The Annual Olentangy Watershed Forum brings together a series of speakers to discuss the status of the watershed. This year features Keynote speaker Jonathan Overpeck, co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize as part of the United Nations advisory group on climate change and Dean of the School of Environment and Sustainability, University of Michigan, “American Rivers and Climate Change: a Tale of Two Hydrologic Extremes”
The forum is great for regional practitioners as well as students, who can network and make contacts for internships and projects.
8:00 – 8:10 Welcome and introductions, Sean Kay, Ohio Wesleyan University
8:10 – 8:55 Keynote speaker: Jonathan Overpeck, co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize as part of the United Nations advisory group on climate change and Dean of the School of Environment and Sustainability, University of Michigan, “American Rivers and Climate Change: a Tale of Two Hydrologic Extremes”
8:55 – 9:05: Q & A
State of the Watershed Updates
9:05 – 9:15: Update from Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW) by Kelly Thiel. FLOW was formed as a non-profit 501(c)3 in August 1997. FLOW’s mission is to keep the Olentangy River and its tributaries clean and safe for all to enjoy, through public education, volunteer activities, and coordination with local decision-makers.
9:15 – 9:30: Update from Del-Co Water by Jeff Kauffman. Del-Co Water Company, Inc. was formed in 1969 and provides quality drinking water to seven counties (Delaware, Morrow, Marion, Knox, Franklin, Union, and Crawford) serving a population of over 140,000.
9:30 – 9:45: Update from City of Delaware and Olentangy Watershed Alliance (OWA) by Caroline Cicerchi. The City of Delaware works diligently to protect existing stormwater infrastructure as well as the Olentangy River and its tributaries through its Stormwater Management Program. OWA was formed as a non-profit in April 1999, with a mission to inspire appreciation and stewardship of the Upper Olentangy River and its watershed.
9:45 – 9:55: Update from Preservation Parks by Chris Roshon. The mission of Preservation Parks of Delaware County is to protect and conserve the natural and historic features of Delaware County and to inspire outdoor exploration and learning.
9:55 – 10:05: Q & A and Break
10:05 – 10:15:Vanessa Bishop, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
10:15 – 10:30:Erin Wolfe, Delaware Soil & Water Conservation District. “Del-Aware Water: Outreach Efforts in the Watershed”
10:30 – 10:50:Jim Palus, FLOW. “Putting FLOW’s Greenspace Implementation Plan Into Action”
10:50 – 11:20:Ed Rankin & Anthony Sasson, Midwest Biodiversity Institute, “Fish and Mussels Trends in the Central Scioto River Basin”
11:20-11:50:Jesse Womack, The Nature Conservancy. “The Nature Conservancy & the Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework”
11:50 – 12:00:Janelle Valdinger, Ohio Wesleyan University, “Connecting with Career Connection”
OWU’s Dr. Anderson, the second nicest professor on campus, has been awarded a NSF grant!
The National Science Foundation is awarding Ohio Wesleyan University a one-year, $86,735 grant to oversee the creation of online teaching tools that advance field ecology and data science.
Laurel J. Anderson, Ph.D., OWU’s Morris Family Professor of Natural Sciences, is the principal investigator on the federal grant. She also is president of the Board of Directors for the Ecological Research as Education Network (EREN), a consortium of colleges and universities that will work together to create the new teaching tools. Dr. Anderson will partner with Dr. Tim McCay from Colgate University to administer the project.
“The pandemic has created an urgent need to reimagine our teaching of field ecology, which is usually done with in-person field trips,” said Dr. Anderson, who helped to found EREN in 2010.
“However, field ecologists also use computer technology extensively to explore natural patterns at large scales,” she continued. “These projects allow us to meet our need to socially distance and have students collecting data wherever they happen to be. Then, we use online tools and datasets to see how their data fits into large-scale patterns.”
The National Science Foundation (NSF) grant will support four projects developed by teams of faculty-researchers at schools across the nation. The projects are:
Backyard Pollinator Surveys led by Dr. Kaitlin Stack Whitney at the Rochester Institute of Technology.
Plants in the Human-Altered Environment led by Drs. Jason Kilgore at Washington & Jefferson College and Karen Kuers at The University of the South.
Mosquito Surveys along Anthropogenic Impact Gradients led by Dr. Allison T. Parker at Northern Kentucky University.
Lichens in Diverse Landscapes led by Drs. Danielle Garneau at SUNY Plattsburgh, Matthew Heard at Belmont University, and Mary Beth Kolozsvary at Siena College.
NEON is a continental-scale ecological observation facility fully funded by the NSF and operated by Columbus, Ohio-based Battelle. NEON provides open data from 81 field sites nationwide to document how ecosystems are changing. The information is used to better understand how human activities affect ecology and how society can more effectively address critical ecological issues.