MCLA Presents Virtual Elizabeth and Lawrence Vadnais Environmental Issues Lecture with Susan Natali of the Woodwell Climate Research Center on Nov. 19

NORTH ADAMS, MASS. —MCLA will present its annual Elizabeth and Lawrence Vadnais Environmental Issues Lecture virtually on Nov. 19, featuring Dr. Susan Natali, leader of the Woodwell Climate Research Center’s Arctic program.  

This event is free and open to the public, and community members can register at This annual lecture series is named for Professor Lawrence H. Vadnais and is sponsored by the Vadnais Endowment. 

Dr. Susan Natali is an Arctic ecologist whose focus on permafrost thaw is motivated by an acute awareness of the risks it poses in the Arctic and to the planet. She leads the Woodwell Climate Research Center’s Arctic Program, which investigates the drivers and consequences of rapid Arctic change. Her research examines the effects of permafrost thaw and northern wildfires on the release of greenhouse gasses, and thus, on global climate. She also works with local communities in the Arctic who are adapting to the impacts of a rapidly warming climate, including the effects of permafrost thaw. Dr. Natali has worked extensively in remote regions of Alaska and Siberia, conducting research and—as the director of the Polaris Project—training the next generation of Arctic scientists. 

Dr. Natali is committed to seeing both the human and climate impacts of rapid Arctic change incorporated into public understanding and global policy. She has briefed federal lawmakers, contributed to science policy reports, and presented her work at several United Nations Climate Change Conference events. Dr. Natali frequently engages with public audiences and with the media, and she has been quoted by the New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, The New Yorker, CBS News, and BBC News. She was featured in the documentary film, Permafrost Now, and was a contributor to the multiple award-winning book, The Big Thaw. 

Dr. Natali received her PhD from Stony Brook University, and she has been the recipient of numerous fellowships and grants, including from the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the Department of Energy.  

Dr. Natali lives with her family in Falmouth, Mass., where she spends time outdoors going on hikes and enjoying the beach, while always thinking about the effects of climate change on the ecosystems that surround her. 

MCLA’s renowned lecture series are part of the College’s mission to help students become responsible global citizens who can make informed, active decisions in their communities. MCLA offers a diverse range of lectures each year, most free and open to the public; speakers represent a variety of topics and political views. For more information, visit