SEAS Dean Jonathan Overpeck visited Iceland on a family vacation.
SEAS Dean Jonathan Overpeck visited Iceland on a family vacation.

Dean’s Letter

Dear Friends:

Last August, my partner, Julie, and I took our kids on a family vacation to Iceland. With our daughter in high school and our son at U-M, we learned that we had to go “big” with our trips if we wanted the kids to come along. Some of you, I’m sure, can relate.

Humor aside, Iceland was even more majestic than I could have imagined—and certainly a dream trip for Julie and me, who are geologists turned climate scientists. As I took in the glaciers and ice caps and saw Earth’s crust being formed (hot lava!), I was reminded yet again about how vast our planet is and how there is still so much to admire and be amazed by in this beautiful world. And, how much is at stake.

Closer to home, the U-M Board of Regents had their own travels—to Northern Michigan, where they experienced firsthand U-M’s impact, engagement and research in our wonderful state. It is astounding to me the collective impact our SEAS faculty, alumni and students make up north—from vital research about fish and invasive species to land conservation and the study of soil and pollinator habitats near solar fields. You can read more about SEAS’ contributions in Northern Michigan within these pages of Stewards, where we also highlight tiger conservation and water policy and share an excerpt from esteemed Professor Emeritus Bunyan Bryant’s memoir.

I left Iceland with renewed hope that our planet will thrive for generations to come—despite climate change and the other pressing environmental issues we are facing. That’s because the work we do as a SEAS community is together; none of us is alone in our efforts to build a more just, sustainable future.

The work you do makes a difference, and I’m grateful for your support and partnership.

Be well, and Go Blue!

Jonathan Overpeck

Samuel A. Graham Dean and William B. Stapp Collegiate

Professor of Environmental Education

P.S. Keep up with me and SEAS on Twitter @GreatLakesPeck and @UMSEAS.