In that spirit, we share some useful perspectives on AntiRacism Resources,  500 Women Scientists Take Action Black Lives Matter and  Environmentalists for Black Lives Matter.

We look forward to learning about your ideas for progress.  Please share with us at the AESS Conference or by contacting us at

-The AESS Board of Directors

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2020 Election Results

AESS is excited to announce the results of the 2020 elections. To read more about the elected, visit the election page.

Katharine Owens – AESS President Elect

University of Hartford, Associate Professor in the Department of Politics, Economics, and International Studies and Director of the University Interdisciplinary Studies program


Diamond Holloman – Board Student

Doctoral Candidate at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Erin Pischke – Board at-large

research associate at the University of Oregon


Karin Warren – Board at-large Herzog Family Chair of Environmental Studies & Science Sustainability Council Co-Chair Randolph College LinkedIn

Mary Collins – Nominations Committee Assistant Professor SUNY-Environmental Sciences and Forestry LinkedIn

Devin Judge-Lord – Nominations Committee

PhD Student in Political Science at University of Wisconsin-Madison


Marc Santos – Nominations Committee University of South Florida LinkedIn
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AESS Announces 2020 Award Winners

The Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences Honors Awardees

by Valerie Banschbach | May 19, 2020

Contact: Carolyn Anthon 

Office: (202) 503-4638 

May 19, 2020

For immediate release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences (AESS) has selected the three recipients of the 2020 AESS Awards to be recognized at a virtual ceremony during the AESS Annual Conference, July 15-17, 2020. Since 2010, these awards have recognized faculty, scholars and students in Environmental Studies and Sciences at all career stages who exemplify the highest standards of teaching, scholarship and service to the AESS community.

The Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences is a scholarly and professional organization that promotes interdisciplinary research, teaching and service for faculty and students in the more than 1,000 Environmental academic programs nationwide and beyond.  

2020 Award Recipients

Dr. Kim Smith has been awarded the William R. Freudenburg Lifetime Achievement Award.  Named for an AESS founder, Dr. William R. Freudenburg, this Award seeks to recognize and advance the spirit of AESS co-founder, the late Professor William R. Freudenburg, who spawned a new generation of environmental professionals and academics who have pursued interdisciplinary research to address some of the most pressing issues of our time. Through this award, AESS honors members of the profession who have also devoted their lives to strengthening our field by mentoring the next generation of environmental scientists and activists.  Dr. Smith meets and exceeds those criteria.  She is a founding member and Past-President of AESS. She serves as Professor of Environmental Studies and Political Science at Carleton College, in Northfield, Minnesota, a highly selective, private liberal arts college.  Professor Smith is a long-time and unfailing supporter of AESS.  She has attracted and supported new membership and new scholars in AESS by leading workshops on “How to Get Published” in Environmental Studies and Sciences, chairing the Nominations Committee and working tirelessly to improve AESS.  She is a top scholar in Environmental Studies and Political Science, and through her work has advanced our understanding of, and capacity to effectively address, political science and ethical issues in environmental studies and sciences.  Her six books and dozens of articles are widely recognized and award winning. We at AESS owe a great debt of gratitude to Dr. Smith.

Dr. Susan Caplow has been awarded the AESS Early Career Award. This Award recognizes outstanding accomplishments and promising future potential for teaching, research, policy, or activism in any field of environmental science and studies.  Through this award, AESS honors individuals who are early in their careers, but have made significant contributions to knowledge, community and diversity in environmental studies and science, and have a career plan and trajectory that promise to continue and bolster such contributions.  Dr. Caplow combines a profound emphasis on each of the areas of teaching, research, and community engagement.  She founded one of only a handful of ESS programs in higher education in Alabama, and also developed an environmental education program that serves K-12 as part of her work as Associate Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Montevallo, in Montevallo, Alabama.  She has made tremendous efforts to engage the community in sustainability events/projects, and also to institutionalize sustainability in the municipal government of Montevallo, Alabama. Meanwhile, Dr. Caplow has established an impressive publication record, with articles in environmental education, how engagement influences environmental values, and conservation evaluation. For several consecutive years, Dr. Caplow has shared her ESS Program development skills with other faculty at a “Lone Wolves” workshop at the annual AESS Conference, co-organized with colleagues.  Professor Caplow exemplifies the spirit of AESS in terms of her pedagogical, scholarly, and participatory approaches to ESS and has already proven herself a leader in the AESS community.

Our Best Student Paper Award winner is Ms. Hanna Morris.  The AESS Student Paper Award recognizes the potential in graduate student research to create new insights and impact in environmental science and studies, and to engage with environmental policy, practice, and education. Ms. Morris’s timely work on the Green New Deal, analyzes discursive strategies across the news media of discrediting the proposal through ‘othering’ millenials and thereby suppressing democratic deliberation.  Ms. Morris is a PhD Candidate at the Annenberg School for Communication at University of Pennsylvania and a current AESS member. She has garnered awards for her work from the International Environmental Communication Association and serves on the Board of Directors of that organization.  Ms. Morris has presented her work in numerous scholarly venues and her work has been highlighted by media ranging from VAN EYCK News to Impact Radio.  We look forward to her continued impact on the world of ESS and Environmental Communications, as well as participation in the AESS Community.

Dr. Susan Caplow

used with permission from S. Caplow

Ms. Hanna Morris

used with permission from H. Morris

Dr. Kim Smith

used with permission from K. Smith

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Monty Hempel – In Memoriam

photo used with permission

Lamont (Monty) Hempel (1950-2019)

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Monty Hempel, AESS’ first interim President and a founder of our organization, on December 4th. As Monty was a founding leader of AESS, we believe it is important for us to look back and recognize his work in environmental studies and our organization. 

Monty was the Hedco Chair in Environmental Studies and the Director of the Center for Environmental Studies at the University of Redlands as well as a committed filmmaker.  His academic and film work, through his non-profit organization Blue Planet United, focused on sustainability and often marine issues in particular. Monty emphasized emotional connection to the world, as in his short film Eye to Eye with WhalesAnyone who knew Monty could tell you that he also fostered hope and connection between people. A single conversation with him could tell you how kind and optimistic he was, despite working and documenting environmental problems that pose existential threats to plants and animals, including humans, in a changing world.

Monty was among a group of people who decided that there needed to be a community of scholars and students dedicated to advancing interdisciplinary environmental research and teaching. They decided to create AESS to enable this community. Monty and this innovative group took the bold steps to make the organization we are a part of today. We are grateful for the moxy and adventurous spirit that this required, emblematic of our first leader.  In memory of Monty, AESS has decided to create a standing award in environmental communications in his name. We wish the family heartfelt peace.

It is perhaps fitting to end with Monty’s own words which open Eye to Eye with Whales as it tells us what he thought our lives were really about:

The best thing about being human is the moral sense of awe that connects us to the web of life.

His family requests that donations be made to The Coral Reef Alliance, 1330 Broadway, Suite 600, Oakland, CA.



Peter J. Jacques, President

David Hassenzahl, Founding Secretary, Past President

John A. “Skip” Laitner, Past President

Wil Burns, Past President

Phil Camill, Past President

Kimberly Smith, First Elected Past President

Tony Rosenbaum, Founding Board Member, Founding Editor-in-Chief of the Journal for Environmental Studies and Sciences

Greg Mohr, Founding Treasurer

Stephanie Pfirman, Founding Board Member

Stephanie Kaza, Founding Board Member

David Blockstein, Founding Board Member

Bob Wilkinson, Co-founder of the first meeting at UC Santa Barbara with Bill Freudenburg

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AESS Member Presented with Prestigious Award

DePaul researcher recognized with Early Career Scientist Award from ISA

Dr. Jess Vogt pursues research on urban forest sustainability

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Dr. Jess Vogt of Chicago, Illinois, is the recipient of the 2018 International Society of Arboriculture’s (ISA) Early Career Scientist Award. This Award of Distinction is given to professionals showing exceptional promise in arboriculture research.

Click here for a video on Jess Vogt.

Vogt is an assistant professor of environmental science and studies at DePaul University. She has a Ph.D. in Environmental Science with an interest in urban social-ecological systems and sustainability science with an emphasis on urban forestry.

“Dr. Vogt has accomplished a great deal early in her career, impacting not only the research and practice of arboriculture, but increasing our understanding of how arboriculture and urban forestry interfaces with other professions,” says Paul Ries, ISA Board President. “Her enthusiasm for her students, for education, and for the fields she studies is evident and admirable.”

Vogt’s research lab at DePaul, the Lab for Urban Forestry in the Anthropocene (LUFA), enables her students to study how urban forests, the people who care for them, and communities are managing challenges like climate change. ”The Anthropocene is the new era that scientists say we’ve entered because of the massive impacts human activity has on the planet,” explains Vogt. ”LUFA studies how urban forests can contribute to the sustainability of communities in the Anthropocene. We have a website that we use to house publications and information about projects, so I have a place to point those who are asking for more information about my research and teaching.”

Colleagues say Vogt has an impressive compilation of industry research for her less than 10 years of study. When asked what she attributes to this achievement, Vogt responds, “The short answer is hard work, a bit of luck, and great collaborators and students.” She reflects over all the influences from her work as research assistant, her many mentors, and now most recently her Assistant Professorship at DePaul where she believes her personal mission and career goals align with that of the university. “DePaul provides great support through research grants and funding for student research assistants, which provide collaboration and allows me to accomplish much more than I would on my own,” she adds.

In regards to being chosen for this year’s Early-Career Scientist Award, Vogt says, “I am surprised, happy, humbled, honored, and grateful to have been selected for this award.”  She credits the support, encouragement, and collaboration of others for her being able to be as productive as she has been.  “I’ve been so fortunate during my early career to have been surrounded by an extensive network of mentors, colleagues, coauthors, and students.”

Vogt was recognized during the opening ceremony of the ISA Annual International Conference and Trade Show on Sunday, August 5 in Columbus, Ohio.  “By recognizing individuals who have a positive impact on arboriculture, ISA helps provide role models and learning opportunities for all of us,” added Robert Bartlett Jr., chairman and CEO of Bartlett Tree Experts. “We applaud Dr. Jess Vogt and all of the honorees for their contributions in research, education and mentoring.”

ISA serves more than 30,000 members and credential holders worldwide, and has been honoring members and industry professionals with the Awards of Distinction since 1963. The winners are selected by the ISA Awards Committee, a diverse group of experts in arboriculture, and are approved by ISA’s Board of Directors.


***Above press release provided to AESS by  International Society of Arboriculture (ISA).***

ABOUT ISA           

The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), headquartered in Champaign, Ill., is a nonprofit organization supporting tree care research and education around the world. To promote the importance of arboriculture, ISA manages

the consumer education web site,, which fulfills the association’s mission to help educate the public about the importance and value of proper tree care. Also, as part of ISA’s dedication to the care and preservation of shade and ornamental trees, it offers the only internationally-recognized certification program in the industry. For more information on ISA and Certified Arborists, visit



The F.A. Bartlett Tree Expert Company was founded in 1907 by Francis A. Bartlett and is the world’s leading scientific tree and shrub care company.  The organization’s current chairman, Robert A. Bartlett Jr., represents the third generation of Bartlett family management.  Bartlett has locations in 27 U.S. states, Canada, Ireland, and Great Britain. Services include pruning, insect and disease management, fertilization and soil care, cabling and bracing, tree lightning protection systems, and tree and stump removal. Its corporate offices are located in Stamford, Connecticut.  To find out more, visit the company’s web site at or call 1-877-BARTLETT (227-8538).

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JESS Issue Alert

Table of Contents for the March 2018 issue of the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences.

In this issue:


Note: AESS Members receive full access to JESS. If you would like to become a member to access JESS, join today!

To submit a piece for publication, review guidelines.

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AESS opposes US withdrawal from Paris Accord

AESS Statement on the US withdrawal from the Paris Accord

June 6, 2017

The Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences (AESS) stands with the majority of the world in opposition to the United States government’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. Climate change is one of the most pressing socio-ecological challenges that humans must tackle to ensure an equitable, just, and sustainable future for our planet. Without action, a warming and unpredictably changing climate will at best lead to uncertainty and, at worst, will be devastating for human and nonhuman communities and the systems they depend on for survival. Ethics oblige us to oppose such short-sighted decisions, especially because many communities most at risk contributed least to the problem yet will bear the greatest burdens associated with resource decline, sea level rise, and exacerbated conditions of poverty and conflict.

The AESS community is comprised of interdisciplinary collaborators who focus largely on complex socio-ecological issues. We are solutions-oriented and our collective strength is the ability to mobilize behind appropriate science, policy, and action to mitigate issues like climate change. We are eager to share our research with the public and elected officials–all of whom have the ability to effectuate change–and engage with the broader community through direct action and education. Please contact our members or board if you are interested in collaborating.

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