Sarah Fortner


Science Education Associate
Science Education Resource Center - Carleton College

Sarah Fortner CV (Acrobat (PDF) 306kB Sep12 22)
Sarah's Community Profile Page


I joined the SERC team in January 2021 to advance equity & justice through collaborative approaches to education, research, & community engagement. My experience includes 20 years of biogeochemical research including applied and public interest research with the USGS and Ohio Department of Natural Resources. As the former director of Environmental Science at Wittenberg University, I led research & program development focused on community science, K-12 pathways, and environmental justice in Springfield, Ohio. Now, I am especially motivated to develop research and implementation projects that build educator, researcher, and student capacity to collaborate with community organizations or municipal offices to advance environmental justice outcomes. I also have a special love for the glacier community & currently serve on the Academic & Research Council for the Juneau Icefield Research Program.

Areas of expertise include:

  • co-developing environmental justice research and education with faculty, programs, and community organization leaders
  • designing transdisciplinary research, education, and arts action
  • applying education theory to community building, evolving, and sustaining networks
  • designing education to produce community group desired products (e.g. fact sheets, events, social media, narratives, documentaries, interactive experiences at science and cultural centers)

Example Projects

Midwest Climate Collaborative

Carleton College is a founding member of the Midwest Climate Collaborative that aims "to facilitate the development of a coherent Midwestern response to the climate crisis through acceleration of climate action" As part of this work, I serve on the leadership team for an Educator Community of Practice that provides educators, nonprofit and municipal leaders with opportunities to create and share ideas, activities, and models specific to building midwest climate capacity.

Community Engaged Learning Ecosystems for Environmental Justice

I initiated & managed a convergence research model across cities to engage for environmental & racial justice. The Metal Redlining Network, Redlining Education & Change Coalition, Springfield Lead Pollution & Environmental Injustice Project support collaboration at cross-city, cross-campus, and campus-community scales across 8 cities. Funding and collaboration for this work has been multi-agency. See a PBS documentary featuring community partners Redlining Mapping Inequality in Dayton & Springfield.

Related professional development includes: Developing a Community & Political Engagement in the Geoscience module focused on supporting course to program engagement. Co-leading a NAGT webinar: Getting Started in Environmental Justice Curriculum: Bridging Disciplines & Community and an AGI-AGU-GSA webinar: Geoscience for Community Priorities in collaboration with the American Geosciences Institute and AGU's Thriving Earth ExChange.

Project EDDIE

I have lead and manage professional development elements of Project EDDIE (Environmental Data Driven Inquiry & Exploration). This has included supporting faculty developing and publishing Project EDDIE teaching activities, co-developing a webinar series to highlight effective teaching approaches embedded in teaching materials, and supporting faculty in module adoption or adopting EDDIE ideas. Innovations include designing community building experiences for members of the Long Term Ecological Research Program that created synergies between research and teaching with long term data and developing an AGU workshop: Building Quantitative Literacy Through Science, Education, and Art. Participants generated ideas for teaching with creative inquiry through data and art.


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. In addition, I led an InTeGrate Implementation Program that built faculty and student participation in sustainability education by increasing the number of sustainability courses & programs teaching sustainability. It focused on bridging disciplines & collaborating with local organizations. I also served as a co-PI for BASICS that continued momentum for sustainability through collaboration between Business and STEM faculty to create transdisciplinary sustainability curriculum & a community for change.  

Related community visioning and professional development includes: Serving on the steering 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.

Glacier Change & Climate Resilience

As a member of the Juneau Icefield Research Program Academic and Research Council I help shape curricular and research directions. I have had the deep pleasure of completing ~20 glacier research and education field campaigns at all latitudes. Much of my biogeochemical research on the fluxes and fates of trace elements in glacier snow and melt has been conducted in collaboration with the McMurdo Long Term Ecological Research Program. As part of this work, I created educational clips with PBS and conducted outreach, blogs, and Skype-A-Scientist efforts.


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

Leadership and Advisory Roles

Publications & Products


  1. Amanda Hoffman-Hall, Morgan Gorris, Susan Annenberg, Allison Bredder, Jasmeet Dhaliwal, Melisa Diaz, Sarah Fortner, Brian McAdoo, Darryl Reano, Rebecca Rehr, Heidi Roop, Benjamin Zaitchik, A GeoHealth Call to Action: Moving beyond identifying environmental injustices to co-creating solutions, (submitted to GeoHealth 8/14)

Book Chapters, Edited Contributions & Peer Reviewed Articles (*mentored students)

  1. O'Reilly, C., Josek, T., Darner, R., Fortner, S., Pedagogy of teaching with large datasets: Designing and implementing effective data-based activities. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education (accepted 7/2022)
  2. Fortner, S.K., Manduca, C.A., Ali, H., Saup, C., Nyarko, S., Othus-Gault, S., Perera, V. Tong, V. H., Gold, A. U., Furman, T., Arthurs, L., Mulvey, B. K., St. John, K., Singley, J. G., Thomas Johnson, E., Witter, M., Batchelor, R., Carter, D., Damas, M. C., LeMay, L., Layou, K. M., Low, R., Wang, H.H., Olson-Sawyer, K., Pallant, A., Ryker, K., Lukes, L., LaDue, N., van Hoeven Kraft, K. J. (2022). Geoscience Education Perspectives on Integrated, Coordinated, Open, Networked (ICON) Science, Earth and Space Science Open Archive.
  3. Barnard, M. A., Emani, S. R., Fortner, S. K., Haygood, L., Sun, Q., White‐Newsome, J. L., & Zaitchik, B. (2022). GeoHealth Perspectives on Integrated, Coordinated, Open, Networked (ICON) Science. Earth and Space Science, e2021EA002157.
  4. Fortner, S. K., Scherer, H.H., & Ritter, J.B. (2022). 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.
  5. Fortner, S.K., Scherer, H.H., Diaz, M.A., Brown, K.L., Fadem, C.M., Nezat, C.A., Latimer, J.C., Ebanks, S.C., and Landsbergen, K., (accepted, 2022). The Metal Redlining Network: Coproducing Research with Students and Community Partners to Advance Environmental Justice Outcomes.The Handbook of Broader Impacts, eds. Van Egeren, L. and Renoe, S.
  6. Fortner, S. (2021). Addressing Lead poisoning and environmental racism through research, education, and advocacy. In Liberal Education, v. 107, n. 1.
  7. Fortner, S.K., Suffoleta, M.*, Vogt, L*., Brown, A., Diaz, M. (2021). An undergraduate course-based soil lead research and partnering model to address systemic racism and the enduring harms of redlining. Environmental Justice, Special Issue: 6th University of Maryland Environmental Justice and Health Disparities Symposium.
  8. Corsello*, R. 2020. Community Engagement Concerning Soil Lead Levels. The International Undergraduate Journal For Service-Learning, Leadership, and Social Change, 9(2), 30-38.
  9. 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).
  10. Fortner, S., Manduca, C., Guertin, L., Szymanski, D., Villalobos, J. Teaching for earth resilience: A strategy for increased diversity and equity, (2018). GSA Today 28, no. 8.
  11. 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)
  12. 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
  13. Fortner, S.K., Scherer, H., Murphy, M., (2016). Engaging undergraduates in soil sustainability decision making through an InTeGrate Module, Journal of Geoscience Education 64(4), 259-269.


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)

Community Science Examples (select examples 2017-2022)

  1. Road Salt in the Miami Valley Watershed (co-created with students and watershed partners)
  2. LeadSafe Miami Valley Fact Sheets (water, gardening, housing) (co-created with students and health partners)
  3. Report on Redlining and Environmental Injustice (co-created with students and community partners)
  4. Climate Change Fact Sheet for the Miami Valley (creator)
  5. Wittenberg Climate Action Plan (contributor)
  6. Groundwater Guardian Wittenberg Campus (campus recognized for water practices, co-created with student Margaux Empey)
  7. Columbus Climate Adaptation Plan (contributor)
  8. Hanson, R. B. (2021). Report to NSF on AGU community recommendations and ideas regarding implementing Climate Change Solutions. (contributor)
  9. NAGT and AGU Geoscience Education community: Integrated, Coordinated, Open, Networked (ICON) action for Earth and Space Science Education (coordinator)
  10. Think TV, Redlining: Mapping Inequality in Dayton & Springfield (documentary and education advisory committee)
  11. AGU-wide GeoHealth policy actions (e.g. 'AGU endorsement of the National Mercury Monitoring Act', in collaboration with AGU GeoHealth Policy Committee)

Resources Created through National Academies Service

2020-Present Abstracts 

  1. Fox, S., & Fortner, S., Discovery Improvements for SERC Website, Earth Educators Rendezvous, 2022
  2. Bruckner, M., Huyck Orr, C., Fortner, S., Incorporating Data, Inquiry, and Exploration into the Classroom with Project EDDIE, Earth Educators Rendezvous, 2022
  3. Bruckner, M., Ciancarelli, B. Darner, R., Fortner, S., Garcia Silva, D., Iverson, E., Meixner, T., O'Connell, K., O'Reilly, C., Hyuck Orr, C., Soule, D., Environmental Data-Driven Inquiry and Exploration, AAAS Meeting, 2022.
  4. Dhaliwal, J.K., Fortner, S.K., Damby, D.E., Filippelli, G.M. 2021. Advancing GeoHealth collaboration for systemic change: ideas and opportunities from existing models, resources, and infrastructure. Environmental Injustice in GeoHealth, American Geophysical Union Meeting.
  5. Cotton, B., Fortner, S.K., Bartley, J.K., Gross, D., Bender-Awalt, Mitchell, 2021. Train the facilitators: Applying Lessons from URGE to NAGT Professional Development Programming, Unlearning Racism in Geoscience, American Geophysical Union Meeting.
  6. Miller, B., Fortner, S.K., Peek, M., Perera, E.A., Lakerman, S., 2021 Unlearning Racism in Geosciences: A Case Study from the Juneau Icefield Research Program, American Geophysical Union Meeting.
  7. Fortner, S., Brown, K., Ebanks, S., Fadem, C., Latimer, J., Trierweiler, A., Communities of Practice Support Scientists and Community through Trust-Building, Geological Society of America Meeting 2021.
  8. Phillips, M., Fortner, S.K., Semken, Steven, 2021. T.154. Best Practices in Place-Based Education, (conveners) Geological of America Meeting.
  9. Riihimaki, C., Archer, R., Bartley, J., Beane, R., Blockstein, D., Davis, E., Fortner, S., Gross, D., Rademacher, L., Shelito, C., Viskupic, K., 2021. Report on Unlearning Racism in Geoscience from the NAGT Traveling Workshop Program Pod, Earth Educators Rendezvous.
  10. Fortner*, S., Diaz, M., Ebanks, S., Fadem, C., Latimer, J., Landsbergen, K., Nezat, C., Brown, K., 2020. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Rhodes, D., Fortner, S. The role of the NAGT Traveling Workshop Program in supporting the success of all students. GSA 2020.
  14. 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).
  15. 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.
  16. 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.