Research & Teaching Interests
environmental science; ecology; freshwater ecosystems; watershed science; terrestrial-aquatic linkages; community-based watershed conservation; environmental and sustainability education, outreach and communication
- M.S. Ecology, University of Georgia, 2003
- Graduate Certificate in Conservation Ecology & Sustainable Development, University of Georgia, 2003
- B.S. Environmental Science & Ecology, North Carolina State University, 1998
- B.S. Multidisciplinary Studies: Art & Values in a Technological Society, North Carolina State University, 1998
SD 2610 Science for Sustainability, SD 3610 Issues in Environmental Sustainability, SD 3675 Outreach Skills for Sustainability, SD 3534 Watershed Protection
Laura joined the SD faculty in 2010 after seven years as an outreach professional in the non-profit sector working on issues of environment and sustainability. As Outreach Programs Director for Wisconsin Wetlands Association, Laura developed and coordinated programs with diverse partners and audiences, from wetland scientists and consultants, to developers and municipal goverment officials, to school teachers and children. This work, which has been continued by her colleagues, was honored with the 2012 Wetland Conservation Award by the International Ramsar Convention on Wetlands for the organization's outstanding achievements in the area of wetland education.
Laura has also been deeply involved in the non-profit sector as a volunteer. She has served on seven non-profit boards, with a focus on community-based watershed work and environmental education. Laura recently completed her NC Environmental Education Certification, and is a member of the North American Association of Environmental Educators (NAAEE). In her spare time, Laura enjoys soaking up this beautiful Appalachian setting with her husband and two children, and belting out bluesy tunes.
Selected Outreach Projects
Climate Stories Collaborative: Laura founded and is co-facilitating this initiative, which is designed to grow the capacity of faculty and students across the university to use a variety of creative media to tell the stories of those who are already affected by, and/or taking action to address, climate change.
Emblems of the Anthropocene: Inspired by Elizabeth Kolbert's 2015 Pulitzer Prize winning The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, Laura and her students are writing about the biodiversity crisis. Each of their narratives, like Kolbert's chapters, focuses on the story of an emblematic species--one that can help us understand the broader biodiversity crisis and our connections with it.
Watauga High School Rain Garden: Laura coordinated a community partnership to install and maintain a rain garden on the Watauga High School campus. Partners include representatives of Appalachian State University, Watauga High School, Watauga River Partners, NC Cooperative Extension, Watauga Soil & Water Conservation District and Mountain Alliance.
Sustainability & Environmental Education Club: As Faculty Advisor for the Sustainability and Environmental Education Club (SEEC), Laura cultivates student leaders, and helps coordinate activities, including programs for community partners (e.g., Kiwanis Kids, Children’s Playhouse, Valle Crucis Extended Learning Center) and booths at large community events (e.g., BuildFest, ASU STEM Expo, RiverFest, ASU Trick or Treat for Tots).
Roots of Resilience Film Festival: Cultivating Sustainable Community in the High Country: In the spring of 2017, Laura's Outreach Skills for Sustainability class created mini-documentary films about local people and organizations that are contributing to different aspects of cultivating sustainable community in our region. The class planned and hosted the Roots of Resilience Film Festival in which they screened these films (click link to view the films).
Professional Development Programming for Environmental Educators: In order to increase the capacity for environmental education (EE) in the Southern Appalachian region, Laura coordinated a series of EE professional development workshops. By training public school teachers and non-formal educators (park rangers, nature center staff, non-profit staff, scout leaders, etc.) in environmental curricula and teaching methods, these workshops expand the capacity of educators who will raise the environmental literacy of many school children and citizens of all ages.
Title: Senior Lecturer
Department: Sustainable Development
Email address: Email me
Phone: (828) 262-7237
Office address126 Living Learning Academic