Lecture Series

It helps us to plan if you RSVP at Eventbrite, using the "details" links below, but you are welcome to just show up at 7:00 on the dates below, as well.  Donations, snacks and support of these events is always welcome.  If you would like to present a lecture at CSCR or recommend a speaker for us, please contact Carsten Haber.
  • Jan. 24 – Torey Hart: A Peace Corps Malawi Volunteer's Perspective on Youth, Gender, and the Environment (details)
  • Feb. 13 - Alex Etkind: Wildland Fire Ecology in Massachusetts and Beyond (details
  • March 6 – Isabel Gutowski (details)
  • April 24 - John Rogers, Union of Concerned Scientists (details)

The January 24 guest speaker of the CSCR seminar and discussion series is Torey Hart, Volunteer at Peace Corps Malawi.  Torey will present and discuss 'A Peace Corps Malawi Volunteer's Perspective on Youth, Gender, and the Environment'.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in an African village with no running water, modern plumbing and no refrigeration? This lecture will talk about just this; serving in the Peace Corps for three years in Malawi, a Sub-Saharan African country known as “The Warm Heart of Africa” because of its friendly people and peaceful history. We’ll talk about what poverty looks like in Malawi, where 50% of Malawians live in poverty and 25% live in extreme poverty. Additionally, what are the effects of climate change and deforestation in Malawi and how do these factors contribute to gender inequality.



A Cohasset High School 2009 graduate, Torey Hart then attended University of Rhode Island from 2009-2013. After graduating university, she served in Peace Corps Liberia starting in June 2014 before being evacuated due to the extreme health risks of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in August of that year. Upon her return to the US, Torey mobilized Cohasset community to volunteer in two food packaging events that sent a total of 26,000 vitamin enriched dry meals of beans and rice with donated clothing to Ebola treatment centers for orphans and vulnerable peoples affected by Ebola in Liberia. Before departure to her next assignment with Peace Corps Malawi in July 2015, Torey was the Cohasset High School Girls and Boys Swim Team head coach. In Peace Corps Malawi, Torey served as a secondary school biology teacher. Her secondary activities in her community include leading Grassroot Soccer efforts as Grassroot Soccer Coordinator. Grassroot Soccer is a youth empowerment program that promoting HIV prevention and gender equality among Malawian youth through the use of sports and games. After completion of her two-year service in Malawi Torey extended for a third year of service in her community from July 2017 to August 2018.

 The February 13 guest speaker of the CSCR seminar and discussion series is Alexander Etkind, Specialist at Northeast Forest and Fire Management, LLC in Sandwich MA.

Alexander will present and discuss 'Wildland Fire Ecology in Massachusetts and Beyond'.

Seminar Abstract

From the coast of Massachusetts to the mountains of Montana, fire is an integral component of many healthy ecosystems. Although fire is often associated with destruction, it is also a powerful and restorative force on the landscape. The plant and animal communities of coastal New England evolved with the influence of fire for thousands of years and periodic fires create and maintain habitat for many native species. Today prescribed fires are intentionally ignited to meet specific ecological objectives and reduce the potential for uncontrollable wildfires. Mr. Etkind will describe the process of implementing prescribed fire in the Northeast. In addition, he will share his experiences fighting wildfires in the western United States


Alexander Etkind specializes in the sustainable management of fire adapted ecosystems. With over eight years of experience in land management and conservation, he has worked in a variety of capacities with non-profit land trusts, environmental organizations, and municipal, state, and federal government agencies. In his position with Northeast Forest and Fire Management, LLC, Mr. Etkind implements prescribed burns throughout New England and New York. In addition to his work with prescribed fire in the Northeast, Mr. Etkind is an Emergency Firefighter with the National Park Service and has been deployed on multiple wildfire assignments in the western United States.

A native of Cohasset, Mr. Etkind earned a bachelor’s degree in Environmental, Earth, and Ocean Sciences from UMass Boston and a professional graduate certificate in Natural Resource Management and Sustainable Ecosystems from the Harvard University Extension School. He is currently a master’s degree candidate in Sustainability and Environmental Management at the Harvard University Extension School, where he is focusing his research on the management of wildlife habitat within the fire adapted ecosystems of Cape Cod.


The March 6 guest speaker of the CSCR seminar and discussion series is Isabel Gutowski, Research Assistant and Outreach Instructor at Northeastern University Marine Science Center in Nahant MA.

Isabel will present and discuss 'The effects of ocean acidification on the shell mineralogy of Crassostrea virginica (Eastern Oyster)'.

Seminar Abstract

Ocean acidification has become increasingly pressing issue within the world we live, caused by increasing average ocean surface temperatures and CO2 levels. These changes are causing a shift in the global seawater carbonate system that are lowering pH and could have major implications on various marine species (Ries et al. 2011). Oysters utilize a calcium carbonate shell and are an important ecological and commercial species that is very susceptible to these changes in pH due to their residence in estuarine environments (NOAA). Studies have shown that these calcifying organisms can increase their calcification rates with some reduction in pH (Ries et al. 2009), however it is inhibiting the production of shell in juveniles and larvae (Waldbusser et al. 2010). This can also have huge implications on the restoration of oyster reefs that provide an important habitat for many other marine organisms (Kellogg et al. 2013). It’s possible that the biological stressors of increasing temperature and CO2 are inducing energy-consuming responses such as DNA methylation, which is reducing their capacity for biomineralization (Li et al. 2016), but further studies need to be done to fully understand the scope of how ocean acidification will affect the population dynamics of this species.



Isabel recently received her Bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology from Northeastern University and has been working at the NEU Marine Science Center for the past year as a research technician and outreach instructor. In the lab, she aided in the maintenance and progress of epigenetic-related experiments on Crassostrea virginica (Eastern Oysters). Using the shells discarded from the experiment, she created her own research project and used advanced statistical analysis to focus on the effects of ocean acidification on the shell mineralogy of Eastern Oysters.


The April 24, 2019 guest speaker of the CSCR seminar and discussion series is John Rogers, Senior Energy Analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

John will present and discuss 'Offshore Wind: Power, Policy, and Promise'.


Seminar Abstract

How we make and use electricity has been a big part of U.S. carbon pollution for decades. But the power sector also offers some of the best opportunities for cutting carbon, with a range of commercially ready, cost-effective options. Now a new tool in the US clean energy toolbox is rising off our coasts: offshore wind. How do turbines taller than the Washington Monument, able to power a house for a day with a single spin of the blades, fit the Northeast energy scene and our need for environmental progress and economic development? Where do things stand in New England, in the Mid-Atlantic, and from the Carolinas to California (and Cleveland)? Mr. Rogers will describe the role of offshore wind in fueling clean energy momentum in Massachusetts and beyond, and where the technology—and we—might be headed.

John Rogers is a senior energy analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists with expertise in clean energy technologies and policies and a focus on solar, wind, and natural gas. He co-managed the UCS-led Energy and Water in a Warming World Initiative, a multi-year program aimed at raising awareness of the energy-water connection, particularly in the context of climate change, and motivating and informing effective low-carbon and low-water energy solutions. He also managed UCS’s Northeast Clean Energy Project, focused on a range of clean energy and climate policies for the region. John has served as lead or co-author on many UCS analyses, reports, and publications.  John joined UCS in 2006 after working for 15 years on private and public clean energy initiatives, including as a US Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras, and as a co-founder of a leading developer of clean energy solutions for rural markets in developing countries. He serves or has served on the boards of directors of various non-profit organizations, including RENEW Northeast and the US Offshore Wind Collaborative, and helped launch the American Wind Wildlife Institute.

These are free presentation seminars and discussion events hosted by the Center for Student Coastal Research (CSCR), a non profit organization located in Cohasset on Boston's South Shore. CSCR educates students in environmental sciences, encourages environmental awareness, and promotes activism. Details are available at www.ccscr.org

General attendance and participation is comlimentary, tax deductible donations are welcome.

Past Events



Optimizing Community & Business Resilience:

Preparing for Natural Disasters by Practicing Pollution Prevention

Mary Dever-Putnam, Chief of the Environmental and Compliance Assistance Unit of EPA region 1.

Nature and Maritime Archaeology: Can Massachusetts’ hidden history be used to better understandsea level rise and global warming?

VICTOR T. MASTONE, the Director and Chief Archaeologist of the Massachusetts Board of Underwater Archaeological Resources.  

Consumer product chemicals in the environment: How did they get there and what can we do?

Preventing Cancer at Home and About Town

Dr. Laurel Schaider of the Silent Spring Institute

We Need to Come Clean - the Fight Belongs to Everyone!

Emily Norton, the Massachusetts Chapter Director for the Sierra Club, the oldest and largest environmental advocacy group in the country.

'Habitat Diversity- Can ecosystems thrive when species diversity is declining?

Christian Alsterberg currently pursues

a postdoctoral degree at UMASS Boston.

He obtained a PhD in Marine Ecology and BS in Biology at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

'Ocean Acidification: Are coral reefs and clams fizzing away?'

George D. Buckley, Assistant Director of the Sustainability program at the Harvard University Extension School.

"Plastic Pollution in the Ocean- And what you can do about it!"

Jessica Donohue, research assistant,Sea Education Association (SEA; Woods Hole, MA).

Flood Mitigation Lessons Learned from Hurricane Sandy

Sarah Hamm, M.S. Geology, Colorado School of Mines; Coastal Geologist, an expert in flood hazard analysis.

Legal From the Start: Partnering Legal and Policy Research with Current Science for Better Coastal Management

Julia Wyman, J.D., Director of Marine Affairs Institute & Rhode Island Sea Grant Legal Program

From Antarctica to the Arctic: A Story of Snow, Sea Ice, and the Frigid Cold

Dr. Ross Lieb Lappen

Size matters: The fate of vernal pools and their inhabitants

Steven Schwartz

Developing 21st Century Green Students & Schools

Robin Organ

What’s Behind the Revised FEMA Flood Maps and Understanding Storm Surge Impacts to the Coastline

Ingeborg E. Hegemann & Matthew Creighton

Coastal Habitat Resiliency

Mary B. Griffin

Restoration of Coastal Wetlands on the South Shore

Jason D. Burtner

Learning from Coastal Systems how to adapt to Environmental Changes

Dr. Anamarija Frankic

Free Lecture: Diversity in the Spice of Life in Coastal Ecosystem

Jarrett Byrnes

Exploring the Bowhead Whale Feeding Hotspot near Barrow, AK

Carin Ashjian PhD

Beside Still Waters: Exploring Vernal Pools

Jonathan Twining

From Headwaters to Harbor – A Look at Restoration and Research in the Gulf River

Dr. Sara Grady

Current Issues in Environmental Policy: Climate Change Adaptation, MA Initiatives

John Clarkeson



If you are interested in actively participating in the lecture series program, please
contact the organizer Dr. Carsten Haber, CSCR board member.

Cohasset’s Center for Student Coastal Research (CSCR) inspires people of all ages to explore and engage in the scientific study of the local watershed and marine environment to launch the next generation of environmental stewards.