Lamont Weekly Report, May 7, 2021

     Hello Friends,  Spring is in full swing.  April showers have brought May flowers, as well as gardening news from the campus. The Lamont Community Garden, located opposite the New Core Laboratory, lay fallow last summer but is gearing up for a new season.  The Campus Life Committee has supported this community effort for years and reminds everyone that all gardening skill levels are welcome.  Pick some peas off dewy morning vines or harvest some tomatoes in the heat of the summer sun—enjoy a break from the office or lab and meet new colleagues. I’m told that tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, green beans, herbs, garlic, and more are grown and that everyone who pitches in gets to share in the harvest. Time commitments are minimal, one or two days a week, so email Tyler Ellis if you'd like to be added to the gardening mailing list.

     Campus gardening efforts have also expanded this year with the recent installation of the phenanthrene-shaped pollinator gardens, also outside New Core Lab.  Installed and planted by Sheean Haley and Helen Habicht, these new gardens host a mix of native and non-native perennials (for maximum deer resistance) to support beneficial pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.  All the plants are identified with their genus and common names.  The gardens promise to be a colorful and architecturally-appealing addition to the walkway alongside the New Core Lab, and a delicious stopover for all kinds of pollinators migrating up and down the Hudson River corridor.

     The beginning of every month brings a new digital issue of the Lamont Newsletter.  This month’s issue highlights New Frontiers in Climate Leadership.  Numerous articles focus on the scientific accomplishments of a cross-section of our community including: Chris Zappa’s partnership with indigenous communities studying sea ice and marine life changes in Alaska; Kevin Uno’s study verifying the age of one of the earliest Homo erectus fossils; Sid Hemming’s investigations of Antarctica’s response to the northern hemisphere glaciation in the Pleistocene supported by her recent award of a Guggenheim Fellowship; and Dan Westervelt’s air quality study in Sub-Saharan Africa. Thank you to our great comms team for being an endless source of updates and insights into the incredible work of our scientists!

     Two important discussions involving the Lamont community are scheduled for next week. First, please consider registering for the anti-racism talk and panel discussion: What Comes Next? Addressing Racism in Our Workplace on Monday, May 10 from 1:00 – 2:00pm. Panelists include: Cassie Xu (EI), Jenny Middleton (LDEO), and Yohana Tesfamariam Tekeste (IRI), with opening remarks by Alicia Roman and closing remarks by Alex Halliday. Kuheli Dutt will moderate the panel. Second, on Thursday May 13th at 2:30, the Directorate will host a Lamont Town Hall to update the campus on Covid-related protocols as well as the Lamont annual budget.

     This past Monday, DEES hosted the First Year Graduate Student Colloquium. Congratulations to all 18 of our presenters: Claire Jasper, Tess Walther, Laura Penrose, Annie Leal, Casey Brayton, Raf Antwerpen, Huy Le, Fatimah Alsultan, Jasper Baur, Maheenuz Zaman, Dana Raiter, Garima Raheja, Maggie DeLessio, Miriam Nielsen, Sam Bartusek, Sarah Smith, Tess Jacobson, and Laurel DiSera!  I especially appreciated hearing about the path each of our students took to get to Lamont—it is interesting to hear what motivates a passionate commitment to pursue a singular goal for six years of one’s life.

     On Wednesday, Alex Halliday, Alicia Roman, Ruth DeFries, Jason Bordoff, and I hosted an Earth Institute and Climate School Town Hall to address questions from our community about the evolving Climate School. These meetings will continue and we are following up on questions that we did not have time to answer during the event.  Also on Wednesday, the Campus Life Committee hosted the third Spring Art Class “Making art with upcycled materials: Plastic Whale” with artist Amelia Foster. Thank you, Suki Wong and Jeff Turmelle! Finally, on May 13 at 4:00 PM, join Cassie Xu on EI LIVE K12 “A World of Change” presented by Frank Nitsche, Lamont Research Scientist, who will be talking about the melting of the Antarctic Ice Sheet – “ Why and how is it melting?”. Register here.

     This week, the Lamont pod of Unlearning Racism in Geoscience (URGE) also asked me to share that they finished up their eighth and final session on Racism and Accountability. They produced a Management Plan to synthesize the past deliverables and, after 16 weeks of focused anti-racism work, the URGE Lamont pod is looking forward to making these documents more accessible and beneficial to the wider Lamont community. Stay tuned. 

     Speaking of finishing up, Angelica Patterson, the “shotgun scientist”, successfully defended her PhD thesis this week on “Seeing the Forest for the Trees: The Physiological Responses of Temperate Trees in a Warmer World”. Angie will continue her work as the Master Science Educator at Black Rock Forest in Cornwall teaching forest ecology to K-12 students and acting as a liaison with educators from the consortium to facilitate science-based exploration of the natural world. Congratulations, Angie!

     More good news is that Lamont Research Professor Brendan Buckley’s Fulbright award has been re-awarded after a cancellation last year due to the pandemic. He plans to spend six months in Vietnam at the beginning of 2022 to conduct a course called “Forest Response to Climate Change in the Vietnamese Highlands”, a follow-up to the research he has been performing in the area for two decades.  He will also be leading a number of workshops and meetings. A renewed congratulations to Brendan!

     Finally, a gosling update, by request…still no sightings but the geese have been less prevalent around campus. I think this means that they are in the nesting incubation phase.  Because inquiring minds always want to know more, I actually did a little poking around the internet and found this informative short article from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology.  I did not know that geese mate for life with a very low “divorce” rate or that the eggs will incubate for 25-28 days.

     And a parting plug for science communicator extraordinaire…watch Radley Horton’s informative WABC-TV interview here!

     Happy Mothers Day and have a peaceful weekend, Mo








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Columbia Climate’s Hot 23

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