Leading Environmental Consortium in Hudson Valley Appoints First Director

The Environmental Consortium of Hudson Valley Colleges and Universities today appointed its first director, Michelle Land, J.D., coordinator of the Pace Academy for the Environment (PAE).

Rosemary Mercedes, Manager of Public Information
Pace University, 212-346-1637, Cell: 914-424-1637 rmercedes@pace.edu

The Environmental Consortium of Hudson Valley Colleges and Universities today appointed its first director, Michelle Land, J.D., coordinator of the Pace Academy for the Environment (PAE).

Land will lead 34 higher education institutions in an ambitious interdisciplinary program aimed at training future environmental leaders and “shaping the future of the regional and global environment,” according to the Consortium’s adopted mission. This marks the first time the region’s colleges and universities have joined together on environmental issues.

“Only higher education can offer, in one place, the array of skills that environmental decision-making requires,” said Land. “The expertise the Consortium offers is comprehensive, from the social and natural sciences to art and economics, and everything in between. Harnessing those resources for students and the public good is a natural mission for colleges and universities.”

“Michelle Land’s deep knowledge of environmental issues and her leadership skills make her a natural for moving forward the coalition’s groundbreaking environmental and education efforts,” said John Cronin, director of the PAE and the nation’s first Riverkeeper.

Land earned a Juris Doctor and certificate in environmental law from Pace University School of Law in 2002, where she was Editor-in-Chief of the Pace Environmental Law Review. In 2000, while still a student, she was part of the team from Pace Law School’s Environmental Law Clinic that successfully argued the landmark Esopus Creek case before the U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit (Catskill Mountains Chapter of Trout Unlimited et. al. vs. NYC DEP), which resulted in a $5.7 million penalty against the City of New York for discharging highly turbid water from the Shandanken tunnel without the required Clear Water Act permit. (The precedent setting case is on appeal for the penalty amount.)

For the last two years, Land has been program coordinator for PAE, one of the environmental programs that have made Pace University well known for environmental studies. (Its law school is one of the nation’s top three environmental law schools, as ranked by US News & World Report.) The PAE is dedicated to fostering policies, practices and ideas that sustain a mutually enhancing relationship between nature and society.

Land also is an adjunct assistant professor at Pace. She teaches environmental law, policy and the integration of nature and culture in both the M.S. in Environmental Science and undergraduate environmental studies programs.

As a wildlife biologist at the World Bird Sanctuary in Missouri, Land directed field research producing wildlife survey reports for corporate contracts. The focus of her work also included environmental education programs and rehabilitation, propagation and reintroduction of birds of prey.

She earned a Bachelor of Science degree, with honors, in Wildlife Biology from the University of Guelph, Ontario. Land also was a research associate at Pace’s Land Use Law Center, where she created a model local law for protecting wildlife and wildlife habitat. It was published as a chapter of a resource guide for local municipal officials.

Formed under the leadership of PAE, the Environmental Consortium of Hudson Valley Colleges and Universities promotes collaboration by its member campuses to increase the scope and impact of their environmental teaching and research. http://www.environmentalconsortium.org/

The Consortium’s current members are Bard College; Barnard College; Columbia University; CUNY – Queens College; Dominican College; Dutchess Community College; Fordham University; Iona College; Manhattan College; Manhattanville College; Marist College; Marymount College of Fordham University; Mount Saint Mary College; the College of Mount Saint Vincent; The College of New Rochelle; Pace University; Polytechnic University; Ramapo College of New Jersey; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; The Sage Colleges; The College of Saint Rose; Saint Thomas Aquinas College; Sarah Lawrence College; Sienna College; the State University of New York campuses at New Paltz, Purchase, Stony Brook and Albany; the SUNY community colleges of Westchester, Columbia-Greene, Rockland, and Ulster County; Union College and Vassar College.

A private university in the New York Metropolitan area, Pace has a growing national reputation for offering students opportunity, teaching and learning based on research, civic involvement and measurable outcomes. Pace has seven campuses, including downtown and midtown New York City, Pleasantville, Briarcliff, White Plains (a graduate center and law school), and a Hudson Valley Center at Stewart International Airport near Newburgh, N.Y. Approximately 14,000 students are enrolled in undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs in the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Lubin School of Business, School of Computer Science and Information Systems, School of Education, Lienhard School of Nursing and Pace Law School. www.pace.edu

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