Dr. Eugene Odum, Founder of the field of ecology

Eugene Odum, founder of the field of Ecology (in whose honor the Odum School at the University of Georgia is named) used to keep a small globe in his desk drawer. He would pull out the globe; hold it in his hands and say,

“We have to take care of the Earth.”

Taking care of the earth means many things—conservation, sustainability, environmental education to name just three—but it also means telling the story of our changing planet. The Environmental Communication Initiative (ECI) at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication is an undergraduate teaching program squarely aimed at creating the next generation of storytellers about the environment. The program currently teaches classes on the UGA campus and in Costa Rica during the summer. Shorter workshops during the academic year are conducted at Sapelo Island, the Okefenokee Swamp and other locations in Georgia.

To learn more about the initiative please contact Anandam Kavoori, Professor, Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30605.


Anandam Kavoori is Professor, Grady College of Journalism and Coordinator of the Environmental Communications Initiative. He spent a year studying Ecology in the Odum School at UGA. He has had a life-long love affair with trees, beginning with his childhood growing up in rural India. He has taught environmental communications in a number of settings:  the Georgia Coast, Austria, Cambodia, and Costa Rica. He has been a consultant for Discovery Channel, News Corporation, CNN International, and Living Media. He can be reached at andykavoori@gmail.com


Michael Castengera is Senior Lecturer Emeritus in the Grady College. His areas of teaching are digital news reporting, writing, production and environmental journalism. He has more than 30 year’s experience, starting as a newspaper reporter and editor before becoming a television news reporter and manager, working at some of the top stations in the country. He taught in Grady’s Costa Rica  program in 2015. He can be reached at mcasteng@uga.edu


Thomas Hudson is Senior Lecturer in the Grady College. His areas of specialization include teaching news-writing, editing, ethics, magazine writing and environmental journalism. He taught in Grady’s Costa Rica program in 2016 and 2017. Mr. Hudson has been awarded the Excellence in Journalism Education Award from the Grady College. A former reporter, he has published extensively as a free-lance journalist over the last 30 years. He can be reached at caltom@uga.edu

Amanda Rugenski is a lecturer at the Odum School of Ecology at the University of Georgia and teaches the Costa Rica study abroad course offered during the Fall Semester. She has developed and co-teaches a course on “Science Communication for Ecologists” with Dr. Kavoori. It is typically offered in the spring semester at the UGA campus and is open to students in Odum and Grady. She can be reached at: atrugenski@uga.edu.


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