Thank You and Goodbye from Ali

Hello everybody,

As I prepare to graduate in the coming days, I wanted to thank you all for providing an opportunity to serve as Green Liaisons chair.

Green Liaisons is a phenomenal, unique institution to this University. It is a collective, student-faculty led sustainability initiative which brings in a manifold of speakers in the sustainability realm to educate all those interested about what they are up to. Look through this blog to see some of its accolades. As Henry David Thoreou put it, in social institutions, we may discover the causes of all past changes in the present invariable order of society. This is something unique to environmental disciplines, and in sustainability philosophy. Throughout my tenure, we brought in representatives from Green Allies, the Nature Conservancy, and Clean Bay Renewables, among others. It does not seem like a lot, but coming to these events and showing profound interest in the program is what keeps sustainability thriving. A well functioning institution requires public participation. From inviting various speakers, supporting campus-wide sustainability initiatives, and getting to know people of all walks through this experience has been a remarkable experience for me as your co-chair. As I enter the next phase of my life, I want to express gratitude for all of those who engaged in this experience. And for everyone moving forward, I urge a sense of sustainability.

A new student co-chair has been found. Hadley Dzuray will take the helm immediately as the new co-chair. She is a rising senior studying Public Policy, Global Studies, and Energy/Environmental Policy, who is involved in various sustainability initiatives around campus. She will work alongside Francis (faculty-chair) and the Sustainability Taskforce to cultivate Green Liaisons. She has the vigor and spirit for making Green Liaisons an even better program than I ever could have. Feel free to contact her or both of us for any reason (speaker suggestions, food requests, “get me off the contacts list I graduated five years ago,” etc).

Thank you all again. I promise this is my last contact with y’all forever, but feel free to email me with any additional feedback amahdi@udel.edu. I urge everybody to continue involvement in environmental efforts, let it be with Green Liaisons or outside of it.

First Talk of the Semester! (Spring 2019)

On March 6, we hosted CleanBay Renewables. They are a sustainable engineering company based in Westover, Maryland, but with a few locations across the area, including in Georgetown, Delaware. It was founded in 2013 by Tom Spangler and is the only business of its kind. CleanBay Renewables uses anaerobic digestion and nutrient removal techniques to fully recycle chicken waste into clean power.

Their technology processes in a fully closed system to avoid waste stream, protecting local ecosystems from harm. This technique not only strengthens the electrical power grid, but it also provides an auxiliary for farmers. Delaware is a national leader in chicken production, so this technology is pivotal for the area.

CleanBay currently has 12 trucks functioning daily and they process 90,000 tons of chicken litter a day- enough to power 9000 homes. annually The digesters they use consume 1.5 million tons of water, but it is sustainably done so that the water returns into the ecosystem after use. Their technology produces biogas and digestate during processing, with the digestate being turned into phosphorus pellets. Given the high phosphorus in the area which hurts aquatic life, these pellets are transported to phosphorus-deficient areas in the nation to help food production.

This new and exciting technology was great to hear about and we would love to see what happens next. For more information, please go to cleanbayrenewables.com or contact us! Check out our Instagram https://www.instagram.com/udgreenliaisons/ for photos from the event!

Ali Mahdi

amahdi@udel.edu

Final Talk of the Spring Semester (2018)

On Thursday, May 10, we hosted Mr. Sebastian Stelios Jannelli. Mr. Jannelli talked of his time with Green Peace, the largest, nonprofit, environmental organization in the world, which is based in over 40 countries. It was founded in 1971 and helped spark the modern environmental movement. Mr. Jannelli was the editor-in-chief for its magazine and told donors how their gifts helped Green Peace take action.

Mr. Jannelli’s first interaction with the organization was in Greece, when they implemented a turtle protection program. During college, Mr. Jannelli studied Political Science and a Green Peace video that his professor showed in class changed his life. He loves that Green Peace was and is willing to put its lives on the line to protect the planet. Mr. Jannelli also proudly supports Green Peace for being an organization that can take nonviolent, direct action to help the planet.

Mr. Jannelli elaborated on Green Peace’s former campaigns, such as orca/whale killing and rain forest protection. Right now, Green Peace is focused on curbing climate change, by targeting arctic oil. Another priority campaign for the organization is the protection of pollinators.

Here at UD, Mr. Jannelli hopes that we can establish native meadows to help support the pollinator population, especially with the massive die offs in pollinators that we have recently witnessed. He hopes that it can be a people-powered movement, one that will show people that they too are empowered to take action to make a difference in their community and the world.

To view Mr. Jannelli’s talk, please click the following link: Mr. Jannelli’s Talk

Final Talk of the Spring Semester (2018)

Mr.Sebastian Stelios Jannelli

Hey Green Liaisons!

Please join us for our final talk of the semester on Thursday, May 10 from 12:30 p.m.- 1:30 p.m. in the Ewing Room (located in the Perkins Student Center).

We will be hearing from Mr. Sebastian Stelios Jannelli, who will be sharing a brief presentation on his work with Green Peace. Currently, Mr. Stelios Jannelli is the Assistant Director of Development at UD.

All are welcome to attend! We will be serving light refreshments!

We look forward to seeing you there!

Your co-chairs,

Francis Karani, Mohana Gadde, Ali Mahdi

Engineers Without Borders Talk

On March 9th, we hosted Lia Dawson, Grace Moran, and Olivia Powell from UD’s Engineers Without Borders chapter. The ladies mentioned that Since 2002, the EWB has completed 698 projects in 46 countries with the help of its 16,810 members from 300 different chapters. At UD, EWB has completed two projects since 2006 and is currently working on two right now. The UD chapter includes 60 students and a little over 10 professionals (faculty members).

The EWB’s mission is to build stronger communities by alleviating social, economic, and political issues and to build stronger global leaders by equipping students to become leaders who are fit to handle the world’s most pressing problems.

One of their projects was completed in 2013, in Guatemala. The ladies mentioned that the Guatemala community had been split by a river, which caused an issue for locals who couldn’t get to the other side during flooding. So, the EWB helped by building a sustainable bridge that could withstand a magnitude seven earthquake. Currently, they are helping people in the Philippines and Malawi.

The EWB also has a local outreach program that has produced 60 + service hours, bolstered community engagement, and created good, local partnerships. The EWB’s vision is to expand local presence, expand engineering capacity, and challenge its students. This will allow for it to build stronger communities, focusing on: community development, education, agency, and creating student leaders.

For more information, please do check out the following link: http://www.ewb-ud.org/

To view the talk, please click on the following link: UD’s Engineers Without Borders Talk

First Talk of the Spring Semester (2018)

Hey Green Liaisons!

Join us as we host Ms.Lia Dawson from UD’s Engineers Without Borders chapter and two of its project managers. Come hear about the organization’s efforts in the Philippines, Malawi, & surrounding Delaware community. We will be learning about EWB-DE’s successful water distribution mission in Cameroon and the future goals of the organization!

The event will be held on Friday, March 9th in the Ewing Room in the Perkin’s Student Center from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm, and food/light refreshments will be offered. The event is free, and everyone is welcome!

Your co-chairs,

Francis Karani, Mohana Gadde, Ali Mahdi

Food and Sustainability

Professor Wiens is a registered dietitian-nutritionist and teaches nutrition classes at UD. She currently teaches BHAN 130: Sustainability and Food. In this class, students are introduced to the use of local/seasonal food and partner with UD’s farm to enjoy farm-to-table food.

Professor Wiens grew up watching David Suzuki, an environmentalist. She attended UBC and majored in nutrition, which was housed in the health sciences/agriculture department. Subsequently, she was exposed to sustainability when she took agroeconomic classes as an undergrad. Following her time in college, she became a vegetarian and found the closest soap box to talk about topics related to sustainability.

She strongly believes that sustainability is about taking a more holistic approach. While many people think that eating organic is one good way to do so, Professor Wiens stated that “organic” is not a panacea. She mentioned that we can also reduce our eco footprint by: being a locavore more often, choosing organic food wisely, eating more plants, having sympathy for chickens, consuming smaller, wild, local fish, being fair-minded, and creating less waste. She stated that 31-40% of our food is thrown away. That’s more than 20 pounds of food per person every month!

In conclusion, we learned quite a lot about not only sustainability, but also how we as consumers can choose more wisely and help out the environment. Two major keypoints that we took from her talk were that,“sustainability must be livable to be sustainable,” and we must, “strive to be better and not expect perfection.”

 

Final Green Liaisons Talk of the Fall Semester 2017

Professor Kristin Wiens

Hey Green Liaisons!

Please join us for our final talk of the semester on Friday, December 1st from 11:15 a.m.- 12:15 p.m. in the Ewing Room (located in the Perkins Student Center).

We will be hearing from Professor Kristin Wiens, who will be sharing a brief presentation on Sustainability and Nutrition! Professor Wiens is currently an instructor in Behavioral Health and Nutrition at UD and teaches several courses (including BHAN 130: Sustainability & Nutrition).

All are welcome to attend! To celebrate the cold weather and the end of the summer that is quickly approaching, we will be serving hot chocolate (with mini marshmallows) and hot, apple cider! We will also be serving other light refreshments as well.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Your co-chairs,

Francis Karani, Mohana Gadde, Alexa Messick

 

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.