Hi, I’m Gail Carlson, Director of the Buck Lab for Climate and Environment at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, and faculty member in the Environmental Studies Program. My courses include The Environment and Human Health; Global Public Health; Climate Change, Justice and Health; Environmental Activism and Community Responses to Environmental Hazards (a writing-intensive environmental justice seminar for first-year students). I also co-instruct a yearly seminar, Human Rights in Global Perspective, with the Oak Human Rights Fellow sponsored by Colby’s Oak Institute for Human Rights.
Much of my work involves research and civic engagement focused on local food security and environmental policy-making in Maine. I advise Colby’s Food For Thought project that gets Colby student volunteers out in Waterville working on community garden projects and food education, including with school children in the Growing Dome at the Alfond Youth and Community Center (AYCC) and in the school garden with 4th and 5th graders at the Albert S. Hall School. In recognition of, and on behalf of, Colby students’ amazing dedication to childhood food security in Waterville, I was given the 2019 Martha Paganucci Award for volunteerism at the AYCC. Many of my courses incorporate projects aimed to enhance student learning through engagement with community members, non-governmental organizations, and policy-makers on environmental health issues of public significance. For example, in 2015, my students focused on the public health impacts of arsenic, a common drinking water contaminant in private wells in Maine, and held a public forum in Belgrade Lakes, Maine to raise awareness and help distribute critical health information and water testing kits.
Outside of Colby, I chair the Science Advisory Council of the Environmental Health Strategy Center, a Portland, Maine-based nonprofit organization committed to improving public health and the environment, and incentivizing the use of safer chemicals in a sustainable economy. I also regularly advocate as a science expert in the Maine Legislature on issues related to environmental health. I have a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.