Ohio Wesleyan Professor, Student, Entrepreneurial Center Businessman Earn 2019 Awards

(OWU News Source)

At the recent Keep Delaware County Beautiful Awards, Ohio Wesleyan professor Sean Kay, student Brianna Graber ’20, and entrepreneur-on-campus Steve Flaherty all were honored for their efforts to improve the environment.

The awards were handed out Dec. 4 by the Keep Delaware County Beautiful Coalition, which provides recycling and litter prevention programs and environmental education activities to county residents and businesses. The coalition is led by the Delaware General Health District.

Sean Kay, Ph.D.

Sean Kay, Ph.D., a politics and government professor, earned the group’s Garrison-Brown Award for his volunteer work at the 2019 Northern Olentangy Watershed Festival, Olentangy River Cleanup, and Scioto River Clean Sweep, where he used his kayaking expertise to keep volunteers safe and moving forward as they pulled debris from the water. According to the coalition, the Garrison-Brown Award “is given to recognize initiative and significant environmental contribution to the community.”

Although Kay is widely known as an expert in global security, he also is interested in environmental issues and currently is researching grassroots campaigns for river conservation in the United States and abroad.

In May and June, he will be traveling to Utah and Colorado with OWU students who completed his Travel-Learning Course, “Environmental Politics and Policy.” After a semester in class, the group will spend 10 days in the two western states, including a four-day river-rafting trip through Dinosaur National Monument. To prepare for the trip, Kay spent two weeks over the summer working as an assistant guide rafting down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.

As part of his hands-on research, Kay also has been working on the River Shannon, Ireland’s largest river, and exploring the Dublin Bay biosphere, a region recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for its environmental, economic, cultural, and tourism significance.

Brianna Graber ’20

Student Brianna Graber, a zoology major and Spanish minor from Noblesville, Indiana, was honored with the Keep Delaware County Beautiful’s 2019 Litter Prevention Award. She earned the award for spearheading a project to install a trash-collecting storm drain net in the Delaware Run, which flows through campus. The device collects trash and organic debris, which Graber and future OWU students will analyze to determine the net’s impact on the quality of the water.

Steve Flaherty

Entrepreneur Steve Flaherty earned the coalition’s 2019 Recycling Award for his work to develop technology that turns non-recyclable plastics into asphalt paving. His business, necoPlastics LLC, is headquartered at the Delaware Entrepreneurial Center at Ohio Wesleyan University.

The 6,000-square-foot entrepreneurial center is a collaboration of Ohio Wesleyan, Delaware County, and the City of Delaware. It is the first-of-its-kind liberal arts business accelerator and the first-of-its-kind city, county, and educational institute partnership.

The Keep Delaware County Beautiful coalition, led by the Delaware General Health District, provides recycling and litter prevention programs and environmental education activities to the residents and businesses of Delaware County. For a complete list of 2019 award winners, visit the health district news and events page.

OWU Student & Project Win Delaware County Award

Keep Delaware County Beautiful Recognizes Community Partners

DELAWARE, Oh. – Several community members, leaders, schools and groups received recognition at the annual Keep Delaware County Beautiful Awards that occurred on Dec. 4 at Stratford Ecological Center.

The Litter Prevention Award recognized Ohio Wesleyan University student Brianna Graber who coordinated with the City of Delaware on a project to install a storm drain net in Delaware Run on the OWU Campus. The 6-and-a-half ton device is the first of its kind installed in the United States and collects trash and organic debris. The collected waste will be analyzed and the water quality will be monitored giving the community a better picture of the health of our water resources.

More on the storm drain net:

Delaware Run Storm Drain Net Installed and Catching Crap!

OWU and City of Delaware Storm Drain Net Collaboration

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

Interactive Maps of Greenspace around Lower Olentangy Watershed

Interactive maps are HERE.

The Greenspace Analysis summarizes existing GIS layers to identify land important for preservation. A scoring system was developed with consideration of parcel-based features (e.g. Parks & Golf Courses), linear features (e.g. Trails & Utility Easements), and features that span multiple parcels (e.g. Wetland & 100yr Floodplains).

Two scoring displays can be viewed in the web maps HERE. Screenshot below:

Additional interactive maps include

Find Your Home Watershed, Watershed Characteristics, Development in the Watershed, and Dams on the Lower Olentangy River: all HERE.

16th Annual Olentangy Forum, Tues. October 15th @ Merrick Hall

Once again OWU is hosting the Annual Olentangy Watershed Forum, Tuesday, October 15 from 9-3:30, Merrick Hall 3rd Floor.

The forum consists of central Ohio professionals reviewing the state of the Olentangy Watershed.

Registration (free) is requested by October 8th: calling or email Erin Gibson at egibson@delcowater.com or 740-548-7746 ext. 2221.

Lunch is included. Include dietary restrictions when registering.

Delaware Run Storm Drain Net Installed and Catching Crap!

Ohio Wesleyan University senior Brianna Graber has spent the past year planning and conducting water-quality research on the Delaware Run, which flows through the university campus and into the Olentangy River.

Her work included collaborating with the City of Delaware to install a 4-foot-high, 18.5-foot-wide, concrete-weighted storm drain net directly into the waterway. Put in place by crane Sept. 9, the 13,000-pound trapezoidal net is now capturing trash and green debris (organic waste such as lawn clippings and leaves). The net is one of the first installed in Ohio and the nation.

More information: Net Benefits: OWU News & Media

Visit the storm drain net: then social media it: #delrunstormdrainnet

The storm drain net is accessible from the OWU campus, just east of the 2nd footbridge east of S. Sandusky St.:

A video of the storm drain net in Delaware Run (Sept. 25, 2019)

Rain last weekend started the process of filling the net and trapping stream debris just upstream from the net (below). An assortment of larger trash along with quite a large amount of organic material is evident. Most notable is the impressive collection of cigarette butts.

Brianna Graber (OWU 2020) has been testing Delaware Run water, and will be able to compare water quality before and after the storm drain net installation. Material caught in the storm drain net will be analyzed for content (organic vs waste, etc.). The effects of such larger water-bourne materials on water quality is the focus of Graber’s work.

The presence of so many cigarette butts is of interest. Not only do cigarette butts contain plastic, but they also contain chemicals including nicotine. Some studies have began to investigate the impact of nicotine and other contaminants from cigarette butts on urban water (see Littered cigarette butts as a source of nicotine in urban waters, Journal of Hydrology
Volume 519, Part D, 27 November 2014, Pages 3466-3474).

Analyzing the contents of the storm drain net will allow the City of Delaware and other collaborators to understand and create target efforts to reduce specific kinds of waste, and to understand how both human generated and organic waste effect water quality.

Watch here for updates and let us know if you have questions!

2nd Annual Delaware Run Watershed Walk: September 22, 2019

Mostly hidden and invisible, Delaware Run weaves itself through the fabric of the city and is often overlooked. The Watershed Walk on Sept. 22, 2019, will shed light on this important natural resource.

2nd Annual Delaware Run Watershed Walk: September 22, 2019

RSVP for this FREE event at Eventbright

Bring rubber boots or old shoes (and a towel for drying off)

Presented by the Boardman Arts Park and the Central Ohio Communities Project

When: September 22, 2019

1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.: Choices for level of involvement: a “short walk” (45 minutes), or a longer walk (90+ minutes), with 3-4 entry or exit points. Led by Local naturalists, historians, MAD Scientist Associates and others.

3:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m.: creation of a “Watershed mural”, Badminton and Bocce Ball, upcycle art creation, and other “earth art and sports” (non-fossil fuel fun!)

Mostly hidden and invisible, Delaware Run weaves itself through the fabric of the city and is often overlooked. The Watershed Walk on Sept. 22, 2019 will shed light on this important natural resource.

Participants can choose to do a deep exploration of the run or shorter jaunts along its course.

Local scientists and experts will lead our walks and will explore the history, ecology and geologic features of the stream scavenger hunt style. After the walks, we will meet at the Boardman Arts Park to enjoy refreshments, music and educational programming about the nature nearby.

 

Fish Habitat Assembling Volunteer Opportunity: April 28, 2019

In celebration of the Olentangy Watershed Alliance’s 20th Anniversary this year, we have organized a volunteer fish habitat assembling effort. OWA will be working with the Army Corps of Engineers to assemble porcupine crib fish habitat that will be placed into the Delaware Lake once finished.

Delaware Lake, Delaware State Park (source)

Sunday, April 28th, from 9-noon at 3920 U.S. Highway 23 N. Delaware, OH 43015.

In celebration of the Olentangy Watershed Alliance’s 20th Anniversary this year, we have organized a volunteer fish habitat assembling effort. OWA will be working with the Army Corps of Engineers to assemble porcupine crib fish habitat that will be placed into the Delaware Lake once finished.

Please RSVP to olentangyriverwatershed@gmail.com

Flyer below: Click for PDF

 

 

 

 

OWU and City of Delaware Storm Drain Net Collaboration

Students and faculty have been working a project to implement a storm drain net in the Delaware Run on campus. The purpose of the net will be to remove trash and green waste/debris from the Delaware Run behind Merrick on campus.

Beginning in the Fall of 2018, Janelle Valdinger, Dr. John Krygier and I (Brianna Graber) have been cohesively working a project to implement a storm drain net in the Delaware Run, on OWU’s campus. The purpose of this project will be for Summer Science Research through Ohio Wesleyan University and for an internship with the City of Delaware. The purpose of the net will be to remove trash and green waste/debris from the Delaware Run behind Merrick on campus.
I will be using funding from the City of Delaware, a Theory to Practice Grant from Ohio Wesleyan that I wrote and was awarded, as well as a donation from FLOW (Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed), DelCo Water Co., and the American Kayaking Association (AKA). These funds will be used to obtain and purchase the net and research supplies, fund the machinery used for the project, and create an educational sign.
We will be in constant contact with the company used in purchasing and constructing the net, StormX, to give measurements and data for the net as well.
As of mid-January, the run area behind Merrick was surveyed for data and measurements to begin constructing the net and the order will be placed soon.
     
The goal is to have the net delivered mid-April in order to stay on schedule for Summer Science Research. As of right now, the plan is still on track.

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).