Tarnas-Raskin ’11 Researches in Amazon – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Tarnas-Raskin ’11 Researches in Amazon

Andrew Tarnas-Raskin ’11 took off for a paid research opportunity in Belem, Brazil, three months after graduation, where he worked with his four-year adviser, former HWS Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Eugenio Arima.

Funded by the National Science Foundation, Tarnas-Raskin and Arima researched the sustainable logging techniques now utilized by various organizations harvesting within the Amazon rainforest. Together, they interviewed officials from the logging company CIKEL about reduce impact logging techniques and Forest Stewardship Council certification, which is granted for sustainable logging practices. The interviews were videotaped in order to develop an educational video on the ecological and economic benefits of sustainable logging. The recordings were also intended to look at how the application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping is integral to the process.

“GIS and other geo-spatial technologies are vital to the sustainable growth and development of Brazil’s logging industry in the long run, yet, more importantly in the preservation of the vast biodiversity and species richness found in the Amazon rainforests,” says Tarnas-Raskin, who continues to work on the project.

“This research is especially important to me because it is directly associated with improving the state of our natural world, and doing so through social, economic, and ecological means. I have always been interested in the preservation of the nature. This research opportunity in Brazil allowed me to effectively utilize skills and knowledge that I gained at HWS and apply them directly to a real world problem,” says Tarnas-Raskin. “At HWS I took beginning GIS, and advanced GIS courses, and used the program as the focal point of my senior thesis on mapping fire behavior in Hawaii. These skills paired with the environmental focus of my course study allowed me to fully grasp the degree at which geo-spatial technologies contribute to the sustainable use of our earth’s resources, and ecological preservation in general.”

Continuing his commitment to the environment, Tarnas-Raskin also works with the Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization (HWMO), a non-profit NGO where he interned for the past two summers. HWMO is an organization devoted to wildfire prevention and mitigation on the island.

An environmental studies major, with minors in geoscience and sociology, Tarnas-Raskin studied abroad in Australia and New Zealand in fall 2010. During his time at the Colleges, he was a member of the student band, The Scope, which opened for State Radio in spring 2010. As the founder and president of HWS Live since the organization’s inception in 2009 until his graduation in 2011, Tarnas-Raskin helped to start and sustain a live music scene on campus, bringing musicians together and providing them with practice spaces, performance venues and equipment. He also played club lacrosse, was in jazz band, and was a member of a myriad of other clubs such as Arts Collective, Campus Greens, and ORAP. He also worked at Bristol field house for three years and in the dance department for two years playing drums for classes.

Arima, formerly an assistant professor of environmental studies at the Colleges, is now teaching at the University of Texas, Austin.