Children of the Amazon Film Screening

WGELA is excited to be sponsoring a panel at the 2012 Conference of the Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill on Sat. Feb. 18 from 2:00pm – 4:00pm. Denise Zmekhol, director of the incredible film ‘Children of the Amazon’, will be showing her film and giving a short talk with Professor Rosemary Fernholz from Sanford Public Policy School and Eduardo da Costa, a Sanford Policy School Master’s candidate. The panel will be held in Nelson Mandela Auditorium at the FedEx Global Education Center, corner of Pittsboro & McCauley Streets, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC.
The symposium itself will take place at Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill from Fri. Feb. 17 – Sat. Feb. 18. If you can’t make it out to UNC you can check out the panels held at Duke on the 17th at the John Hope Franklin Center.
For more information read the program here:
If you plan on attending, don’t forget to register for the symposium here
Also, if you need a ride to UNC or are able to provide rides to others please sign up for carpooling on our handy google doc here:

Latin America Internships Student Panel

By Virginia Palacios

If you’re like me, thinking about your job search doesn’t conjure up images of parties and beaches, but Stephanie Roe taught me that it’s okay to dream big at the Latin America Student Internship Panel on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011. Stephanie kicked off her presentation about her summer work with pictures of the social side of the southern hemisphere. But do not be mistaken, super-MEMs Stephanie Roe and Justin Kirkpatrick worked hard to play hard at the Ministerio Publico de Rio de Janeiro in Brazil this summer. Both had a major role in forming state policy for valuing ecosystem services and assessing environmental impact of degraded sites.

Cooper Rosin, equally impressive, discussed his self-led research in Peru taking wildlife surveys of conservation areas to evaluate biodiversity impacts from development. Cooper’s internship was facilitated by the Center for Tropical Conservation on the Duke campus, under the direction of Varun Swamy and world-renowned John Terborgh.

Finally, Rachel Baker and Jane Rice told about their adventures in Mexico, being immersed in the Spanish language, bush-whacking through forests, and conducting social surveys that had to be translated from English to Spanish to Mayan. Rice and Baker conducted field research for WGELA advisor Dr. Liz Shapiro on the status of Mexico’s Hydrological Payments for Ecosystem Services (PSA-H) program.

In the question and answer session, attendees learned that most skills are learned on the job, an international internship search has to start early, that internships are basically self-constructed, and that numerous funding sources exist at Duke. And, not to be forgotten, was the delicious meal catered by Mami Nora’s Restaurant featuring yucca fries, black beans and rice, and grilled chicken.

Download the program for more information about the WGELA internship panel, including names of faculty researching in Latin America, Latin America-focused centers on campus, and other WGELA members who have traveled or worked in Latin America.

Leaving La Floresta and Counter Culture Coffee Tasting

We have some great back-to-back events coming up next week!

First, on Monday Oct. 3 at 4:30 in A156 we’ll be screening a fascinating documentary on the social and environmental effects of the War on Drugs in Columbia called Leaving La Floresta.

After that film, Farmhand is showing King Corn in Love Auditorium at 6:15. Anyone who wants to see it after Leaving La Floresta should go!

We’re also very excited to be hosting our second annual coffee tasting event with Counter Culture Coffee on Tuesday, Oct. 4 at 6:00 pm in Blue Express. It was great fun last year and we’re hoping it becomes a beloved WGELA tradition!

Hope to see you all there for some educational fun!

Kick-Off Potluck

The bi-annual semi-respectable semester kick-off potluck was held last week and it was great fun!

We have a really great new crop of WGELA members who really know how to cook. We’re all super excited about this coming year and have some great things planned. We encourage all of our fresh new faces to get as involved as they can! It’s going to be an awesome fun year with some great opportunities for learning and helping out.

Thanks to everyone who came! You are all awesome!

First Meeting of the 2011-2012 School Year

Hey Nicholas School!

You are invited to attend the Working Group for Environment in Latin America’s (WGELA) first meeting of the school year on Monday, September 12th at 5:30 PM in LSRC A158. Mexican food from Los Comales will be provided, so don’t worry about eating in advance.

The meeting will have 3 primary objectives:

1. Discuss/select key themes to focus on throughout the year
2. Discuss specific event/activity ideas
3. Introduce officer positions available within the group

We had some pretty great events last year (chocolate and coffee tasting, for example) and we’re working to make this year even better. So if you’d like to be part of a group that inspires increased dialogue on Latin American environmental issues among the Nic-school community come check us out! If you can’t make it to this meeting, please join the WGELA listserv for information on future meetings and events at:

Kicking off the 2011-2012 School Year with WGELA

Hi Everyone, Welcome back to Durham and the beginning of a new school year!

This semester WGELA has many events planned including a Fall Kick-off potluck, coffee tasting, chocolate tasting, and various lectures!

Stay tuned on the dates for these events and for our first meeting to get involved with the Nicholas School at Duke’s efforts to address environmental issues in Latin America. Please join the listserv for updates at: and we look forward to kicking off the semester with you all!

Check out some pictures from last year’s events:

Project Gaia Clean Stove Cookout 24.03.11

WGELA’s philanthropy event for Project Gaia was a huge success! Altogether we raised $5,400 from donations and the sale of scarves which will go to provide 105 clean stoves to women in Haiti and Brazil. The capstone of the event was a cook-off in which four teams competed against each other using Project Gaia’s clean stoves. Four delicious meals were created and judged by a panel made up of members of both the Nicholas School and Project Gaia. Our own leader, Josh Strauss, was the winner with his hot tomato salad with fried okra. He was cooking on behalf of the Nicholas School Student Council which won another stove to be donated to Project Gaia.

For more information on the work that Project Gaia does providing clean, safe cooking materials to women in developing countries, visit their website here.

Clean Stove Cookout Thursday, March 24th!

1:00pm: Cook Out BEGINS!! Discussion led by founder Harry Stokes and visiting professionals from Project Gaia.
7:00pm – 9:00pm: Fundraiser at The Tavern on Markham Ave. $5 donation at the door. Live Music!

Celebrity Judges include Prof. Dan Richter and Saskia Clay-Rooks!

**Throughout: Raffle tickets available for sale. Prize is a $100 gift certificate to Magnolia’s in Durham! All raffle contributions benefit fundraiser.**

Read about how Project Gaia is making a difference.


Upcoming Events this Spring 2011!

Hi WGELA Members and Supporters! We have two events coming up in the next several weeks, don’t forget to mark your calendars!

Lecture on Trophic Cascades
Dr. John Terborgh
Thursday, March 3rd, 2011 Lunch– specifics TBA

Project Gaia Clean Stove Cookout
Thursday, March 24th, 2011, Time and Place TBA

Read more about Project Gaia at:

Kallari Chocolate Tasting

Kallari Chocolate Tasting 10.19.2010

The event was a huge success! There were over 70 students in attendance at Love Auditorium and it was a great learning experience not only on chocolate tasting, but the ethics behind production. Check out some pictures from the event below: