The basis of our health is a healthy environment. … It’s not just that people need a healthy environment, but the environment actually needs healthy people. If people are healthy, then they’re not destroying their environments either. … The reciprocity of the approach that Health in Harmony has, I think, is what makes it so effective and compelling.
For anybody interested in conservation, I would highly recommend getting real experience under your belt... There is nothing equivalent to going out into a place where you're uncomfortable, you're new, you're completely stripped down ... you have to really think deep and ask yourself how passionate are you about this particular field.
The reasons to consider ecological health solutions are myriad. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as the saying goes. Preventing disease is more cost effective than treating individual patients.
As we realize that the life of our own bodies and organs depends on ecosystems, I'm hopeful that we'll direct more of our resources to protecting them.
Dr. Jeffrey Brawn is a Research Associate with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), and a Professor and Head of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Jeff received a B.S. in Wildlife Biology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, an M.S. in Wildlife from the University of Missouri, and a Ph.D. in Zoology-Ecology from Northern Arizona University. After two postdoctoral positions with STRI, he joined the scientific staff of the Illinois Natural History Survey. Jeff is an elected Fellow of the AOS and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Additionally, Jeff has worked in the Republic of Panama for over 30 years, studying the life histories and behaviors of tropical birds. Now, Jeff explores relationships of climate change (specifically altered precipitation regimes), the viability of tropical bird populations, and land-use practices. You can follow some of Dr. Brawn's incredible work, as well as reach out to him, here.
Listen to our interview with Dr. Brawn., HERE!
Nature documentaries ignited Dhaval's interests in the natural world, and his teachers helped mold this passion into a career path. As a volunteer at the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park, Dhaval met a biologist who convinced him to study animal behavior at Bucknell University. Thereafter, he had a stint as a zookeeper before completing his MS in biology at Georgia Southern University, studying elephant behavior in Tanzania. He soon took a break from academia to learn skills that are found only in the professional world, such as managing a real paycheck and supervising people. During this period, Dhaval and a friend developed Wildtrax Explorations to help students experience the challenges faced by conservationists. Dhaval then pursued a PhD in ecology so he could finalize his training as a professional scientist and increase his aptitude as a teacher. His aspiration is to be an educator, he says, "who, like my teachers, impacts the academic, professional and personal decisions made by ambitious students." You may find out more about Dhaval's fascinating research, here.
Listen to our interview with Dhaval, HERE!
HEALTH IN HARMONY:
Trina graduated with a BA in journalism from Washington State University in 2010. She then pursued her passion for social justice through earning an MS in environmental studies at the University of Montana and writing her thesis on sustainable community development in Central America, Kenya and India, focusing specifically on the roles of women and religion – describing a model very similar to Health In Harmony. Trina has worked and volunteered with a variety of publications and environmental and social nonprofits including Portland Monthly, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, and Women’s Voices for the Earth.
Trina's favorite HIH story: When our volunteer, Adam, was walking around ASRI's reforestation site and found the first four orangutan nests. It was so gratifying to see that orangutans were sleeping in the trees, even though they were still so young! This corridor, replanted with seedlings bartered by patients at the clinic, is so important for the genetic diversity and survival of this population. Reforestation is complex and difficult, but it's working!
You can find more about Health In Harmony, here.
Listen to our interview with Trina Noonan, HERE!
If you've ever asked yourself about the possibilities of your potential in conservation without going through academia, look no further - as a young boy Pradeep would ride his bicycle before the break of dawn to feed homeless animals in need. He's worked with governments, lobbyist groups, NGOs, and tribal communities on human-dog conflict resolution, establishing dog/cat neutering programs, has fought against poaching activities, helped thousands of cattle from being illegally exploited and slaughtered via the Cattle Respect Program India, fought to conserve the globally threatened Olive Ridley Turtle, protecting over 500,000 hatchlings, fights to protect wetlands for migratory birds, liberates hundreds of parakeets, monkeys, and cobras from the animal performance industry, and now, as the founder of the Visakha Society for the Protection and Care of Animals India (VSPCA India), cares for over 2,000 individual animals, daily, to ensure their safety, health, protection, and right to a peaceful life. You can follow Pradeep's tremendous array of work, here .
Our episode with Mr. Nath is coming soon!
Stephen's interest in conservation biology began in 2002, in the East Usambara Mountains of Tanzania. The exposure to real-life conservation issues in a forest-reserve instigated a personal commitment in Stephen to be a conservationist. Access to the Conservation Biology Journal through the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) only encouraged his passion. In 2013, Stephen was awarded a Miriam Rothschild Scholarship and Commonwealth Shared Scholarship to attend the University of Cambridge, UK, where he completed an MPhil in Conservation Leadership. In 2014, Stephen became President Elect of the Africa Section of SCB and in 2015, got employed with the Nigerian Conservation Foundation - Nigeria's foremost conservation NGO, as Conservation Policy and Campaign Officer/Head of Abuja Office. Since Cambridge, Stephen's research interests have been in the drivers of the trade of vulture-parts for traditional medicine. Now for his PhD, he looks at the use of sociological theories to explain the phenomenon of the trade in vulture-parts for traditional medicine - a project never studied before. You can find some of his work here.
Our episode with Stephen is coming soon!
Dr. Jonathan Pershing is the Director of the Environment Program at the Hewlett Foundation, where he leads a team focused on climate change and conservation. Prior to Hewlett, he served as the Special Envoy for Climate Change at the U.S. Department of State and lead negotiator to the U.N. Climate Convention, and earlier, as the Climate Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Energy. Earlier in his career, he also worked at the World Resources Institute, the International Energy Agency in Paris and in the private sector, and served as a member of the Nobel-prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Our episode with Dr. Pershing is coming soon!
Christopher A. Phillips received his B.Sc. from Eastern Illinois University (1983) and his Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis (1989). After a postdoctoral position at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, he was hired by the Illinois Natural History Survey, which is part of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois where he has been on the scientific staff for 27 years. His main research focus concerns how populations of amphibians and reptiles have arrived at their current spatial distributions and how they maintain (or fail to maintain) these distributions. He approaches this topic in two ways -- indirectly through the use of molecular markers, and directly through field observations and field manipulations. Over the past ten years, his research focus has expanded to include the importance of infectious disease in the distribution and abundance of amphibians and reptiles. Christopher is a member of the IUCN’s Amphibian Specialist Group and Viper Specialist Group. He has published over 80 peer-reviewed articles and one book. You can learn more about Christopher's work, here.
Our episode with Dr. Phillips will be released in the near future!
Nina Finley is a disease ecologist, currently pursuing her Master's of Science in a topic we discuss, called 'One Health,' at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Royal Veterinary College. Nina is a Watson Fellow, a 2-time Udall Scholar, a Marshall Scholar, and a Fulbright recipient! She recently finished up a journalism internship with Mongabay and is working to soon publish research in climate change and tungiasis (sand flea disease).
In Nina's words:
"The reasons to consider ecological health solutions are myriad. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as the saying goes. Preventing disease is more cost effective than treating individual patients. It’s also more equitable, because everyone in a watershed or ecosystem benefits, not just those with insurance, and less toxic, because it lacks the side effects of pharmaceuticals and surgeries.
As we realize that the life of our own bodies and organs depends on ecosystems, I'm hopeful that we'll direct more of our resources to protecting them. "
Nina also has a blog, and you can follow her work, here.
SITKA TECHNOLOGY GROUP:
MATT & KEITH
Founder & Managing Partner
Committed to better natural resource management, Matt Deniston and his company, Sitka Technology Group, design and build knowledge infrastructures to improve our lands, streams, wildlife, and infrastructure. Matt has 20+ years of experience in product visioning, systems development, data visualization, and user experience design. He defined and has honed over the years Sitka’s Lean Design Build methodology. Matt holds a B.S. in Engineering Science with a focus on Human Factors and a Technical Communication Certificate from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo.
Founder & Managing Partner
Over the years, Keith has gravitated towards "big-picture” problems that call for him to wear many different hats. Aligning dozens of agency stakeholders to develop a common monitoring platform for hundreds of field technicians in the Columbia Basin, to aggregate data collection and metric generation, is right up his alley. Keith has invested nearly 30 years into software development and credits his leadership success to persistent focus on delivering business value with government or private sector clients. Keith earned a B.S. in Business with a concentration in Finance and Law from Portland State University. He also holds the title of inventor on US Patent #6,404,866 B1.
In his spare time, he has volunteered for kid-related causes including Stand for Children, serving as a CASA for abused and neglected children, coaching youth football, and volunteering to chair his school district’s bond campaign.
Our episode with Sitka will be released in the near future!
In his role, he serves as an in-house expert for AAA on a variety of topics, ranging from gas prices to autonomous vehicles. Prior to his current role, Devin served as a special advisor for the Office of Electricity and Energy Reliability (OE) at the U.S. Department of Energy during the Obama Administration. While in that role, he served as a policy advisor for OE's senior management team on climate change and international activities. He holds an MSc in Environmental Policy and Regulation from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a BA in International Political Economy and Environmental Studies from Fordham University.
Our episode with Devin will be released in the near future!
Tomas is in his second year of the Technology and Policy Program at MIT. His research is on climate policy, and he currently contributes to The Roosevelt Project, a three-year study on an equitable decarbonization strategy for the US, lead by Secretary Moniz. This summer of 2019, he was the Energy and Climate Fellow for Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján where he had the opportunity to draft legislation, prepare hearing remarks, and engage stakeholders on bills. Before MIT, he received his BS in chemical engineering. After graduation this May, he plans to pursue a career in public service and climate policy and is especially interested in joining a campaign before the general election. In spare time, he likes to explore Boston, work on photography or painting, read, and talk/debate with friends about politics, culture, and current events. Grad school has really opened Tomas' eyes to aspects of energy and climate policy, economics, and how science and tech can/should be integrated into public policy..
Our episode with Tomas will be released in the near future!
For most of his career, Rob has been preparing high-achieving students for careers in the agricultural and environmental sciences through the College of ACES James Scholar Honors Program at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. The curricula of the ACES College focus on a holistic view of Earth and Nature, focusing on how we may collectively work to improve the planet’s ecosystem as a whole, along with plant, animal, and human life. Rob further utilizes his background in the humanities to help students envision a broader perspective on their scientific disciplines than they would ordinarily receive in the classroom and lab. You can learn more about Rob's work and his guest-lectures, here.
Our episode with Dr. Chappell is in the works!