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 Earns NSF Funds to Attend First-of-Its-Kind Conference

DELAWARE, Ohio – Ohio Wesleyan University student Janelle Valdinger is one of fewer than 20 undergraduate and graduate students across the country invited to participate in January in the first national Workshop on Community Geography.

Building Community Through Geography

Ohio Wesleyan Student Earns NSF Funds to Attend First-of-Its-Kind Conference

DELAWARE, Ohio – Ohio Wesleyan University student Janelle Valdinger is one of fewer than 20 undergraduate and graduate students across the country invited to participate in January in the first national Workshop on Community Geography.

Valdinger, an OWU geography major, has been named a Community Geography Fellow and awarded funds to attend the two-day conference Jan. 25-26 at Georgia State University in Atlanta. According to organizers, the National Science Foundation-supported workshop will bring together 40 to 50 Community Geography Fellows, who are “academic researchers and community leaders interested in using geographic research for community development, social justice, and environmental sustainability.”

In addition to being a full-time Ohio Wesleyan student, Valdinger also is a full-time employee of the City of Delaware, where she works as a Geographic Information System (GIS) technician.

She said her main goals for the workshop include “learning new ways to use geographic research for community development, especially in other countries … and finding new ways to build a stronger, long-lasting working relationship between Ohio Wesleyan University and the City of Delaware.”

Valdinger already has helped to coordinate a joint university-city project to install three water-purifying rain gardens on OWU’s campus. She is helping now to implement a collaborative relationship that involves the city’s Department of Public Utilities hosting OWU students as interns and “developing a partnership with the OWU Summer Science Research Program where the city hires a student-intern for the summer and the university provides housing, along with faculty guidance for a research project.”

The first Ohio Wesleyan student to hold the summer research internship is junior zoology major Brianna Graber. Graber is working with the city this semester on a project to fund and install storm-drain nets to catch large waste items and prevent them from entering the Olentangy River.

While attending the Georgia conference, Valdinger will present information on the developing OWU-Delaware partnership, which currently includes eight university students working on environmental projects.

In addition, she hopes to glean information to assist with her Ohio Wesleyan departmental honors project, which focuses on mapping public utilities in Belize.

On campus, she is collaborating on the honors project with Department of Geology and Geography faculty members John Krygier, Ph.D., director of environmental studies; Nathan Amador Rowley, Ph.D.; and Ashley Allen, Ph.D., and with Jay Scheffel, assistant director of physical plant. Off campus, Valdinger is working with 2003 OWU alumnus Tim Hawthorne, Ph.D., assistant professor of GIS at the University of Central Florida.

“Not only will we be mapping utilities, but we will be providing utility locators to the local government officials in Belize,” Valdinger said. “Citizen Science will play a large role in this project, and learning (at the workshop) about what avenues other professionals have taken will help greatly in the execution of my project.”

Krygier, who was also named a Community Geography Fellow, said he is excited for Valdinger to attend the workshop and share her OWU accomplishments with scholars from across the country, and to learn how to further community engagement on campus, in Delaware, and abroad.

He also is excited by the overall potential of community geography, one of his research specialties, and its focus on engaged community work.

“It’s about creating a win-win situation for colleges and their communities,” Krygier said, “with positive impacts, research experiences, and real-world engagement between people and institutions who share many common goals.”

Learn more about the upcoming national Workshop on Community Geography at www.communitymappinglab.org/commgeog19.html and more about OWU’s geography major at www.owu.edu/geography or https://sustainability.owu.edu.

2018-19 The Libby Reed Scholarship in the Geosciences: Janelle Valdinger

Libby Reed

We are pleased to announce that rising junior Janelle Valdinger has been awarded the 2018-19 Libby Reed Scholarship, currently $9,000 per academic year, to be extended through her senior year at OWU.

“The most selective colleges and universities, such as Ohio Wesleyan, have students and professors whose thirst for knowledge surpasses those of most of their peers. They are eager to transcend the ordinary challenge of everyday courses and laboratory work and adopt a pace appropriate to their extraordinary talents and motivation. Incredible professors make indelible imprints on these lives. Professor Libby Reed exemplified such a thirst for learning complemented by an intense desire and talent for teaching.”

“In recognition of Professor Reed’s enthusiasm and dedication to education and her persistence in teaching him to write, Richard Alexander ‘ 82 established The Libby Reed Scholarship in the Geosciences. The income from this endowed fund will be used annually to award a scholarship to a rising Junior who exemplifies academic excellence and who shows promise and dedication to the study of the geosciences.”

Janelle Valdinger

Janelle works for the City of Delaware Public Utilities Department, as a GIS Technician, and chose to finish her undergraduate coursework (started at OSU) at OWU last year. In the short time Janelle has been at OWU she has had a profound impact on campus by engaging with faculty, staff, and students on collaborative projects of interest to both OWU and the City of Delaware.

In the Fall of 2017 she developed a project proposal to install two bio-retention cells (rain gardens) on OWU’s campus, near Branch Ricky Arena. The cells were installed in the spring of 2018. Funds for the gardens came from a City of Delaware grant, and OWU contributes to the maintenance of the gardens. An OWU press release written by Cole Hatcher details the project and Janelle’s collaborators on the project: “Purposeful Plantings.”

John Krygier, co-director of the Environment & Sustainability Program at OWU has been working with Janelle, city Watershed and Sustainability Coordinator Caroline Cicerchi on a series of student collaborative projects, internships and externships. The ultimate goal is to provide students with engaged, OWU Connection experiences that are intellectually and practically challenging and that benefit OWU and the City.

Projects guided by Valdinger, Cicerchi and Krygier underway this semester include:

City Public Utilities Externship: Genaro Garcia (Environmental Studies, ’20): Gain practical knowledge in watershed planning, water quality monitoring efforts, water quality improvement initiatives, storm-water management planning, MS4 permit implementation, the use of GIS software and equipment, reading/understanding record drawings, grant research, community outreach, professional conferences, and formal meetings. Build critical thinking, research, and writing skills by assisting with multiple projects developed in collaboration with Public Utilities staff, and submitting a final report on this work.

Bio-Retention Cells: Kayla Adolph (Geography, Politics & Government ’19): Assess and develop a plan for a bio-retention cell near OWU’s Merrick Hall and one near OWU’s Citizens of the World House.

Green-Roofed Bike Racks: Celeste Wallick (Environmental Studies, ’20): Develop a plan and budget for one or two covered bike racks on OWU’s campus and in Delaware. Ideally, these bike racks would have a green, living roof, which would allow OWU students to do research on the plants on an actual green roof.

Delaware Food Scraps Composting Project: Kait Aromy (Botany, Environmental Studies, ’20): Working with Worthington (OH)-based Compost Exchange/Innovative Organics on a drop-off program for food scraps at the Delaware Farmer’s Market.

Storm Drain Net Project: Brianna Graber (Zoology, ’20): Working with City Public Utilities to fund and install a storm drain net over one or two major storm drains in the City of Delaware. These nets catch larger items washed into the storm drains before they get into the Olentangy River. The material caught by the net will be analyzed to develop a sense of the kinds of larger waste being washed into the Olentangy via the storm drain sewers, leading to strategies to reduce such waste at the origin.

E Coli Testing for Delaware Run: Ashley McCracken (Chemistry, ’19): Delaware Run, which flows along OWU’s campus and empties into the Olentangy River, has had a notable increase in e coli detected by tests on Run water done over the past few years. The e coli counts are particularly high during the increasing number of storm events. Ashley McCracken, a senior Chemistry major and Geography minor is developing a procedure for a lower-cost method to test for e coli, allowing us to do more sampling and testing of the water and, hopefully, determine the source of the e coli contamination.

Storm Water Awareness: Cole Petty (Business, ’19): Developing an interactive presentation and short “field” experience for city of Delaware 4th grade students, focused on understanding the problem of stormwater pollution. The effort includes an exploration of stormwater drains near the elementary schools, which will be marked with “Drains to the River” plaques.

Trashy Art: Shayla Scheitler (Environmental Studies, ’20): An environmental art project, using an array of spectacular and mundane items extracted from waterways in the city of Delaware. An assemblage will be partially created with these items, and a Peace and Justice House (SLU) open house held, where students and other visitors can manipulate the items and ponder the role of waste in our environment.

“City of Delaware Public Utilities Department geographic information system (GIS) technician Janelle Valdinger, left, shows co-worker Ron Spring how to update work orders in the field using one of the department’s new tablets.”

Photo above from the Delaware Gazette: “Technology increases efficiency: City utility crews using tablets, GPS in field.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

2018 Richard B. Alexander Award for Excellence in Environmental Studies: Emily Howald

Above (from left): Emily Howald, Holly Keating, Kait Aromy, and Eva Blockstein

Emily Howald received the 2018 Richard B. Alexander Award for Excellence in Environmental Studies at the Environment & Sustainability Program’s year-end event, in April of 2018. Emily is currently a Graduate Fellow at The Ohio State University, in the Department of Environment & Natural Resources.

Emily exceeded the requirements of the Alexander Award, which includes

  1. GPA: 3.5 or above
  2. If an ES major is elected to Phi Beta Kappa then that student should also receive the Alexander Award
  3. Campus environmental activism
  4. Statewide or national activism

Emily also received E&S Program Honors for her research project and paper entitled “An Unlikely Alliance: Endangered Species Conservation on the Military Estate.”

Emily’s accomplishments also include, Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa, Mortar Board, Phi Eta Sigma and she was awarded the Bridge Builder Golden Bishop Award.

While at OWU, Emily was instrumental in the three-year process behind our recently adopted Sustainability Plan. The plan was largely the work of students in collaboration with faculty and staff at OWU. The last year consisted of Emily meeting with diverse groups and individuals across campus, including administrators, faculty committees, campus Buildings & Grounds, food service, cleaning service, student organizations, and student government. The effort concluded with a lunch with Rock Jones, President of OWU, where she convinced him to support the adoption of the Plan.

Emily and faculty member John Krygier co-wrote a book chapter on experiences getting sustainability on the agenda at OWU with grass-roots, campus-wide efforts. The chapter was published in a book edited by OWU alumni Woody Clark (’67). Clark has been long involved with environmental and sustainability efforts. The second edition of his Sustainable Cities and Communities Design Handbook (December 2017 info here and here) contains the book chapter, entitled “‘Scrappy” Sustainability at Ohio Wesleyan University.”

Emily was the Sustainability intern during her senior year and co-chaired OWU’s Sustainability Task Force. She was involved in dozens of campus sustainability projects and exemplifies the spirit of “scrappy sustainability” at OWU. She was also involved in statewide student environmental efforts.

Eva Blockstein at the Spring 2018 Environment & Sustainability program get-together.

Environment & Sustainability Picnic! Monday, April 16th, 6:30 – 8:00 pm.

Environment & Sustainability Picnic! Monday, April 16th, 6:30 – 8:00 pm. Lots of fun! Get Earthy!

Environment & Sustainability Picnic!

Monday, April 16th, 6:30 – 8:00 pm.

Gazebo Park if nice and Benes Room if not!

Lots of fun! Get Earthy!

Over in the tiny park with the gazebo across from the SLUs and behind the fire station (in case we self-combust from too much fun).

Everyone is welcome!

 

2016 Richard B. Alexander Award for Excellence in Environmental Studies

Since 2000 the Environmental Studies Program at OWU has awarded our best graduating seniors the Richard B. Alexander Award for Excellence in Environmental Studies, funded by alumni Richard Alexander. For 2016, we had two winners.

Since 2000 the Environmental Studies Program at OWU has awarded our best graduating seniors the Richard B. Alexander Award for Excellence in Environmental Studies, funded by alumni Richard Alexander.

For 2016, we had two winners.

Emily Webb (below, left), originally from Troy, Michigan, graduated Phi Beta Kappa with majors in Zoology and Environmental Studies. She is a member of both the The Wilson Ornithological Society and American Ornithologists’ Union. She’s all about the birds. This fall, she is beginning a PhD in Biology at Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ. Her research at ASU will be with Dr. Kevin McGraw studying bird coloration.

emilywebballiefrance
Emily Webb annoying a Bright-rumped Attila (bird). Allie France wondering why she volunteered to stuff candy and stickers in dozens of reusable water bottles, to help promote OWU’s May Move Out.

Allie France (above, right) is from the Columbus, Ohio area and graduated with majors in Botany and Environmental Studies. Allie became increasingly involved with campus sustainability projects including reusable containers for the dining halls and sustainability efforts and awareness on campus. Allie actually managed to get the reusable food container program launched while off campus, on the other side of the world, in Cape Town, South Africa, during a semester abroad. Indeed, experiences with sustainability efforts in South Africa helped her to see her sustainability work at OWU from a new perspective. During her senior year on campus Allie’s work on a draft campus sustainability plan and other related projects not only made significant contributions to sustainability at OWU, but helped her shape her post-graduation plans. She is currently working, keeping an eye open for sustainability jobs, and planning to start a master’s program in sustainability and conservation.

OWU Earns “Keep Delaware County Beautiful” Award

Ohio Wesleyan’s May Move Out program was honored Dec. 3 with the 2015 Recycling Award from the Keep Delaware County Beautiful Coalition.

mmo_award_2015Ohio Wesleyan’s May Move Out program was honored Dec. 3 with the 2015 Recycling Award from the Keep Delaware County Beautiful Coalition. May Move Out is supported with a grant from Delaware Knox Marion Morrow Solid Waste Management District (DKMM SWD). OWU earned the award for helping students to recycle unwanted goods when they left campus for the summer. The “May Move Out” program recycled about 9.5 tons (19,000 pounds) of materials, benefiting Goodwill Industries and keeping reusable items out of area landfills.

OWU’s May Move Out effort was initiated by students and continues to engage dozens of student volunteers. Information on the first few years of the program is here.

The Keep Delaware County Beautiful coalition, led by the Delaware General Health District, provides recycling and litter prevention programs and environmental education activities to residents and businesses in Delaware County.

More information on the May Move Out can be found here.

OWU Press Release Here.

OWU’s Environmental Studies Wins Storm Water Prevention Award

OWU’s Environmental Studies Program was awarded the 2014 Storm Water Pollution Prevention Award by the City of Delaware, Ohio.

StormWaterPollutionPreventionAwardScan

OWU’s Environmental Studies Program was awarded the 2014 Storm Water Pollution Prevention Award by the City of Delaware, Ohio.

The City of Delaware strives to reduce pollutants and improve water quality in our community using several methods of outreach and clean-up events each year. This effort cannot be accomplished alone but with the help of community members, like Ohio Wesleyan University, our efforts have become successful. Each year the City of Delaware recognizes a local business or organization that demonstrates efforts of reducing pollutants and improving storm water through our MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) program. The City is pleased to announce that Ohio Wesleyan University and their environmental studies program has been selected as the 2014 Storm Water Pollution Prevention Award winner.

Efforts mentioned in the award include numerous organized stream and river cleanups, water quality grants and projects, a floating wetlands project, Water Week at OWU, and research and proposals for naturalizing the Delaware Run adjacent to campus.