Celebrating 10 Years of Environmental Solutions at Stanford

Symposium marks decade with panels on innovation, collaboration and future of environmental solutions

In 2004, Stanford President John Hennessy launched a new interdisciplinary institute for the environment - an independent center designed to serve as a hub for environmental research, dialogue and leadership education at Stanford University.

In the decade since, the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment has brought together researchers from all seven schools to pioneer breakthrough environmental solutions in partnership with experts across the academic, public, private, government and non-profit sectors. That spirit of interdisciplinary collaboration has spawned a range of bold advances during Woods' first decade, including sophisticated software tools to guide natural resource management; award-winning designs for sanitation and water purification devices; and innovative techniques for using satellite technology to track increasingly scarce water in underground aquifers.

Video overview of Stanford Woods Institute history and path forward

"At Stanford, there is drive to improve the world and a recognition that together we are more than the sum of our parts," said Barton "Buzz" Thompson, the Robert E. Paradise Professor in Natural Resources Law. Thompson and Jeffrey Koseff, the William Alden Campbell and Martha Campbell Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, have served as the Perry L. McCarty Directors of the institute since its inception. "Woods is a powerful vehicle for helping researchers and decision-makers collaborate on new, novel solutions," Thompson said.

On Nov. 11 Woods will commemorated its 10-year anniversary by assembling Stanford researchers, students and their colleagues in the water, conservation, sustainable development and public health fields for a symposium reflecting on the aforementioned and other breakthroughs, as well as next generation challenges and opportunities for sustaining people and planet.

"We are celebrating not just a milestone, but a culture of innovation," said Koseff. " Finding solutions in transformative, creative ways by crossing boundaries is in the DNA of Stanford and Woods."

Titled "Breaking Through to Sustainability," the symposium explored how Stanford faculty, students and their partners beyond campus are overcoming barriers to sustainability through innovation and collaboration across academic disciplines and economic sectors. School of Earth Sciences Dean Pamela Matson and San Jose Mercury News reporter Paul Rogers will moderate the event.

Panelists included Stanford faculty and students working with the Natural Capital Project, Water in the West, the Water Health and Development program, and INOGO, Woods' sustainable development program in Costa Rica. The symposium included perspectives from Alvaro Umana, Costa Rica's first Minister of Energy and the Environment; Chantalle Clarke-Samuels, director of the Belize Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute (CZMAI); and former California Secretary of Natural Resources Lester Snow, director of the California Water Foundation.

Watch video from the event and read highlights from the discussion in our news story.