Analyzing Recycling at OWU: Spring 2020

Back when Covid-19 was barely a thing, OWU ES major Ash Moen (’20) and Meg Edwards (’22) literally dug into the stuff OWU students toss in the recycling bins in a systematic manner, collecting data that sheds light on recycling successes and failures.

The presentation Ash created includes the data and recommendations. Covid got in the way of implementing recommendations, but now is the time to rekindle this effort. Students interested in taking on recycling on campus in collaboration with Ed Pullen (ABM) should contact John Krygier or Student Sustainability Coordinator AJ Lashaway.

Click on the image below (or here) to navigate to the data and presentation.

OWU Sustainability Task Force Meeting: Sept 27 @ Noon @ Merrick 201

Dr. Krygier in the OWU ENVS Dunk Tank at the Olentangy River Festival (Sept. 2021)

Our first STF Meeting for the Fall of 2021 is Monday, Sept. 27 @ noon in 201 Merrick Hall.

Organizer: AJ Lashaway

Dr. Krygier/AJ→ OWU Outside update (hopefully MTSO reaches out, call Audubon)(make QR code for groupme)
→ Chimney Swift tower
→ Energy Projects: big and small
→ Bioretention Cells
→ any other sustainability things going on on campus

Ed Pullen→ recycling + waste management on campus

Erin Wolfe→ sustainability in Delaware
→ watershed
→ events OWU students can attend/opportunities available to them

SK (Treehouse) → Green Week, house events outside students can attend/help with

And SO much MORE.

Sept. 11: Olentangy River Festival!

The 8th Annual Olentangy River Festival will be held Saturday, September 11. For the first time, the festival is being held during the academic year, and OWU students can more easily participate.

Students who want to volunteer can contact John Krygier (ENVS)

OWU Chimney Swift Tower. This Fall! Really!

A very cool project, planned and developed since 2012, is funded and ready to build. It has been delayed over and over, and frikkin’ COVID has slowed it down, but the plan is to start construction before the end of August (2021).

Watch for updates here: but for now, the proposal and details are below.


Proposal: OWU Chimney Swift Tower
Ohio Wesleyan University
Spring 2021

Dick Tuttle (’73), Caitlyn Buzza (’12), Alex Johnson (’15), Ashley Tims (’17), Dustin Reichard (Zoology), John Krygier (E&S, Geography)

Contact: John Krygier (jbkrygier@owu.edu)

Summary

The purpose of the Chimney Swift Tower project is to provide a safe area for resting and nesting of chimney swifts. Chimney swifts consume a significant number of mosquitos and thus reduce student’s exposure to mosquito-borne illnesses. The tower will also serve as an important point of interest on the residential side of campus, an attraction for both prospective students and those already on campus. As a student-driven project in collaboration with OWU alumni, the tower serves as a notable example of theory-into-practice and the OWU Connection.

Chimney swifts evolved to live in dead, hollow, tree trunks and adapted to chimneys over time. Chimneys are increasingly rare in new buildings and often closed off in older buildings. Thus humans created a habitat for these birds, and are now removing that human-constructed habitat. In response to this problem, artificial chimney swift towers have been constructed over the last few decades. OWU Alumni Dick Tuttle has spent years documenting the many chimney swifts in Delaware, and his experience suggests that a swift tower on OWU’s campus, near Stuyvesant Hall, would be a prime location for the birds. We have visited the site with Peter Schantz who sees no practical problems with the proposed location. Tuttle has tentatively agreed to fund the construction of the tower with a gift to OWU. The typical tower, about 5’ x 5’ and 20’ to 30’ tall, can accommodate around 100 birds. The swift tower will attract student attention: swifts entering the tower at dusk are an impressive sight. For students (and prospective students) pursuing biology, environmental science, and environmental studies the towers will be of much interest. Importantly, for the typical student (or prospective student) the towers will be an intriguing addition to OWU’s campus, signaling OWU’s commitment to the environment while promoting interest in the natural world. The tower, which will have information about chimney swifts and the function of the tower, will serve as an important point of interest on the residential side of campus.

Key Components

Planning for the tower is and will continue to be a collaboration between students, faculty, and alumni. Plans have been developed over several years by students (Caitlyn Buzza ’12, Alex Johnson ’16, and Ashley Tims ’17) working in collaboration with OWU Alumni Dick Tuttle (’73) and faculty members Dustin Reichard (Zoology, ornithology), John Krygier (Geography & Environmental Studies, sustainability), and Kristina Bogdanov (Art, ceramics). Tuttle, Reichard, Bogdanov, and Krygier will work with mason John Kuhn on design details and construction of the tower.

1. The tower will meet the standards set by Paul D. Kyle in his book Chimney Swift Towers: New Habitat for America’s Mysterious Birds, A Construction Guide (Texas A&M University Press, 2005). These guidelines have been used for many successful towers. John Kuhn, our contractor, is an experienced mason who has also taught masonry courses. He should be able to integrate OWU students in the building project if appropriate.

 2. Chimney swifts are of immense value to their immediate environment: they are disinterested in humans and are neither aggressive nor dangerous. They consume an immense amount of flying insects, including mosquitos. Thus they serve an important public health role. A functioning chimney swift tower will significantly reduce the number of mosquitos on campus (as they will most likely fly back and forth from the tower to the Olentangy River).

3. The tower will be located to the north-east of Stuyvesant Hall, near the top of the hill that slopes down to William St. This is a good location for the chimney swifts (high, open) but also for observing birds from the residential halls, the newly renovated terrace in front of Stuyvesant Hall, and William St. Peter Schantz has recommended this location. (see below)

Map of location for proposed chimney swift tower.

 4. The tower will serve specific courses on campus, and associated faculty and students. In particular, Dr. Dustin Reichard and his ZOOL 341: Ornithology course. See Dr. Reichard’s letter of support. (See Appendix 1).

5. The tower project is representative of student theory-into-practice projects on and around campus, focused on environment and sustainability. For prospective students, the project provides a tangible example of theory-into-practice and campus/community collaboration. The tower project serves as an example of and inspiration for the kind of projects students in the Environment and Sustainability Program (Environmental Studies and Environmental Science) have undertaken in courses such as John Krygier’s GEOG 360: Environmental Geography and GEOG 499: Sustainability Practicum, as well as independent studies and SIP funded projects.

6. The tower will be attractive, fitting into the aesthetic of OWU’s campus while serving as a landmark and destination for students (and prospective students). The preliminary proposal includes brick construction with stone accents using recycled bricks and stone from campus, to match the materials used in Stuyvesant Hall. (see below)

Draft design of proposed chimney swift tower (access hatch, left, tile inserts, right)

 7. The tower will also be tastefully distinctive, with Ohio Wesleyan-themed ceramic artwork near the base. Dr. Kristina Bogdanov (Art, ceramics) has agreed to assist with removable (or permanent) panels at the base of the tower. The primary medium will be tiles, created from recycled clay and dyes. Building on a project started by former OWU biology and art major Ashley Tims (’17), Bogdanov and students will create tiles with permanent images, such as historical OWU photographs (see below). In addition, tiles will be created that depict the leaves of local, native trees and plants, common birds and animals, insects, bees, and other natural features of the campus area. These OWU inspired tiles can be changed out or added to over time. The tiles can be used in activities by admissions (with prospective students) as well as part of orientation for new students, as a way of relating the history and environment of our campus. We also propose a mosaic tile description of the tower, chimney swifts, and illustrations of how the towers work. Thus un-guided visitors can learn what the tower is about and how it works.

Photograph transfer tiles for base of proposed chimney swift tower.

 Appendix 1: Letter of faculty support from Dr. Dustin Reichard (Zoology) & Dr. John Krygier (Geology & Geography, Environment & Sustainability)

To: OWU University Advancement & Administration

From: Dustin Reichard (Zoology), John Krygier (ENVS, Geography)

Re: Chimney Swift Tower on OWU Campus

We are writing to convey our strong support for the installation of a chimney swift tower on the OWU campus. Chimney swifts are migratory songbirds that spend their summers breeding in eastern North America and their winters in western South America. Over the past few decades, chimney swifts have been experiencing a steady decline in population size. A major cause of their decline has been the loss of nesting and roosting habitat as homeowners have transitioned away from brick chimneys and either capped or removed chimneys that are no longer in use. The installation of chimney swift towers is one method for mitigating this decline. Delaware is the summer home of a sizable population of breeding chimney swifts that have been monitored for many years by Dick Tuttle, a committed conservationist from the local community that has offered a generous gift in support of this project.

The addition of a chimney swift tower to the OWU campus will provide numerous benefits to the campus community with relatively limited investment from OWU faculty and staff. From a pedagogical perspective, the tower will provide ample opportunities for students to collect and analyze data of swift roosting, migration, and breeding biology. These opportunities will be utilized by students in Ornithology (ZOOL 341), which is taught every spring, and Organisms and Their Environment (BIOL 122), which is taught every semester. Many of our zoology students are interested in careers related to conservation, and the accessibility of a swift tower on campus would allow them to develop skills in population monitoring while working with an at-risk species.

Additionally, chimney swifts are aerial insectivores that will contribute to the management of aerial insects, such as mosquitoes, which are a nuisance and can carry disease. This issue is particularly relevant given the recent expansion of the Zika virus to the southern United States, and the increased likelihood of more tropical parasites in the future as a result of climate change. The swifts also undertake a tremendous migration to the tropics each winter, which makes the bird an excellent international ambassador as OWU seeks to attract a larger number of international students. Finally, observing the birds enter the tower each evening to roost is an amazing natural spectacle that will undoubtedly thrill members of the community for years to come.

This proposal for chimney swift towers grew out of efforts to enhance habitats for birds, insects, and animals on and around the OWU campus. Work on this project over the past year or two has entailed determining viable locations for the tower, generating plans and designs, all done in consultation with Buildings and Grounds (for advice and input). Additional related campus projects include birdhouses, bat houses, and bee hotels. The development of such habitats on campus is one component of our proposed campus sustainability plan.

Please contact us with any additional questions, and let us know how we can proceed on this important opportunity.

Dustin Reichard

John Krygier

 

May Move Out ’21

After a year’s pause, due to the COVID, May Move Out is back for 2021.

May Move Out is OWU’s student-created and managed program to keep tons of usable materials out of the landfill each spring.

Volunteers contact Meg Edwards: email or sign up on this spreadsheet.

It’s simple:

Students can easily donate unneeded stuff to Goodwill as they move off-campus.

Mobile storage pods with May Move Out banners are placed around the residential side of campus for ease of donation.

Dump your stuff in the pod and get on your way. It’s that easy.

In previous years we’ve deferred up to 10 tons of reusable stuff.

More info here: http://maymoveout.owu.edu

 

Apply now! Student Sustainability Coordinator STAP Position, 2021-22

Please consider applying for the paid Student Sustainability Coordinator STAP position for the 2021-22 academic year.

This is a paid position, 6 hours per week.

The coordinator works with faculty in ENVS and the Sustainability Task Force on-campus initiatives and efforts related to the environment and sustainability.

This position requires initiative, engagement, and passion – and is central to our sustainability efforts on campus.

A description of the position is below. Ask John Krygier if you have questions!

Apply before: Wednesday, April 7th at 11:59 pm

Apply here

Eligibility here

Student Sustainability Coordinator

The Student Sustainability Coordinator position plays a vital role in maintaining and developing sustainability efforts on campus.

The student will organize and lead the campus Sustainability Task Force and liaise with the Environment & Sustainability Department (Anderson, Krygier, Rowley). Students in the position will also work with faculty, staff, and students (including those in Geography 360 & Geography 499) on-campus sustainability projects. Typically, the student attends the 0.25 credit ENVS 100.2/400.1 Conversations Towards a Sustainable Future course and works with new ENVS students.

Students may engage with additional research projects with ENVS faculty, pursue environmental activism efforts, help manage OWU’s Green Week, May Move Out, and other initiatives. Two students who previously held the position were authors on research papers published in part based on work undertaken while in a STAP position. The last student to hold the position was recently awarded a PhD level graduate fellowship with full funding.

Candidates should be organized, enthusiastic, and work well with other people (students, staff, faculty). Experience with sustainability efforts on campus helps. Ability to maintain outreach and scheduling while working well without excessive oversight. Basic ability to use Google Drive apps, Doodle, etc. necessary. But who can’t do that?

Sustainability Task Force (leadership, organization, content) in collaboration with Anderson, Krygier, Rowley. Assist with organization of May Move Out, Green Week, campus habitat enhancements (Chimney Swift Tower, bird habitats, etc.), recycling issues, food issues, composting, liaise with WCSA, Tree House, Citizens Climate Lobby, regional ROAR collaboration (Otterbein, Denison, Kenyon, etc.), City of Delaware, MTSO, Stratford, Preservation Parks.

Students interested broadly in the environment and sustainability. Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Biological and Earth Sciences, P&G, Sociology, Nutrition, Psychology, etc. Future interests in environmental leadership, careers in the environment, graduate school.

This position, as described above, is literal career training in that it requires passion and competence while allowing the student to pursue and develop important, practical skills. In addition, some previous students have used this position to engage in research, publication, and use the experience as a springboard to graduate school. Responsibility, leadership, motivation, and working for the better good of the environment and sustainability on campus and beyond are central to this position.

Position is both Fall 2021 & Spring 2022 Semesters
 

This Week: OWU Event: Water Management Careers – Students hear from Professionals

Ohio Wesleyan, City of Delaware, Ohio EPA Hosting Free Three-Day Speaker Series

OWU and the City of Delaware will collaborate with the Ohio EPA for an upcoming grant-supported speaker series on water management careers.

DELAWARE, Ohio – Designed for high school and college students, you’re invited to participate in a three-day, online “Careers in Water Management Speaker Series.”

The free event will be held Oct. 5-7 and provide information about careers in stormwater, wastewater, watershed, and drinking water management, among other fields.


Contact Caroline Cicerchi for Zoom Details:

Careers in Water Management Speaker Series I

 Monday, Oct. 5 from 9:30 AM – 10:20 AM: 

  • Jeff Paetz, Phoenix Environmental (15 minutes)
  • Heather Sheets, Ohio Clean Marinas (15 minutes)
  • Caroline Cicerchi, City of Delaware (15 minutes)

Careers in Water Management Speaker Series II

Tuesday, Oct. 6 from 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM:

  • Sarah Orlando, Ohio Sea Grant (15 minutes)
  • Chad Spring, City of Delaware (15 minutes)
  • Erin Wolfe, Delaware SWCD (15 minutes)
  • Janelle Valdinger, Ohio Wesleyan University (10 minutes)

Careers in Water Management Speaker Series III

Wednesday, Oct. 7 from 11:50 AM – 12:40 PM: 

  • Christine Szymanski, ODNR Scenic Rivers (15 minutes)
  • Jeff Kauffman, Del-Co Water Company (15 minutes)
  • Chris Roshon, Preservation Parks (15 minutes)

The Delaware Run winds through the City of Delaware and Ohio Wesleyan campus. (Photo by Cole Hatcher)

The event is supported by a grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and presented by the OEPA in collaboration with Ohio Wesleyan University and the City of Delaware Public Utilities Department.

The speaker series will include panelists from both the public and private sector, and each session will conclude with a question-and-answer session.

Organizations confirmed to speak during the series include:

  • City of Delaware Public Utilities
  • Del-Co Water Co.
  • Delaware Soil and Water Conservation District
  • Ohio Clean Marinas
  • Ohio Department of Natural Resources: Scenic Rivers
  • Ohio Sea Grant/OSU Extension
  • Phoenix Environmental

The sessions – also part of the OWU classes Introduction to Environment and Sustainability 100.1 and Conversations Toward a Sustainable Future 100.2/400.1 – are scheduled for the following dates and times:

  • 9:30 a.m. to 10:20 a.m. Oct. 5
  • 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 6
  • 11:50 a.m. to 12:40 p.m. Oct. 7

For access to the online Zoom sessions, email Caroline Cicerchi, Delaware’s watershed and sustainability coordinator, at ccicerchi@delawareohio.net. Learn more about Ohio Wesleyan’s Environment and Sustainability Program at owu.edu/environment.

OWU Sustainability Task Force: Climate Homework for September

At our first Sustainability Task Force (STF) Meeting for the Fall of 2020, we heard from Jess Wilber of the Citizens Climate Lobby. Jess provided us with some “homework” to do in the next month, nicely summarized on the graphic included in this post. Click on the image for a PDF file of the document.

If you missed the meeting, it was recorded and you can watch it here.

Efforts include joining the OWU and national CCL group, registering to vote, getting involved in calling campaigns (they work!), getting involved in letter-writing campaigns (they work too), and registering for climate-related events.

OWU’s student chapter is already hard at work on these efforts. The student chapter of CCL meets every 1st and third Sunday at 4-4:30ish for an hour or so, and has additional events planned for the Fall semester. Please contact us if you want to attend these Zoom meetings.

For our next STF meeting, Tuesday, Oct. 13 (6:30-7:30 pm, Zoom) Jess will rejoin us to see how we are doing, and we can talk about and plan more efforts for the 2020-21 academic year.

Please contact us if you have any questions.

See you at the next STF Meeting!

 

!!!Virtual Earth Day Week ’20!!!

Please Distribute and Share!

Follow us for details on vEarth Day ’20
Let us know what you are doing:
comment below, or
#OWUENVS, or
@OWUENVS Twitter: https://twitter.com/owuenvs

EARTH WEEK CHALLENGES 

SUN 4/19  Welcome to Earth Week! Earth Day 1: To start participating, follow #OWUENVS on Twitter and post a photo of the Earth – where you are – on Twitter, or Instagram (#OWUENVS) or email to John K. Do your best to share the stuff you do for the rest of Earth Day Week (social media or otherwise)

MON 4/20 Earth Day 2: Together, let’s #StopTheSpread of pollution and #FlattenTheCurve on CO2 emissions. Go to FootPrintCalculator to find out how many Earths it would take to sustain your lifestyle for everyone, and how we can all take steps to scale back. Share your findings with us. Questions? Ask Kayla.

TUE 4/21 Earth Day 3: Since we can’t march tomorrow, make a sign (out of used paper bags or scrap paper) declaring your commitment to the planet and put it in your window for your neighbors to see for the rest of the week, or try experimenting with found art. Questions? Ask Aayla.

WED 4/22 Earth Day 4: It’s the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day! Join us on Zoom at 8 pm EST for a screening and discussion of Anote’s Ark, a film documenting the struggle of the island nation of Kiribati, one of the first to face being wiped off the map by rising seas. Details to follow. Questions? Ask Dustin.

THU 4/23 Earth Day 5: Take action. Use Citizen Climate Lobby’s calling tool and our Green Stimulus Talking Points to reach out to your lawmakers and tell them that the environment must be included in the next COVID-19 stimulus package to protect public health and the economy in the long term. Questions? Ask Celeste.

FRI 4/24 Earth Day 6: Happy Friday, treat yourself to a great meal! From 5:30-7 pm EST, join us on Zoom as Chef Del Sroufe teaches an interactive course on sustainable plant-based cooking, and learn how the food you eat affects the world you live in. More details to follow. Questions? Ask Genaro.

Happy vEarth Day! Earth Day! Week!

The Ohio Wesleyan Sustainability Task Force & the Environment & Sustainability Program. 

Organized by students in ENVS 399: Sustainability Practicum