Class Notes: Spring 2023
Jane Herbert (BS ’76) shared this class photo taken at U-M’s Camp Filibert Roth in Spring 1976, along with the following memories:
“Camp Filibert Roth was located on Golden Lake near Iron River in the UP. That’s me in the middle near the top with my arms around cabin mates Becky and Meredith. (Karen, our fourth cabin mate, is second from the left in the back row.) Cabins consisted of four bunks, a table and chairs for studying, and a light bulb with a pull string. A trail through the woods led to the bathhouses. The mess hall and classrooms were down by the lake. Spring session lasted six weeks and covered three subjects: Mammalogy, Ornithology and Aquatic Ecology. Mostly it was field work every day. The bugs were terrible but what a blast it was!
“Hardly anyone had cars to go anywhere, so to keep busy on the weekends we formed teams and practiced old forestry skills such as log rolling, burling, two-man crosscut and speed chopping. This was in preparation for the annual one-day forestry competition with the University of Wisconsin’s forestry camp. I served as the sole female representative on our tobacco-spitting team but was disqualified when I swallowed.
“An interesting side note: Two weeks after the session ended, Karen, another camper named Bill, and I were hired by the U.S. Forest Service in Escanaba for the summer. We worked on fish crews doing lake surveys along the Hiawatha National Forest. It was a great experience and definitely helped launch my career. I think Karen went on to grad school that fall. Bill eventually landed his dream job as a fish biologist at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources in Crystal Falls. I went back to Ann Arbor and took a job with the Great Lakes Fishery Commission.”
Mike Weilbacher (MS ’83) celebrated the release of his first book, “Wild Philly: Explore the Amazing Nature in and Around Philadelphia,” published by Timber Press in February 2023.
Featuring 29 walks to take in and around the nation’s sixth largest city and biographies of the 101 species of plants and animals all Philadelphians should know, “Wild Philly” also includes introductory chapters on the plants and animals, geology, and Indigenous history of the region, plus issues facing the city’s nature, like climate and stormwater.
A companion to the imprint’s “Wild LA” and “Wild Miami” volume, Weilbacher was “thrilled that Timber Press reached out to me to write this. Since I’ve been penning newspaper columns about the region’s environmental issues for years, I jumped at the chance.” Eight naturalists from across the region helped him pick the featured hikes and creatures.
The executive director of the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education for the past 12 years, Weilbacher specialized in environmental theater in his time in Ann Arbor, using street theater as a novel way to present environmental education programs. He’s won numerous awards over the years, including the state’s Outstanding Environmental Educator award and his township’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his decades of work.
Weilbacher has been married for 31 years to a native Philadelphian; the couple has raised two adult children, both of whom live in New York City.
In 2021, Kevin Bixby (MS ’88) launched Wildlife for All, a national campaign to reform state wildlife management to be more democratic, just, compassionate, and focused on protecting native species and ecosystems. “We are building a national coalition and supporting state-level campaigns to tackle the systemic problems with wildlife management in the U.S. that prevent a robust and effective response to the global extinction crisis,” Bixby said. “It is the most challenging but important work of my career.” He previously spent 30 years leading a regional environmental advocacy organization in New Mexico.
Sally (Sara) Cole-Misch’s (MS ’89) debut novel, “The Best Part of Us,” recently received its sixth national and international literary award since its release in 2020. Set in the Great Lakes region, the novel immerses readers in a breathtaking natural world, a fresh perspective on loyalty, and the essential roles that family, nature and place hold in all of our lives. Called the “Where the Crawdads Sing” for the Great Lakes, Cole-Misch has enjoyed talking with readers who had never read a book based in the sweetwater seas, and sharing their beauty and strength with them.
Kofi Boone (BS ’92, MLA ’95) was appointed the Joseph D. Moore Distinguished Professor at NC State University in August 2021. The professorship rotates between NC State’s colleges and is awarded for a period of three to five years. In 2021, the chancellor and provost invited each college to nominate an outstanding tenured professor whose scholarship addresses issues of equity, inclusion and diversity in their field.
Michael Dorsey (BS ’93, PhD ’05) holds the Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Service Chair (The Walton Chair) with a concurrent appointment as Professor of Practice in the College of Global Futures at Arizona State University.
After 26 years, Michael Green (MS/MPP ’94) stepped down as CEO of the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) in December 2022. During his time at CEH, Green leveraged public-interest litigation to force over 1,000 companies to eliminate toxic chemicals from their products, processes and emissions, drafted local, state and federal policies that have transformed commerce, partnered with grassroots, community-based organizations and individuals to create the change that they defined as most important to them and their communities, and partnered with some of the largest institutions in the world to leverage their purchasing power and transform markets away from toxic materials and toward health protective practices. Green is now the CEO of Green Strategy, which advises social entrepreneurs on sustainability, strategy and leadership.
Max Weintraub (MS ’93) was the primary technical expert for the largest-ever settlement under the federal Toxic Substances Control Act, the Home Depot Settlement, which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) settled in April 2021. He left the EPA to become chief of the lead hazard reduction section in the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Branch of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). In September 2022, California’s governor signed SB 1076 requiring CDPH to seek federal authorization to implement the same law underlying the Home Depot case. “I will be busy for the next few years helping to manage that effort,” Weintraub said.
William Burnside (MS ’95) transitioned in January 2023 from working as a senior editor at the journal Nature Sustainability to being chief editor of Nature Cities, a new journal launching in January 2024. He also co-edited “Foundations of Socio-Environmental Research: Legacy Readings with Commentaries,” an anthology of 53 readings showcasing the rich history of socio-environmental research from the late 1700s onward, which was published in March 2023.
Nyaneba (Nyani) Nkrumah’s (MS ’95) debut novel, “Wade in the Water,” was published by HarperCollins in January 2023. It’s a story set in 1980s rural Mississippi about the unlikely relationship between Ella, an unloved, 11-year-old Black girl, and Katherine St. James, a middle-aged white researcher from Princeton. The novel centers on the intricacies and limits of their friendship within the backdrop of the mystery that surrounds St. James. Nkrumah also continues to work full time as a senior natural resource specialist at the World Bank and has enjoyed meeting SEAS students who visit there. Visit her website at nyaninkrumah.com.
Joseph W. Dorsey (PhD ’99) was awarded a Certificate of Global Contribution at the University of South Florida (USF) World’s Global Excellence Awards in October 2022. Dorsey is the associate dean for academic affairs in USF’s Kiran C. Patel College of Global Sustainability in Tampa. He is also an associate professor of instruction, director of the food sustainability and security concentration, and supervises the Academic Capstone Experience for the master’s degree program.
Sumona Majumdar (BS ’03) was named executive director of the Earth Island Institute in March 2023. Previously, she served as the Institute’s general counsel for more than five years. During that time, she led groundbreaking lawsuits against plastic producers, corporate greenwashing and regulatory agencies. She also handled internal legal, policy and governance matters, and helped the organization advance its racial equity and inclusion goals, earning the respect and support of staff. Majumdar is a sought-after speaker on environmental litigation and using legal strategy to protect human health, the environment and natural resources.
Sara Cawley (MS ’15) was appointed by the Biden-Harris Administration as an advisor to the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) at the Department of the Interior in November 2022. Cawley’s work will primarily focus on assisting OSMRE with the implementation and oversight of the $11.3 billion-dollar fund provided in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to reclaim abandoned coal mine lands. Previously, she spent nearly two years working on federal oil and gas policy as a senior legislative representative at Earthjustice in Washington, D.C.
Kate Vogel (BA ’18, MS ’20) is a coastal resilience planner for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. She works to advance coastal and community resilience by increasing awareness and understanding of climate change and helping to build capacity to respond to flooding across the state.
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