Elizabeth Borer and Jeannine Cavender-Bares (Ecology, Evolution and Behavior) were selected to participate in the 2015 cohort of the Leopold Leadership Program run by the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University. Fellows take part in intensive training to boost their collaborative leadership skills so they can have a greater impact on complex issues related to sustainability.
“[The program] helped me learn to to better frame messages around my research for non-science audiences,” says past participant Sarah Hobbie (Ecology, Evolution and Behavior), who describes the focus of the program as translating knowledge to action.
Borer investigates the ways that global changes like nitrogen deposition, carbon dioxide emissions, and species invasions and extinctions interact to control the composition and function of ecological communities. She co-founded the Nutrient Network, a global research network dedicated to understanding human impacts on ecosystems.
Cavender-Bares’ research focuses on how functional traits of plants link evolutionary history to current ecological processes with consequences for ecosystem function and stability on an increasingly human dominated planet. She leads an NSF-funded project on genetic diversity and adaptive responses to global change of Central America oaks.
Borer plans to use her fellowship as a springboard for developing and offering workshops on communicating science geared toward early-career scientists. The workshops will culminate in participants producing podcasts about sustainability topics for the general public. Cavender-Bares plans to expand her reach as a contributor to mainstream publications, as well as through work on threatened species supporting the Global Trees Campaign (an NGO focused on tree conservation) and her distributed graduate seminar in sustainability science with faculty across four collaborating institutions in the United States and Mexico.