March 23, 2007

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LEWISBURG, Pa. — Bucknell University and its new Environmental Center have received a $450,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation's program in Public Policy and the Environment.

The grant will support "The Susquehanna Initiative," a new Bucknell program that coordinates and contributes to learning, research, and community outreach activities related to the ecology of the Susquehanna River.

"A grant of this magnitude from the Luce Foundation is an important endorsement of the creation of the Environmental Center and its potential as an undergraduate teaching, research, and service enterprise," said Brian C. Mitchell, Bucknell University President. "Thanks to the Foundation, the center can now support expanded faculty and student research and increase its capacity to help the region meet pressing environmental concerns."

The Susquehanna Initiative

The Susquehanna Initiative is being implemented by the Bucknell University Environmental Center (BUEC). Established in 2005, the BUEC coordinates teaching, learning, research, and outreach, and involves 42 faculty members across 19 academic departments.

Bucknell Professors Peter Wilshusen and Craig Kochel, co-directors of the Environmental Center, will co-direct the project, reaching approximately 100 students across the disciplines of the natural sciences, engineering, the social sciences and the humanities over the next four years.

"Just as it presents students with urgent problems in need of solutions, the Susquehanna River and its watershed offer many opportunities for inquiry and discovery," said Kochel. "The Susquehanna Initiative will help students become research-oriented and engaged scientists, policymakers, and citizens."

Proposed activities

Among the proposed activities of The Susquehanna Initiative are:

1. Establish The Semester on the Susquehanna, a full-semester learning experience similar to a study-abroad program that will treat the river and its watershed as an outdoor classroom with river exploration and research.

2. Develop a curriculum of team-taught interdisciplinary courses on watershed systems and applied environmental courses such as the development of a plan for the restoration of Miller Run, a seriously impaired watershed partly on Bucknell's campus.

3. Expand student-faculty research beyond the summer undergraduate research program into the academic year, including the establishment of an instrumented field station within the Susquehanna watershed for long-term research.

4. Implement service-learning and community outreach in such areas as health research, public policy, and ecology. Bucknell will build on its partnerships with the Susquehanna River Heartland Coalition for Environmental Studies, the Buffalo Creek Watershed Alliance and the Union County Planning Department, and is discussing partnership opportunities with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Chesapeake Bay Commission.

5. Contribute to the development of a periodic "State of the River" report for the Susquehanna to aid in long-term systematic monitoring of the environmental health of the river and its linkages downstream to the nation's largest estuary, the Chesapeake Bay.

About Bucknell University
Bucknell University, in Lewisburg, Pa., is the nation's largest liberal arts college, enrolling 3,450 undergraduates from around the United States and the world. Consistently ranked among the top 30 liberal arts institutions in the country, it features a diverse curriculum of liberal arts and pre-professional programs and extensive undergraduate research opportunities and facilities. It was founded in 1846.

About the Luce Foundation
The Henry Luce Foundation was established in 1936 by Henry R. Luce, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Time, Inc. Building upon the vision and values of four generations of the Luce family, the Foundation seeks to bring important ideas to the center of American life, strengthen international understanding, and foster innovation and leadership in academic, policy, religious and art communities. The grant to Bucknell is part of the Foundation's efforts to enhance the quality of academic training on the environment at both small liberal arts colleges and large research universities.

Posted March 23, 2007