HERO: Human-Environment Regional Observatory

HERO Program Accomplishments

The HERO Program, 1999 through summer 2011

  • approximately 60 different students have participated in
    the HERO program as Fellows
  • about 1/2 are female and 15% are ethnic minorities.
  • about 1/3 of the Fellows have served more than one year

The majors have included: Art History, Biology, Business Management, Economics, Environmental Science & Policy, Geography, Global Environmental Studies, History, International Development, Mathematics, Psychology, and Studio Arts. Many HERO fellows have been double majors.

HERO fellows have made presentations at professional science meetings every year. These meetings have included: Association of American Geographers (AAG) 2002 - 2011, New England Saint Lawrence Valley Division of AAG (NESTVAL) 2005 and 2009, GIScience, Harvard Forest Symposium, Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change, Marine Biological Laboratory Scientists Meeting, Spatial Accuracy Assessment in Natural Resources and Environmental Science, The International Environmetrics Society. In addition, we have presented to local community groups including: Massachusetts Audubon Society, Metropolitan Area Planning Council, City of Worcester Brownfields Symposium, and the Clark University Climate Change Symposium.

Several HERO fellows have won awards from organizations beyond Clark. This list does not include awards presented by Clark, such as the Vouras award, which several HERO fellows have won. Names of external awards include:

  • First Place Paper for Remote Sensing Specialty Group AAG 2004 and 2005.
  • First Place Paper for Water Resources Specialty Group AAG 2005.
  • First Place Poster for Water Resources Specialty Group AAG 2005.
  • Second Place Poster for Cartography Specialty Group AAG 2005.
  • Finalist Paper for Geographic Information Science Specialty Group AAG 2005.
  • First Place Poster for NESTVAL Division of AAG (two times).
  • Hank Emery Award from the Geospatial Information and Technology Association.
  • ESRI Scholar for GIScience 2004.
  • Fulbright Scholarship.

Many HERO fellows have written a senior honors thesis in conjunction with their HERO experience. These include several at the level of High Honors and at the level of Highest Honors.

Many HERO fellows have entered graduate school and a few former HERO fellows have entered Doctoral programs. Schools include: Boston College, Boston University, Clark University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Pennsylvania State University, San Diego State University, Tulane University, University of California / Santa Barbara, University of British Columbia, University of Delaware, and Yale University.

A number of different fellows have been co-authors on publications. The HERO program has produced 20 publications in peer-reviewed journals, 6 publications as conference proceedings, 2 books and one high-profile newspaper story.
 

Publications include the following:

Peer-reviewed Journal Articles
 

  1. Harris, E., Martin, D., Polsky, C., Denhardt, L. and Nehring, A. (forthcoming) Beyond ‘Lawn People’: The role of emotions in suburban yard management practices. The Professional Geographer.

  2. Gao, Y.,Marpu, P., Niemeyer, I., Runfola, D.M., Giner, N., Hamill, T., Pontius Jr., G.R.,2011. "Object-based classification with features extracted by a semi-automatic feature extraction algorithm - SEaTH." Geocarto International. 26 (3)

  3. Fortier, J., Rogan, J., Woodcock, C., Runfola, D.M., (2011). Utilizing temporally invariant calibration sites to classify multiple dates of satellite imagery. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing.77 (2): p.181-189

  4. Rogan, J., Bumbarger, N., D. Kulakowski, Z. Christman, D. Runfola, and S.D. Blanchard (forthcoming 2011). Improving forest type discrimination with mixed lifeform classes using fuzzy classification. Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing.

  5. Polsky, C., R. Neff, and B. Yarnal, 2007. "Building Comparable Global Change Vulnerability Assessments: The Vulnerability Scoping Diagram." Global Environmental Change 17: 472-485.
     
  6. Hill, T. and Polsky, C., 2007. Development and drought in suburbia: A mixed methods rapid assessment of vulnerability to drought in rainy Massachusetts. Global Environmental Change, Part B: Environmental Hazards 7:291-301.
     
  7. Polsky, C., J. Rogan, R.G. Pontius, and B.L. Turner II. “Research on, and with, GIS: The Massachusetts Human-Environment Regional Observatory (HERO) Program.” 2007 Council on Undergraduate Research.
     
  8. Polsky, C., R. Neff, and B. Yarnal. 2007. “Building Comparable Global Change Vulnerability Assessments: the Core Vulnerability Dataset.” Global Environmental Change 17:472-485.
     
  9. Jones, T.G., J. Rogan, C. Polsky and M. Song. In Press. A Quantitative Comparison of Pixel- and Object-based Classification in Metro-west Massachusetts, USA. The Massachusetts Forest Monitoring Project. International Journal of Remote Sensing.
     
  10. Pontius Jr, Robert Gilmore, Anna J Versluis and Nicholas R Malizia. 2006. Visualizing certainty of extrapolations from models of land change. Landscape Ecology in press.
     
  11. Pontius Jr, Robert Gilmore and Christopher Lippitt. 2006. Can error explain map differences over time? Cartography and Geographic Information Science in press.
     
  12. Pontius Jr, Robert Gilmore and Jeffrey Malanson. 2005. Comparison of the structure and accuracy of two land change models. International Journal of Geographical Information Science 19(2) p.243-265.
     
  13. Pontius Jr, Robert Gilmore, Diana Huffaker and Kevin Denman. 2004. Useful techniques of validation for spatially explicit land-change models. Ecological Modeling 179(4) p.445-461.
     
  14. Pontius Jr, Robert Gilmore and Nicholas R Malizia. 2004. Effect of category aggregation on map comparison. Lecture Notes in Computer Science 3234 p.251-268. in M J Egenhofer, C Freksa, and H J Miller (eds): GIScience2004.
     
  15. Pontius Jr, Robert Gilmore, Emily Shusas and Menzie McEachern. 2004. Detecting important categorical land changes while accounting for persistence. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 101(2-3) p.251-268.
     
  16. Pontius Jr, Robert Gilmore, Aditya Agrawal and Diana Huffaker. 2003. Estimating the uncertainty of land-cover extrapolations while constructing a raster map from tabular data. Journal of Geographical Systems 5(3) p.253-273.
     
  17. Holden, Matthew, Christopher Lippitt, Robert Gilmore Pontius Jr and Carissa Williams. 2003. Building a database of historic land cover to detect landscape change. Biological Bulletin 205 p.257-258.
     
  18. Huffaker, Diana and Robert Gilmore Pontius Jr. 2002. Reconstruction of Historical Land Cover in the Ipswich Watershed. Biological Bulletin 203 p.253-254.
     
  19. Sorrensen, C., C. Polsky, and R. Neff, 2006. “The Human-Environment Regional Observatory (HERO) Project: Undergraduate Research Findings from Four Study Sites.” Geographical Bulletin 47 (2): 65-72.
     
  20. Hill, T. and C. Polsky, 2006. “Adaptation to Drought in the Context of Suburban Sprawl and Abundant Rainfall.” Geographical Bulletin 47 (2): 85-100.
     

Book Chapters

  1. Yarnal, B., Polsky, C. and O'Brien, J. (Editors) 2009. Sustainable Communities on a Sustainable Planet: The Human-Environment Regional Observatory Project. Cambridge University Press, New York, 368 pp.
     
      Polsky, C., Assefa, S., Del Vecchio, K., Hill, T., Merner, L., Tercero, I. and Pontius, G., 2009. The Mounting Risk of Drought in a Humid Landscape: Structure and Agency in Suburbanizing Massachusetts. In: B. Yarnal, C. Polsky and J. O'Brien (Editors), Sustainable Communities on a Sustainable Planet: The Human-Environment Regional Observatory Project. Cambridge University Press, New York.
       
      Polsky, C., Comrie, A., Whitehead, J., Sorrensen, C., Butler Harrington, L.M., Lu, M., Neff, R. and Yarnal, B., 2009. Rapid Vulnerability Assessments of Exposures, Sensitivities, and Adaptive Capacities of the HERO Study Sites. In: B. Yarnal, C. Polsky and J. O'Brien (Editors), Sustainable Communities on a Sustainable Planet: The Human-Environment Regional Observatory Project. Cambridge University Press, New York.
       
      Polsky, C., Neff, R. and Yarnal, B., 2009. Establishing Vulnerability Observatory Networks to Coordinate the Collection and Analysis of Comparable Data In: B. Yarnal, C. Polsky and J. O'Brien (Editors), Sustainable Communities on a Sustainable Planet: The Human-Environment Regional Observatory Project. Cambridge University Press, New York.
       
      Polsky, C., Sorrensen, C., Whitehead, J., Butler Harrington, L.M., Lu, M., Neff, R. and Yarnal, B., 2009. Evaluating Vulnerability Assessments of the HERO Study Sites. In: B. Yarnal, C. Polsky and J. O'Brien (Editors), Sustainable Communities on a Sustainable Planet: The Human-Environment Regional Observatory Project. Cambridge University Press, New York.
       
      Polsky, C., Sorrensen, C., Whitehead, J. and Neff, R., 2009. Assessing Local Vulnerabilities: Methodological Approaches and Regional Contexts. In: B. Yarnal, C. Polsky and J. O'Brien (Editors), Sustainable Communities on a Sustainable Planet: The Human-Environment Regional Observatory Project. Cambridge University Press, New York.
       
      Yarnal, B., Harrington, J.J., Comriem, A.C., Polsky, C. and Ahlqvist, O., 2009. Infrastructure for Observing Local Human-Environment Interactions In: B. Yarnal, C. Polsky and J. O'Brien (Editors), Sustainable Communities on a Sustainable Planet: The Human-Environment Regional Observatory Project. Cambridge University Press New York.
       

Conference Proceedings

  1. Pontius Jr, Robert Gilmore and John Connors. 2006. Expanding the conceptual, mathematical, and practical methods for map comparison. Conference proceedings of the meeting of Spatial Accuracy 2006. Lisbon, Portugal. 16p.
     
  2. Pontius Jr, Robert Gilmore, Versluis, Anna J, and Nicholas R Malizia. 2005. Visualizing the certainty for extrapolations from models of landscape change. Conference proceedings of the meeting of Geocomputation. Ann Arbor MI. 6p.
     
  3. Pontius Jr, Robert Gilmore and Christopher Lippitt. 2004. A method to distinguish real landscape change from map error during map comparison. Conference proceedings of the joint meeting of The Fifteenth Annual Conference of The International Environmetrics Society and The Sixth Annual Symposium on Spatial Accuracy Assessment in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences. Portland ME. 9p.
     
  4. Versluis, Anna J, Robert Gilmore Pontius Jr, Nicholas R Malizia. 2004. Visualizing the rate at which the accuracy of a land change prediction decays. Conference proceedings of the meeting of the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science. Silver Spring MD. 29p.
     
  5. Pontius Jr, Robert Gilmore and Jeffrey Malanson. 2003. Methods to compare the accuracy of different types of land use change models. Abstract in Conference proceedings of Framing Land Use Dynamics. Utrecht, The Netherlands. p.115-116.
     
  6. Pontius Jr, Robert Gilmore, Aditya Agrawal, and Diana Huffaker. 2002. Uncertainty Analysis in Land Change Modeling: Constructing a Gridded Map from Tabular Data. Conference proceedings of the Second International Conference on Geographic Information Science. Boulder CO. p.141-142.
     

Newspaper Report

  1. Assefa, Sarah, Kate Del Vecchio, Laura Merner, Isaac Payano, and Colin Polsky. “Damp Northeast Still Not Immune to Drought” The Salem News (5/19/06, p.B7).