Lisa Palmer’s Portfolio

‘I had the opportunity to work with Lisa during her time at the Wilson Center and SESYNC. She is someone who knows how to synthesize the depth of research and understanding needed to evaluate environmental issues with a grasp of how to effectively engage audiences. She has been a terrific resource in helping me.’

Dr. Ken Conca, American University, 2019


Lisa Palmer

Hello, there!

I am Lisa Palmer, the National Geographic Visiting Professor of Science Communication at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. I teach science communication for science and sustainability majors, and I teach science reporting for undergraduate journalism students. I’m also a mentor and contributor to Planet Forward, GW’s award-winning project of the Center for Innovative Media at the School of Media and Public Affairs.

I participate actively in the national and international discourse on science and socio-environmental issues through writing and publishing, speaking, developing and leading seminars, contributing to digital media, and offering analysis and science communications strategy to research teams. I have consulted on communications with postdoctoral fellows and leadership of major research institutions. An award-winning journalist, I write for publications such as the Nature family of journals, Yale E360, The Guardian, Nautilus, The New York Times, The New Republic, Ensia, Slate, and many others. I am the author of HOT, HUNGRY PLANET: The Fight to Stop a Global Food Crisis in the Face of Climate Change (St. Martin’s Press; 2017).

Previously, I was a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., where I conducted research on global food security, resilience, and policies related to sustainable agriculture. In 2018, the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center awarded me a residency on the theme of science for development. I am a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists, the National Association of Science Writers, and the D.C. Science Writers Association. I graduated from Boston University and Simmons College in Boston.

For over two decades, I’ve worked as a journalist, author, and editor. I continue to write about the environment, science and sustainability. As a journalist, my goals are to uncover a great story, be fearless about fact-finding, and tackle a complex subject with a keen reporter’s sense and a wordsmith’s use of language. One of my editors summed up my work this way: “She lays out a story without pretension yet isn’t afraid to send readers running for a dictionary on occasion.”

My skills as a reporter and multimedia storyteller are broad. As a former newspaper reporter and features writer, I’m always interested in finding a great narrative and reporting features without cutting corners.

When I’m not at my desk I’m outdoors. I’m a dedicated runner. Mountains inspire me, and my favorite vacations have been spent in the mountains of Colorado, the Wind River Range, and the Teton Mountains in Wyoming. I’m an alumni of the National Outdoor Leadership School. I also love to ride my mountain bike and road bike.

I live in Maryland on the Severn River at the edge of a nature preserve; and I am the mother of three inspiring young adults, who are now well on their way to take on the world.


Finding Peace:

Displaced and disenfranchised by decades of war, some Colombians are rebuilding their lives—and their forests—through ranching.

RED-LETTER DAY As part of a reparations program, the Colombian government offered Mercedes Murillo Gutierrez a parcel of scrubland to farm. © Juan Arredondo

Published in Nature Conservancy, May 30, 2020

Hacking Conservation

Alex Dehgan leads the technology non-profit Conservation X Labs from Washington DC. Credit: Stephen Voss for Nature

Published in Nature, May 30, 2019

Meeting the leadership challenges for interdisciplinary environmental research

Published in Nature Sustainability, July 16, 2018

One meal a day

Photograph by Chris De Bode

Published in The New Republic, July 2017

Urban Agriculture growth in U.S. cities

Published in Nature Sustainability, January 8, 2018

Adding power to the value of trees

Published in Nature Energy, April 11, 2017

‘It’s a perverse system’: How Colombia’s farmers are reforesting their logged land

Published in The Guardian, December 29, 2017

The next water cycle

Published in Nature Climate Change, October 29, 2014

Colombia finds hope for saving its wild lands.

Published in E360, October 25, 2017.

 A new climate for grazing livestock.

Published in Nature Climate Change, May 8, 2014



Simmons College, Boston MA – Master of Science in Communication
Boston University, Boston MA – Bachelor of Science in Business Management
University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI – Teaching Certification

Work Experience

National Geographic visiting professor of science communication at George Washington University | 2020 to present

Taught classes in science journalism and science communications in the School of Media and Public Affairs. Mentor students and direct programming for environmental journalism internship and Planet Forward.

Senior Fellow for Socio-Environmental Understanding at the national socio-environmental synthesis center | 2015 to May 2020

Self-motivated, detail-oriented writer, strategic thinker, and producer who translates diverse scientific concepts, discoveries, and research processes to scientific and non-specialist audiences.

AUTHOR, JOURNALIST, AND EDITOR at Palmer media | 2000 to Present

Author of Hot, Hungry Planet: The Fight to Stop a Global Food Crisis in the Face of Climate Change (St. Martin’s Press; 2017). As a journalist, served as writer, researcher, editor and producer for major publications and short videos with circulation of 50,000 to over 1 million covering topics from team science, climate change, agriculture, and sustainability to food security, public health, and social sciences.

Significant Accomplishments


Energetic and meticulous writer, editor, producer, and researcher working effectively in a self-directed, fast-paced environment. Author of HOT, HUNGRY PLANET (St. Martin’s Press; 2017), awarded journalism prizes and fellowships from The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center, the Pulitzer Center, Wilson Center, Vermont Law School, The Knight Center, the Solutions Journalism Network, and Society of Environmental Journalists.


Effective at presenting in a range of settings and media – from interviewing senior leaders and scientists to writing for a lay audience; contributing to news, video, podcasts and radio coverage of published stories; delivering keynotes, moderating panels and media events; conveying written and verbal proposals; and writing and editing reports.

project management

Led and produced multi-disciplinary team resources including photographers, Web editors, and writers to successfully deliver editorial content. Strong ability to maintain focus and dedicate resources to complete projects on time and on budget. Superior organizational skills with the ability to manage multiple projects and assignments while maintaining a sense of humor.


Lecturer and educator in the fields of science communication, science and environmental reporting, sustainability, narrative writing, and international reporting. Led seminars for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and interdisciplinary research teams in areas of science communication, communication strategy, storytelling, and audience analysis.

Public Speaking

The George Washington University, School of Media and Public Affairs, Conversations in Science Communication, 2020-2021.

University of Maryland, Center for Environmental Science, May 2020. Commencement address to students receiving master’s and doctoral degrees. Video archive.

University of Utah, College of Science ACCESS, July 2019. Seminar for freshmen in STEM.

University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, April 23-26, 2019, Multiple seminars and keynote on campus covering environmental communication, journalism, and creative writing.

The University of Milan, Milan, Italy, Dec. 5, 2018, Environment and Sustainability, Culinary Mind Network, hosted by the Philosophy Department.

The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA, Sept. 23-26, 2018, Multiple seminars on campus covering environmental studies, journalism, and creative writing.

The George Washington University Elliot School of International Affairs, Washington, D.C., April 20, 2018World Bank Roundtable: Sustainable Development and the Healthy Future of Food.

University of Iowa College of Public Health, Research Week Keynote speaker, Global food security for peace, agricultural development, health and prosperity, April 3-4, 2018. 

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD. Seminar Under-reported and urgent stories on climate change, food security, and public health. November 29 and 30, 2017. 

Global Food Security, May 18, 2017, Center for Security and International Studies, Washington, D.C

Professional Affiliations

National Association of Science Writers, Society of Environmental Journalists, Washington, D.C., Science Writers Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors


Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Thematic Residency on Science for Development | 2018

Science Media Fellow, SESYNC | 2015 to 2020

Public Policy Scholar, The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars | 2014 to 2015 

Summer Media Fellow, Vermont Law School, Environmental Law Center | 2013 

Society of Environmental Journalists and University of Montana 20-20-20 Fellowship | 2010 

Society of Environmental Journalists: Rivlin Fellowship | 2008 

Knight Fellow, Knight Center for Specialized Journalism, University of Maryland | 2008


Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting Travel Grants | 2017 & 2015

Solutions Journalism Grant | 2013

National Education Reporting Awards | 2013

Rhode Island Press Association | 2007 & 2008


If you have a great story, or are interested in having me edit or write for your publication, you can reach me with this contact form. I'm also available for speaking engagements and for moderating panels at conferences. I look forward to hearing from you!