Environmental Science

Empowering Youth for a Resilient Future

As climate change continues to impact daily life, researchers at the UNC Institute for the Environment want to discover the best way to teach the next generation to build a more equitable, resilient society. To do this, they are studying how young people learn about the environment and enact change in their communities.

Leave It to Beavers

As urban regions in the Southeast continue to grow and develop, harmful pollutants enter nearby waterways more frequently. UNC researchers think one of the best solutions to prevent this may be investments in the habitats of the furry neighbors already in our backyards: beavers.

An Active Storm Season

June 1 marked the start of the 2020 hurricane season — and it’s slated to be an active one. In this Q&A, UNC researcher Rick Luettich talks about this year’s above-average hurricane forecast, the impact these storms have on inland populations, and how COVID-19 may affect vulnerable communities.

Megan Raisle

Megan Raisle is a senior and Morehead-Cain Scholar double-majoring in environmental studies and geography within the UNC College of Arts & Sciences. She studies climate change across disciplines to uncover how to be a more effective advocate for climate action and understand why it sometimes fails.

Old Growth, New Life

The Davie Poplar. Walter’s Pine. The Monarch of the Forest. While these natural landmarks on UNC’s campus were here long before the university was, they’ve become a prominent part of its history. But what happens if they die? A team at Carolina has an innovative solution for preserving their stories.

The Known Unknowns

In 2016, a group of North Carolina researchers published evidence of high rates of PFAS in the Cape Fear River basin. While this unregulated family of chemicals is used in the production of everyday goods, its impact on human health is largely unknown. For the past year, scientists from UNC-Chapel Hill, five other UNC system universities, and Duke University, have researched these potentially dangerous chemicals found in drinking water sources across the state.

Captain of the Coast

From the shores of New Jersey to the North Carolina coast, Pete Peterson has always loved the ocean. He's spent nearly five decades researching its marine life, fighting for its protection, and guiding the next generation of marine scientists to do the same.

Artifacts of Alteration

Most visitors return from Jordan Lake with a tan, a photograph, or maybe a unique bird feather. Ayla Gizlice collects something else entirely — chunks of clay, plastic bags, rocks, and dead fish. The UNC senior incorporates these materials into an art project addressing how human actions shape the physical environment.

Restoring Rural China

While the United States and China take up roughly the same amount of land mass, China’s population is over four times that of the U.S. — and more people means more change in vegetation growth. How do these factors connect to climate change? Conghe Song explores this relationship, pursuing a project that has led to his return to his birthplace: rural China.