Sarah Fortner

Science Education Associate
Science Education Resource Center - Carleton College

Sarah Fortner CV (Acrobat (PDF) 228kB Jan4 21)
Sarah's Community Profile Page


I joined the SERC team in January 2021 to advance equity & justice through systems approaches to education, research, & community engagement. My experience includes 15 years of biogeochemical research (glacial/agricultural/urban) and applied research with the USGS and Ohio Department of Natural Resources. As the former director of Environmental Science at Wittenberg University, I led research and program development focused on community science, K-12 pathways, and advocacy in the Springfield, Ohio community. Our program informed agricultural decisions, urban land use development, climate resilience planning, and food and environmental justice decisions. With SERC and other national organizations (AAAS, AAC&U, AGI, CUR, GSA, NAGT, NAS, UCS), I have supported class, program, interdisciplinary, and cross-program, and civic project development including leading the campus-to-community InTeGrate Implementation Project that engaged every student at Wittenberg in sustainability content. I have a special love for the glacier community & have completed many field campaigns exploring the most beautiful places on earth (Antarctic Dry Valleys, Cordillera Blanca, Cascades). I currently serve on the Academic and Research Council for the Juneau Icefield Research Program.

Example Projects

Civic Learning in the Major by Design (AAC&U)

After receiving recognition from AAC&U for exemplary civic program design at Wittenberg, I joined the civic advisory committee. We collaboratively developed and led institutes through AAC&U Civic Prompts in the Major: Designs in Social Responsibility in the Major an effort engaging more than 25 programs & 200 faculty. After our workshop, I helped lead the development of supporting resource development during the COVID-19 pandemic (listserv for sharing, community resource page, webinars).


I am currently continuity planning for the EarthConnections project which builds educational pathways that provide students with community connected experiences. As a participant and topical network & alliance leader, I initiated managed a systems model for environmental and racial justice engaging more than through convergence research, education, and community capacity building. The Metal Redlining Network, Redlining Education & Change Coalition, Springfield Lead Pollution & Environmental Injustice Project operate at cross-city, cross-campus, and campus-community scales with cross-pollination between scales. The project has generated research, grant collaboration & provided students with mentored research, arts, community empowerment, and policy engagement experiences. In Springfield, it informed short term garden decision making and long term community development discussions on community health, municipal compost, and fair housing.

Related professional development includes: Geoscience for Community Priorities webinar highlighting a suite of approaches to engaging communities through research, education, and policy presented in collaboration with the American Geosciences Institute and AGU's Thriving Earth ExChange. Community & Political Engagement in the Geoscience module with a suite of engagement strategies at the course to program engagement level, & NAGT webinar: Getting Started in Environmental Justice Curriculum: Bridging Disciplines & Community a NAGT webinar co-led with health justice philosopher, Nancy McHugh.


I co-developed undergraduate teaching module A Growing Concern: Sustaining Soil Resources through Local Decision with Hannah Scherer & Martha Murphy as part of the InTeGrate sustainability capacity-building effort. While I was faculty at Wittenberg I led an InTeGrate Implementation Program focused on bridging disciplines and engaging in local sustainability challenges in collaboration with local organizations. Many of those projects focused on building an understanding of neighborhood challenges and perspectives moving campus collaboration forward around justice issues.

Related community visioning and professional development includes: Serving on the planning committee for the National Academies Workshop: Service Learning in the Undergraduate Geosciences, leading the How to Incorporate Service Learning in your Course & Curriculum Geosciences workshop at the Earth Educator's Rendezvous & co-leading InTeGrate, AGI, & GSA webinar: How to address Critical Issues in Your Community: Introductory Courses with Laura Guertin and Ken Brown.


The Ohio State University, Earth Sciences, M.S. and Ph.D.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison, Geology & Geophysics, B.S.


Book Chapters, & Edited Volumes:

  1. Fortner, S. K., Scherer, H. H., & Ritter, J. B. (2020). Community Engagement in the Earth Sciences: A Situated Learning Model at Wittenberg University. In Preparing Students for Community-Engaged Scholarship in Higher Education (pp. 361-378). IGI Global.
  2. Fortner, S., and Munk, L.. Sources, Transport and Fate of Trace and Toxic Elements in the Environment – International Applied Geochemistry Symposium Special Issue 2009.

Journal Articles (*mentored students)

  1. Baraer, M., McKenzie J., Mark, B.G., Gordon, R., Bury J., Condom T., Gomez J., Knox, S., & Fortner, S.K. 2015. Contribution of groundwater to the outflow from ungauged glacierized catchments: a multi‐site study in the tropical Cordillera Blanca, Peru." Hydrological Processes 29, no. 11 (2015): 2561-2581.
  2. Corsello*, R. (2020). Community Engagement Concerning Soil Lead Levels. The International Undergraduate Journal For Service-Learning, Leadership, and Social Change, 9(2), 30-38.
  3. Eddy, A.M., Mark, B.G., Baraer, M., McKenzie, J., Fernandez, A., Welch, S., & Fortner, S. K., Exploring patterns and controls on the hydrochemistry of proglacial streams in the upper Santa River, Peru (2018) Glaciology and Mountain Ecosystems, INAIGEM
  4. Fortner, S., Manduca, C., Guertin, L., Syzmanski, D., Villalobos, J. Teaching for earth resilience: A strategy for increased diversity and equity, 2019, GSA Today
  5. Fortner, S.K. & Lyons, W.B., 2018.Contributions of glacier surface waters to global ocean chemistry: McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica, Special Issue: Cold region melt water controls, Frontiers in Geochemistry (eds. Martyn Tranter, Mark Skidmore, Andy Hodson)
  6. Fortner, S.K., Scherer, H., Murphy, M., 2016. Engaging undergraduates in soil sustainability decision making through an InTeGrate Module, Journal of Geoscience Education.
  7. Fortner, S.K., Scherer, H., Murphy, M.A 2014. A growing concern: sustaining soil resources through local decision making,
  8. Fortner, S.K., Lyons, W.B., Munk, L.A. 2013. Diel stream geochemistry, Taylor Valley, Antarctica, Hydrological Processes 27(3):394-404..
  9. Fortner, S.K., Lyons, W.B., Carey, A.E., Shipitalo, M.J., Welch, S.A., Welch, K.A., 2012. Silicate weathering & CO2 consumption within agricultural l&scapes, the Ohio-Tennessee River Basin, USA. Biogeosciences: 9, 941–955.
  10. Fortner, S.K., Mark, B.G., McKenzie, J.M., Bury, J., Trierweiler, A., Baraer, M., Burns, P.J., & Munk, L. 2011. Elevated stream trace & minor element concentrations in the foreland of receding tropical glaciers. Applied Geochemistry 26(11): 1792-1801. doi:10.1016/j.apgeochem.2011.06.003
  11. Fortner, S.K., Lyons, W.B., & Olesik, J., Eolian deposition of trace elements onto Taylor Valley Antarctic glaciers. 2011. Applied Geochemistry 26(11): 1897-1904. doi:10.1016/j.apgeochem.2011.06.013
  12. Fortner, S.K., Lyons, W.B., Fountain, A.G., Welch, K.A., Kehrwald, N. M, 2009. Trace element & major ion concentrations & dynamics in glacier snow & melt: Eliot Glacier, Oregon Cascades. Hydrological Processes 23: 2987-2996.
  13. Fortner, S.K., Fourth & fifth grade students learn about renewable & nonrenewable energy through inquiry, 2009. Journal of Geoscience Education 57(2): 121-127.
  14. Fortner, S.K., Tranter, M., Fountain, A., Welch, K.A., & Lyons, W.B., 2005. The geochemistry of supraglacial streams of Canada Glacier, Taylor Valley (Antarctica) & their evolution into proglacial waters. Aquatic Geochemistry 11(4): 391-412.
  15. Kehrwald, N.M., Jasmann, J., Dunham, M.,  Ferris, D., Osterberg, E.,  Kennedy, J., Havens, J.,, Barber, L., Fortner, S., Boreal blazes: Biomass burning and vegetation types archived in the Juneau Icefield , Environmental Research Letters (2020).
  16. McGill, S.F., Wells, S.G., Anderson, H. Kuzma, Fortner, S.K., & McGill, J.D., 2009. Slip rate of the Western Garlock fault, at Clark Wash, near Lone Tree Canyon, Mojave Desert, California. Geological Society of America Bulletin 3-4: 536-554

National Academies Press

  1. Savanick, S. & Fortner, S. 2016. Geoscience Service Learning Literature Themes
  2. NAP, 2016, Proceedings of a Workshop: Service-learning in Undergraduate Geosciences

Government and Municipal Resources

  1. Columbus Climate Action Plan, (contributor via Byrd Polar and Climate Research)
  2. ODNR, River and Stream Fishing Maps, (created 6 maps noting steelhead fisheries)
  3. ODNR, Lake and Reservoir Fishing Maps, (surveyed 10 reservoirs, digitized 15-20 reservoirs for final publication)
  4. USGS, OFR 01-459, Physical, Chemical, and Biological Methods and Data from the Urban
  5. Land-Use-Gradient Study, Des Plaines and Fox River Basins, Illinois, 1999-2001 (contributed ecological survey data)
  6. USGS, SIR 2005, 5218, Physical, Chemical, and Biological Responses to Urbanization in the Fox and Des Plaines River Basins of Northeastern Illinois and Southeastern Wisconsin (contributed ecological survey data)


2020 Abstracts *invited

  1. Fortner*, S., Diaz, M., Ebanks, S., Fadem, C., Latimer, J., Landsbergen, K., Nezat, C., Brown, K., The Metal Redlining Network:Science, Education, Advocacy. Science to Action: Transformative partnerships and knowledge co-production to advance decision-relevant science. American Geophysical Union Meeting Online. 
  2. Fortner, S., 2020. Building Communities of Practice for Climate Justice: Literacy and Capacity. Pardee Session P5. Challenges and Solutions for a Changing Climate: New Directions for GSA. GSA 2020.
  3. McHugh, N., Fortner, S., 2020. A Community Empowerment Model for Health Justice Education. Changing Cultures, Changing Sciences, Feminist Epistemologies, Methodologies, Metaphysics, and Science Studies, Waterloo, Canada.
  4. Rhodes, D., Fortner, S. The role of the NAGT Traveling Workshop Program in supporting the success of all students. GSA 2020.
  5. Szymanski, D., Dove, S., Oches, E., Erhemjamts, O., Wilson, R., Fortner, S., Lenczewski, M., Mooney, C., and Iverson, E., 2020, "Build a BASIC Module Around the SDGs: Business- and Science-Integrated Curriculum for Sustainability," Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) 2020 Global Learning Conference on Connecting the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Global Learning, October 8-10 (virtual).
  6. Szymanski, D., Oches, R., Erhemjamts, O., Lenczewski, M., Mooney, C. Fortner, S., Wilson R., Iverson, 2020. E. Fusing STEM and Business Curricula in Undergraduate Sustainability Education. Harvard Business School Symposium Spring.
  7. Wenner, J., Fortner, S., Fox, S., Frederick, K., Holzer, M., Resor, P., White, L., Strategies for engaging with Teach the Earth online resources, Earth Educators Rendezvous, 2020. Stanford.