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Earth Stewardship Initiative Demonstration Project Fellowships at ESA 2017

Designed Experiments and Portland's Green Infrastructure Implementation 








Hello Everyone,


Are you interested in green infrastructure, watershed management, urban land use, and translating science to solutions? At the upcoming Ecological Society of America (ESA) 2017 meeting in Portland, Oregon this August, the Earth Stewardship Initiative (ESI) Demonstration Project is organizing a “learning from the city” program. Working in conjunction with the City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services (BES), we will evaluate Portland’s green infrastructure (GI) design and implementation practices and propose design research and monitoring strategies to inform their process. We will do so through a field trip, targeted workshop, and writing session during the ESA. We now invite applications for as many as 30 ESI Student Fellows to participate in this exciting project.

Since 2014, ESI has collaborated twice with representatives from the cities where the ESA conferences were held and brought together multiple local organizations and academic institutions. ESI solicits fellows from around the country to work with city officials, practitioners, and ESA organizers on large-scale land planning projects. Participants collaborate on an urban design process to generate sustainable design strategies, and propose ways of improving research methods for these projects through designed experiments and other adaptive management tools. ESA 2017 offers unique opportunities to evaluate current GI design for the City of Portland and to develop designed experiments with a team of senior ecologists, ecology students, and city managers. Portland is a national leader in implementing green infrastructure, and has established a city-wide green network drawing on considerable experience with GI design, implementation, monitoring, maintenance, and community engagement.


Prior to the meeting, selected ESI Fellows will review synthesized materials from Portland and participate in a conference call with ESI advisors and the City. At the ESA meeting, fellows will attend an organized field trip on August 8 to Portland GI sites with BES officials, and discuss how research can be integrated into the design of these built environments to assess their ecological value and add ecological function. During a subsequent workshop on August 10, fellow will collaborate with senior ESA research scientists, landscape designers, and city managers to develop strategies around the design, engineering, and maintenance of local GI for future integration of ecological research. Workshop participants will engage in a collaborative brainstorming session to develop strategies for integrating experimental research into GI projects. Following the workshop, fellows will hold a writing sessions to synthesize materials from the field trip and workshop and make recommendations for integrating monitoring and research through designed experiments and other adaptive management tools for GI in Portland. After the meeting fellows will use this synthesis work to complete a white paper on Portland’s GI implementation, leading to potential scientific publications. Fellows will also benefit from opportunities to network with ESA scientists and City of Portland BES officials.


ESI fellows are expected to: 1) register for and attend ESA 2017 for both the field trip and workshop, 2) review materials and attend the conference call and planning session, 3) attend the workshop, field trip, and writing session during the ESA in Portland, and 4) dedicate several days of remote work following the conference to edit and complete the white paper. Funding is available for outstanding fellows to cover conference and transportation costs. To apply, please send a one-page statement of interest and resume/short CV as a single PDF document to Yishen Li ( by May 20th. Applications received after May 20th will be considered on a rolling basis. We look forward to working with you!


Best regards,

Alexander Felson, PhD

Registered Landscape Architect, Certified Senior Ecologist

Associate Professor, Yale School of Architecture

Director, Joint Degree Program: School of Architecture and School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
Director, Urban Ecology & Design Lab

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