Sarah Mittlefehldt

headshot of Sarah MittlefehldtAssistant Professor

3005 New Science Facility
Began teaching at NMU in 2015


  • B.A., Carleton College
  • M.Ed., Harvard University
  • Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison


  • GC 269: Introduction to Sustainability
  • GC 320: Environmental Policy & Regulation
  • GC 470: Environmental Ethics
  • GC 489: Human Impact on the Environment (Senior Capstone Course)
  • GC 495 Special Topics: Environmental Justice

Research Interests

  • Environmental history
  • Environmental justice & policy
  • Geopolitics of energy
  • Public/private land management
  • Trails & corridors

Sarah Mittlefehldt is an environmental historian who enjoys engaging students in thinking about how the past can be used to help inform the future. She is author of Tangled Roots: The Appalachian Trail and American Environmental Politics (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2013). Currently, she is working on a project that examines the socio-ecological dimensions of renewable energy development since the energy crises in the 1970s. In addition to her scholarship, Sarah serves as Co-Chair of Northern’s Sustainability Advisory Council and as a member of the City of Marquette’s Planning Commission.

Select Publications

  • “Wood Waste and Race: The Industrialization of Biomass Energy Technologies and Environmental Justice,” Technology & Culture (expected October 2018).
  • “From Appropriate Technology to the Clean Energy Economy: Renewable Energy and Environmental Politics since the 1970s,” Journal of Environmental Studies and Science 8:2 (June 2018), 212-219.
  • “Seeing Forests as Fuel: Power & Narrative in Public Debates about Biomass Development since 1973,” Energy Research & Social Science 14 (2016), 13–21.
  • (with Codie Tedford) "Benefit or Burden?: Environmental Justice and Community-Scale Biomass Energy Systems in Vermont, USA,” Environmental Justice 7:4 (August 2014), 110-114.
  • Tangled Roots: The Appalachian Trail and American Environmental Politics (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2013).
  • (with Tina A. Grotzer), “Students’ Metacognitive Behavior and Ability to Transfer Causal Concepts,” in Anat Zohar & Judy Dori, eds., Metacognition and Science Education (Cambridge, MA: Springer, 2011), 79-99.
  • “The People’s Path: Conflict and Cooperation in the Acquisition of the Appalachian Trail,” Environmental History 15:4 (October 2010), 643-669.
  • “Toxic Waste and Environmental Justice in Warren County, North Carolina,” in Charles V. Willie, Steven P. Rindini, and David A. Willard, eds. Grassroots Social Action: Lessons in People Power Movements (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2008).
  • “Discovering Nature in the Neighborhood: Raymond Zillmer and the Origins of the Ice Age Trail,” in Eric Sherman and Andrew Hanson III, eds., Along Wisconsin's Ice Age Trail (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2008).