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The Peter B. Lord Seminars on the Environment


Honoring a Legacy

Metcalf Institute for Marine & Environmental Reporting established the Peter B. Lord Seminars on the Environment to honor the late Peter Lord’s outstanding contributions to environmental journalism.

Lord was the environment reporter at The Providence Journal for thirty years and served as Journalism Co-Director for Metcalf Institute since its founding in 1997 until his death in April 2012. He was widely respected as a teacher, mentor and standard-bearer for excellence in environmental journalism in Rhode Island and beyond.

Helping Regional Journalists Cover Locally Important Stories

Each of the seminars in this series is free and open to journalists covering southern New England. The daylong seminars are designed to increase news coverage of important environmental concerns facing Rhode Islanders by enhancing journalists’ understanding of the science behind the stories and introducing them to sources representing a wide variety of perspectives on each topic, including scientists and stakeholders from regulatory agencies, environmental advocates, community groups, and business interests. The seminars, which are all on the record, give reporters the tools they need to dig deeper, build strong contacts, ask the right questions and quickly turn the day’s discussions into compelling environmental stories for our region.

The Metcalf Institute seminars typically take place at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography in the Coastal Institute building at 218 South Ferry Road, Narragansett, RI 02882. Details on registration at the bottom of the page.


  • Predicting and Responding to Extreme Weather Events
    September 20, 2013
    September 21 marks the 75th anniversary of the Hurricane of 1938, one of the most destructive storms to slam into the New England coast. The region has seen its share of extreme weather in recent years, primarily in the form of major storms that have caused extensive flooding and property damage. Learn more about hurricane forecasts, storm preparedness, emergency response, public health implications, and the effects of climate change on these weather events.
    [Agenda and Speaker Presentations]  [Watch Videos]  [Speaker Bios]  [Resource List]
  • Making Sense of Beach Closures, Shell Fishing Bans, Water Advisories & More
    July 12, 2013
    With all the resources dedicated to water quality programs, many wonder, why is my beach still closed? This program will explore the state of the Narragansett Bay watershed, with a focus on the current and emerging threats to water quality and availability in Southern New England, as well as perspectives on how these threats affect the regional economy.
    [Agenda]  [Watch Videos]  [Speaker Presentations]  [Read Article About Water Quality]  [Read Article About Hypoxia Concerns]
  • Innovations in Renewable Energy
    March 15, 2013
    Southern New England is poised to be a national leader in developing offshore wind energy, but what are the next steps in terms of process, improving security of the region’s overloaded power grids, and balancing environmental concerns with power needs and economic realities? Can waves, tides, and currents from the ocean help us meet our electricity needs?
    [Agenda]  [Speaker Bios]  [Speaker Presentations]  [Resource List]
  • Adapting to Climate Change: Planning for an Uncertain and Expensive Future
    November 30, 2012
    Scientific projections of rapid shifts in temperature, precipitation, and sea levels from climate change will require responses from policy makers at all levels of government. What might these adaptation policies require, and what will they cost?
    [Agenda]  [Watch Videos]  [Speaker Bios]  [Speaker Presentations]  [Resource List]


Journalists are required to register for each seminar. Space is limited. The registration form will be posted before each seminar and confirmed once received. The registration form may also be downloaded, completed and returned by email to or faxed to (401) 864-6486 or sent by regular mail to:

Seminars Coordinator
Metcalf Institute
URI Graduate School of Oceanography
218 South Ferry Road
Narragansett, RI 02882

The Peter B. Lord Seminars on the Environment are supported by The Rhode Island Foundation as well as The Providence Journal Fund and the Henry and Jan Rines Fund at The Rhode Island Foundation.