Ohio Wesleyan Student Spearheads Creation of University’s Third Rain Garden

With climate change, water rights, and environmental politics dominating world discussions, Ohio Wesleyan University student Kayla Adolph ’20 of Toledo, Ohio, is addressing the issues on campus with a project 10 months in the making.

Collaborating with OWU students, faculty, and staff, as well as workers from the City of Delaware, Adolph spearheaded the installation of a rain garden this fall on the west side of Merrick Hall. The garden is the result of a project in professor John Krygier’s spring 2019 course, Geography 360: Environmental Geography.

More: Beauty and Function: Ohio Wesleyan Student Spearheads Creation of University’s Third Rain Garden

Special Spring Course: Geog 490: Humanitarian Mapping

For the Spring of 2018, Dr. Amador-Rowley and Dr. Allen along with student Janelle Valdinger have organized a “group independent study” course focused on creating better maps for areas of rural Tanzania through a non-profit organization called Crowd2Map.

For the Spring of 2018, Dr. Amador-Rowley and Dr. Allen along with student Janelle Valdinger have organized a “group independent study” course focused on creating better maps for areas of rural Tanzania through a non-profit organization called Crowd2Map.

No experience necessary!

You can take the class either Tuesday (Dr. Amador-Rowley) or Thursday (Dr. Allen) afternoon.

Space is limited!

Contact Dr. Rowley (nsamador@owu.edu) or Dr. Allen (alallen@owu.edu) ASAP.

Probably best if you fill out a Change-of-Schedule Form from the Registrar’s site and use that to enroll in the class.


Independent Study Description: Students will help create better maps of rural Tanzania, particularly those areas where girls are at risk of Female Genital Mutilation. Students will liaise with volunteers in Tanzania and worldwide. Adding roads and buildings from satellite images into OpenStreetMap will allow activists to better protect girls at risk of FGM and allow better delivery and monitoring of services, as well as improved navigation. After training, students will also give feedback to new mappers and assist with validation. They will liaise with community mappers on the ground and also create village level printable maps using QGIS. We will work with small communities that do not typically show up on maps. The open-source map developed in this independent study effort will be open to everyone and help better planning of services. No previous mapping experience necessary!!

New .25 credit Activity Course on Zero Waste! Spring 2019

It took us more than a year but we now are able to offer an ACTV (Activity Course) with sustainability content. This started as a student initiative.

For the spring of 2018, this course will be offered during the first and second module for .25 credit. Thus the course is a great add-on to your normal class load.

Please sign up for the class, and urge others to do so. We can offer additional topics (organic gardening, repair, etc.) in the future if this one flies.

The instructor is Aleks Ilik: he is an OWU grad and happens to be married to Kristina Bogdanov (Art). Aleks runs the Blue House Worm Farm in town and is currently working with students Matt Burke and Peyton Hardesty on a worm composting table at MTSO. One goal for the course is to expand this effort to OWU’s campus.

Chris Fink of HHK is listed as the instructor, but that is only because Aleks is not yet in the OWU system.

Meetings are scheduled Wednesday, noon-1 and Friday 2:10-4pm. Location TBA.

The Activity course will expand this effort, working with AVI and other folks to reduce waste on campus.

Please let us know if you have any questions!

 

Spring 2019 Externships and Summer 2019 Internships & Summer Sustainability Practicum

The worm composting table constructed by Matt Burke (right) intern at MTSO and member of the Summer Sustainability Practicum. A few of the other practicum members are shown in the photograph, on MTSO’s Seminary Hill Farm, where the practicum is held. The worm table construction was guided by Aleks Ilic of Blue House Worm Farms, in Delaware Ohio.

Students: It’s time to act together for Spring 2019 externships and Summer 2019 internships in the OWU region. These opportunities are available to any student, freshmen through senior.

We would like you to take the initiative and contact us if you are interested, as soon as possible, so we can work to line up opportunities for you.

  • Externships happen during the semester, typically unpaid and for credit (GEOG 495 or ENVS 495) and are about 8 hours a week.
  • Internships happen during the summer, typically paid and can be for credit (GEOG 495 or ENVS 495) and range from part to full time.

We are always adding partners and work to find specific opportunities if we know students are interested.

Please contact Dr. John Krygier (jbkrygier@owu.edu) ASAP if you are interested.


Below find some internship/externship opportunities: This is not a complete list!

Summer Sustainability Seminar & Practicum:

Tentatively scheduled for 3 hours a week for 10 weeks over the summer, meeting (and eating) on MTSO’s campus. This seminar can be taken for credit if you wish. We hope to get many of the area summer interns together, including students from Otterbein and MTSO.

Summer Science Research Program (OWU):

If you are interested in this funded, 10-week research program with OWU faclty (for students between their junior and senior years) please review information about the program here and talk to faculty you are interested in working with. If you are unsure, ask Dr. Krygier or Dr. Anderson. Students may attend the summer Sustainability Seminar and Practicum as part of the SSRP.

Methodist Theological School in Ohio, Seminary Hill Farm:

MTSO is a leader in food and environmental justice and this summer are tentatively offering several full-time internships which come with lodging, a stipend, and some food. Work last summer included the development of a worm composting table, work on pond restoration and assistance on the farm and with the farm’s food justice efforts. A great place to get all hot and sweaty working on a real farm growing real food for a noble purpose.

Delaware Public Utilities and GIS Department:

Typically working with OWU student and Public Utility employee (and all around terrific person) Janelle Valdinger, on various environmental and sustainability efforts. Recent student-involved projects include bio-retention cell planning and construction, utilities tracking and mapping, stormwater drain netting, green-roofed bike racks, composting and

Delaware Watershed and Sustainability Coordinator’s Office: Caroline Cicerchi:

Caroline and Janelle (Public Utilities) work closely together on sustainability, environmental and ecological projects. Caroline, like Janelle, is a masterful project coordinator and terrific to work with.

Stratford Ecological Center:

One of the longest-running relationships with our program is with the Stratford Ecological Center and Farm, just south of campus. OWU typically has 3-5 externships each semester, and several full-time internships each summer. Work is on projects related to the Center farm, its plants, and animals, its nature preserve, as well as environmental education with the many K-8 summer camps offered at Stratford.

Preservation Parks of Delaware County:

With nine parks county-wide and more on the horizon, Preservation Parks is the primary organization developing and maintaining a range of green spaces which also include a working farm. A range of semester externships and summer internships focused on ecological projects, environmental education, outreach and other efforts. If you like to dress up like a 1930s farmer, this is your gig.

DelCo Water Company

One of the largest water companies in the state of Ohio, both semester externships and summer internships are typically available. Projects include water infrastructure mapping, water sampling and analysis, and water education.

Price Farms Organics:

If your idea of summer fun is driving large tractors and bulldozers, look no further. Price Farms Organics is a regional leader in composting and typically employes a student or two to help with the practical aspects of large-scale composting.

Innovative Organics Recycling:

A new company run by Ray Leard is currently employing students to help with their drop-off food waste and food scraps composting program.

More possibilities include:

  • Central Ohio Communities Project (Terry Hermson)
  • Citizens Climate Lobby (Delaware chapter)
  • AVI Food Service (OWU Campus)
  • OWU Buildings and Grounds (OWU Campus)
  • Delaware City Health
  • Delaware County GIS Office
  • Delaware Parks and Natural Resources

New Bio-retention Cells (rain gardens) by Branch Rickey Arena on OWU’s Campus

Drawing by Jonathan Stechschulte

Branch Rickey Rain Garden (Bio-retention) Development on OWU Campus

Participants: Janelle Valdinger (City of Delaware, OWU), Dr. John Krygier (OWU Geography & Environment & Sustainability), Brad Stanton (City of Delaware), Perry Mickley (City of Delaware), Department of Parks and Recreation (City of Delaware), Department of Engineering (City of Delaware), Carolyn Cicerichi (City of Delaware)

Contact: Janelle Valdinger (JValdinger@delawareohio.net), John Krygier (jbkrygier@owu.edu)

This rain garden project is the outcome of an Environment & Sustainability program student project, in collaboration with the campus Sustainability Task Force, OWU Buildings & Grounds, and the City of Delaware.

Ohio Wesleyan University was established in 1842, in one building (Elliot Hall). Elliot was built near a sulfur spring, which flowed into the Delaware Run, near the earliest settlements in the area (upper green oval, below) The proposed rain garden is located along an unnamed stream just south of the sulfur spring and Delaware Run. The stream was buried sometime in the early 1900s. The area was developed as an athletic field for Ohio Wesleyan shortly afterward. Branch Rickey Arena was built on the site in 1976.

What is a Bio-Retention Cell? MS4 Permit/Storm-water Project: The City of Delaware works diligently to keep waterways healthy. One way this is achieved is through compliance with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s (OEPA) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Program. The City has a permit with the OEPA for stormwater discharges, which are generated by runoff from land and impervious surfaces such as parking lots and rooftops. This bio-retention cell helps keep the City in compliance with its permit by treating stormwater pollutants before they reach streams, rivers, and other waterways.

Rain gardens are designed and developed to improve water quality in nearby bodies of water to ensure rainwater becomes available for plants as groundwater rather than being sent through storm-water drains out to local tributaries. Rain gardens have the ability to reduce the amount of pollution reaching nearby streams and rivers by 30%. The purpose of this project is to design and implement two rain gardens located on the north side of Branch Rickey Arena/Gordon Field House.

Two storm basins have were located and inspected by the City of Delaware Department of Public Utilities as approved project sites. Two planning meetings took place with the Department of Engineering, Department of Parks and Recreation, and management to determine the design, layout, plant requirements, grading requirements, and labor needed for the said project. Calculations were made to determine the exact design layout.

Drawing by Jonathan Stechschulte

A quote from the City Arborist placed a $12,500 price tag on this project, and the funding was from a City of Delaware grant. OSU Landscape Architecture graduate student Jonathan Stechschulte provided the excellent drawings of the project, which OWU’s administration required before moving forward with the project.

Fall 2018: 95% of plants planted in the spring survived, with a minimum of maintenance.

Maintenance after the project has been completed will be shared by OWU’s Buildings & Grounds as well as being part of a semester and summer internship (focused on watershed issues). Interns will monitor, maintain, and report on the rain gardens, along with assisting our Watershed Coordinator and Department of Public Utilities employees with other tasks.

This project is part of a larger effort to create a more sustainable, and green infrastructure within the City of Delaware and especially on OWU’s campus. The possibility of this kind of project spreading to more locations on and around campus is high. Students can come back to this project year after year, choose a single storm basin or a collection of storm basins, create a design and implementation plan, and present it to the Department of Public Utilities. The Department of Public Utilities creates a capital improvement budget, along with a working budget every year to every five years, creating a constant allocation of funds for projects similar to this.

Building the bio-retention cell, Spring 2018:

Dustin Braden points to the future location of one of the two bio-retention cells, Spring 2018. Damn cold that day.
Dustin Braden and Janelle Valdinger admire the stakes which will mark the boundaries of the bio-retention cells.
One of the two cells, right after being planted in the Spring of 2018.

Two signs (above) describe the way bio-retention cells work, and the history of the location: a buried stream runs under/near both cells. See the old map of campus (above).

PG 280: Environmental Politics & Policy offered Spring 2018

Professor Sean Kay will offer PG 280 Environmental Politics and Policy at OWU this spring.  

Professor Sean Kay will offer PG 280 Environmental Politics and Policy this spring.  

The course focuses upon environmental politics and policies in the United States and internationally. The course looks at the environment as an issue in American political development as well as theories of environmental politics. The course also surveys environmental policymaking in the United States and international environmental governance and ongoing challenges. Students in this class will gain an in-depth understanding of the relationship between the environment and politics and policy outcomes, while also developing their own skills to engage as citizens on issues pertaining to the environment and our place within it.

Offered Spring semester, 2018 at 10:00-10:50 MWF  (PG Area I)

No prerequisites.

This course serves as an elective for both the Environmental Studies and Environmental Science majors.

Environmental Studies at OWU Update Summer 2017

An update on OWU’s Environmental Studies Program as the summer of 2017 starts.

An update on OWU’s Environmental Studies Program as the summer of 2017 starts.

This is a followup to a 2015-2016 update and 2016-2017 update posted on the OWU Environment & Sustainability Blog.

First of all, the Environmental Studies Program is no longer a thin after our proposal for an expanded Environment and Sustainability Program was voted into existence at the May 2017 faculty meeting. The proposal was compiled by a group of faculty, Laurie Anderson, Ellen Arnold, Amy Downing, Chris Fink, and John Krygier, drawing from 5 years of efforts. Additional work on the Environmental Science major was done by Bart Martin.

Information about the program has been added to the OWU web pages:


Our proposed OWU Campus Sustainability Plan created by students, staff and faculty over the last few years is just about in its final form and should be heading to the administration this summer.

Sustainability_Plan_OWU_March_2017

Student Emily Howald has spent the year gathering feedback and making adjustments to the plan. The Sustainability Task Force (STF), initiated in 2008, has overseen the development of the plan. Contact Nathan Amador and let him know if you want to be added to the STF mailing list. The STF is open to all.


Student Emily Howald and faculty member John Krygier wrote a paper which is to be published as a chapter in the book Sustainable Communities Design Handbook edited by OWU Alumni Woody Clark (OWU 1967). The book should be published by Elsevier in 2018. The chapter is an overview of OWU’s approach to sustainability, called “Scrappy Sustainability at Ohio Wesleyan University.” Clark was recently presented with an OWU Alumni Distinguish Achievement Award.


The 2017 May Move Out was another success. Students donated tons of items to Goodwill as they moved off campus last month. The event, first held in 2012, is at this point relatively easy to manage and does not cost the University any money (the cost of additional storage pods for donations is offset by the need for fewer trash dumpsters).


Our reusable carryout food container program is also relatively stable after some ups and downs over the last year. We have added drop off locations for the containers, increased their size, and decreased the size of the paper, throw-away containers (thus an incentive to use the reusable containers). Students Izzy Sommerdorf and Sarah Hanes have developed a proposal for making the program even easier for students, and our campus food service, Chartwells, is evaluating their proposal.


Sustainable food on campus has moved forward on several fronts. Our campus food service has recently worked out an agreement to purchase local produce from the Seminary Hill Farm, just south of campus, beginning this fall. This outcome is based on the efforts of student Ellen Sizer.

Student Emily Howald is working on a proposal for quarter-credit OWU Activity courses focused on gardening. Students would work with a skilled gardener in a course held during the first half of the fall semester, and second half of the spring semester, to maintain our campus community garden.

Students Maddie Coalmer and Larynn Cutshaw generated a proposal to plant perennial crops (asparagus, mint, raspberries), which require minimal maintenance, on a few out-of-the-way locations on campus.


Another successful Green Week was held at the end of the 2017 spring semester:


We have expanded the number of hydration stations on campus with a half-dozen new stations being installed this summer. Most of the new hydration stations are in or around athletic facilities on campus. Athletes have tended to be one of the more significant users of bottled water. Student Dominic Orsini wrote a grant and received funding for promotional water bottles. These will be used to promote the new hydration stations to athletes when they move on campus late this summer.


Nathan Amador will take a group of 12 students to Costa Rica as part of a Travel Learning course. This will be the second time the class will travel to Costa Rica. The students will learn environmental data collection and analysis methods, then implement those methods while in Costa Rica over the semester break (January 2018). Amador and the students are working with Amy Work (OWU ’04) and her Geoporter organization. More info on Amy’s efforts are here.


Again, thanks for all the efforts on what has been a great cross-disciplinary collaboration between faculty, students, staff and alumni over the past five years.

Fall 2017 OWU Course on Japanese Literature & the Environment

This course will look at the relationship between Japanese literature and environmental studies. Eco-Literary criticism is a new and growing field in literary studies and one in which Japan plays a significant contributing role.

A Fall 2017 course that can count as an Environmental Studies elective:

Comparative Literature (CMLT) 323 Elegance and Brutality: Topics in Modern Japanese Literature

The course will meet T/R from 2:40 – 4:00. It is a writing option course and meets diversity.

Instructor: Dr. Anne Sokolski

This course will look at the relationship between Japanese literature and environmental studies. Eco-Literary criticism is a new and growing field in literary studies and one in which Japan plays a significant contributing role. Japan is a country known for its sublime beauty as well as its mystifying brutality. It is a small island nation with a rich cultural history but little in the way of natural resources. While the religion of Shintoism and the philosophy of Taoism revere nature, Japan must also often transgress nature for the sake of economic development and global survival. The result is that Japan has both a reverent as well as pragmatic relationship with its environment. Fukushima is a recent example of the consequences of Japan’s industrial development. So how does a modern economically developed country balance its love for nature with its need to exploit it to compete in the global industrial world? These are the questions we will explore in this course as we study eco-literary criticism and the role of Japanese literature in this new field of environmental studies.

Contact Dr. Sokolski for more information.

OWU Travel Learning Course to Costa Rica, Fall 2017

Interested in visiting the tropics? In January? Fall 2017 Travel Course: Geography 347TL: Environmental Alteration, Dr. Amador Rowley

Interested in visiting the tropics? In January?

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Fall 2017 OWU Travel Course

Geography 347TL: Environmental Alteration, Dr. Amador Rowley

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Locations throughout Costa Rica, focusing on a small, coastal town: Bahia Ballena

Assess human impacts on natural environments in Delaware, OH (Fall ‘17) and coastal Costa Rica (Jan. ‘18), putting it into a regional and global context.

Collaborate with Amy Work, OWU Alum (‘04), and her community organization, Geoporter, and work with local citizens in a developing ecotourism region.

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Activities Include:

  • Visiting Palm Oil & Pineapple Plantations
  • Coffee Plantation
  • Coastal Community Mapping Using Drone
  • Biological Nature & Toucan Reserves
  • Visit Bat Sanctuary
  • Testing Water Quality
  • Kayaking through Mangroves

Contact: Dr. Nathan Amador Rowley with any questions (nsamador@owu.edu)

Sustainable Gardening: New OWU .25 Credit Activity Course 2nd Module Spring 2017

OWU students and faculty have initiated an effort to offer sustainability themed quarter credit activity courses beginning in the 2nd module for the spring semester of 2017.

This Activity Course has been postponed to the Fall of 2017! Contact Emily Howald for more information.

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OWU students and faculty have initiated an effort to offer sustainability themed quarter credit activity courses beginning in the 2nd module for the spring semester of 2017. Instead of yoga or bowling (which are both great) you can instead get active digging in the dirt.

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The class is run by staff from the very nearby Seminar Hill Farm, a leading regional organic farm. The class is one part of a strategy to make our campus garden sustainable and productive.

The class meets M and W from 2:30-3:30 in the garden near the old observatory on campus. Please contact Emily Howald for more information. Watch for the course as an option in the near future on Self-Service.