OWU Environmental Studies & Sustainability Progress, Spring 2016

A summary of established and ongoing efforts during 2015-16 in environment and sustainability by Ohio Wesleyan students, staff and faculty as well as off campus collaborators.

Stitched together drone images of central Bahia Ballena-Uvita, Costa Rica. Environmental Studies / Geography Travel Learning Course, Fall 2015.

Environmental Studies & Sustainability Progress, Spring 2016

March 7, 2016

A summary of established and ongoing efforts in environment and sustainability by Ohio Wesleyan students, staff and faculty as well as off campus collaborators. All the projects below are active during the 2015-16 academic year.

OWU Sustainability Plan: Drafted in the spring of 2015 and currently under revision, a comprehensive overview of OWU’s environmental and sustainability efforts with goals for future efforts.

May Move Out donations, May 2015.

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. 9.5 tons of donations collected in the spring of 2015. One year grant funding offset costs for the 2015 May Move Out. Efficiencies initiated by Buildings & Grounds have made the 2016 May Move Out possible without the grant and without additional expenditures over last year’s budget for dumpsters alone. 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 has met with success and is being expanded during the spring of 2016. A new dishwasher was installed in HWCC over the summer, making reusable containers an option. Limitations of OWU’s aging ID Card system and cash registers limit further expansion of the program.

Environmental Studies Mentored Minors: A Food Studies Minor (developed from the Food Course Connection) has been officially proposed to APC (as a collaboration between Health and Human Kinetics [HHK] and Environmental Studies). Two more minors, Sustainability and Climate Science are being developed.

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: 10 internships at Stratford Ecological Center and the City of Delaware, spring 2016. Focused on environmental education, marketing, farming, and sustainability.

Amy Work (OWU '06) and Olivia Lease (OWU '17) working with drone imagery, Bahia Uviata, Costa Rica, January '16
Amy Work (OWU ’06) and Olivia Lease (OWU ’17) working with drone imagery, Bahia Ballena-Uvita, Costa Rica, January ’16.

Global Environmental Change Collaboration & Travel Learning Course: OWU collaboration with Amy Work (OWU 2004) and her organization GeoPorter in Bahia Ballena-Uvita, Costa Rica. Learning and using environmental assessment methods in Delaware, Ohio (Fall 2015) and during a travel learning course trip (Geography 347) to coastal Costa Rica (January 2016). Goal: to understand how local environmental data is collected and relates to regional and global climate and environmental change.

Proposed locations for chimney swift towers, near Stuyvesant Hall on the OWU campus.

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 a budget is being developed by a contractor. Funds will be provided by Tuttle. We anticipate construction this summer pending approval from B&G and OWU’s Administration.

Bird feeders near the Schimmel Conrades Science Center on the OWU campus.

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

The Place of Waste: Exploring Asian and Western Perspectives on Waste, Sustainability & Environment. Sagan National Colloquium & Luce Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment. Funding received from the Luce Foundation and OWU’s Sagan National Colloquium by faculty in East Asian Studies and Environmental Studies to explore the idea of waste in cross cultural context. Funding for a Fall 2015 Symposium and Summer 2015 and 2016 travel to Asia. Next round of funding (up to $400k) to be submitted summer of 2016.

Green Week 2016: Building on a successful water-focused week of events in 2015, students are organizing another week of events for the spring of 2016 (the week prior to Earth Day).

Meek Retention Pond Native Species Planting: A collaboration between students and Friends of the Lower Olentangy Arboretum (FLOW) who have provided funds for the purchase of native plants, shrubs and trees to be planted adjacent to the Meek Aquatic Center retention pond.

Proposal for Delaware run restoration.

Delaware Run Assessment and Restoration: Ongoing student research 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. Ongoing hydrogeological assessment, Spring 2016.

“Salamander Swamp” Restoration and Research: Student-driven efforts to rehabilitate a campus wetland (behind the tennis courts on Henry St.). Initial research has focused on environmental assessment of the impact of invasive species in the wetlands area.

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. Chartwells reports declining campus sales for bottled water.

Food Recovery Network: Student-initiated effort to donate unused campus food to lower-income Delaware residents through a clinic nearby campus.

 

Tossing The Trash Habit

Imagine if you will: a world without garbage. No landfills, no dumps, and no garbage trucks driving down the street once a week to pick up bags and bags of trash. It’s a nearly impossible world to imagine, but for the past 3.5 weeks, I have tried to do my part to get a little closer to that world.

letsby Reilly Reynolds (OWU ’16)

Imagine if you will: a world without garbage. No landfills, no dumps, and no garbage trucks driving down the street once a week to pick up bags and bags of trash. It’s a nearly impossible world to imagine, but for the past 3.5 weeks, I have tried to do my part to get a little closer to that world. I delved into the lifestyle modernly known as “zero waste”…or at least I attempted.

I made a plan all those weeks ago to take the steps necessary to reduce my garbage footprint. I made a list of what I would do to toss my trash habit. I would:

  1. Collect all the trash I did make in a mason jar so I could evaluate what I used the most of.
  2. Carry reusable items with me everywhere.
  3. Create DIY products to replace some of my more waste intensive/ less planet friendly products.
  4. Reduce my consumption of packaged/processed foods.

weliveinatrashyworldThe first day of my new lifestyle, I bought a hot chocolate without thinking about the reusable mug I had with me. I gained a paper cup to throw in my mason jar. The second day, I realized that every time my school dining hall charges for a meal, an automatic, unrecyclable receipt prints

We live in a trashy world. As such, I had to get creative. I started saving my receipts, and I crafted a to-do list note pad. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s a start. At least those tiny slips of glossy paper will have  one more purpose before the landfill gets them.

My goal was to have only accumulated one mason jar of trash by the time the month was up. With three days of the month left, I have filled two jars.

Examining the contents, I see:

  • 2 paper coffee cups
  • 6 single-serving chip bag wrappers
  • 3 granola bar wrappers
  • And various kinds packaging from food, clothing, and assorted day-to-day items

I consider the month a success. iconsiderthemonthI didn’t hit my goal, but I did learn a lot about my consumption patterns, and I made decisions I wouldn’t ordinarily make. I started refusing straws at restaurants, carrying my own take-out containers with me, and sending an email to my school’s dining services director to see if there’s anything we can do about those blasted receipts.

I followed my plan pretty closely. I carried my thermos, travel mug, water bottle, cloth napkin, and silverware with me everywhere, and though it frustrated some baristas and servers, others accepted (and even praised!) my sustainable choices.

My processed food consumption could be improved. Chips are my downfall, but I suppose I will just have to learn to make my own. After all, it turns out I’m okay at making my own things. I crafted natural hair mousse, laundry detergent, a foot scrub, and body moisturizer this month! Once I run out of my current shampoo and conditioner, I’ll try my hand at those too.

Will I continue my zero-waste trend? That’s the plan. We’ll see if I can meet my mason jar goal next month. mason

For me, being zero-waste has become more than a new way of life. It’s also a mission, a challenge. It’s a way to start recognizing the patterns of consumption that we all take for granted every day. It’s a way to make change, and encourage others to ask questions.

Perhaps most importantly, trash stinks for the Earth, and we’re running out of places to put it. So rather than finding a new landfill spot, I propose that we cut our consumption.

Let’s take a hard look at what we buy, why we buy it, and how we can buy it more sustainably. Let’s vote with our wallets.

Let’s write letters to corporate executives and ask for less (or at least more Earth friendly) packaging. Let’s make change, because we can.

In fact, it would be a waste not to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For me, being zero-waste has become more than a new way of life. It’s also a mission, a challenge. It’s a way to start recognizing the patterns of consumption that we all take for granted every day. It’s a way to make change, and encourage others to ask questions.

Perhaps most importantly, trash stinks for the Earth, and we’re running out of places to put it. So rather than finding a new landfill spot, I propose that we cut our consumption.

Let’s take a hard look at what we buy, why we buy it, and how we can buy it more sustainably. Let’s vote with our wallets. Let’s write letters to corporate executives and ask for less (or at least more Earth friendly) packaging. Let’s make change, because we can.

In fact, it would be a waste not to.

OWU Theory into Practice: Research on Olives & Sustainability in Morocco

Michael Durfee, an Environmental Studies and Medieval Studies dual major, was awarded an OWU Theory into Practice grant to travel to Morocco during the summer of 2015 to study sustainability and olive agriculture.

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Michael Durfee, an Environmental Studies and Medieval Studies dual major, was awarded an OWU Theory into Practice grant to travel to Morocco during the summer of 2015 to study sustainability and olive agriculture.

Olives and Sustainability: A Traditional Setting in Marrakech, Morocco

Objective:

Behind this project lies the theory that traditional ecological and agricultural knowledge and practices are naturally more sustainable and beneficial for the environment and human health. Traditional societies, if we listen, can offer the Western world ways to combat issues with the environment and sustainability. The olive tree and its fruit are hardy and versatile, and Morocco is a place that requires it. The benefits of using olives and their products are endless. Marrakech has been growing olives for hundreds of years and is of great importance in the diet, agriculture and economy of the people. I will investigate the sustainable aspects of the olive and the production and sale of food and trades material as done in a traditional society.

Description:

As negative environmental consequences of human activity become alarmingly evident, sustainable alternatives to current practices grow in importance. Sustainable alternatives are found in traditional communities around the globe. These communities have ingenious approaches to living sustainably, having adapted their strategies to work well with the environment, not against it.

Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) is the collectively owned and shared knowledge of people whose everyday lives depend on and/or support good land stewardship and species and environmental conservation. These people understand firsthand that biodiversity and environmental health are synonymous with human health. TEK can be found in proverbs, folklore, language, local trades, agricultural practices and conservation, dietary choices, commercial purchases and general mindset.

In order to understand the role of TEK in modern sustainability efforts, I will investigate the olive in Morocco. I will explore the practices of olive growing, processing and marketing within their environmental and sustainability context. Morocco’s High Atlas region and the ancient city of Marrakech is a prime region for olive production. My intentions in Marrakech are to trace the environmental impacts of olives and other produce growing, processing, transport to market, and consumption. To document the “farm-to-table” process in a more traditional society, I will visit several urban markets, bazaars and local restaurants in the city and as many olive groves and olive oil mills as possible.

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Image: Fresh food markets in the Medina

As traditional knowledge is found throughout a society, I will supplement my focus by investigating local trades like smithies, tanneries, carpet makers, vineyards, and bakeries. I will get my hands dirty volunteering at these places. During two separate two-week periods, I will put theory into practice by living and volunteering at farms, immersing myself in the world of the olive. The first period I will participate in WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) at an organic farm near northern Morocco. My stay there is confirmed with the owner. I will determine my second volunteering experience while in Morocco (as the most traditional places have no internet presence) based on contacts I have made in Morocco.

LandsatMarrakechImage: Landsat Satellite Image of Agricultural Areas Surrounding Marrakech, Morocco.

TEK can be found in the Developed World. We find it in Delaware County in small businesses like the Delaware Community Market, Stratford Ecological Center and the Glass Rooster Cannery. Their sustainable methods and are in many ways a reinvention of traditional practices. I plan to compare my experiences in Morocco with practices in central Ohio in order to gain a better understanding of both locations while providing insights into how to better integrate traditional practices in a modern, Western setting.

“The Real Utopias of Argentina” Visiting Worker Cooperatives and Sustainable Farms on an OWU Travel Learning Course

Poverty, Equity, Social Justice Course Connect Spring Lecture

“The Real Utopias of Argentina” Visiting Worker Cooperatives and Sustainable Farms on a Travel Learning Course.

Paul S. Dean, Assistant Professor of Sociology / Anthropology. Wednesday, March 18 at noon, Corns 312

FamFarmers

Poverty, Equity, Social Justice Course Connect Spring Lecture

“The Real Utopias of Argentina” Visiting Worker Cooperatives and Sustainable Farms on a Travel Learning Course.

Paul S. Dean, Assistant Professor of Sociology / Anthropology. Wednesday, March 18 at noon, Corns 312

The purpose of PESJ is sharing information, analysis about the impact of poverty, (in)equity & social justice, locally, nationally & globally. A sense of what social remedies and activism may reduce these disparities. Free and open to the public. OWU Sponsoring Organization/Office: PESJ Course Connection. Contact: Pam Laucher at jcdurst@owu.edu.

 

Ohio Wesleyan’s Community Garden

The Ohio Wesleyan Community Garden is a student initiated project, run by OWU students, faculty and Chartwells (campus dining services).

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The Ohio Wesleyan Community Garden is a student initiated project, run by OWU students, faculty and Chartwells (campus dining services).

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We are always in need for volunteers and “taste testers.” Please come visit us! We are located behind the old observatory.

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More information and many pictures can be found at:

This season’s plantings with additional fascinating details can be found at What’s In the Garden.

Contact: Susannah Waxman: sewaxman@owu.edu

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

DIY Food Workshop

Making and eating food is one of the most socially and biologically important human activities. Making healthy food is much easier, and more fun, than most students think. In order to encourage social DIY cooking on campus, with an emphasis on healthy eating, we developed a DIY Food Workshop. The workshop covered basic cooking skills and healthy DIY food options, with an emphasis on interaction and engagement. The event ends with a meal, consisting of foods prepared during the workshop. The first workshop was held in the spring of 2012.

diy_cooking

Making and eating food is one of the most socially and biologically important human activities. Making healthy food is much easier, and more fun, than most students think. In order to encourage social DIY cooking on campus, with an emphasis on healthy eating, we developed a DIY Food Workshop. The workshop covered basic cooking skills and healthy DIY food options, with an emphasis on interaction and engagement. The event ends with a meal, consisting of foods prepared during the workshop. The first workshop was held in the spring of 2012.


DIY Food Workshop

Date: April 2012

This workshop may be offered again if there is interest. Please contact John Krygier if you are interested in holding another DIY food workshop.

Project research, organization and planning: Olivia Gillison (project for Geography 360: Environmental Geography & Independent Study).

Guest Chef: Del Stroufe, Chef & Educator, Wellness Forum Foods, Columbus OWU Chefs: 5 OWU faculty, staff, or students with cooking skills to assist

Event Publication: OWU Eating Green Map, Guide, and Cookbook: Includes information on student-accessible kitchens, sources of ingredients, cooking glossary, basic kitchen tools and ingredients to have on hand, and suggestions for cooking & eating social events.

1. Talk: Introduction (30 minutes): Del Stroufe provides an overview of DIY cooking and healthy eating, and an introduction to the workshop.

2. Talk: DIY Cooking on Campus: the Facts (30 minutes)

  • available kitchens & cooking tools
  • portable cooking setup (camp stove, etc.)
  • local / organic food options
  • buying ingredients from Chartwells with food points
  • off campus food purchase options
  • encouraging healthy DIY social cooking & eating

3. The Menu & Preparation (2 hours)

  • Smith: drinks but don’t eat other food!
  • Minimize bothering staff: Dan Magee
  • participants split into groups of 4 (10 groups max)
  • five dinner courses: workstation for each: soup, stir fry, pasta, pizza, dessert (fruit crisp)
  • workstation: preparation of ingredients, assembly, cooking

3a. Basic food preparation skills

  • hands-on experience with skills needed for workshop cooking

3b. Food assembly and cooking

  • each group of participants experiences each workstation

4. Eating & Future Workshops (focused on different recipies, cooking skills, global cuisines, etc.)


Workshop outline & booklet (PDF): DIY Cooking: Do-It-Yourself Cooking Workshop for Students 

Sustainable Dining at OWU

See how OWU’s dining services have become more sustainable. Find out how your eating habits contribute to your carbon footprint, how to support local agriculture, and more:

Sustainability

See how OWU’s dining services have become more sustainable. Find out how your eating habits contribute to your carbon footprint, how to support local agriculture, and more:

http://www.dineoncampus.com/owu/show.cfm?cmd=sustainability