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School of Environment and Natural Resources


Top 5 Moments from Environmental Professionals Network

May. 1, 2017
Jack Hanna, director emeritus with the Columbus Zoo, and one of the zoo’s cheetahs hold forth in front of the Environmental Professionals Network on April 10, 2014. (Photo: Troy McGough.)

This news article was originally published on the website of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and was written by Kurt Knebusch.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Five years ago, David Hanselmann helped launch the Environmental Professionals Network (EPN), a statewide professional group based at The Ohio State University.

Since then, EPN has grown to have nearly 2,000 members. It’s held 55 public monthly Breakfast Club programs, which typically draw more than 125 people, and five signature events, whose top attendance has been 1,400.

Hanselmann — who coordinates EPN as a lecturer in Ohio State’s School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR), part of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences — shares his top five moments from those events.

1. ‘One Million Actions for Planet Earth’

Jack Hanna

Jack Hanna, director emeritus, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, April 10, 2014

“Jack led zoos across America to encourage their visitors to adopt sustainable practices daily. To make this more than just an event, we encouraged the 700 attendees in the Ohio Union ballroom to join the effort, ultimately making Columbus the winner. Jack’s message was inspiring; the animals he brought, adorable. None pooped on stage, either.” (Watch.) (Photo: Troy McGough.)

2. ‘Cleaning Up America’s Rivers’

Chad Pregracke

Chad Pregracke, 2013 CNN Hero of the Year, Feb. 24, 2015

“On a frigid winter morning, hundreds of students came to hear a young guy living on the banks of the Mississippi who had quietly started pulling debris from the river. Then CNN’s Anderson Cooper interviewed him, opening the doors for financial support and ultimately over 70,000 volunteers on 15 rivers. How neat to see our students on the edge of their seats, wanting to know how to get involved.”

3. ‘An Evening with Joel Sartore’

Joel Sartore

Photographer Joel Sartore, March 26, 2015

“Famous for his photos and stories in National Geographic, Sartore spoke in the Ohio Union ballroom shortly after his photos were projected on the United Nations headquarters building in advance of the UN Climate Summit. He didn’t try to impress people with his fame. Instead, he inspired students to get involved in wildlife conservation and sustainable living. He shared his Photo Ark of endangered species. Amazingly, after landing in Columbus, he went straight to a SENR grad student’s home to chat with him about his endangered-salamander conservation work.” (Photo: Joel Sartore.)

4. ‘Earth and People: Lessons in Living Together’

M Sanjayan

M. Sanjayan, executive vice president and senior scientist, Conservation International, Feb. 11, 2016

“Remembering Sanjayan from stories on CBS, CNN and BBC, I was at home watching the second episode of PBS’s ‘Earth: A New Wild,’ where he interviewed people around the world about how people and wildlife can flourish together. The next morning, I emailed his office, and two weeks later had a reply saying, ‘Yes, he would love to come to Ohio State.’ About 1,400 people in the Ohio Union ballroom were spellbound by his insights and inspiration, and nearly 100 stood in line afterward to chat with him.” (Watch.) (Photo: Ami Vitale.)

5. ‘An Evening with Grizzly 399’

Grizzly 399 2

Photographer Thomas Mangelsen and author-journalist Todd Wilkinson, Oct. 24, 2016

“I knew scientists in SENR were concerned that efforts to remove the grizzly bear in the Greater Yellowstone area from the endangered species list were premature. Why not invite the most famous photographer in the West and a well-known investigative environmental journalist to Ohio State to help amplify our scientists’ concerns? With their photos and stories of the iconic mother grizzly, No. 399, students and other attendees left inspired and equipped with information needed to make their voices heard, knowing federal lands belong to all of us.” (Watch.) (Photo: Thomas Mangelsen.)

David Hanselmann

Hanselmann (photo: Stephanie Murray)

Videos of EPN’s events are archived at A schedule of upcoming events is provided there, too, as are details on joining the network. Membership is free and open to anyone working in an environmental field, including students.

EPN is a “platform for people to discuss issues and ideas, be inspired and motived, and seek jobs and opportunities,” Hanselmann said. “Our feedback shows that collaborations and partnerships have been created; grants, internships and jobs have been gained; and projects have been initiated and sustained.”

The network’s motto is “Connecting Our Community.”


Kurt Knebusch


David Hanselmann