Tree-huggers everywhere will be able to kick off their Birkenstocks this spring and immerse themselves in a new paperless publication.

The magazine YaleEnvironmental Online will launch this spring under the leadership of Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies Dean Gus Speth. The publication will attempt to fill the gap in the worldwide coverage of environmental issues, Editor Roger Cohn ’73 said. Speth originally envisioned the magazine and subsequently hired Cohn to execute his ideas and make the online forum of environmental discussion and information, a reality.

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Cohn said he feels the magazine will benefit from proximity to the intellectual environment that Yale offers.

Yale has the oldest forestry school in the country and a “tremendous environmental studies program,” Cohn said. “There are many leading scientists and thinkers in environmental issues on campus — it is a great place to base a publication.”

Cohn, who came to New Haven in July to design, edit and launch the online publication, said he is excited about the potential he sees in the magazine.

“The magazine will be part of the [environmental] school and is very much connected with the school, but it is not focused on what is going on directly on Yale’s campus,” he said.

The magazine officially launches in the spring and will be updated on a weekly basis, Cohn said. There will ideally be one or two new feature pieces added to the Web site each week, along with a variety of shorter pieces, videos and photographs.

Cohn — who has written for the Philadelphia Enquirer, Audubon Magazine and Mother Jones — said his interest in environmental issues has always guided his work, including his largely unprecedented establishment of an environmental beat at the Enquirer.

The most unique feature of YEO, he said, will be the emphasis placed on opinion articles and interactive message boards, which will allow scientists and experts in environmental fields to disseminate their opinions and generate informed discussion.

Although the magazine will be published in New Haven, Cohn said they have a broad readership in mind as they look toward production. They will make an attempt to translate articles written about non-English speaking countries into the regions’ native languages, such as upcoming articles on China and India, he said.

Fred Strebeigh, a senior lecturer for both the environmental school and the English Department, said he is currently writing a piece specifically for YEO on the Russian Nature Protection Movement.

“YaleEnvironmental Online fills a vast gap and I think it will fill it wonderfully,” Strebeigh said. “A gap exists because newer coverage of the environment has been declining worldwide for a long time.”

But Yale already has other campus publications that bring awareness to environmental issues.

Dave DeFusco, director of communications for the environmental school, and editor of Environment: Yale Magazine, said he is not concerned about the impact that YEO might have on his existing publication.

“Environment: Yale and YaleEnvironment Online have separate and distinct missions,” DeFusco said in an e-mail. “Environment: Yale examines topical environmental issues that have a tie-in to faculty research. Roger and I will be providing each other with much-needed moral support.”

While YEO will not focus on issues pertaining to Yale directly, Cohn said the magazine is looking to get students from the Yale community involved in the publication through both jobs and internships.

Mark Evidente FES ’09 began working for YEO as a researcher this past week. Although he is very new to the publication, he said he believes the publication will be successful and he wants to get more involved as it grows.

“The magazine has the potential to lead the path in content, articles and levels of analysis,” he said. “It won’t focus purely on environmental issues, but also interdisciplinary issues that correlate with that. This will bring a multidimensional aspect to the articles and the magazine as a whole.”