Environmental Speaker Series

2023 Environmental Speaker Series: Innovation in Science to Protect Human Health & the Environment

Now in its 20th year, this year’s series continues to feature engaging speakers who will discuss innovative approaches to challenging environmental issues, such as PFAS contamination, plastics recycling, and marine mammal conservation. Learn about the creative ways we are working to help identify solutions to some of our world’s most difficult challenges. All events are open to the public.

Marine Mammal Strandings: What To Do and Not Do 

Rosemary Seton
Marine Mammal Stranding Coordinator, Allied Whale
Tuesday, August 8, at 6 pm 

Rosemary Seton is a wonderful storyteller who will share her experiences from over 25 years of involvement with marine mammal strandings in Maine, including how technology is aiding Allied Whale in rescues. Wine & Cheese at 5 pm, Lecture at 6 pm.

Watch Virtually HERE



The ABCs of PFAS: Impact and Progress in Maine

Louise Roy, MS
Environmental Hydrogeologist
Maine Department of Environmental Protection
Thursday, July 27, 2023

Ms. Roy will discuss contaminants like PFAS in soil and groundwater, how they get into the environment, and results from the seminal work being done across Maine. Watch the Recorded Lecture HERE

Ban, Recycle or Replace: What Is Most Sustainable? 

James Brown, Ph.D
Sr. Mechanical Engineer Arizona State University
Biodesign Center for Sustainable Macromolecular Materials and Manufacturing
Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Dr. James Brown will discuss how his pivotal research on material design, molecular recycling, and replacements for dangerous "forever chemicals" (PFAS) can lead us to a more sustainable and circular approach to manufacturing and recycling. 

Watch the Recorded Lecture HERE


New Research and Powerful Collaboration: Solutions to Environmental Challenges

Charles Rolsky, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist at the Shaw Institute
Wednesday, June 28, 2023

The Shaw Institute launches its 2023 Speaker Series with an update from Senior Research Scientist, Dr. Charlie Rolsky, who showcases the Institute's new research, its important collaborations with NYU and Harvard, and its long- term direction for advancing the legacy of founder, ecotoxicologist Dr. Susan Shaw. 

Watch the Recorded Lecture HERE


2022 Environmental Speaker Series

A signature program now in its 19th year, the Environmental Speaker Series brings national and global experts and thought leaders to the Blue Hill Research Center (and online) to hear updates and engage in dialogue on critical environmental and human health concerns in a public forum setting. Each talk is followed by a Q&A session.

Advancing Science at Shaw Institute: A Community-Based Imperative
Charles Rolsky, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist at the Shaw Institute.
Wednesday, June 29, 2022

The Shaw Institute’s Blue Hill Research Center reopened with the launch of its 2022 Environmental Speaker Series. With deep appreciation to Dr. Susan Shaw, we continue her legacy with Charles "Charlie" Rolsky, PhD, the Institute’s new senior research scientist. Dr. Rolsky’s talk highlighted the critically important work of the Institute, the plans to build upon Dr. Shaw’s legacy, and the introduction of new ideas, partners and initiatives for community-based research in 2022 and beyond. 


From the Bottom Up: Empowering Local Action to Create Change Worldwide
Tod Hardin, Chief Operating Officer, Plastic Oceans International
Wednesday, July 20, 2022

In Blue Hill, we work hard to preserve the health and beauty of our fragile coastal ecosystem -- and we're proud of what we have accomplished TOGETHER. Our work hasn't gone unnoticed. That's why a representative from Plastic Oceans International will visit Blue Hill on July 20 to recognize our work -- presenting us with the designation, "BlueCommunity." This is an impressive honor in that only 35 communities across the globe have earned the BlueCommunities distinction. From Bali to Durban, the Seychelles and the Canary Islands, Blue Hill will be recognized as one of the planet's most accomplished and inspired places; a place where people work together to solve sustainability and plastic pollution challenges -- "providing inspiration for change on a global level."

Watch the recorded lecture here


Environmental Chemicals in Salmon, Seals and Humans:  Dr. Susan Shaw’s Legacy Remembered
Kurunthachalam Kannan, Ph.D.,
Professor, Department of Pediatrics, NYU Langone Health 
Professor, Department of Environmental Medicine, NYU Langone Health 
Sunday, August 7, 2022

Susan Shaw was a force of nature. Her oceanic adventures are the stuff of which legends are made. From diving into an oil spill in Mexico to sounding the alarm of the plight of child waste pickers in India, there was no boundary this eco-warrior wouldn’t break in her quest to make life better for future generations.

For two decades, Kurunthachalam Kannan, Ph.D., a world-renowned scientist himself, was Susan’s enthusiastic accomplice. In his talk, Kannan will share stories about their exploits and accomplishments, including identifying the health risks that flame-fighting chemicals presented to firefighters, riling up the aquaculture industry when they exposed threats to farmed and wild salmon, and having various toxic chemicals banned in the state of Maine. Dr. Kannan will also talk about his current research into understanding the presence of persistent organic pollutants in the environment and the emerging science of exposomics – understanding how internal and external elements like food, drugs, air, water and chemicals affect the health of humans.

Watch the recorded lecture here


2020 Environmental Webinar Series

Today, science is more critical than ever in our fight to protect human health and heal the natural world that sustains us. 

Join us for Planet In Crisis: Science and Survival, an exciting new webinar series connecting you with the top minds in science tackling the world’s greatest challenges. Starting with Paul Andrew Mayewski’s July 1 forum on surviving rapid climate change, the series spotlights leading scientists engaged in the race to save our planet from unchecked plastic pollution, global warming, environmental cancer and pandemic disease. 

Sign up now for a lively discussion of these pressing issues and solutions in this series of free public forums. After each talk, please join us for an informal Q&A session on Zoom. 

We hope the Planet In Crisis: Science and Survival series will inform and inspire actions we can all take to protect our world and ensure a healthy future for all human beings.

Click here to see Environmental Speaker Series videos

Wednesday, July 1
The Arctic, Maine and the First Abrupt Climate Change in the Modern Era
with Paul Andrew Mayewski, Ph.D., Director of the Climate Change Institute and Distinguished Professor at the University of Maine

Can we adapt to the effects of accelerating climate change? As Arctic ice melt transforms the Northern Hemisphere climate, are we prepared for violent storms, flooding, sea level rise, extreme heat, drought, wildfires, and famine? Don’t miss this special evening with Paul Andrew Mayewski, Journey Into Climate and The Ice Chronicles author and climate scientist, who warns of dangers ahead and suggests ways we can mitigate the damage.


Wednesday, July 22
Our Ocean Planet in Three Acts: Staggering Diversity, Scary News & Reasons for Hope
with Nancy Knowlton, Ph.D., Sant Chair Emerita for Marine Science at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and a scientific leader of the Census of Marine Life

Coral reefs dying, fish populations collapsing, diversity loss and acidic oceans choking with plastic. A torrent of frightening news suggests we have done irreparable damage to marine life. But have we inflicted permanent harm? Renowned marine biologist Nancy Knowlton thinks not. The 2020 recipient of the International Coral Reef Society’s Darwin Medal brings us a picture of resilience, recovery and hope.


Wednesday, August 5
Plastics, Politics, and Public Health 
with Susan Shaw, Dr.P.H., Founder/Director, Shaw Institute and Professor of Public Health, Environmental Health Sciences, University at Albany, NY

Has COVID-19 produced a plastic pandemic? From disposable PPE to plastic on-line shopping, US consumption has increased up to 300%, exacerbating an already dire plastics crisis worldwide. A glut of unrecyclable plastic is flowing to oceans and landfills, while some 40% goes to open-burning dumps. When plastic burns, the toxic smoke poses a cancer risk for fire fighters and millions of people worldwide. Dr. Shaw takes a realistic look at the toll of rising plastic on human health and our natural world. 


Wednesday, September 2 
COVID-19 and the Environment
with Jeremy Jackson, Ph.D., Senior Scientist Emeritus at the Smithsonian Institution and Professor of Oceanography Emeritus at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Could the COVID 19 catastrophe help us meet the ultimate scientific challenge of the 21st century? When the pandemic forced industries into lockdown, the global environment dramatically improved, giving us a glimpse of what a better, more sustainable world could be. Professor Jackson looks at a once-in-a-generation opportunity to grow back our economies without imperiling the planet. The question is, do we have the vision and capacity to achieve this?


2019 Environmental Speaker Series

Welcome to the 15th annual Environmental Speaker Series! This year, our theme is Planet In Crisis: Agents of Change. We will be shining a spotlight on the individuals pioneering innovation and science to solve the world's most urgent environmental issues

June 5: The Devil We Know: Chemistry of a Cover-Up (film screening)

The Devil We Know Film Poster | Shaw Institute Environmental Speaker Series

June 19: Sarah Redmond, Aquaculturist & Founder of Springtide Seaweed
"Farming The Future: The Promise of Ocean Seaweed:​​​​​​"

July 3: Environmental Speaker Series: Dr. Leo Trasande, MD & Author
"Sicker, Fatter, Poorer: Chemicals Hacking Hormones and Fueling Epidemics"

July 31: Environmental Speaker Series: Margaret Mulholland, Oceanographer
"Measuring The Muck: Water Quality, Coastal Flooding and Sea Level Rise"


August 21: Environmental Speaker Series: Dimitri Smirnoff, Biologist
"More Good Not Less Harm: Advancing Sustainability with Biomimicry​​​​​​"

Sept. 4: The Devil We Know: Chemistry of a Cover-Up (film screening)

The Devil We Know Film Poster | Shaw Institute Environmental Speaker Series

2018 Environmental Speaker Series

The theme of the 2018 season is "Climate Change, Exposure and Human Health." The  series features an eclectic mix of scientists, researchers and journalists from across the U.S.  A signature program now in its 14th year, the Environmental Lecture Series brings national and global experts and thought leaders to the Blue Hill Research Center (and online) to hear updates and engage dialogue on critical environmental and human health issues.