Elizabeth A. "Liz" Hadly, a biology professor and senior associate vice provost for undergraduate education, will receive the 2015 Miriam Aaron Roland Volunteer Service Prize for integrating research, teaching and outreach, and for her commitment to communicating science in ways that educate and inspire people to act.

Hadly also is the Paul S. and Billie Achilles Chair of Environmental Biology and a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute.

The Haas Center for Public Service awards the Roland Prize to members of the faculty "who engage and involve students in integrating academic scholarship with significant and meaningful volunteer service to society." It was established in 2001 with a gift from Miriam Aaron Roland, '51, and includes a $5,000 cash award.

Hadly has spent more than 25 years studying environmental change across the globe. She oversees the Hadly Lab at Stanford and conducts groundbreaking research and teaching on how living and fossil animals can reveal human impacts on evolutionary and ecological systems.

Her courses immerse students in life-changing experiences – from excavating caves in California and tracking bats in Costa Rica to trapping animals in India.

"Anytime you can get people outside of campus and their dorm or classroom, amazing things happen," Hadly said. "Field courses are about eating together, talking together, learning how to navigate logistics, huddling around a campfire. There are so many things you negotiate, and you realize that you are all there about the experience and the learning."

In 2008, Stanford gave her the Hoagland Award for her innovative approach to teaching.

Hadly said she was "proud and honored" to be chosen for the Roland Prize.

In a letter nominating Hadly for the annual award, Shari Palmer, associate vice provost for undergraduate education, wrote:

"Professor Hadly has been tremendously successful in teaching students that it is not enough to do good science. In order to make a difference in the world, it is essential to bring the scientific discoveries about global change issues and their solutions to the policymakers who have the capacity to spearhead initiatives that guide the future, and to the general public, the views of which policymakers are elected to represent."

A Tipping Point for Earth

In 2012, Hadly coauthored a report in Nature claiming that Earth faced a "planetary-scale tipping point" because of human-caused climate disruptions, species extinctions, ecosystem loss, pollution and population growth. California Gov. Jerry Brown read the report and asked the authors to translate the science into a format he could use in political circles – a consensus statement.

The 16 coauthors agreed and produced Scientific Consensus on Maintaining Humanity's Life Support Systems in the 21st Century: Information to Policy Makers, which calls for policymakers and the public to take immediate action on climate disruption, disease, pollution, extinction, habitat loss, and human overpopulation and consumption. Brown has handed out the consensus statement to dozens of politicians, including President Barack Obama and Chinese Secretry General Xi Jinping.

Hadly's students read drafts of the consensus statement, discussed the issues and helped refine the 46-page document, which was released in 2013. Since then, more than 3,000 people, mostly researchers, have signed the statement, which has served as the basis for historic international climate and energy agreements.

At the suggestion of a White House official, Hadly organized a group of undergraduate and graduate students to create interactive online story maps to share the report's findings with the legislators and the general public, using California as the prototype. The maps offer people clickable access to news reports, data and multimedia content on key environmental issues such as endangered species or the effects of California's drought in their local area. A link to the story maps is featured on Brown's website.

Stanford student Simone Barley-Greenfield, who worked on the maps project, said:

"The work I have done with Professor Hadly has been some of the most interesting and meaningful work of my whole time at Stanford. Working with ArcGIS [geographic mapping software] to produce a climate change story-map not only honed my skills and raised my awareness about how environmental change affects California, but also led to the creation of a tool that people around the world can use for their own edification."

Mentor, Leader, Travel Guide

Hadly has won praise for her role as a dedicated mentor committed to helping next-generation scientists succeed. She was among leading scientists chosen to give one of the 2014 Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Holiday Lectures on Science, which are designed to inspire high school teachers and students, and infuse cutting-edge teaching biological research into curricula worldwide. Her topic was "Humans, Biodiversity and Habitat Loss."

In 2011, the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment awarded her a yearlong fellowship in the Leopold Leadership Program. The program provides researchers with the skills, approaches and theoretical frameworks for translating their knowledge to action and for catalyzing change to address the world's most pressing sustainability challenges.

Hadly first learned the importance of translating science for the general public while working as a paleoecologist at Yellowstone National Park, after earning a bachelor's degree in anthropology. Answering basic questions from tourists gave her many opportunities to discuss larger scientific and environmental issues.

She has shared her expertise with Stanford alumni by leading travel-study trips abroad to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, the savannahs of Kenya and the Patagonian steppe in Argentina. She will guide an alumni trip to East Africa this summer and another to Mongolia in the summer of 2016.

Hadly has authored and co-authored more than 100 scientific studies, many of which have been reported in a wide variety of newspapers and magazines, including the New York TimesSierra magazine and The Economist. She communicates her science to the public through public lectures, blogs and other social media.

Her first book, End Game? Tipping Point for Planet Earth, which she co-authored with her husband, Anthony Barnosky, an integrative biology professor at the University of California, Berkeley, will be published by HarperCollins in July.

Harry J. Elam Jr., vice provost for undergraduate education, will present the Roland Prize, and David Demarest, vice president for public affairs, will present the 2015 Community Partnership Awards at a private luncheon on March 11. This year, Abilities UnitedHealth Education for Life Program for Kids and Student Clinical Opportunities for Premedical Experience will receive community partnership awards.