Fall 2017
From the Executive Director
Greetings from the Switzer Foundation and welcome to our fall newsletter highlighting our 31st cohort of Switzer Fellows! Switzer Fellows are environmental leaders who embody the kind of interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral approaches we sorely need to solve today's complex problems. The leadership and experience of this year's cohort from New England and California once again remind us that environmental issues are embedded in social and economic contexts that require new voices and new vision for the future. This year's Fellows bring that vision to their work.

The Switzer Foundation has been examining the role we can play to better integrate social equity into our work by recognizing that many of our environmental problems are the result of systemic failures to provide environmental protections and benefits to all communities. Today's leaders need to bring their scientific expertise, their communication skills, their community organizing and their policy savvy together to make positive change. Environmental grantmakers are recognizing that we need to support work that intersects with other fields and issues in order to achieve a deeper success that not only solves individual issues, but re-imagines and re-creates systems in which all communities can thrive.

As we see a convergence of increasing threats to communities and ecosystems from climate change, whether it is from devastating weather events such as Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria or the slow loss of habitat for species and drought impacts on our food system, Switzer Fellows and environmental leaders are well positioned to help society "connect the dots". As we do so, we are reminded of John Muir's famous quote "when we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe". Our universe includes the human communities whose lives and livelihoods remind us of our interdependence with our environment and the social and economic systems within which we live.

We know you will find hope in our new 2017 Switzer Fellows and in the promising work of our Fellowship alumni. Please visit our Find an Expert page to learn more about our Fellows working in your field and how their leadership can be a resource for you.
Douglas McPherson
Meet the 2017 Fellows!

The core program of the Switzer Foundation, the Switzer Fellowship Program , supports highly talented graduate students who show outstanding leadership potential, and who are working towards environmental improvement.  Through their determination, ability, and integrity, Switzer Fellows are effecting positive change throughout the U.S. and around the world. Coming from diverse academic, social, and economic backgrounds, they are on the leading edge of environmental and social change across a wide spectrum of issues.

This year twenty environmental leaders, comprising the 31st class of Fellows, joined the Switzer Network of over 600 Fellows located across the country and around the world.

Learn about their work on pollinator health and disease ecology, green technology for clean energy generation, climate adaptation, environmental justice, international environmental peace-building, invasive species and climate change, air pollution and environmental policy, urban planning and equitable open space initiatives, and other critical issues.
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Foundation News

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Carolina Prado
Recent Leadership Grants

The Foundation helps advance the professional careers of Fellows by awarding Leadership Grants of up to $40,000 to qualified organizations that can benefit from Fellows' expertise on critical environmental issues.

$25,000 to Manomet (Brunswick, ME) to create a new position, Senior Scientist, for Marissa McMahan, focusing on developing a new program aimed at helping fishing communities adapt to a warming climate.

$25,000 to the Environmental Health Coalition (National City, CA) to create a new position, Senior Research Scientist, for Carolina Prado, leading two initiatives focused on environmental justice and public health in the border region.

See all recent recipients of Leadership Grants

Network Innovation Grants

The Foundation supports Switzer Fellows working together across disciplines to solve complex problems through the Network Innovation Grants program.   This program provides seed grants of up to $10,000 to convene two or more Fellows to develop a strategy or solution to a problem.  A key element of the program encourages Switzer Fellows to tap the Switzer Fellowship Network and colleagues with different sectoral expertise to contribute to solutions.
Heather Hulton VanTassel
Results of our Grants

Fellows Evan Hansen, President of Downstream Strategies in Morgantown, West Virginia, and Lara Cushing, Assistant Professor at San Francisco State University, teamed up with SkyTruth under a $40,000 Network Innovation Grant.  Under this grant, the team completed an assessment of the expanding footprint of fracking operations in West Virginia, and analyzed the public health implications of the chemicals used in those operations.

Fellow Heather Hulton Van Tassel and Audubon South Carolina teamed up under a $40,000 Switzer Leadership Grant to develop programs to build bird-friendly communities, and to advance climate-resilient initiatives in South Carolina that focus on native plants, community outreach and education, and community-based conservation activities.

California Institute for Rural Studies (CIRS) received two years of Switzer Leadership Grant support for a total of $40,000 to launch a new staff position for Ildi Carlisle-Cummins as Director of the Cal Ag Roots program. Cal Ag Roots, created by Ildi, aims to put historical roots under current California food and farming movements by telling the stories of California's agricultural development in innovative, useful, and relevant ways.

Oikonos Ecosystem Knowledge received a $15,000 Leadership Grant to promote Fellow Ryan Carle to a new position of Conservation Training and Development Manager to oversee the organization's conservation work in Chile on a threatened seabird species, the Pink-Footed Shearwater. His work focuses on engaging the local community in conservation efforts, which resulted in several important principles and lessons for future work.

More than ever, we are living in a data-driven world, where stories are enlightening but data drives the bottom line. Funders, policy makers, regulators, resource managers, and other decision makers rely on data to guide strategy. This $4,000 Network Innovation planning grant enabled Fellows Nicole Ardoin and Christy Merrick to develop a collaboration on a major new initiative to coalesce and analyze the existing research base on environmental education and its effects on student achievement and environmental outcomes.

Dr. Tracey Osborne, partnering with Amazon Watch on the Climate Alliance Mapping Project, built a platform that factually and compellingly demonstrates the geographic footprint of Amazonian oil reserves and the human and natural resources its extraction threatens. Under this Switzer Leadership Grant, Dr. Osborne and colleagues developed and launched the website for the Climate Alliance Mapping Project
which contains not only the maps and geographical information about extraction activities in the Amazon region, but stories from local residents who have been directly impacted.
Ayana Johnson
The Switzer Network in Action

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Upcoming Events
2017 California Fall Fellows' Retreat
October 13-15, 2017

Online registration is now closed for this retreat, but please contact Erin Lloyd, Program Director, if you are interested in attending.  There is a short waiting list for the Rockwood leadership training, but we'd love to see Fellows and colleagues on Saturday night and/or Sunday!

2018 Switzer Environmental Fellowship deadlines
October 2, 2017:  Application period opens
January 8, 2018:  Applications due
May, 2018:  Final selection interviews in Boston and San Francisco
We are seeking Fellows who possess the self-awareness and personal commitment to developing their leadership skills over the course of their career, and to those who value being a member of an active, vibrant, engaged network of environmental professionals.  We accept applications from both master's- and PhD-level candidates.  We will be especially interested in seeing more applications from leading master's candidates this year, and from people working on issues of environmental justice and equity.
2018 Switzer Fellowship Guidelines

Switzer Fellows Spring Retreat and Policy Communications Workshop
Saturday, March 10 - Monday, March 12, 2018
Washington, D.C.
A vibrant community of environmental leaders