Plymouth State University to Host Environmental Science Colloquium Series

Professor Eric Kelsey in the woods working on research

The Center for the Environment at Plymouth State University (PSU) will host the Environmental Science Colloquium Series, which will explore topics of local interest, including Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and radon. The free, afternoon lectures are slated for Tuesday, February 4, and Wednesday, February 26, March 25, April 8 and April 22, in the University’s Boyd Science Center in Plymouth.

On Tuesday, February 4, experts from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services will discuss PFAS, providing more detail about the chemicals and their environmental impacts, and possible solutions to pollution and exposure. Panelists Brandon Kernen, PG, Jonathan Ali, Ph.D., and Kathleen Bush, Ph.D., will share insights and expertise on the topic. Nicole Jaskiewicz, Ph.D., teaching faculty at PSU, will moderate the discussion, which will take place at 3:30 p.m. in room 144 of the Boyd Science Center.

The remaining four lectures will take place at 4 p.m. in the University’s Boyd Science Center, room 001.

Larry Spencer, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of biology at PSU, will present “Are birds really dinosaurs?” on Wednesday, February 26. Spencer was a member of the first team of scientists to look for a relationship between birds and dinosaurs in 1963, and will share first-hand knowledge of the initial research and discuss how research on this topic has evolved since.

On Wednesday, March 25, Eugene Benoit, environmental engineer, Environmental Protection Agency, will present, “Radon: origins, prevalence and health effects.” Benoit will focus on the biology of radon exposure, the cosmic origins of radioactive elements such as radon, the prevalence of radon in Earth’s atmosphere, and how to avoid exposure.

On Wednesday, April 8, Eric Kelsey, Ph.D., Director of Research at the Mount Washington Observatory and Research Assistant Professor of Meteorology at PSU, will present, “Tackling a Big Snow Hydrology Problem with Small Low-Cost Sensors.” Kelsey will discuss new sensors developed by PSU to better understand the threat of floods and avalanches that were deployed on Mount Washington and are used by the National Weather Service to improve its modeling and forecasting.

The final lecture in the Colloquium Series will take place on Wednesday, April 22, when Patrick Hackley, Assistant Director of Land Protection at The Nature Conservancy, will present, “The Surry Mountain Project: A Case Study in Conversation.” Hackley will discuss The Nature Conservatory’s efforts to protect and preserve an important land tract near Keene, NH.

The Environmental Sciences Colloquium Series, which first began in 2005, brings PSU students, faculty, staff and community members together to learn about a broad range of environmental science topics. The lectures feature both PSU experts and leading authorities from other organizations.

For more information about Plymouth State University and the environmental science colloquium series, visit