Lamprey Fellowship in Climate And Sustainability Announced

Lamprey Fellowship in Climate And Sustainability Announced

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The UNH Foundation has announced the establishment of The Josephine A. Lamprey Fellowship in Climate and Sustainability, a gift that supports a five-year fellowship designed to promote more focus on the climate and energy issues that interconnect with biodiversity and ecosystems, food systems and culture under sustainability.

The gift was made to the university’s Sustainability Institute by Jo Lamprey, retired president of Lamprey Brothers, a local company providing heating and cooling solutions since the late 1800s.

“If there were more Jo Lampreys in the world, we’d be much better off as a society,” says Tom Kelly, chief sustainability officer at UNH. “Her gift gets to the real heart of what we need to do next and we are so grateful for her support.”

The first recipient of the fellowship is Cameron Wake, associate research professor, who leads programs to assess the impact of climate change in New England and to reconstruct climate change from glacial ice cores.

Lamprey, a North Hampton native, grew up on her family’s farm - raising chickens and dairy cattle, driving draft horses during the summer hay harvest, canning vegetables from the enormous garden, cutting firewood, and harvesting ice on a nearby pond. Today, 100 acres are in conservation.

“We were simply living the good life,” Lamprey says. “I didn’t stop to consider that things would change so much. But they have.”

When she joined her brothers in the family oil business in 2000, the facts were sobering: an estimated 40 percent of the country’s greenhouse gases, the primary culprit in the climate change crisis, come from the residential sector. Lamprey saw the situation as an opportunity—and a challenge. “It was about bringing in more customers to burn less oil.”

Lamprey Brothers was so successful in promoting greater efficiency that the company was the first in New England to be named an ENERGY STAR® Retail Partner. By educating customers about efficient heating and cooling systems, Lamprey Brothers helped reduce fossil fuel consumption, lower energy bills—and soften the impact on the environment. “The environment had become one of our stakeholders in the company,” says Lamprey. 

During that same period of time, the oil company over which she presided sponsored an event that was designed, she says, to “begin where Al Gore’s 'An Inconvenient Truth' left off.” Panelists included Tom Kelly, Cameron Wake, and Richard Trethewey, host of “This Old House.” That event, called “This Old Planet Needs a Friend,” was the start of Lamprey’s engagement with the university and, in particular, with the Sustainability Institute, the oldest endowed program of its kind in the country.

Lamprey’s hope is that her gift will take the nationally-recognized work UNH is doing beyond incubation. “We need to begin modeling solutions on a scale where people can see a difference. Supporting work that UNH does in the area of climate change and sustainability is our best hope,” she says.

Sustainability is a core value of UNH, shaping culture, informing behavior, and guiding our work. As a nationally recognized leader, the Sustainability Institute acts as convener, cultivator and champion of sustainability on campus, in the state and region, and around the world. Learn more at www.sustainableunh.unh.edu.