Professor Guy Lanza, Director of the Environmental Science Program in the Department of Natural Resource Conservation has been invited to serve as a Fulbright Senior Specialist in Russia next fall. He will travel in the City of Tyumen in South West Siberia to assist faculty and administrators at Tyumen State University and the Russian Academy of Sciences in the development of new interdisciplinary curriculum and research initiatives. Tyumen State University is planning to achieve the status of the Russian National Ecological Research University and is collaborating with several research institutes including several branches of the Russian Academy of Sciences in the areas of ecosystems and community ecology, environmental remediation, and sustainable development.

Lanza said that the Tyumen region is both vast in size and environmentally diverse consisting of four natural zones including tundra, forest-tundra, forest, and forest-steppe. Tyumen has been experiencing rapid development, cultural change, and environmental degradation in recent years, largely driven by petroleum and gas development in the area. A student at Tyumen State University describes the shape of the region as resembling “the heart of a person — sort of an energy-giving heart of the country.” According to Lanza, the rapid economic development and ecological change is presenting many complex environmental challenges that will require interdisciplinary thinking, and many different scientific disciplines working together will be needed to successfully address the problems. In my view, everything we plan and do must be carefully thought out in the context of climate change and sustainable solutions.

This is Lanza’s second Fulbright Grant. In 2006, he traveled to Vietnam and partnered with the Hanoi School of Public Health and the Vietnamese Academy of Sciences and Technology where he conducted faculty development workshops and classes in water quality and the ecology of waterborne disease.