We put Bard’s dedication to the environment, science, and social change into practice to support the fair management of our shared natural resources. We solve problems using tools that span academic disciplines. We conduct quantitative research in the natural and social sciences, create art, craft communication, participate in policy making, and bridge academic inquiry with community need. In doing our work, we strive to shift the understanding of “environment” to include humans and the urban ecosystem. And we recognize that real solutions to environmental issues must acknowledge the barriers that race, class, and gender inequities present to the cultural shifts required to make real change.
The urban environment is complex and often highly contaminated. Our latest study looks at how this contamination influences bacteria in urban air. We sampled the air and water at three waterfront sites in New York City to evaluate the potential for local connections in water and air quality. Despite the absence of obvious ecological structures, the air harbored a much more diverse bacterial community than that found in the city’s waterways.
Watersheds connect people in multiple communities through a shared interest in water. Water doesn’t respect municipal boundaries, so watershed protection encourages water users to form partnerships—not only among towns and villages but also with colleges and universities.