Tara teaches, lectures, and develops education programs for all ages. Ranging from policy development to hands-on environmental learning, her workships and courses engage participants to take responsability for their local and global community. As the Founder and Executive Director of the Human Impacts Institute, Tara works to develop programs that foster creativity in sustainability through leadership education, collaborative partnerships, policy development and research, as well as creative expression. Tara is also Adjunct Faculty at Webster University in the Netherlands and has taught and developed courses for The Earth Institute at Columbia University, The New School, and Syracuse University. Her courses include topics, such as environmental policy, natural resources management, and environmental leadership.


Tara has received many acclamations for her teaching including national recognition with the Blanche Hornbeck Citation for Outstanding Work in Nature Education, as well as educational fellowships from the U.S. State Department, Earthwatch Institute and Catskil Watershed Association, among others. In 2006, Tara was honored to be chosen as a climate leader for Al Gore’s The Climate Reality Project and has since presented on climate change to thousands of individuals.


In addition to her MA from Columbia University in Climate Science and Policy and her BA from the University of Virginia in Human Impacts on Ecosystems, Tara is a Certified Project WET, Project WILD and Project Learning Tree educator.

The Human Impacts Institute

Check out the Human Impacts Institute's website


The Human Impacts Institute (HII) is a think-and-do tank, which inspires positive impacts by making the environment personal. Founded by Tara DePorte in 2011, HII engages new audiences in social and environmental changemaking through creative communication, learning-by-doing, and curated actions.  They have numerous public and private educational opportunities, including: workshops, stewardship events, internships, leadership intensives, and job trainings, as well as community resources, such as tip sheets and curriculum. 

Water, The World's Most Valuable Resource, Webster University (Leiden), 2014

Download:  Course Syllabus 


This course takes students on a global exploration of water’s role in our lives.  Students explore specific countries and regions of the world throughout the course in a combination of individual and group research.  Using multimedia presentations, interactive exploration and guests speakers, students come out of the course with an in-depth understanding of the crucial issues impacting freshwater supply, human health and dignity. 

Creative Climate: EcoGraphics, Syracuse University, 2012 

Download:  Course Syllabus | Course Presentations


This course explores the climate crisis and ways to communicate its urgency and spur action. Students develop and produce posters and related graphics using silkscreen and other techniques to promote climate literacy and awareness on campus. 

The Culture of Consumption, Webster University (Leiden), 2011

Download:  Course Syllabus


This course explores the patterns and cultures associated with modern-day consumption trends.  Exploring themes of food consumption, purchasing, services provision and waste, participants identifies the cultural drivers influencing consumer choices.  They look at their own consumption and waste patterns, survey consumption in other cultures, and ultimately understand the impacts consumer choice has on the environment, communities, and personal well-being.  Overall, the course facilitates students’ exploration of issues of sustainability and environmental health through the lens of consumption.

From Idea to Action: Creating Environmental Change, The New School, 2011, & Columbia University, NYC, USA, 2010, 2009

An Undergraduate Course for the Environmental Studies Program at the New School and Seminar for the Graduate Program in Climate and Society, Earth Institute, Earth and Environmental Sciences Department

Download:  Full Course Syllabus | 2010 Seminar Presentation


This course helps students transform academic learning, intern experiences and other ideas into on-the-ground projects. Students work during this course to develop research and grant proposals, how to develop a program on a limited budget, and how to effectively mobilize interest around a program. Pulling examples from non-profits, scientific research, and private-sector consulting, students also develop skills needed to develop their ideas and careers.  As an output, students  write their own program proposal and pitch for use in The Interdisciplinary Job Search Panel.

Sustainable Development, Gender & Natural Resources, Webster University, 2011

A Graduate and Undergraduate Field Course in Durban, South Africa 

Download:  Course Syllabus


This course takes students through guided research projects, on-the-ground documentation of case studies, and community presentations, where they work alongside community leaders to link local environmental issues with longstanding human rights and land rights programs.  Furthermore, students develop materials to further explore methods for outreach to local communities, as well as an international audience. They research other communities successes and failures in bridging cultural gaps in sustainable development, while helping to document the stories of communities in need. 

Art as Social Change, Webster University (Leiden), 2010

Download:  Course Syllabus 


In this introductory studio course, students learn the basics of color theory, perspective, composition and painting techniques (acrylic), while incorporating social “messaging” into their works.  Students survey international artists---with visits from local artists and to local art institutions---who use art as a means to create and express topics of social change.  Students also learn to engage their critical mind creatively through visual expression of key topics that are most important to their lives.  Examples may include civil rights, feminism, conflict, access to education, sexual freedom or other topics of student’s choice.   

Environmental Careers, Columbia University, 2010, 2009

A Seminar for the Graduate Program in Climate and Society, Earth Institute, Earth and Environmental Sciences Department

Download:  2010 Presentation2009 Seminar Outline


This seminar teaches students professional expectations from a diversity of job fields, including local and international non-profits, local and international government, journalism/news, private sector consulting, and academia.  Students have the chance to hear presentations from representatives of a diversity of interdisciplinary sectors.  Panelists are selected to represent potential sector opportunities for graduating C&S students and talk to the expectations, responsibilities, and obstacles within their respective fields. Students also have the opportunity to both participate in Q&A sessions with the full panel and break-down sessions where they "pitch" their proposals to panelists. 

Climate Science & Policy, Webster University (Leiden, NL), 2009, 2008

Download:  2009 Course Syllabus | 2009 Course Activities  |2008 Course Syllabus


This course gives students an overview of the topic of climate change, including basic scientific understanding of climate science, causal-effect relationships, impacts of a changing climate on social structures and systems, multi-level policy development, and other topics. Students can expect to come out of the class with experience in voicing their own knowledge, points-of-view and ideas for solutions to one of the world’s most pressing issues.

Gender & Natural Resources Management, Columbia University, 2009, 2008, 2007

A Seminar for the Graduate Program in Climate and Society, Earth Institute, Earth and Environmental Sciences Department

Download:  Seminar Syllabus | Seminar Discussion Activities


This seminar provides students with an introduction to connections between gender and natural resource management through readings, website review, and discussion.

Communicating Climate Change, Columbia University, 2008, 2007

A Seminar for the Graduate Program in Climate and Society, Earth Institute, Earth and Environmental Sciences Department

Download:  Seminar Syllabus 


This seminar familiarizes students with the biases in the “popular press” concerning climate change, including: sourcing of data, “spins” on the story, differences and similarities in journalistic coverage, etc.  Students learn to succinctly point out flaws or omissions in sourcing information, analyzing the use of experts and other components of climate-related journalism.  Students also present two-minute presentations of climate-related issues to be critiqued under peer review.

© 2015 by Tara DePorte

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