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!

Lobbying to Stop Climate Change

Publicity Photo of Michael Chajes

On April 21, 2017, Green Liaisons hosted our last lunch of the spring semester with a talk by Dr. Michael Chajes, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UD and a Founding Member of Delaware’s Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL). Dr. Chajes spoke about the fundamentals of climate change, and then about CCL’s plan to stop climate change using a carbon pricing proposal.

CCL, an international, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization which has hundreds of chapters across the U.S. and the world, believes that the solution to climate change should begin at the economic and political level. Based on the idea that the industries making fossil fuels available do not currently have to pay for the externalities of their products (for example, health effects such as asthma), CCL proposes a carbon fee and dividend program, whereby industries would pay a fee when they take a fossil fuel out of the ground, and then that money would be paid back to citizens in the form of a dividend each year. In their plan, CCL has also accounted for the need for a border adjustment both into and out of the country, as most countries do not currently have a plan in place like this one.

According to CCL, this plan could bring emissions levels to 50% below 1990s levels in just 20 years. This plan is also intended to provide net job growth, net GDP growth, and, in the long-term, improved health and wellbeing of citizens.

Members of CCL do public speaking, attend tablings, write letters-to-the-editors and op-eds, and meet with members of Congress from both parties. Because they are a nonpartisan organization, CCL strives to–and indeed has already–garnered support for a carbon fee and dividend program from both sides of the political spectrum.

If you’re interested, you can get involved with the Delaware chapter or with any of the other many CCL chapters nearby. Check out CCL’s website for more info!

And you can see Dr. Chajes’s entire talk for Green Liaisons here!

Free-Flight Program Outside

On March 21, 2017, GL hosted something a little bit different from our usual: an free-flight program featuring dozens of birds and held outside! The program was lead by animal behavioral consultant Phung Luu.

Luu brought with him several bird species, including a silvery cheek hornbill, a flock of sun conures, a rose-breasted cockatoo, and, of course, Owliver and Owlbert, both owls. Luu presented the birds and then asked them to perform a variety of tricks (all of which were only within the natural behavior of the birds).

Luu’s goal is always to introduce people to birds so that they experience a greater appreciation for bird behavior and understand the need for bird conservation.

The entire program is visible here!

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!

Plastics and Ocean Currents

On November 16, 2016, GL held our final lunch of the fall semester and featured Dr. Tobias Kukulka, Associate Professor in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment at UD, who presented a talk on his research regarding the effects of ocean currents on the movements of marine plastics.

Marine plastics, such as those that occur in the renowned Great Pacific garbage patch, form an amorphous soup of small plastic pieces. Wind and ocean currents churn these tiny pieces throughout the depth of the water column, further dispersing the spread of plastic. The small size of the plastics, combined with the complex effects of these currents, makes quantifying the debris challenging.

In his research, Kukulka sought to better estimate the amount and locations of plastics in the oceans using a new mathematical model based on weather data and previous sampling. According to the Kukulka’s work, existing models may underestimate plastics in still waters by a factor of 2.5 and in turbulent waters by a factor of 27. Kukulka and his team have developed their model so that it may be adapted for use by a variety of scientific disciplines.

Additional Green Liaisons talks may be found on UD’s Youtube channel 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!

Climate Change Preparedness

Publicity Photo of Sue McNeil with Civil & Environmental Engineering

On September 23rd, 2016, Green Liaisons hosted UD’s Dr. Sue McNeil, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Public Policy, and Administration. She presented to us on her research that examined the preparations being made by cities and regions for the impacts that climate change is likely to cause on infrastructure.

McNeil described the possible preparations for both mitigation of and adaptation to climate change, particularly in regard to the impacts of increased precipitation and flooding on roads, bridges, and foundations. Cities are taking actions such as building further inland, accommodating for occasional flooding, and elevating infrastructure or building seawalls.

For her research, McNeil surveyed the Mid-Atlantic region to identify the progress of metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) in making these preparations. She determined that MPOs have difficulty identifying the need for these preparations until a “disaster” (e.g. Hurricane Sandy) occurs, but then once a disaster occurs, communities are so overwhelmed by recovery that they cannot think about future planning. McNeil identified a need for a combination of engineering adaptations and climate change mitigation to produce successful planning.

If you would like to hear McNeil’s entire talk, please check out the video here!

First Lunch of the Semester!

Publicity Photo of Sue McNeil with Civil & Environmental Engineering

Sue McNeil, Photo: udel.edu

Please join us NEXT Friday, September 23rd, from 12:15-1:15PM, in the Perkins Ewing Room for our first lunch of the semester.
We will be featuring UD’s Dr. Sue McNeil, a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Public Policy, and Administration. She will talk with us about her research on how cities and regions are incorporating climate change into their disaster preparedness plans.
This topic has become increasingly relevant, especially after events like Hurricane Sandy.
All are welcome and light refreshments will be served!