Foundation News

Jan 28, 2010
A panel discussion sponsored by the Switzer Foundation with Switzer fellows Katrina Schneider (SYRCL), Dr. Amy Leurs (, Dr. Healy Hamilton (California Academy of Sciences), Steven Rothert (American Rivers) and facilitated by Dr. Elizabeth Soderstrom (American Rivers).Read more >
Jan 25, 2010
Hello Switzer Fellows and colleagues, In this post we wish to share the powerpoint presentations and links that were shared by presenters and trainers at our well-attended first-ever Federal policy training held in DC January 21-22, 2010. This should allow for easy download of the power point...Read more >
Jan 8, 2010
Several Switzer Fellows attended the COP 15 climate negotiations in Copenhagen in December through their various organizations. Some have contributed their experiences and thoughts on the proceedings. JASON DELBORNE , Assistant Professor at the Colorado School of Mines, attended the conference...Read more >
Jan 5, 2010
In parts of West Virginia and Kentucky, mountaintop removal coal mining is used to blast off the tops of mountains and bulldoze rock and dirt into adjacent headwater stream valleys creating “valley fills.” The goal: to efficiently access thin coal seams near the surface. The legality of...Read more >
Jan 5, 2010
FEDERAL POLICY TRAINING Start Date: 01/21/2010 End Date: 01/22/2010 This training will be open to Switzer and ELP Fellows and invited colleagues. SWITZER FOUNDATION/ENVIRONMENTAL LEADERSHIP PROGRAM FEDERAL POLICY TRAINING At the offices of Environmental Support Center, 1500 Massachusetts Ave NW, Suite 025 January 21-22, 2010, Washington DC DAY 1 - THURSDAY, JANUARY 21, 2010: 1:30 pm REGISTRATION 2:00 – 5:00 pm WELCOME TO MY WORLD: A DAY IN THE LIFE OF CONGRESSIONAL STAFFERS AND ADVOCATES This session is an introduction to the environmental policy-making environment in Washington, DC. A panel of speakers including NGO government relations specialists at prominent environmental and scientific organizations, Congressional staffers and Switzer Fellows will describe their roles, the lessons and insights learned and will offer key guidance for leaders seeking to influence federal policy. Presenters: Karen Hyun (Switzer Fellow 2007), Staff House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcomm. on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife Brad Crowell, Staff, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) Rita Neznik, VP Public Affairs, American Forest Foundation Others invited from NGOs and congressional staff. Check back for updates! 5:00 – 6:00 NETWORKING RECEPTION 6:30 – 9:00 DINNER with Afternoon Speakers and participants DAY 2 – FRIDAY, JANUARY 22, 2010: 8:00 – 8:30 am CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST 9:00 – 12:30 FOLLOW THE MONEY: AN INTRODUCTION TO THE FEDERAL BUDGET PROCESS This interactive session will introduce participants to how the federal budgeting process works and how spending decisions are made. The budgeting process is critically important to understanding how federal funding influences policy decisions. This session is based on similar trainings offered by AAAS and other science and policy leadership organizations and is consistently among the most highly ranked training sessions offered to policy leaders. The first half of the workshop consists of a presentation outlining the federal budget process along with historical context. The presentation includes definitions of budgetary terms, a discussion of the various pieces that make up the budget and a brief history of the national debt. The second half of the workshop challenges the participants to conference the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies appropriations bill. Groups will negotiate a conference report which will likely pass both chambers of Congress, determining appropriation amounts for the various agencies included in the appropriations bill. A selection of groups will then announce their conference report in a mock press conference and answer questions from the audience. Presenter: Patrick Clemins PhD, Director, R&D Budget and Policy Program, AAAS 12:30 - 1:30 LUNCH 1:30 – 5:00 HOW TO INFLUENCE POLICY WITH SCIENCE Taking our cues from two experienced government relations experts at prominent scientific organizations, participants will get an introduction to how to effectively interact with policy makers about scientific issues. In this interactive session we will learn about the best ways to get scientific information to policymakers, how to communicate these issues effectively and concisely. See below for detail on session outline. Presenters: Nadine Lymn, Director of Pubic Affairs, Ecological Society of America Adrianne Sponberg, Director of Public Affairs, American Society of Limnology and Oceanography COMMUNICATING SCIENCE TO DECISION MAKERS Nadine Lymn (ESA) and Adrienne Sponberg (ASLO) In this mini-workshop, participants will get a broad overview of the nuts and bolts of interacting with Congress, as well as some hands-on training on the art of communicating a scientific message to policymakers. The workshop is being led by Nadine Lymn of the Ecological Society of America and Adrienne Sponberg of the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, who have co-taught similar workshops in multiple venues. Mini-lectures (60-90 minutes total, will be tailored to group interests and needs): Congress 101 (minus budget): This segment will provide an overview of the structure of Congress, discussing the committee system and highlighting differences between the House and Senate. Participants will be introduced to online tools that will help them interact with Congress. (Sponberg) Political Landscape/Reality Check: Lymn will provide a brief overview of current political realities in Washington and how they are likely to affect some of the current ‘hot’ issues before Congress and the Administration. (Lymn) Building and maintaining Relationships: Relationships are key to having long-term impacts and influence on Capitol Hill. In this segment, Sponberg will discuss ways in which interest groups build relationships with members of Congress and their staff. As part of this segment, participants will also learn about the inner workings of a congressional office. (Sponberg) Timing and developing an effective Message: This segment will set up the hands-on activity to follow. Lymn will review what participants should keep in mind as they prepare for a meeting with a congressional office, particularly how to craft a clear and effective message. (Lymn) Hands-on activity (90 minutes) Now that participants have a better idea about how Congress works, it is time to put their new knowledge to the test! Participants will break into groups of 3 to 4 to plan a congressional visit. Work groups will prepare a message (a.k.a., the elevator speech) as preparation for mock visits with members of Congress or their staff (portrayed by the workshop leaders). This activity is always as fun as it is enlightening! Each group will receive feedback from instructors regarding their mock visit. Wrap-up: Instructors will provide a brief re-cap of the day’s activities, field any final questions, and provide a brief overview of ESA and ASLO resources available to participants. Handouts: - Committee roster - Communicating with Congress tip sheet (ESA) - Resources at ESA and ASLO - Worksheet for developing your message Presenter Bios: Presenter: Patrick Clemins PhD, Director, R&D Budget and Policy Program, AAAS Dr. Clemins began his tenure as the Director for the AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program in July of this year after spending the previous two years as an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the National Science Foundation in the Directorate for Biological Sciences. In the Division of Biological Infrastructure, he focused on fostering more synergistic and mutually beneficial collaboration between the biological sciences and the computing and engineering research communities and the use of computing technologies for outreach and community building. Before becoming an AAAS Fellow, Dr. Clemins worked as a Systems Engineer for Techteriors, LLC, a home automation firm headquartered in Mequon, WI. His responsibilities at Techteriors included the creation and support of a proposal software package, as well as designing, programming, and managing client projects. He received his bachelors, masters, and doctorate in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Marquette University, focusing on machine learning and digital signal processing. His doctoral research involved adapting current speech processing techniques for the analysis of animal vocalizations, taking into account the different perception processes and abilities of the species under study. Nadine Lymn, Director of Public Affairs, Ecological Society of America Nadine Lymn is Director of Public Affairs for the Ecological Society of America, an organization of 10,000 ecological scientists. Since 1995, she has managed ESA’s policy and media operations, including congressional meetings and briefings; providing scientific comment on legislation; producing bi-weekly electronic updates on science and environmental policy; advising the Society’s leadership on key policy issues; advocating for federal support of science, and highlighting ecological advances through press releases, podcasts, and ESA’s blog. Nadine previously served as ESA’s Communications Officer and prior to ESA, she worked as a scriptwriter for Earthwatch/ Radio, where she developed over 100 radio stories on environmental issues. She also worked for the Chesapeake Research Consortium, providing staff support for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay Program. Nadine holds a Master’s degree in land resources from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a double major in Environmental Studies and German Language and Literature from the George Washington University. Rita Neznek, Vice President, Public Affairs American Forest Foundation 202.463.2594 Rita Neznek is the American Forest Foundation’s Vice President of Public Affairs. Rita has been at the Foundation since August of 2008, working to increase the Foundation’s public policy efforts and build a stronger grassroots network of forest landowners, conservation partners, and environmental educators. Prior to joining the Foundation’s staff, Rita worked on Capital Hill for Ranking member Bob Goodlatte on the US House Agriculture Committee, serving as professional staff on forestry issues dealing with both public and private lands. While working for the Agriculture Committee, Rita worked on the 2008 Farm Bill, illegal logging legislation, renewable energy legislation, other public lands bills, and legislation to rectify wildfire funding issues in the federal land management agencies. Rita served as the Policy Director for the Society of American Foresters, before working on Capitol Hill. Adrianne Sponberg, PhD., Director of Public Affairs, American Society of Limnology and Oceanography Dr. Adrienne Sponberg holds a B.S. in Biology from the University of Alabama Huntsville and a Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of Notre Dame. In the final year of her Ph.D. program, Sponberg came to Washington, D.C. as a Sea Grant fellow. As a fellow in the office of Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sponberg worked on oceans policy issues and organized appropriations requests for the office. In 2001, Dr. Sponberg joined the Public Policy Office at the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS), where she spent half of her time working as a policy assistant for the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO). As the Director of Public Policy for AIBS, she was responsible for coordinating AIBS policy activities, as well as advising 15+ AIBS member societies on policy activities. In April 2005, Dr. Sponberg began working solely for ASLO as their Director of Public Affairs, expanding ASLO’s policy activities to include Canada and the European Union and developing a public education and outreach program for the society. During her nine years working with scientific societies, she has helped scientists inform policymakers through a variety of means including congressional testimony and briefings, science courses for Hill staff, grassroots advocacy efforts, an amicus curae brief to the Supreme Court, regular policy reports to a subscriber list of 2000 aquatic scientists, and training workshops at universities and national conferences. Address: 1500 Massachusetts Ave NW, Suite 25 Washington D.C. Contact: Erin Lloyd Email: erin@switzernetwork.orgRead more >
Dec 10, 2009
This webinar will be presented by Switzer Fellows Evan Hansen and Jen Osha, who are working together under a Switzer Collaborative Initiatives seed grant to produce a multimedia website and community guide to organize local wind campaigns. Evan and Jen, both based in West Virginia, are each working...Read more >
Nov 19, 2009
August 13, 2009 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Lissa Widoff, Executive Director, Robert & Patricia Switzer Foundation (207) 338-5654 / / Erin Lloyd, Program Officer, Robert & Patricia Switzer Foundation (207) 338-5654 / ROBERT AND PATRICIA SWITZER FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES SWITZER ENVIRONMENTAL FELLOWSHIPS AND GRANTS FOR 2009 Recognizing the achievements of outstanding environmental leaders with over $610,000 in fellowships and grants. BELFAST, MAINE, June 10, 2009 –The Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation, a 23-year old environmental foundation, today announced the selection of 20 new Switzer Fellows and nine new Switzer Foundation Grant recipients.Read more >


See News by Type

A vibrant community of environmental leaders