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ELAW is helping lawyers around the world protect communities and the environment, and they need help from scientists. Heidi Weiskel, a marine ecologist and ELAW Staff Scientist since 2012, says:

Scientists help communities understand how a development impacts the local ecology and help lawyers articulate these impacts in court.”

Scientist in Action: Glenn Miller (center)
and ELAW partners Aresio Valiente (left) and
Tania Arosemena (right) in Panama, July 2014

Heidi was joined by ELAW board member Glenn Miller and ELAW partner Fernando Ochoa at the Ecological Society of America’s Annual Meeting, to help ecologists learn how they can use their expertise outside traditional academic research.

Glenn is a professor and mining expert at the University of Nevada at Reno. Fernando is an attorney and founder of Environmental Defense Northwest.

Introducing the work of ELAW to ESA builds bridges between these experts and the communities that need scientific analysis,” says Heidi.

Heidi and ELAW Staff Scientists Mark Chernaik and Meche Lu work with Glenn and several other pro bono scientists who share their expertise with hundreds of ELAW partners around the world.

Many thanks to Glenn and all of ELAW’s pro bono scientists who help bring scientific truth to environmental challenges.

Michele Kuhnle
Donor Liaison

Every year, we hear from many law and science students across the country who are eager to volunteer at ELAW.

This summer’s fleet of volunteers holds terrific promise. We celebrate this next generation of grassroots advocates!

ELAW summer 2013 volunteers

L to R: Hayley Langmas, Eliza Pearce, Laura Krogman, Melina Zamalloa, Marissa Knodel, and Killian Doherty.

Marissa Knodel is in the dual degree program with Vermont Law School and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. She blogged about her summer at ELAW on the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy website.

Killian Doherty has spent many years in Latin America, and has returned to the U.S. to study law at the University of Oregon. Together with Marissa, he spent his summer helping the ELAW legal team improve environmental legislation, challenge corruption, and create sustainable futures for communities around the world.

Hayley LangmasLaura Krogman, and Eliza Pearce have helped the ELAW science team identify resources for a mangrove database, used GIS to create maps, and conducted research on environmental threats. All three are in the University of Oregon Environmental Science Program. Melina Zamalloa, a women’s and gender studies major at UO, is a jack of all trades. She helped with numerous administrative projects.

Not pictured are Marika Jaeger, pursuing a career in conservation at Stanford University, Addie McGuire, who just returned to the University of Pennsylvania, and Pia Parisi-Marcoux, a high school junior from New York City.

Many thanks to ELAW volunteers for their time, enthusiasm, and dedication to making the world a better place.

Maggie Keenan
Communications Director

Marissa KnoedelEach summer, ELAW welcomes an interdisciplinary team of interns to our office in Eugene, Oregon. This week, Legal Intern Marissa Knodel blogged about her experience at ELAW on the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy website.

Marissa is earning a dual degree through Vermont Law School and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. She is working with ELAW’s legal team to help communities around the world advocate for environmental justice.

Marissa begins her blog post: “The next time I am asked whether I can be an advocate for people and places with the least information, access to, and ability to obtain a just, healthy, and resilient future, and have a career, I can confidently answer  ‘yes!’”

She goes on to say, “Largely dependent upon volunteers and unpaid interns, the ELAW community is more value- than profit-driven. Non-profit legal work, in sum, is simultaneously rewarding and humbling in the most satisfactory way. ELAW has already taught me that to be a more effective environmental and public interest lawyer, one must first identify as an environmental and community advocate.”

ELAW is delighted to be working with Marissa and other aspiring environmental and human rights defenders to build the next generation of committed public interest advocates.

To read Marissa’s full blog post, titled, “Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide in Eugene, OR: Where Lawyers are Advocates,” click here.

Keep an eye out for a future post about ELAW’s intern program and how you can get involved.

Melanie Giangreco
Volunteer Coordinator

(Español a continuación)

Earlier this week, the ELAW Spotlight featured the interns who are lending a hand to ELAW this summer. In addition to interns, ELAW depends upon support from a dedicated group of highly-skilled volunteers whose efforts make ELAW, and the world, a better place. So far this year, more than 40 members of the Eugene community have volunteered with ELAW in a myriad of capacities.

Jane Dardine, ELAW Volunteer

Jane Dardine began volunteering with ELAW only a month after she moved to Eugene from China. Over the past year, she has volunteered more than 100 hours of her time to ELAW by translating numerous documents from English to Chinese, updating websites, researching environmental economics and preparing for events. Jane is currently working towards a master’s degree in economics at the University of Oregon.

Ryan Walsh began volunteering with ELAW a year ago and during that time has done everything from providing administrative support to ELAW and searching for funding opportunities to helping remodel and organize the office. After many months of volunteering, Ryan also completed an internship with ELAW through the University of Oregon Environmental Studies Program. Ryan graduated from the UO in June and plans to attend graduate school to become an environmental engineer.

Harper Johnson, who has been volunteering with ELAW since she was 13 years old, provides administrative support to the ELAW team. She also helps ELAW prepare for events and earlier this summer undertook a major project to organize ELAW’s photo database. Harper is entering her sophomore year at South Eugene High School.

Ivan Dominguez, who provides technical support to ELAW, was essential in helping launch a new webpage about volunteer and internship opportunities. Ivan has also translated documents to Spanish to provide technical support to ELAW’s partners around the world.

Other ELAW volunteers have brought international fellows on outings, hosted Fellows at their homes, developed and edited ELAW’s website and those of our partners, organized and tabled at events, and translated materials into Spanish, French, Chinese, and Russian.

If you are interested in volunteering at ELAW this fall or winter, please visit our (volunteer designed!) website for more information. You can also email with any questions.

Many thanks to all those who have contributed their valuable time and energy to ELAW this year:

Kenyon Acton, Maddie Allen, Sandra Baldwin, Dan Beltramo, Matias Bervejillo, Lauren Boucher, Jane Dardine, Claire Dewey, Killian Doherty, Kelly Edyburn, Bolormaa Enkhbat, Shannon Flowers, Snell Fontus, Niria Garcia, Josette Green, Hannah Harris, Zechariah Heck, Laura Hofer, John Hofer, Harper Johnson, Norm Kevern, Stephanie Larsen, Erica Alexia Ledesma, Willis Logsdon, Katherine Lund-Fry, Addie Maguire, Sheena Moore, Molly O’Connor, Serena Parcell, Gabriela Perez, Eric Robinson, Deb Sharpe, Evan Shenkin, Zane Smith, Betty Smith, Joanna Sparano, Melia Wagner, Ryan Walsh, Zoe Weiss, Ashley White, Sam Wilton, and Quinn Yackulic.

Melanie Giangreco
ELAW Volunteer Coordinator

Traducido por Melia Wagner y Sandra Baldwin, voluntarias de ELAW

Antes en la semana, el ELAW Spotlight presentó sobre los pasantes quienes están echando una mano a ELAW durante este verano. Además de pasantes, ELAW depende de apoyo de un grupo de voluntarios dedicados y altamente calificados cuyos esfuerzos hacen ELAW, y el mundo, un lugar mejor. Lo que va del año, más que 40 miembros de la comunidad de Eugene se han ofrecidos ser voluntarios con ELAW en una miríada de capacidades.

Jane Dardine empezó a ser voluntaria con ELAW solamente un mes después que ella se trasladó a Eugene de China. Durante el año pasado, ella ha sido voluntaria para más que 100 horas de su tiempo a ELAW por traducción de numerosos documentos de Inglés a Chino, actualización de sitios de web, investigación de la económía ambiental y preparación por eventos. Actualmente, Jane está estudiando para recibir su maestría en Economícas a la Universidad de Oregon.

Ryan Walsh empezó a ser voluntario con ELAW hace un año y durante ese tiempo él ha hecho de todo, desde proporcionar apoyo administrativo y buscar a oportunidades de financiación, al ayudar en remodelación y organización de la oficina. Después de muchos meses de trabajo voluntario, Ryan también completó una pasantía con ELAW a través del programa de Ciencias Medioambientales de la Universidad de Oregon. Ryan graduó de la universidad este junio pasado y planea asistir la escuela de estudios de postgrado para ser un ingeniero ambiental.

Harper Johnson, quien ha sido una voluntaria con ELAW desde que tenía 13 años, proporciona apoyo administrativo al equipo de ELAW. También ella ayuda ELAW preparar para eventos, y antes en este verano ella emprendió el proyecto grande de organizar la base de datos de fotos para ELAW. Harper empezará su segundo año en la escuela secundaria South Eugene High School.

Ivan Dominguez, quien proporciona apoyo técnico pro bono a ELAW, fue esencial para el lanzamiento de un nuevo sitio web sobre oportunidades para ser pasantías y voluntarios. También Ivan ha traducido documentos a español para proporcionar apoyo técnico a los socios de ELAW en todo el mundo.

Otros voluntarios de ELAW han traído a los becarios internacionales en excursiones, abierto sus casas para alojar a los becarios, desarrollado y editado el sitio web de ELAW y los de nuestros socios, organizado y ayudado a presentar en eventos, y traducido materias en Español, Francés, Chino, y Ruso.

Si usted está interesado en ser un voluntario con ELAW este otoño o invierno, por favor vista nuestro sitio web (¡diseñado por voluntarios!) para más información. También puedes enviar un correo electrónico a con cualquier pregunta.

Muchas gracias a todos los que han contribuido su tiempo y energía valioso a ELAW este año:

Kenyon Acton, Maddie Allen, Sandra Baldwin, Dan Beltramo, Matias Bervejillo, Lauren Boucher, Jane Dardine, Claire Dewey, Killian Doherty, Kelly Edyburn, Bolormaa Enkhbat, Shannon Flowers, Snell Fontus, Niria Garcia, Josette Green, Hannah Harris, Zechariah Heck, Laura Hofer, John Hofer, Harper Johnson, Norm Kevern, Stephanie Larsen, Erica Alexia Ledesma, Willis Logsdon, Katherine Lund-Fry, Addie Maguire, Sheena Moore, Molly O’Connor, Serena Parcell, Gabriela Perez, Eric Robinson, Deb Sharpe, Evan Shenkin, Zane Smith, Betty Smith, Joanna Sparano, Melia Wagner, Ryan Walsh, Zoe Weiss, Ashley White, Sam Wilton, y Quinn Yackulic.

The ELAW office is a lively place this summer with the presence of six talented interns.

From left to right: Eric, Zoe , Logan, Derek, Melia, Michael.

ELAW is delighted to be working with each of these enthusiastic young people who are dedicated to using their skills and knowledge to protect the environment. They have been essential in increasing ELAW’s capacity to work with attorneys around the world who are striving for social justice and healthy environments in their home communities.

Melia Wagner is contributing her Spanish translation skills to ELAW to better facilitate communication between lawyers working around the world and is compiling a bilingual glossary of legal and scientific terms to share with fellow translation volunteers and interns. Melia holds a B.A in Linguistics with a focus on Spanish and Russian from the University of Oregon and plans to include translation as part of her future career plans.

Zoe Weiss is a junior at the University of Oregon and is the Public Relations Coordinator for the Climate Justice League.  She is working with ELAW to provide administrative support, research assistance, and further develop ELAW’s volunteer and intern program. Zoe says, “It’s been an amazing experience seeing the impact that ELAW has around the world, meeting international fellows, and interacting with the wonderful people that comprise the staff here in Eugene. To me, ELAW is so important because it’s not just another law firm; it’s a helping hand to allies of the environment whenever duty calls.”

Eric Robinson has returned to ELAW for a second internship this summer. His French translation skills have helped ELAW connect with colleagues in Haiti and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He is also updating and developing webpages for ELAW and our partners around the globe. Eric will be starting his senior year at Williams College this fall.

Michael Miller is entering his senior year in the Environmental Studies Program at the University of Oregon. He brings his experience with Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and knowledge of biodiversity, conservation and environmental management to the ELAW science team.

Derek Mills, a rising second year law student from Lewis and Clark Law School is interning with ELAW’s legal team this summer. He writes of his experience, “ELAW has shown me that an interdisciplinary approach has real weight, and that when people are committed to a specific goal they can harmonize modern technology with a tenacious spirit to achieve.”

Logan Krochalis is a rising third year law student at the University of Oregon who is concentrating on international law. She is assisting ELAW’s legal team with in-depth research this summer and has assisted ELAW partners in Nigeria, Honduras, Jamaica, Malaysia, Costa Rica, Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Keep an eye out for a post later this week about ELAW’s committed volunteers and how you can get involved.

Melanie Giangreco
ELAW Volunteer Coordinator

Casey, Sophie, and Aleah help with a mailing

ELAW provides a rare opportunity for students and community volunteers in Eugene to get involved in international conservation efforts. Lucky us! We have had students come from all across the country to work with us, and they join many community volunteers to amplify ELAW’s impact by donating their hours, hearts, and expertise.

Last night we hosted about a dozen current volunteers for pizza and appreciation (about half of the number working here now). Because Melanie, our volunteer coordinator, acts as a very efficient air traffic controller,  sometimes people come and go without me knowing what they are doing! Last night I met people who have translated information into Russian, Chinese, Spanish and more Spanish. I learned that one volunteer is helping us build web sites for our partners in the Caribbean. And others are cheerfully doing the mundane work that keeps the engine running – working with databases and stuffing envelopes.

I left the gathering feeling inspired by the people who are choosing to add value to our work with their valuable time. And grateful that ELAW provides a conduit for Eugene citizens to have an impact around the world.

Thanks again to our volunteers!

Lori Maddox
Associate Director

We are thrilled to welcome three summer interns to ELAW! Our internship program is one of the many ways we engage with students interested in learning more about public interest environmental law and help them gain experience in the field. Interns come to us from all around the country and from many different backgrounds. Each brings a unique perspective and we are excited to begin working with them.

Zach, Aleah, and Rachel

This summer, we have two legal interns who will be researching the answers to legal questions posed by our partners around the world. Rachel Rivers is entering her third year of law school at Pennsylvania State University. Rachel grew up in the Bay area which she says “exposed [her] to a culture focused on reducing one’s carbon footprint, and working for change,” and informs her interest in working at ELAW. She has an interest in the intersection between human rights and the environment and looks forward to learning more about issues of displacement of native and local communities for the sake of environmental protection. We also welcome Zach Klonoski who is entering his third year at the University of Oregon Law School. A native Oregonian, Zach has a particular interest in climate change and energy legislation.

We also welcome our Summer program intern Aleah Jaeger who will be working on many projects throughout the summer. Aleah is a rising junior at Whitman College pursuing a degree in Environmental Science and Sociology with a minor in French.  She will use her French skills to translate documents and help partners in the Caribbean with their websites. She will also be working with ELAW Communications Director Maggie Keenan on our Fellowship program.

We are ecstatic to welcome these new faces to our office. They bring an enthusiasm and willingness to learn that is refreshing and inspiring. We hope they too will be inspired by their experience in public interest environmental law and will continue this important work far into the future.

Michele Kuhnle
Donor Liaison

2010 summer law interns, Ashely White and Joanna Reilly-Brown

At ELAW we have a comprehensive volunteer and intern program. As many non-profits know, supervising volunteers takes time and energy. Before establishing a volunteer program, groups must ask themselves, “ Do the benefits outweigh the time commitment?”

At ELAW, the answer has been yes! One reason is because we are fortunate to work with highly motivated, hard working, and sharp volunteers. This week is National Volunteer Week, and we’d like to take this opportunity to recognize the amazing contribution of our valuable volunteers.

During the school year, law students from the University of Oregon School of Law complete internships with ELAW’s legal team, researching the answers to legal questions posed by our partners around the world. During the summer, ELAW accepts one or two applicants for a competitive legal internship position, where the student(s) engages with the network full-time. ELAW has also relied on scientific support from interns and expertise from scientists around the world who offer assistance on various cases.

In addition to the pro bono and legal support, ELAW relies on office assistants for much of our day-to-day help. ELAW volunteers complete a variety of jobs including (but not limited to) database entry, assistance with mailings, research, Spanish, Chinese, and other language translation, event set-up and facilitation, tabling, and loads of other jobs.

2010 science intern, Laura Syron (third from left)

One goal of ELAW is to help build the public interest bar. Many of ELAW’s office volunteers are students, who have expressed an interest in law, environmental protection, activism, or human rights. Facilitating a volunteer program is one way that ELAW can help expose young environmental advocates to the work that trained lawyers and scientists are doing, while motivating the students to follow their desires to help people and help protect the environment.

The feeling is mutual. As the Volunteer Coordinator, the most rewarding aspect of my job is to be in the presence of energetic and optimistic young people. ELAW volunteers work many hours, and they do it with a smile and a great attitude. They come from diverse backgrounds and have varied interests and skills. They motivate me to work harder and often remind me of why I started this work.

Addie is an example of a star volunteer. Addie is a Junior at South Eugene High School’s French immersion program. Addie comes into ELAW every week for a couple of hours and works hard. She has helped with mailings, updated our database, done research for newsletter articles, and used her French skills to help review and edit the French translation of ELAW’s Guidebook to Evaluating Mining Project EIAs. Addie is looking at colleges on the east coast, where we know she’ll do well. We hope she sticks around ELAW until then.

Justin is ELAW’s newest volunteer. Justin is a Spanish and Latin American studies major at the University of Oregon. He gets to practice his translation skills while contributing to partners in the ELAW network. Justin translates messages and documents between English and Spanish, so that information is more widely available to our partners. While practicing his Spanish, he is also learning more about global environmental and human rights issues. He has studied abroad in Guatemala and Chile and brings his experiences working with indigenous communities to ELAW. Welcome Justin!

Chu (Cassie) Chen, ELAW volunteer Program Associate 2009-2010, with Zhang Yonghua, 2010 ELAW Fellow from China

Cassie must hold the record for most hours volunteered at ELAW! After Cassie graduated from the University of Oregon with a Masters in Environmental Studies, she completed a one-year, full-time, unpaid internship with ELAW. Her contributions were priceless. Even now, three months after her internship officially ended, Cassie is still helping ELAW review Chinese translations. While an intern, we were fortunate to see Cassie get married, and now we’ve learned that she’s expecting a baby – a new addition to the ELAW family!

ELAW has many other volunteers who have given hours of valuable time. Happy National Volunteer Week to you all, and thank you for your hard work and dedication.

Lauren Ice
ELAW Office Manager and Volunteer Coordinator

My name is Eric Robinson, and I am an ELAW volunteer! I grew up here in Eugene, and now I’m a sophomore at Williams College in Williamstown, MA where I study Math and Psychology. Williams has a one-month January term after winter break and before spring semester when students relax with one class called Winter Study. Williams offers a huge variety of classes during Winter Study, and students are encouraged to take an enjoyable class outside of their major. Last Winter Study I stayed on campus, but was left with my fifth choice class, “ECON 15: Stock Market.” So, this year I planned ahead and got to spend my January interning at ELAW.

This past month I’ve helped with a variety of different projects around the ELAW office. I spent much of my time helping Staff Attorney Jen Gleason prepare for a trip to Haiti (where she is working with the  Haitian Environmental Law Association, AHDEN) by translating materials to French and assisting with research requests. Also, I’ve been working on translating pages from the ELAW website into French, updating ELAW’s scientific and legal resources, and updating the website with new translations, such as the Chinese ones that just went up.

Outside of ELAW it’s been a beautiful January in Eugene! It hasn’t rained too much, and there have been quite a few sunny days that lent themselves well to venturing around the city. I’ve spent most of my time hanging out with friends, hiking in the hills around Lane County, and enjoying everything Eugene has to offer, including all the incredible food (Williamstown has ~8,000 people and only a few restaurants).

I head back to Massachusetts on Wednesday the 26th to dive back into school, and it goes without saying that I’ll miss getting to spend time at ELAW and around Eugene. I’ll be back briefly in the summer for jury duty (my 3rd summons in two years!), but for most of the summer and next year I’ll be at the University of Geneva in Switzerland studying psychology.

I would like to say thank you to everyone at ELAW who made my internship possible, and thanks to everyone who helped make it an interesting and productive experience!

Eric Robinson
2011 ELAW Intern

Editor’s note: Eric has been enormously helpful, working independently and always with a positive attitude. He has provided ELAW with hours of solid, timely work. We are thrilled that he has found his experience interesting and beneficial. We wish him luck at Williams and hope that his experience in Geneva is rewarding. Thanks Eric – We will miss you too!

ELAW staff and me at the farewell party

Time flies when you are enjoying it.

Since November 2009, I have been working at ELAW – strengthening ties with ELAW partners in China, providing Chinese translation of legal and scientific resources, and helping to administer the ELAW Fellows program. I have worked happily every day. I am proud of the time I spent at ELAW, and I am glad that I have been helpful in some way. When I began working at ELAW, I was looking for an answer: is this really what I want to do as a career or even for the rest of my life?

ELAW works with public interest advocates from Africa, Asia, Central America, South America, Europe, and other regions around the globe. Through ELAW’s network, I was lucky to have opportunities to connect with these environmental lawyers, scientists, engineers, and non-profit organization directors and staff. ELAW connected me to a global public interest environmental community that I really feel I belong to.

Until I began working with ELAW, I was uncertain about the possibilities of finding a meaningful job. I saw others around me looking for a “good” job where they made more money, and I was worried that I too would have to work only for money. I knew that the work itself would make the job interesting, and I imagined what traveling for a job would be like.

While completing my M.A. in environmental studies at the UO, my passion for working at an environmental non-profit organization was inspired. I contacted ELAW to inquire about a one-year internship, where I could test my interest. ELAW’s stories made me, a pessimist, start to believe that there must be something we can do, and there is a good way we can work to help people and the environment. Working together to help each other and our environment is what gives our lives and our work meaning.

In my first ELAW blog I wrote, “ELAW is the best option for me to do the internship.” Now I know that I was right! Thanks to everyone at ELAW. I will miss all of you!

Chu “Cassie” Chen
ELAW Intern 2009-2010

Editor’s note: Cassie (as we all know her) called ELAW with an interest in volunteering for one year. We now wonder how we got everything done without her! Not only has she been a hard-worker, a fast-learner, and a committed advocate for the environment and human rights, she has been a positive, smiling co-worker and friend. We will miss seeing her every day, but look forward to hearing about all her success. Thanks Cassie!

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