I am a broadly trained ecologist with a PhD in evolutionary biology and ecology, specifically in the ecology of "tri-trophic" interactions: host plants, the insects that feed on these plants, and the wasps, birds, and other predators that feed on those insects. I have an MFS (Masters in Forest Science) as well, with a focus on the design and management of tropical parks and conservation areas; in this interest area I have developed some expertise in the way a particularly "enlightened" form of travel known as ecological tourism, or ecotourism, can aid conservation efforts. My main contribution here in the Sustainable International Development Graduate Program, with its remarkably diverse student body (over 60 nations represented in a typical year) is in teaching of basic scientific literacy to adults from an unusually broad range of educational, cultural, and language backgrounds. It is a unique challenge to do this in a way that does not stifle those with strong English skills and a ready grasp of scientific concepts, while also not losing those students that find many of these ideas completely foreign. I also teach courses in water & sanitation, climate change, ecotourism, environmental impact assessment, and environmental health.
In addition to my academic work I am the Chairman of the Newton Citizens Commission on Energy, and in this role I work with City of Newton (Massachusetts) staff and elected officials. My main contribution is closely monitoring the energy consumption across all sectors (transportation, municipal, residences, businesses and non-profits) and expressing this consumption in units of greenhouse gas emissions. Data each year come from a variety of sources e.g. for transportation from the Transportation Systems Analysis Group in Boston and from utilities for power and heating fuels.
Awards and Honors
- Newton Students for a Greener World Award (2018)
- Louise Bruyn Environmental Service Award (2015)
- Charles Johnson Maynard Award from the Newton Conservators (2013)
- "Faith in Action" Award from Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light (2010)
- Excellence in Teaching Award, Heller School for Social Policy and Management (2010)