by Maren Johnson
Kevin Hiers (C’96) is the new Director of Environmental Stewardship, a position within the Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability.
His most recent position was in Florida, where he was the Chief of the Wildland Fire Center and worked around the country on conservation efforts, especially on land managed by the United States Air Force. His main task was to look at the limited money devoted to conservation and designate it to critical areas. Now, his expertise focuses on Sewanee’s 13,000 acres. One of his key goals is, “structuring the Domain’s use as an educational tool.” Hiers will help oversee Domain management and he hopes that he can help to establish a “large team collaboration in watershed science, ecology, forestry, biodiversity, and provide resources to faculty already working in these areas to enhance their research.” This dovetails nicely with Sewanee’s Sustainability Master Plan, which “serves as the blue print for Sewanee’s sustainability commitment.” Eventually, Sewanee will be a destination for people to learn about sustainability and other natural sciences that are going to become increasingly relevant in a time where humans begin to butt heads with issues like overpopulation and global climate change. By “building on the foundation of experiential education that Sewanee is known for and working toward a program in world class research and in the science of stewardship,” Sewanee will meet its goal to be at the forefront of sustainability and stewardship of the Earth.
Hiers’ position is part of the University’s continued commitment to Environmental Studies. Andy Thompson was recently hired as the Environmental Ethicist for the School of Theology. However, besides some new faces on the Mountain, there won’t be any major overhaul in the way the Domain is run, and rather than swooping in and implementing big plans, Hiers intends to help the existing programs in whatever ways possible. By continuing to build on the strengths that this facet of the University has, Hiers will make one of the best parts of Sewanee even better.