University of Delaware
Cynthia Rosenzweig will be the keynote speaker for DENIN's research symposium on March 12.

DENIN events

DENIN announces a series of public events for the spring semester


8:30 a.m., Feb. 13, 2013--After a year that combined record heat and drought in some parts of the country and extreme storms and flooding in others, the Delaware Environmental Institute (DENIN) has announced a yearlong series of public events focused on the most urgent environmental challenges facing the state.

“Challenges and Choices: Preparing for a Sustainable Future in Delaware” is the common theme uniting the lectures, seminars, films, symposia and field trips that DENIN will offer in conjunction with several partners and co-sponsors during the spring and fall semesters of 2013.

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Delaware faces several grand challenges, according to DENIN Director Don Sparks, including sea level rise and flooding, food and water security, land use and energy that warrant high-priority study and action.

“These are no longer far-off problems that we can put off doing something about,” Sparks said. “In most cases, we are already seeing environmental changes in these areas that will affect our lives, probably within the next decade or two, and certainly within this century.”

While the challenges extend beyond Delaware’s borders, Sparks notes, much of the responsibility for adapting to the changes will fall upon state and local jurisdictions. 

“Our goal with this series of events is to present information and perspectives that will enhance the conversations already beginning around the state about what changes we can expect to encounter in the future and what will be the most effective, fair and equitable solutions for dealing with them,” he said.

Events will be announced throughout the semester and an up-to-date schedule can be viewed on the DENIN website. Events that have been scheduled so far are as follows:

Third DENIN Research Symposium and EPSCoR Annual Meeting

DENIN’s third research symposium, titled “Coastal Consequences: Sea Level Rise in Delaware,” will take place on Tuesday, March 12, from 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m., at the University of Delaware’s Clayton Hall Conference Center in Newark.

The keynote speaker for the event will be Cynthia Rosenzweig, senior research scientist at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies at Columbia University. At Goddard, she leads the Climate Impacts Group, whose mission is to investigate the interactions of climate (both variability and change) on systems and sectors important to human well-being.

She was the lead scientist on the New York City Department of Environmental Protection Climate Change Task Force, which has advised Mayor Michael Bloomberg about possible impacts from climate change and actions that may be needed to adapt.

Other featured presentations include Susan Love of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Coastal Programs speaking about the state’s recently published Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment Report and a panel of Delaware coastal stakeholders who are dealing with the effects of storms and sea level rise, moderated by David Ledford, managing editor of the Wilmington News Journal.

The symposium is combined with the annual meeting for Delaware’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), a research infrastructure development program sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Faculty and student investigators who have conducted research supported by EPSCoR are invited to display posters about their projects throughout the day. Sean Kennan, program director at NSF EPSCoR will attend the meeting to provide program updates and directions. 

Online registration is now open for this free event, which includes continental breakfast, lunch and afternoon reception. For a more complete description of the agenda and speakers, see the symposium website.

DENIN Dialogue with Daniel Hillel

Daniel Hillel, winner of the 2012 World Food Prize, the “Nobel Prize of Agriculture,” will be the featured guest in the DENIN Dialogue Series on Thursday, April 4, in Mitchell Hall at 7 p.m.

This series engages experts from around the world in conversation with a knowledgeable host and with the public through an on-stage interview format and audience question and answer session. Robin Morgan, professor of animal and food sciences and former dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, will lead the dialogue with Hillel.

Hillel was born in the United States but was taken to Israel as a child by his parents and raised on a kibbutz in a farming environment. Educated at both American and Israeli universities as a soil scientist, he went on to develop micro-irrigation techniques that dramatically improved water efficiency and agricultural output in arid regions.

He has been consulted on sustainable agriculture techniques by more than 30 countries and has written or edited 26 books on the roles of soil and water in healthy agro-ecosystems. Recently he has been working on ways to adjust agricultural techniques to adapt to increasing water stress resulting from climate change.

He divides his time between the Center for Environmental Studies in Israel and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the Earth Institute at Columbia University. He is also a professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.

Field trip to St. Jones Reserve

On Friday, April 12, DENIN will partner with Delaware Wild Lands, the state’s largest land conservation organization, to sponsor a field trip to the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve on the St. Jones River.

Participants will learn about the natural, human and ecological systems affected by the St. Jones River near Dover and what factors are impacting the river, including patterns of historic use and climate change. The group will travel in vans from the headwaters to the mouth of the river, meeting experts in the field to view special resources along the river, discuss impacts to the river and discover how the watershed is being enhanced and restored. 

Participants will meet at the St. Jones Reserve at 818 Kitts Hummock Road in Dover, Del., at 12:30 p.m. and return at approximately 4:30. A map and directions are available here. To make a reservation for the trip, contact Delaware Wild Lands at 302-378-2736 or

Article by Beth Chajes

Photo of Daniel Hillel courtesy of Iowa Public Television

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