May 18, 2003 - University of Texas: Kevin Anderson served as Peace Corps volunteer in Hungary where he developed the first Peace Corps environmental project in Eastern Europe, the protection of the Tisza River

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Hungary: Peace Corps Hungary : The Peace Corps in Hungary: May 18, 2003 - University of Texas: Kevin Anderson served as Peace Corps volunteer in Hungary where he developed the first Peace Corps environmental project in Eastern Europe, the protection of the Tisza River

By Admin1 (admin) on Sunday, May 18, 2003 - 11:22 am: Edit Post

Kevin Anderson served as Peace Corps volunteer in Hungary where he developed the first Peace Corps environmental project in Eastern Europe, the protection of the Tisza River



Kevin Anderson served as Peace Corps volunteer in Hungary where he developed the first Peace Corps environmental project in Eastern Europe, the protection of the Tisza River

Arete: Kevin Anderson

Rick Cherwitz and Courtney Dillard




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Editor's note: Arete is an ancient Greek word for virtue, describing the quest for individual excellence. In this regular feature of On Campus, the University salutes its graduate students whose considerable contributions to the academy and larger community are truly virtuious. These features will be framed and posted in the lobby of the Office of Graduate Studies, Main 101.

Name: Kevin Anderson
Hometown: Loysville, Penn.
Department: Geography
Ph.D. Adviser: Robin Doughty
Education: B.A., Allegheny College, Meadville, Penn.--Philosophy and English Literature; M.A., Ohio University, Athens, Ohio--Philosophy; Ph.D. program, UT Austin--Geography

Kevin Anderson is asking new and important questions about the way humans conceptualize and interact with nature. His work on 'marginal nature' may help more broadly define nature, moving it beyond the wild and the pastoral to include urban landscapes and even waste treatment sites.

Using Hornsby Bend, a local sewage treatment site that always has attracted Texas birdwatchers, as a focal point, Anderson has employed a variety of methods to study and develop an appreciation for marginal nature.

With help from high school students, Anderson constructed trails around the site and revitalized the Center for Environmental Research at Hornsby Bend so scholars from both UT and Texas A&M may use the facility for hands-on urban sustainability research and education.

Anderson's journey to Hornsby Bend began several years ago after working on a master's degree in Philosophy at Ohio University. In 1990, he served as Peace Corps volunteer in Hungary. While there, he developed the first Peace Corps environmental project in Eastern Europe, the protection of the Tisza River. His work in Hungary created scholarship opportunities, including an Eastern European summer grant that allowed him to study the region both in Hungary and at Oxford.

Anderson entered the geography program at UT Austin in 1996. While he began as a scholar interested in Eastern Europe, his visits to Hornsby Bend for birdwatching with his adviser Robin Doughty eventually brought his interest closer to home. In the 1980s, Austin rebuilt Hornsby Bend as a reuse and recycle site for sewage and yard waste, which allows for composting and the creation of manure for hay-crops.

While this space was being utilized for the community, Anderson saw in Hornsby Bend an opportunity to bring a wide variety of people to an unusual natural site and allow them to enjoy it as a part of urban nature.

He found many creative ways to do this. He secured funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Envirnonmental Protection Agency to allow undergraduate students in geography and other disciplines to work with at-risk youth, teaching them the value of nature through trail building, riparian restoration and resource management projects. In addition, he jumpstarted the Center for Environmental Research, making it available to a variety of scholars from engineering, community and regional planning, philosophy and integrative biology.

This work resulted in the city of Austin hiring Anderson to coordinate the center and work on land management for Hornsby Bend and other Austin public lands. Thus, Anderson has found a place and a position that integrates his scholarly interests in geography and philosophy while allowing him to protect urban ecology.

Through his work at Hornsby Bend, his research into how humans conceptualize nature and his interest in sharing marginal nature with other scholars, undergraduates and even high-school students, Anderson seeks to redefine nature. His efforts will surely prove invaluable at time when 70 percent of human beings live in urban settings.

NOTE: Nominations (including self-nominations) for ARETE should be sent to Associate Dean Richard Cherwitz at spaj737@uts.cc.utexas.edu



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Story Source: University of Texas

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Hungary; Environment

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