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February 26, 2010

Bowerman Fellowships Expand Environmental Education

Developing a guide to addressing climate change through Atmospheric Trust Litigation. Creating a handbook describing how to protect instream water under Oregon law. Helping homeowners address climate change at the local level.

Now in its second year, Oregon Law’s Environmental and Natural Resources program’s Bowerman Fellowship continues to fund groundbreaking and innovative student research. The fellowship affords three rising third-year students the opportunity to engage in research projects that are furthering their knowledge, their careers, and their fields of practice.

The fellowships are made possible through the generous support of University of Oregon alumnus Tom Bowerman. Mr. Bowerman graduated from the UO School of Architecture in 1969 and went on to practice large-scale development in planning and architecture in California, Hawaii, and Northern Ireland before returning to Oregon. He founded the McKenzie River Trust and has served on numerous local and regional planning advisory boards.

With the help of Mr. Bowerman, students are able to extend their passion for environmental law beyond the classroom and engage in projects that are helping to advance their field. This year, the Bowerman Fellows’ research culminates with a presentation at Oregon Law’s annual Public Interest Environmental Law Conference, the oldest and largest conference of its kind, taking place February 25-28.

The 2009-10 Bowerman Fellows, Abby Blodgett, Andy Engel, and Maureen McGee, will present their work on legal issues surrounding state efforts to invalidate restrictive covenants that limit home energy saving practices; producing a water conservation handbook for Oregon; and exploring potential legal claims and defenses associated with atmospheric trust litigation, respectively.

McGee, a third-year law student, says she was motivated to apply for a Bowerman Fellowship because she wanted to be more involved with the work of the ENR program and to continue her work on climate change issues.

“My environmental law professors, particularly Professor Mary Wood, encouraged me to look at the Bowerman Fellowship as an opportunity to have my research funded and supported by a number of faculty and staff, allowing me to produce more in depth and precise research that could be broadly disseminated to the environmental law community.” McGee notes.

This research is not a standalone entity for Bowerman Fellows, however, but a way to build upon and expand concepts discussed in the classroom.

“My particular work through the fellowship has exponentially expanded the knowledge base that I developed during my second-year water law class,” says Engel.

“My project has required me to synthesize and apply concepts from a number of my classes, helping me better understand the role of a practitioner in developing complex and novel litigation,” McGee adds.

Students apply for Bowerman Fellowships in the spring of their second-year. They must be in excellent academic standing and have completed one year as an ENR fellow. Applicants are required to submit a project proposal that identifies a compelling environmental problem and directly present a work plan that will contribute to a solution.

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