Valerie Eviner

Valerie Eviner named fellow in Earth Leadership Program

Valerie Eviner, professor in the Department of Plant Sciences, has been named a 2021 fellow in the North American cohort of the Earth Leadership Program. The program will provide leadership training and will enable scientists, across many disciplines, to co-design solutions with stakeholders on pressing global sustainability issues.

“Given the pressing environmental challenges society faces, it is critical to train leaders in identifying and implementing bold and effective efforts to transform our approaches to sustainability,” said Eviner. “This program isn’t only linking science to on-the-ground solutions in policy and management, but transforming the types of science we do to address our most complex environmental challenges.”

The Earth Leadership Program is the direct successor to the renowned Leopold Leadership Program, which went on hiatus after 2015. This will be the first cohort under the new name, and the first with Future Earth, a global network of scientists, researchers and innovators collaborating for a sustainable planet.

Eviner, an ecologist who studies plant-soil interactions to better inform ecosystem management, restoration and sustainability efforts, will work alongside a group of 20 other academics, from economists, marine biologists, and atmospheric chemists, in the year-long program.

Kickstarting the fellowship will be a retreat where the fellows will participate in a training session that focuses on leadership skills, community-building, and personal reflection. The fellows will then be given time to practice and apply their new skills and knowledge before a final meeting where they will gather to articulate their refined visions on knowledge to impact.

Following an unprecedented year of a pandemic, extreme wildfires and food loss, the cohort will face uniquely challenging crises in sustainability. However, Eviner is hopeful and ecstatic for the program. 

“Being part of this has been a long-term wish for me,” said Eviner. “When I look at my role models, and the innovative and effective sustainability projects that I’m most inspired by, so many have roots in this program.” 

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