School of Natural Resources and Environment

News and Research Digest

The motto of Slow Food – “Good, Clean, Fair” – is one of food justice; justice for farmers, eaters, and the Earth.  Advocates acknowledge that this path is not a cheap or economical one, however, they openly reject economics as a measure of desirability.  Quality of life, it is argued, is a more complete metric for the effect that policy has on human well-being.  There is no better time or place to start good quality habits than in schools, where the future of every nation is shaped.

This is the message of Carlo Petrini, the portly, ever-smiling founder of Slow Food International. Value, he reminds the 2,500+ gathered. attendees, is not price. Value honors the people who grew the food, the Earth that fostered it, and the environment that makes each item unique. I heard similar stories everywhere yesterday. Young farmers, ranchers, fishermen, activists, and community organizers all say that returning to the land or the ocean to produce food has brought unspeakable value to, not only their lives, but their communities and environment as well.

As a student in Professor Burt Barnes’s Forest Ecology class, Rob Steiner ’97 remembers trekking into the woods in the middle of winter during five-hour Friday labs.

“I will never forget the hands-on experience and understanding the complexity of the ecosystems surrounding Ann Arbor,” the SNRE Environmental Policy and Planning graduate said.  

Trained in the hard sciences, Tao Zhang ’08 never imagined that his love for design could play a role in his career. But in SNRE’s Landscape Architecture program, one of the nation’s few design programs housed within a science school, he found a way to live out his passion for environmental science in a creative way. Here, art and aesthetics are fully integrated with responsible ecology and a deep understanding of human patterns of interaction with the environment.

Growing up in Holland, Mich., Kris (Lukas) Spaulding ’97 always felt close to nature. She was drawn to the lake, her family often took trips to the beach, and she spent hours playing in the forest that was her backyard. Her affinity for nature only grew stronger as she grew older. When Kris came to the University of Michigan as an undergraduate, she began a degree in engineering but soon switched to SNRE, realizing her lifelong affinity for nature.

A project intermediate manager is being sought to coordinate the activities of a four-year Doris Duke Foundation grant as well as multicultural programming in the School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE). The grant will fund the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program at the University of Michigan (DDCSP-UM) from 2015 to 2019.