Our Second Talk of the Spring 2017 Semester

On October 23, 2017, we hosted Kim Hachadoorian from the Nature Conservancy. She talked about her educational pathway as well as the Streams Stewards program.

Kim got her degree in Forest Ecology from SUNY college in Syracuse, NY. She focused on forest health and engaged in a program that protected forested watershed in NYC. Following her undergrad, she went to grad school and was an environmental educator for Audubon. Presently, she works in the First State National Historical Park with the Nature Conservancy and helps oversee the Stream Stewards program.

The Nature Conservancy is a global organization, and their mission is, “to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends.” The Nature Conservancy has expanded their mission to take in not just conservation work, but also urban programs. Partnering with the NC and Stroud, Stream Stewards is a citizen science program that recruits and trains volunteers to help collect data of the watersheds in the park. The Brandywine River, for instance, supplies water for all of Wilmington. Kim mentioned that everyone lives in a watershed and that we all affect the quality of water. Volunteers help monitor the water quality at Beaver Creek, Ramsey Run, Palmer Run, Hurricane Run, and Rocky Run. They assess the habitat and use parameters such as turbidity and conductivity, nitrate and phosphate levels along with sensor stations to continually monitor the sites.

Overall, her talk was extremely insightful as she mentioned not only her career pathway but also the Stream Stewards program and other ways to get involved and be a part of conservation work.

First Talk of the Spring Semester 2017

On September 27, 2017, we hosted Sam Baranski and Lorin Felter from the First State National Historical Park. They both talked about their pathway to their current jobs and provided information about the First State National Historical Park.

Currently, Sam manages all the volunteer programs for the park and does a lot of visitor communication and community outreach. She received her Bachelors in Park Recreation and Nature Services and realized she wanted to interact with the public and interpret. She got a position with assisting a volunteer coordinator and promoting social media. She also worked with the Chief of Interpretation at Harper’s fairy, developing a wayside management plan. Lorin is the head of interpretation and education at the park, and she tackles the idea of how to take initiatives at a national level. She was an architecture undergrad and mentioned always being around historical places during her childhood. She decided to switch things up and ended up going to the University of Hawaii in Oahu for grad school. She got her Masters in American Studies and Historic Preservation. Following graduation, she was an intern at Pearl Harbor, as a front lane park ranger.

Both Lorin and Sam gave an overview of the First State National Historical Park as well. The park tells the story of Delaware from colony to statehood. It was designated as a national monument and it included three initial sites: Beaver Valley, New Castle Court House, and the Dover Green. In 2014, it was redesignated and added four more sites, for a total of seven sites in all three counties. They are: Beaver Valley, Fort Christina, Old Swedes Church, the New Castle Court House, Dover Green, the John Dickinson Plantation, and the Ryves Holt House. The sites also tell about the underlying stories that have not been told about the Revolution as well as the connection between European powers and the relationship with the Lenape all the way up to the signing of the Constitution.

Sam and Lorin also emphasized ways that the public can get involved. Beaver Valley, for example, works a lot with the Nature Conservancy and partners with schools to get students engaged in the outdoors and conservation. During the NPS’ centennial, they hosted a bioblitz, where the public helped them inventory all species within a 24 hour period. Volunteers are always welcome, and when you aquire 250 hours of volunteer work, you will receive a volunteer pass. It’ll allow you to get into any park in the state of Delaware.

To conclude, this talk was very insightful as myself and the audience found out about not only the national monument in Delaware, but also the pathway both ladies took. I think I speak for everyone there when I say that their talk really connected with us all, as many college students wonder what their future career will be and how to tie in their interests to jobs.

 

 

 

 

 

Second Lunch of the Semester

Kim Hachadoorian, Photo: linkedin.com

 

Please join us NEXT TUESDAY, October 24th from 12:15-1:15 pm in the Ewing Room (located in the Perkins Student Center).

We will be featuring Kim Hachadoorian, who works with The Nature Conservancy as the Stream Stewards Project Manager for the Delaware Chapter.

She currently manages a citizen science program, which encourages members of the community to become involved with water quality testing of the tributaries of the Brandywine River, specifically those located within First State National Historical Park. Kim also serves as a mentor for the GLOBE/ Watershed Fellows Intern programs, which invites college students every summer to gain valuable work experience and develop beneficial professional skills. In addition to working for one of the most well-known environmental non-profits, Kim has a lot of interesting prior work experiences to share such as being an Urban Park Ranger in New York and a Program Coordinator with Audubon.

All are welcome, and light refreshments will be served!

Merging Fashion and Sustainability

On February 22, 2017, GL hosted our first lunch of the spring semester and featured a talk by Marsha Dickson, Professor in UD’s Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies. She spoke about how UD is striving to create an intersection between the fashion industry and sustainability.

Dickson informed us of the many consequences of current practices of the fashion industry: environmentally, fashion today involves the use of hazardous materials, overuse of numerous resources such as water, cotton, and energy, and the production of waste; socially, fashion today involves human rights issues, health and safety concerns for laborers, and a perpetuation of an ideal beauty standard.

The Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies, however, is trying to eliminate those consequences. The Department has decided to collaborate with many big players in the fashion industry to create a policy guide for sustainability. This policy guide includes recommendations and ideas for replacing toxic chemicals, applying new tanning approaches, and repurposing fabric waste into infrastructure.

These innovative ideas are a result of considerable research performed by UD and other institutions and industries. The Department offers programs, certificates, and research opportunities for both undergrads and grads at UD.

To learn more about these programs and how fashion and sustainability are merging, please check out the whole talk here!

Brownfields Revitalization and Environmental Justice

On October 26, 2016, GL hosted Dr. Raymond Scattone, Assistant Professor of Energy and Environmental Policy at UD, for a talk on his research that examined the link between environmental justice and brownfield revitalization.

According to Scattone’s research, urban land use changes often focus on “redevelopment” as opposed to “revitalization,” which means that priority is placed on the economics of a project, rather than a combination of economics, environment, and society. The latter option also allows for more community involvement and say in what their neighborhood looks like and how it functions.

Scattone’s research focused on 10 brownfield revitalization projects across the U.S., as brownfield land use-change projects often highlight the ongoing and unequal environmental and social problems associated with conventional redevelopment because they often have a large proportion of minority or low-income populations. Scattone also provided suggestions to DNREC and the state of Delaware based on this research, including a need to increase the flow of information between developers and community members and the need to create explicit “Brownfield Opportunity Programs” in order to ensure the continued success of revitalization projects.

If you would like to view Scattone’s full talk, you can find it here!

Earth Day Special: Algae Fuel and Green Dining

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For Earth Week this year, Green Liaisons again hosted two great speakers: UD scientist Dr. Jennifer Stewart and UD Dining Representative Ryan Boyer. The lunch took place on April 18th.

Dr. Stewart spoke about her research under the school’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment that seeks to make algae-based biofuels a viable source of renewable energy.

Algae, like corn and sugarcane, is an organic matter that can be converted into a “biofuel” capable of replacing gasoline. It is thought to be preferable to such food crop biofuels, as it offers the advantage of producing more fuel per acre and requiring no farmland for growth.

Algae could be made even more beneficial by feeding it carbon dioxide (CO2) captured from smokestack emissions. This would reduce the amount of CO2 released to the atmosphere and subsequently reduce climate change.

Stewart is investigating a way to enable the algae to use this CO2 for increased growth while simultaneously absorbing the nitric oxide also found in the emissions. Nitric oxide would otherwise be harmful to algae.

She aims to breed a strain of algae that would treat the excess nitrogen as a nutrient rather than as a toxin, so that it would grow faster and consume more CO2.

The second speaker, Ryan Boyer, the District Marketing Manager for Dining Services, shared with us the latest environmental initiatives being implemented in the university’s new Caesar Rodney Dining Hall.

These initiatives fall under the umbrella of Dining Services’s new Green Thread program, which focuses on responsible sourcing (such as purchasing locally, moving to cage-free eggs, and looking out for animal welfare), efficient operations (such as increasing water conservation and improving green cleaning practices), and waste minimization (such as increasing recycling, introducing tray-less dining, and streamlining the to-go container system).

In addition, Dining has been adding other initiatives to improve their environmental footprint, like the weekly Farmers’ Market, Sustainable Fish Friday, and RecycleMania.

If you would like to learn more about either of these topics, please check out the talks here!

How UD is Making Electric Vehicles Good for Your Pockets and the Earth

On Friday, March 4th, Green Liaisons hosted Dr. Willett Kempton, UD Professor in the School of Marine Science and Policy and Research Director at the Center for Carbon-Free Power Integration, for our first lunch of the semester.

He shared with us the latest news about the vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology that he helped to spearhead.

V2G technology is an innovation of renewable energy research that enables electric vehicles to communicate with the electric grid in order to recycle stored battery power.

Beginning with local situation of electric vehicles (EVs), Dr. Kempton mapped out the current locations of electric vehicle charging stations in Delaware in order to demonstrate the benefit of how deliberate public planning can benefit the electric-vehicle driver and how that planning is already being instituted in this state.

He also described for us the benefits of transitioning to EVs. The environmental benefits are certainly known, but what Dr. Kempton stressed were the advantages earned by the entire grid system and by the EV driver when V2G technology is implemented, as this enables the grid to rely on a more efficient and quick-responding power source and it enables the driver to earn a profit from the energy they are sending to the grid. According to Kempton, in a theoretical situation in which the vehicle is unplugged for six hours a day, a driver may earn up to $56 a month.

Dr. Kempton also detailed the aggregator system that is responsible for bidding on the amount of energy required by the grid each day and then documenting what energy is inputted by the EVs in order to recognize when the energy limit is reached.

This work has involved collaboration between Dr. Kempton’s team in Newark and international collaborators in Denmark.

If you would like to learn more, check out Dr. Kempton’s talk here!

 

Photo by Evan Krape (UDaily)

The Elephant in the Eco-Room: Why Textiles Are One of the World’s Biggest Waste Problems and How Planet Aid is Helping the Cause

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This past month, Terry Kaplan, a Territory Manager for the nonprofit Planet Aid, joined the Green Liaisons for our March Lunch. Terry gave us not only the breakdown of what Planet Aid does, but also an in-depth look at the cause behind the organization: textiles, the ever-growing industry that is often ignored as one of the world’s largest contributors to waste production.

As we learned from Terry, 14 million tons of textile waste is generated each year, and 12 million tons of that waste ends up in landfills. The reasons behind this excessive wastefulness lie in the transitioning nature of the textile industry itself as it conforms to an increasingly consumptive society of purchasers. With the U.S. being one of the primary contributors to this skyrocketing global consumption, fashion knows it has customers and is thus free to expand and change as often as it likes–even within the span of only days or weeks. Retail turnaround is then just as fast, which means that all over the world there is a constant cycle of production, distribution, consumption, and disposal of textiles, each with its own set of environmental and social consequences. Production of textiles alone not only requires immense amounts of the fabric material itself, but also electricity and water. The textile industry is now the third largest consumer of water in the world, and they’re likely one of the largest polluters of it as well considering the discharge from textile dyes  which must be disposed of in nearby rivers. This initial portion of the process takes place before the textile even reaches the consumer, and all in developing countries where working conditions are hazardous and workers cannot even afford to buy the clothes they’re making.

That’s where Planet Aid comes in. A nonprofit and accredited charity through the Better Business Bureau, Planet Aid has been working since 1997 to mitigate textile waste and the problems caused by it. With their signature yellow bins (some of which we have on campus!), Planet Aid collects 100 million pounds of textile waste from 22 states per year. All of these clothes are then sold to markets in either the U.S. or developing countries, the latter of which have an incredible demand for used clothing. The money from those sales is then used to support and initiate programs such as Farmers’ Clubs, which helps farmers in the developing world start cooperatives in order to be more economically-successful and more environmentally-conscious.

Planet Aid is doing awesome things for the environment and its people–if you’d like to learn more about it check out their website, and if you’d like to see Terry’s talk, you can see it on Youtube here!

Dumpster Detour

428533_10152810917800494_1690122514_nAre you getting ready to move out of your dorm or apartment? Do you have unwanted household items that you don’t want to lug home? No need to throw those items out during move-out week. Donate them to Dumpster Detour!

Dumpster Detour will be providing moving trucks and drop-off tables stationed throughout campus to collect items that you no longer want and will donate the collection to UDon’t Need It, who provides the items to people in need. What a great way to keep reusable items out of our landfills and help others!

Look out for orange and black signs around campus. Collections are from May 21-24.

Contact Nick Kaufman if you have any questions, nkaufman@udel.edu.

Missed a lunch? Watch the recording!

If you missed one of our last two lunch events you can watch the video recordings by clicking the links below.

In December Dr. McKay Jenkins shared with Green Liaisons his research related to toxins in the products we use in our daily lives.  After hearing McKay’s presentation you may be inclinded to change your shopping behaviors!  http://bit.ly/110NhOo

In March Anne-Marie Crossan, Assistant Director of Operations and Energy, discussed energy use on campus and energy meters which are available for Green Liaisons to check-out from her office.  The meters can help campus offices determine how much energy is used by different electronic items such as printers, copiers, computers and more.  By sharing  the amount of energy each item uses with co-workers, we can hopefully encourage one another to unplug items when they are not in use.  To learn more about the meters click: http://bit.ly/110NKzY and to borrow a meter please email Anne-Marie at A_Crossan@facilities.udel.edu