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?


Fall 2017 OWU Travel Course

Geography 347TL: Environmental Alteration, Dr. Amador Rowley


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.


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.


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.


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.

OWU Environmental Studies & Sustainability Progress, Spring 2017

Established and ongoing efforts in environment and sustainability by Ohio Wesleyan students, staff and faculty and off-campus collaborators active during the 2016-17 academic year.

Established and ongoing efforts in environment and sustainability by Ohio Wesleyan students, staff and faculty and off-campus collaborators active during the 2016-17 academic year. 

A PDF of this document is available here.

OWU Sustainability Plan: As a liberal arts institution, Ohio Wesleyan University must be a leader in progressive sustainability initiatives through educational, technical, and social means. The proposed Ohio Wesleyan Sustainability Plan (click for PDF) is intended to invigorate and expand a culture of sustainability that has a positive impact on the environment. Draft of the OWU Sustainability Plan, created by faculty, staff and students, is complete and being revised and vetted. Students in our Sustainability Practicum are currently arranging to move the proposed plan through OWU’s administrative network during the spring of 2017.

May Move Out: A student-initiated project in collaboration with Goodwill, to defer usable materials from the trash as students move off campus in May. We defer 10 tons of reusable furniture, appliances, clothes, bikes, etc. on average, each May. Students are currently meeting with OWU’s Buildings & Grounds and Residential Life staff to plan for and promote the 2017 May Move Out. Ohio Wesleyan’s May Move Out program was awarded the 2015 Recycling Award from the Keep Delaware County Beautiful Coalition.

Reusable Food Containers in Hamilton Williams Campus Center: A student project initiated in the Fall of 2015 is being expanded during the spring of 2017. A new dishwasher was installed in our campus center in part to provide adequate washing of the containers. Students and campus food service staff are working to improve and expand the program during the Spring of 2017.

Environmental Science Major: A proposal for an Environmental Science major (in addition to our 39 year old Environmental Studies major) will be brought before OWU committees and faculty for consideration and approval during the Spring of 2017.

Environmental Studies Minor in Food Studies: A Food Studies Minor (developed from the Food Course Connection) is in place (a collaboration between Health and Human Kinetics [HHK] and Environmental Studies). Two more minors, Sustainability and Climate Science are being developed.

Living Green Infrastructure Proposal: Students and staff are working on a proposal for a Living Green residence hall option. 1) Develop structural sustainability. 2) Allow students to live more sustainably by reducing their water, energy, and material waste. 3) Include workshop/classroom area for sustainable learning (repair, self-production). 4) Trained RA’s to be sustainable life assistants.

Delaware Foodshed Farm and Food Collaboration: Building on the Food Studies Minor and student interest in gardens, farming and food, OWU faculty in Environmental Studies and HHK are developing a collaboration between Stratford Ecological Center farms and the Methodist School of Ohio farms. Initial efforts will focus on student internships and engagement of OWU in a regional food network. With financial support for staff (donations or grants) campus gardens will be developed. Efforts will focus on the practice of ecologically sound farming, food production, regional food networks and social outreach (building on the existing Cooking Matters Program, organized by Dr. Chris Fink) to engage students and community members in growing food.

Environmental and Sustainability Internships: Eight to ten internships are being offered on a regular basis at Stratford Ecological Center and the City of Delaware. Foci include environmental education, marketing, farming, and sustainability. Additional internships will be available at the Seminary Hill Farm (Methodist Theological School of Ohio) Fall 2017.

Global Environmental Change Collaboration & Travel Learning Course: OWU collaboration with Amy Work (OWU ‘04) and her organization GeoPorter in Bahia Ballena-Uvita, Costa Rica. Learning and using environmental assessment methods in Delaware, Ohio (Fall 2017) and during a travel learning course trip (Dr. Nathan Amador’s Geography 347) to coastal Costa Rica (January 2018). Goal: to understand how local environmental data is collected and relates to regional and global climate and environmental change.

Chimney Swift Towers: A collaboration between students and OWU Alumni Dick Tuttle (OWU 1973) to build a chimney swift tower on the residential side of campus. Plans have been drawn up and cost estimates provided by a contractor. Funds will be provided by Tuttle. We anticipate construction during the spring or summer of 2017 pending approval from B&G and OWU’s Administration.

Campus Wildlife Habitat Enhancements: Student efforts continue to install and maintain bird houses, feeders and solitary bee houses on campus.

Green Week 2017: Building on a successful week of events in 2016, students are organizing another week of events for the spring of 2017 (the week prior to Earth Day).

Delaware Run Assessment and Restoration: Ongoing project focused on restoring Delaware Run between Sandusky St. and Henry St. Emerging collaboration with stream restoration specialists who propose restoration of the stream and adjacent riparian zone in return for state of Ohio stream credits. Currently waiting on the establishment of an official Ohio stream banking and credit procedure.

Bottled Water Sales Reduction: Student-led efforts to drive down bottled water purchases on campus, including the installation of hydration stations and promotion of reusable water bottles. Bottled water sales have dropped significantly in the last three years. We continue to install hydration stations (filtered water) at key locations as an alternative to bottled water.

Environmental Studies at OWU Update Fall 2016

An update on OWU’s Environmental Studies Program as the fall 2016 semester starts.

OWU Faculty member Nathan Amador (left) and Amy Work (OWU 2004, right) and various assistants hone in on a drone during an OWU Travel Learning trip to Costa Rica.

An update on OWU’s Environmental Studies Program as the fall 2016 semester starts.

2015-2016 academic year developments are listed on an earlier post on the OWU Environment & Sustainability Blog.

A few additional developments are worth noting:

Of obvious importance is the proposal for transforming our nearly 40 year old Environmental Studies program into Environmental Sustainability, part of the campus-wide effort to expand enrollment. The proposal was compiled by a group of faculty, Ellen Arnold, Amy Downing, Chris Fink, and John Krygier, drawing from 5 years of efforts by ES faculty, staff and students, including content drawn from:

  • 2012 Environmental Studies Program Self Study
  • 2013 Environmental Studies External Program Review
  • 2014 Proposal – OWU Center for the Environment
  • 2014 Proposal – Sustainability Region
  • 2015 Program Case for Support

The Environmental Sustainability Major, if approved by faculty (the vote should happen at the Monday September 19, 4:30 pm faculty meeting), will have three tracks: Food, Climate, and Sustainability. All will involve a significant amount of applied work, theory-into-practice, and internships.

Collaborative efforts with Chris Fink (HHK) over the past few years fleshed out the Food Track in the proposed new major. Much of this is embodied in the Food Minor, passed at the last faculty meeting in the spring. We are formalizing connections with Stratford Farm and the Seminary Hill Farm south of campus, where we placed a dozen or so interns last academic year.

The addition of Nathan Amador to the faculty was central in solidifying our Climate Track for the proposed major. Nathan and Craig Jackson have led the effort on the Climate front.

Finally, the Sustainability Track in the major is the result of the work of faculty, staff and students over the past decade. In particular, Sean Kinghorn (sustainability coordinator, 2012-14), B&G’s Peter Schantz, Chartwell’s Gene Castelli, staff in Res Life and other folks who helped guide well over 100 student sustainability projects.

Laurie Anderson’s efforts have been central to all three tracks in the proposed program, and sustainability on campus in general.

Recent past Sagan National Colloquiums have also infused our proposal with ideas: Sustainability (2008-09), Food (2012-13), Climate (2013-14), Water (2014-15) and Waste (2015-16). All brought an array of scholars to campus, driving home the point that all these environmental and sustainability issues are of significant importance.

Nathan Amador and student Todd D’Andrea spent several weeks in southern Costa Rica this summer, collaborating with Amy Work (OWU ’04) on what we hope will be a long-term component of the Environmental Sustainability program, looking at the local impacts of global environmental change. Nathan organized and led a travel learning course (Fall 2015) that had students working with Amy over the semester break (2015-16) and we plan to return with another travel learning course in the fall of 2017. More info on Amy’s efforts are here.

Thanks to all who have contributed to our efforts over the years: your work is now part of the Environmental Sustainability proposal.

The Sustainability Task Force (STF) initiated in 2008 has been instrumental in moving sustainability forward on campus. Contact Nathan Amador for the date and time of the next STF meeting (and let him know if you want to be added to the STF mailing list). It is open to all.

Students in my Spring 2015 and Spring 2016 Sustainability Practicum not only managed a bevy of ongoing sustainability projects on campus, they also developed a 40 page overview (Spring 2015) of past and present sustainability that was reformed (Spring 2016) into a proposed OWU Sustainability Plan in collaboration with the STF. We also consulted with OWU alumni who work in the field of sustainability.

Finally, last academic year, Jim Peoples, Nick Crane (now at the University of Wyoming) and I managed the Luce Foundation funded initiative on Sustainability in Asia and the West, with a focus on waste and discard studies. This effort, a collaboration between OWU’s East Asian Studies and Environmental Studies Programs, moves forward with an implementation grant we are currently writing. Obviously this effort will sync nicely with the proposed Environmental Sustainability Program. It also corresponds nicely with the development of a Global Studies Center on campus, headed up by Jeremy Baskes, and part of the GLCA’s Global Crossroads program.

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.

OWU Food Minor & Association for the Study of Food & Society

The September 2016 Newsletter of the Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS) includes information about OWU’s new Food Minor. It is worth taking a look at the newsletter and also the ASFS organization to get a sense of the breadth of ideas and topics within the emerging field of food studies / food and society.

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Dr. Chris Fink passed along a link to the September 2016 Newsletter of the Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS) which includes information about OWU’s new Food Minor (detailed in an earlier post).

It is worth taking a look at the newsletter and also the ASFS organization to get a sense of the breadth of ideas and topics within the emerging field of food studies / food and society.


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For more information about OWU’s new Food Minor please contact Dr. Fink or Dr. Anderson.


OWU Food Minor Approved for Fall of 2016

Ohio Wesleyan Faculty approved a minor in Food Studies beginning the fall of 2016. The minor is being facilitated by the Health and Human Kinetics Department and Environmental Studies Program.


Ohio Wesleyan Faculty approved a minor in Food Studies beginning the fall of 2016. The minor is being facilitated by the Health and Human Kinetics Department and Environmental Studies Program. We are calling the new minor a Mentored Minor as the program has a significant amount of engaged work (at least two semesters of internships or independent study)

Details about the Food minor are in the 2016-2017 OWU Catalog, and are listed below. Please contact Dr. Christopher Fink, Dr. Laurie Anderson, or Dr. John Krygier for more information.

Food Studies Mentored Minor

The Food Studies mentored minor is overseen collaboratively by the OWU Department of Health & Human Kinetics and the Environmental Studies Program, and views food from a multidisciplinary perspective. We recognize the importance of food as biological fuel, as a natural resource with problems of abundance and scarcity, as a focus of celebration, as a human obsession, as a cultural expression, as a multi-billion dollar industry, and as an interaction with the global environment through agriculture and waste disposal. By studying food across a range of disciplines, students in this minor will improve their ability to investigate, debate, and solve some of the most important problems affecting the human condition in the 21st century, including food scarcity, malnutrition, obesity, preserving cultural heritage in a global society, and feeding people in a world of 7 billion and more.


To complete the mentored minor, a student must:

  • Identify an owu faculty member associated with the Food Studies minor to serve as their mentor
  • Create A proposal, in collaboration with their mentor, to the food studies faculty contacts, outlining courses and projects that fit with their specific interests in food.
  • Complete 5.5 units of coursework, consisting of:
    • 3 units of courses selected from the list below, 1 unit from each of 3 different departments.
    • The 0.5 unit interdisciplinary Food Seminar (after completion of at least 1 full unit food course)
    • 2 project-based units (Independent Study, Directed Readings, Internship).


The following are the courses that can be used for the 3 non-seminar and non-project courses required in the minor. As a reminder, students must take the 0.5 unit Interdisciplinary Food Seminar (INT 300.6 – Interdisciplinary Food Seminar), and select three other courses, representing three different departments. They must complete at least 1 full unit of coursework from this list before enrolling in the Food Seminar. The Food Seminar will be offered in alternating years.

  • BIOL 122 – Organisms and their Environment (Anderson, Downing, Hankison, Johnson, Kelly, Reichard)
  • BOMI 103 – Biology of Cultivated Plants (Murray)
  • BOMI 106 – Enology (summer only) (Goldstein)
  • BOMI 107 – Food (summer only) (Wolverton)
  • BOMI 233 – Ecology and the Human Future (Anderson)
  • CMLT 110 – Myth, Legend, and Folklore of the European Continent (Merkel)
  • ENG 145 – Reading: The Global Kitchen (Comorau)
  • GEOG 499 – Sustainability Practicum (Krygier)
  • HHK 114 – Personal Health (Fink, Busch)
  • HHK 270 – Sport and Exercise Nutrition (Fink, Staff)
  • HHK 347 – Special Topics in HHK: A Qualitative Inquiry (Fink)
  • HHK 300.8 (0.5 unit) – Health Program Planning (Fink) and HHK 300.9 (0.5 unit) – Health Education Instructional Methods (Fink)
  • PHIL 250 – Environmental Ethics (Stone-Mediatore)
  • PSYC 262 – Health Psychology (DiLillo)
  • SOAN 111 – Cultural Anthropology (Howard, Peoples)
  • SOAN 347 – Health, Illness, Disability and Dying (Howard)
  • SOAN 367 – Human Ecology (Peoples)
  • ZOOL 101 – Human Biology (Kelly)
  • ZOOL 325 – Human Physiology (Kelly)
  • ZOOL 335 – Ecological and Evolutionary Physiology (Kelly)


A current list of mentors can be obtained from the faculty contacts for this minor, Dr. Laurie Anderson (Botany/Microbiology), and Dr. Christopher Fink (Health & Human Kinetics). Faculty mentors will oversee the development of proposals from students, and may also serve as the faculty supervisors of independent studies, directed readings, or apprenticeships.

Food Studies Mentored Minor Faculty Contacts

Dr. Christopher fink (Health & Human kinetics) and Dr. Laurie Anderson (Botany/Microbiology)


Farm / Food / Environmental / Sustainability Internships at Stratford and Methodist Theological School of Ohio

Ohio Wesleyan is offering several internships at two locations for the Fall 2016 semester. Opportunities are at the Stratford Ecological Center and the Seminary Hill Farm, part of the Methodist Theological School. Both are just south of OWU’s campus.

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Ohio Wesleyan is offering several internships at two locations for the Fall 2016 semester. Opportunities are at the Stratford Ecological Center and the Seminary Hill Farm, part of the Methodist Theological School. Both are just south of OWU’s campus.

Opportunities at the Stratford Ecological Center are detailed in the flyer below (click for PDF).

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Opportunities at the Seminary Hill Farm, part of the Methodist Theological School of Ohio are detailed in the flyer below (click for PDF).

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The internships can count towards your Environmental Studies independent study requirement (for ES majors). They will also count towards the proposed Food Minor (to be voted on by faculty later this month). Yes we have transportation options for carless interns. Yes I will accept a bushel of rutabagas you grow as part of the internship.

Choices for Sustainable Living Course | Stratford Ecological Center | Oct 1 – Nov 19, 2015


Earth Institute Course: Choices for Sustainable Living
When: October 1 – November 19, 2015: Thursdays 6:30pm-8pm
Location: Stratford Ecological Center
Cost: $30

Choices for Sustainable Living discussion course is part of a series developed by the Northwest Earth Institute in Portland, Oregon. The series is promoted by Simply Living in Columbus, Ohio. Their aim is to educate and motivate people to live more simply and sustainable in their lives. This course provides participants a powerful opportunity to explore sustainability more deeply and learn its unique meaning from individual, societal and global perspectives. We are excited to offer this updated eight week course, including introduction, for up to twelve people. The course is participant led with no right or wrong answers, providing an opportunity for open discussion. The $30 fee covers the postage and cost of the hard-copy book.

If interested in attending, let John Krygier know and maybe we can arrange ride-sharing.

Fall ’15 OWU Environmental Travel Course to Costa Rica

Travel Learning Course: Geography 347: Environmental Alteration: Comparative Global Environmental Change: Bahia Ballena-Uvita, Costa Rica & Delaware, Ohio. Learn how to collect environmental data in Delaware, Ohio (Fall 2015) and coastal Costa Rica (January 2016) and understand how it relates to regional and global climate and environmental change.


Travel Learning Course: Geography 347: Environmental Alteration

Fall 2015

Focus: Comparative Global Environmental Change: Bahia Ballena-Uvita, Costa Rica & Delaware, Ohio

Learn how to collect environmental data in Delaware, Ohio (Fall 2015) and coastal Costa Rica (January 2016) and understand how it relates to regional and global climate and environmental change.

Collaborate with Amy Work (OWU 2004) and her community geography organization, Geoporter, in Bahia Ballena-Uvita. Work with local citizens in a developing ecotourism region

Data: Weather Station | Drone aerial imagery | Ecological assessment Soil moisture & temperature | Steam flow | Water quality | Whale monitoring

Visit: Arenal National Park | Bahia Ballena-Uvita | Eco Surfing | Whale Conservation | Mangrove Conservation | Marino Ballena National Park

Contact: Dr. Nathan Amador (nsamador@owu.edu) & Dr. John Krygier (jbkrygier@owu.edu)

Students need to apply and be pre-approved for this course, prior to registration for fall 2015 courses:

  • Current Juniors and Returning Seniors April 6, 2015 (7am)
  • Current Sophomores April 9, 2015 (7am)
  • Current Freshmen April 13, 2015 (7am)


Global environmental change is among the most important global issues of the next century and central to Geography 347: Environmental Alteration, a core course in Geography and Environmental Studies. The primary objective of Environmental Alteration is to explore the relationship between human and environmental systems from local to global scales. In order to grasp the importance of global environmental change, students need to 1) Understand the importance of scale to differentiate behaviors that modify the landscape (i.e., an individual throwing trash versus tropical deforestation) and their impacts (i.e., local stream pollution versus variability in large-scale precipitation patterns); 2) Understand and practice data collection methods, data analysis and presentation of findings; 3) Understand how research outcomes can affect local, positive changes addressing negative local and global environmental degradation; and 4) Understand the differential impacts of global environmental change by comparing various, worldwide locations, including differences between the Global South (e.g., Costa Rica) and Global North (e.g., the U.S.). The travel component proposed for Geography 347 allows students to effectively engage in all four of these course learning outcomes, building on our Sustainability Region model in Delaware, Ohio and extending it to collaborative work in Costa Rica. The course meets for 3 hours (regular course) + 2 hours (enrichment experience) per week.

The Travel Component:

Drs. Amador and Krygier and students in Geography 347 will travel to and conduct collaborative research in the region around Bahia Ballena-Uvita, Costa Rica.

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Students and faculty in our course will be working, before, during and after our travel, with Geoporter, a non-governmental organization (NGO) located in Bahia Ballena-Uvita, Costa Rica. Amy Work, a 2004 OWU Geography Major, manages Geoporter. CR201308_329xAmy is well known to members of the Geology & Geography program, has a background in geospatial and environmental education, and provides us with a unique opportunity to develop a long-term collaborative project between her organization and OWU, with the potential for repeated future visits by different courses and faculty. As residents of a costal area in transition from a fishing economy to one based on ecotourism, community members in Bahia Ballena-Uvita are interested in understanding their natural environment and the potential impacts of global environmental change: they share many of the same goals as the Environmental Alteration course. Amy has been working with community members to collect and map environmental information for over several years, providing a solid basis in practice. Geography 347 students will also learn the practice of data collection and mapping (as part of the enrichment component of the course), but also, importantly, develop an understanding of the theories and concepts required to analyze and understand collected data. Theories and concepts will be put into practice in Costa Rica, the collaboration designed so students and community members in Bahia Ballena-Uvita will come to understand both the theory and practice of environmental change at a range of scales.

A fundamental focus of any discussion of human modification of the environment is recognition that the planet is composed of various, dynamically different climate regimes and biomes. A perfect case study is the comparison between environmental alteration and its effects in mid-latitudinal, continental Delaware, Ohio and coastal, tropical Bahia Ballena-Uvita, Costa Rica. Comparison between these two sites will allow us to observe (via various data collection sources) local and global-scale climate impacts on precipitation patterns, temperature variability, and sea level rise. The tropics represent the world’s most biodiverse regions, with Costa Rica accounting for 4% of the world’s known species (~500,000). The region is characterized by a warm, tropical climate and distinct wet and dry seasons. As a result of local and large-scale modification of the environment, the tropics are extremely sensitive to perturbations in the climate system, which generate an amplified response, making it vital to understanding the direct relationships between the human and environmental systems in the tropics.


Bahia Ballena-Uvita, on the Pacific Coast, borders Ballena Marine Park, which protects migrating humpback (and other species) of whales. Some of the best-preserved coral reefs in Costa Rica are a short boat ride away at Caño Island Biological Reserve. The coastal mountain chain forms the Path of the Tapir, a vital link in the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor. Nearby are indigenous reserves of the Terraba and Boruca people, and artifacts of their ancestors can be found close to the delta of the Terraba-Sierpe mangroves and wetlands, a protected, internationally recognized site. A little further south, near the town of Golfito, is a tropical fjord called the Golfo Dulce (1 of 4 tropical fjords in the world) with pods of dolphins sometimes numbering in the hundreds.


Specifically, in the Environmental Alteration course, students and Drs. Amador and Krygier will collaborate with Geoporter and its allied community members to collect environmental data on water quality and stream characteristics, temperature, and rainfall. Additional weather variables will be collected by Dr. Amador’s professional weather station (which will be used in both locations). We will acquire an array of various open source (e.g., free) geospatial data sets, including digital maps, remote sensing (satellite and at-site drone reconnaissance with Geology & Geography’s imaging drone) to monitor environmental conditions (such as meteorological and land use/land cover). These primary data sets will allow the students to assess the impacts of human behavior on the local environment, and to generate suggestions for local-scale changes and mitigation.

Impact of the Travel Component of Geography 347

Amy Work (OWU 2004) and Geoporter have over five years of experience and engagement with Bahia Ballena-Uvita and other regional communities, collecting and analyzing data and affecting community change with a focus on the environment. Before, during and after the course visit to Costa Rica, Drs. Amador and Krygier, Amy Work, students and community members will develop an expanded program of data collection and analysis, focused on the local impacts of global environmental change (with a focus on the locations in Ohio and Costa Rica). wide-1000-1-dsc0233This expanded program meets the needs of both Geography 347 and community and Geoporter needs in Costa Rica. Bahia Ballena-Uvita provides an excellent opportunity for travel and engagement, given the rich ecosystem, economic importance of the environment for the future of the community, relevance to the study of local impacts on environmental change, and substantive connections (through Amy Work and Geoporter). Collaboration between participants in Costa Rica and OWU will occur through online, cloud-based GIS software, before, during, and after the travel. Each student will develop a focused course project that will reflect the four course objectives (outlined above). As a result of the students’ travel-learning experience, they will represent the University’s mission by applying course theory to a real-world problem, understanding the importance of citizenship and their ability to contribute to a global society.

Additional Experiences for Students in the Travel Learning Component of the Course:

Several themes will be covered in the Environmental Alterations course for all students, including how humans impact the hydrologic cycle and the global energy balance. Throughout the course, we will assess how humans are involved in altering the local environment (in Delaware, Ohio) with a focus on local data collection here at “home.” Methods learned in Delaware serve as training for data collection in Bahia Ballena-Uvita, Costa Rica, where students will share what they know and co-collect data with community members. wide-1000-5-dsc0209Amy Work and Bahia Ballena-Uvita community members will collect some environmental data before the course visit. Before, during and after the visit to Costa Rica, the students will do comparative analysis of the two study sites, using the available data (collected prior, and during the visits). We hypothesize that this approach will allow students to more clearly understand the differential environmental impacts of global climate change and the distinct difference in the response to global environmental change in the Global North and Global South. We believe that some of the students who travel to Costa Rica will wish to continue work on the project, in independent study projects.

The .25 credit enrichment experience will focus on learning the techniques and methods of environmental data collection, mapping and analysis required for the Costa Rica experience but also for the broader goal of comparing and understanding the effects of global environmental change. It is feasible to teach these techniques to a class of 12, but not 35-40 (the typical enrollment of Geography 347). We will, as part of the enrichment experience, investigate how local ecosystems (such as streams) are impacted by humans, by collecting in-situ data, both in Delaware, Ohio (and later in Bahia Ballena-Uvita) on water quality, stream discharge, and stream pollution (due to surface runoff and trash infiltration). Techniques of collecting weather data (temperature, precipitation, etc.) will also be covered. We will “scale up” the research questions to investigate large-scale impacts humans have on the hydrologic system by using satellite imagery to detect variability in sea surface temperature (SST; applicable to tourism and whale watching), precipitation, and air surface temperature patterns. Additionally, we will investigate the effects of large-scale land-use land-cover (LULC) change, primarily through satellite and drone-acquired imagery. Insights from the enrichment experience will be used in the regular Geography 347 course.

Instruments for collecting data will be funded by various sources, including Dr. Amador’s start-up research funds, the Department of Geology and Geography, and Ohio Wesleyan University. We are requesting funds from the Travel Learning grant for relatively inexpensive instruments and equipment that will be used during our proposed course and left with Amy Work and Geoporter to continue collaborative data collection after the visit.

  • Weather Station: Includes measurements for air temperature, relative humidity, precipitation, barometric pressure, solar radiation and wind speed/direction (already acquired with Dr. Amador’s start-up funds)
  • A data logger and set of temperature and soil moisture probes (will be acquired with Dr. Amador’s start up-funds.).
  • A set of 24 thermometers ($6/each) and 24 rain gauges ($5/each), where half will be used in data collection at each site location (Delaware and Bahia Ballena-Uvita). The thermometers and rain gauges will be calibrated against the weather station data for accuracy and precision (we are requesting funds for these devices).
  • We will use a stream flowmeter ($249.95) to monitor stream velocity and changes in discharge over time. Changes in streamflow are a direct result of precipitation rates, changes in upstream surface runoff (i.e., paving roads), and can help indicate changes in erosion rates through sediment transport through the stream (we are requesting funds for this device).
  • In order to measure the water quality of nearby streams, we will use a comprehensive water quality testing kit ($398.95) and an additional refill for added samples ($112.95) for each of the two sites. The variables measured include: pH, nitrate-nitrogen, phosphate, dissolved oxygen, total alkalinity, turbidity, and temperature (we are requesting funds for this device).
  • For data notation, the data collectors will need appropriate, all-weather data notation notepads ($9/each) to record observations and notes during instrument installment and data collection periods (we are requesting funds for these items).

Together, we have collected a list of primary objectives that include data collection, analysis and problem solving, which can be accomplished between the facilitators (Drs. Amador and Krygier, and Amy Work), the community (residents of Bahia Ballena-Uvita), and the OWU students enrolled in the travel-learning course. Communication and pre-planning between the two sites (Delaware, Ohio and Bahia Ballena-Uvita, Costa Rica) will provide for a well-organized and mindful trip, which will lead to a better experience for all involved. The traditional Geography 347 course will meet Tuesday and Thursday between 1:10 – 3:00 pm, with the Travel-Learning component taking place (as a separate course) Tuesday and Thursday 3:00 – 4:00 pm.





Cooking Matters @ OWU’s Human Health & Kinetics

A team of OWU students, trained as nutrition and/or culinary educators, teach a course for adults in the city of Delaware who are at risk for food insecurity. The participants enroll in a 6-week course led by the students, highlighting nutritional, budgeting/shopping, and food preparation tips and tricks: all to help participants find ways to more effectively feed their family healthful meals on a budget.


Dr. Chris Fink, in the Department of Health and Human Kinetics (HHK), heads up the Cooking Matters program at Ohio Wesleyan.

A team of OWU students, trained as nutrition and/or culinary educators, teach a course for adults in the city of Delaware who are at risk for food insecurity. The participants enroll in a 6-week course led by the students, highlighting nutritional, budgeting/shopping, and food preparation tips and tricks: all to help participants find ways to more effectively feed their family healthful meals on a budget.

Images are from the first Cooking Matters class, held on October 21, 2014.


Cooking Matters is also a hunger easement program, as participants receive a bag of groceries to re-create each week’s recipes at home, for their families. Inherently, this program addresses food waste as well, with a focus on how to re-use ingredients in various meals.


Cooking Matters arose out of the Department of Health and Human Kinetics relationship with Local Matters in Columbus, a direct partner of Share Our Strength, a national non-profit who developed the Cooking Matters curriculum. Ohio Wesleyan is now a satellite partner of this program, required to report outcomes, participation, etc. back to Share Our Strength.

As a health promotion program, Cooking Matters works perfectly in the HHK curriculum, as it allows participation in program planning and program delivery, as well as assessment, and to address one of the larger health issues in the Delaware community at the same time.

Contact Dr. Fink in the Department of Health and Human Kinetics for more information.