Griffs Under 40: Molly A. Burhans '14

July 18, 2017

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Buffalo, NY - Molly Burhans doesn’t define success by one’s social status or monetary worth.

“For me, success means leaving the world a better place, making a brighter future for our planet and creating hope.”

Burhans is doing just that as executive director of the Goodland Project and Catholic Geographic System based in Hartford, CT. The non-profit initiative which she founded works to increase the Catholic Church’s understanding and ecological planning of its landholdings. Burhans demonstrates how these lands can be a means for positive global environmental and social change.  She helps the church map its lands using modern, multi-dimensional geographic information systems (GIS) technology.

Most people think of a map as a flat, two-dimensional representation of land but Burhans says that GIS maps are designed for the digital-age with overlay information about economics, social and health conditions, demographics, transportation and weather patterns.

Her newest endeavor, in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency/Esri Nation-wide Green Infrastructure Mapping Project, created the largest geodatabase of Catholic information in the world.

Magis refers to the greater glory of God,” Burhans says. “Understanding the magis of Earth requires discerning what our land can do for us and for our world. We all have a responsibility to be better stewards of our properties and to plan for a better future.”