Environmental Issues Forums

The Austin College Center for Environmental Studies will host Environmental Issues Forums on November 15 and 22 in Wright Campus Center Room 231 at noon. The events are free and open to the public. Individuals are welcome to bring their lunch to the forum and may purchase lunch in the dining hall on the first floor of Wright Campus Center.

On November 15, the forum is “Stump the Chumps: Climate Change.” Austin College science faculty Peter Schulze, biology and environmental studies; George Diggs, biology; Keith Kisselle, biology and environmental studies; and David Baker, physics, will take questions from the audience about climate change.

Borrowing their title from an Click and Clack’s National Public Radio call-in show about car problems, the faculty will attempt to answer, or at least respond to, any and all questions about the complicated issue of climate change. “Our intent is to reduce confusion where possible and perhaps provide some perspective regarding remaining uncertainties,” said Schulze, director of the Center for Environmental Studies. “Audience members are encouraged to bring any questions, either their own or those they have heard from friends, relatives, or others. When we held this panel last spring the audience threw us softballs. Be the first to stump the chumps.”

The November 22 forum will feature comments from Craig Bailey, a staff environmental scientist for the California Department of Fish and Game in the Climate Science and Renewable Energy Branch.

Bailey’s duties for the department include the application of DFG regulations, procedures, and policies; the review of environmental documents, environmental data analysis, project impact assessment; and the development of project-specific avoidance, minimization, and mitigation measures to off-set impacts to special-status species and DFG jurisdictional waters. He also does reviews and recommendations for Environmental Impact Statements and Environmental Impact Reviews (EIS/EIR), reviews and processes California Endangered Species Act (CESA) Incidental Take Permits and Lake and Streambed Alteration Agreements, and assesses habitat compensation land.

Bailey’s past experience includes conservation and habitat restoration planning for two private mitigation firms, Westervelt Ecological Services and Wildlands, Inc. His duties included project management, regulatory compliance, identification of potential restoration and conservation sites, and mitigation/conservation bank feasibility. Conservation site identification was at both a landscape and site-specific scale. Bailey also has participated in a number of due diligence feasibility studies for multiple mitigation and conservation banks.

Austin College is a leading national independent liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas. Founded in 1849, making it the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original charter and name, the college is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA). Recognized nationally for academic excellence in the areas of international education, pre-professional training, and leadership studies, Austin College is one of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives.