Tag: environment

“My Wildlife Research Era” by Shayna Demick

This semester, I am taking the Honors section of ENWC201: Wildlife Conservation and Ecology with Dr. Kyle McCarthy. The other section of ENWC201 is for Wildlife Conservation and Ecology majors and is taught by Dr. Angela Holland. 

For the Honors class, we attend the combined lectures twice a week and have a separate meeting on South Campus after our Thursday lecture. Something that I especially enjoy about the Honors section is that it consists of just 10 students and two professors, as compared to our combined lecture of over 200 students. 

I’ve gotten to know the professor and my peers much better because of this opportunity.

The Honors section is fascinating. For an Honors credit, we are conducting wildlife research in the woodlot forest on South Campus. There are three groups of students working together to answer various questions about wildlife. My group’s question is “How do different species respond to lures?” and the lures my group chose to study are fatty acid tablets, Gusto, and Obsession by Calvin Klein. The professors provided the lures and six game cameras to set up throughout the woodlot.

Each group will have four control cameras to reference throughout the research project. In three weeks we will be looking at the footage from our cameras to see the types and frequencies of animals approaching the cameras. I am personally most excited about seeing the animals who stick their face up to the cameras. These animals are going to take the most adorable selfies, which I will definitely be printing and framing. Maybe I’ll send them to National Geographic too just because I can. We are expecting to get photos of deer, skunks, raccoons, foxes, and possibly wolves. 

Before starting our research, we set up a methods sheet that included a table for camera data as well as step-by-step instructions for the research. Theoretically, future students would be able to conduct research using our methods. I have never written methods, so this experience has been valuable practice for the research that I conduct in the future.

Then, this past week my group members and I went to the woodlot to set up our cameras. We spent an hour in the morning doing the first three cameras (one for each lure) and we returned in the afternoon to set up the last three cameras. We encountered many spiderwebs, poison ivy, bees and mosquitos. I had failed to consider that the forest would be muddy and humid. This was unfortunate, for I had decided to show up to the woodlot wearing two pairs of pants, a jacket and sneakers. Let’s just say that I now have a lot of muddy, sweaty clothing to wash. 

The woodlot is a never-ending maze. If I was left alone, I would never be able to find my way out. I would just become one with the trees and maybe befriend some squirrels — that sounds pretty nice, actually. Thankfully, I was not left alone. However, my professor asked me to lead the group to find open game trails, which was easier said than done. Open game trails are the trails that don’t look like man-made trails, which is confusing because woodlot appears to have mostly human trails. We can’t put the cameras on the human trails because they are motion sensor cameras, so we would end up having hundreds of strangers on our hard drives instead of animals. We would learn nothing about the lure and we would be deprived of cute animal selfies. 

I was embarrassingly bad at identifying game trails. Eventually, my group identified six different game trails to place our cameras. At each game trail, we fastened a camera to a tree and placed the lure across from the tree. I ended up begging my group members to set up the lure because I learned that “Gusto” is mouse guts and smells exactly how one would expect mouse guts to smell. I had too sensitive of a stomach to take one for the team. Additionally, I already reeked of the Calvin Klein cologne which smelled like a combination of bug spray and urine. Fortunately, the team took one for me. I set up the cameras and they set up the lure and we took test photos with each camera. Our professors asked us to pose like the animals we would see, so I’m very excited to see how silly we look in the photos. 

One of the other groups is studying visual deterrents and using scarecrows, glitter tape and pink boas. Here are some photos from their set-up process!

I can’t wait to see the results of everyone’s research! I am so glad I was able to take this Honors class. 

“Work From Outside Home” by Chris Hope

Our school lives continue to become intertwined with our lives at home, especially over the past year or so. This manifests itself in many ways: sitting at dinner only to get a dreaded Canvas notification that your test was graded, a random email from your professor on a weekend evening where you thought you might be able to relax, and the amount of distractions present on our phones and computers while in a virtual class or doing schoolwork online. This last one is a real struggle for me, even while writing this article! Something I’ve found that helps me a bit, however, is doing my work physically outside of the house! Obviously, this hasn’t really been too much of a possibility during the pandemic (and even now, some may still feel uncomfortable, and that’s okay), but I’ve found that being in a public place helps me focus more on my work than if I’m alone in my room. In a way, the presence of other people holds me accountable. With all that said, here are some nice places around campus for working or studying away from your room.

Continue reading

“Sustainability on Campus” by Lorraine Capenos

As an environmental studies major, I think about sustainability a lot. Probably more than most college students, anyway. That being said, I’ve noticed that many of us college students struggle to implement environmentally friendly practices into our busy, hectic lifestyles. Many people don’t know where to begin, and even when students know better, they often find it difficult to choose the most eco-friendly choice because it inconveniences them or just slips their mind. That being said, there are many practices I’ve found to be pretty simple and easy to make a bit of difference and reduce my environmental impact.

First things first: you have to get educated. My first semester here at UD, I didn’t realize plastic bags couldn’t be recycled. Sure, I knew Ziploc bags had to be thrown away, but I didn’t realize that you couldn’t take your recyclables to the dumpster in a trash bag or they would be thrown away instead of recycled. This is because local recycling centers don’t have the machinery to process plastic film, so grocery bags and trash bags can’t be recycled. Other things, like batteries and food waste, can contaminate recycling, causing it to end up in a landfill, so be careful to only throw things out that you are sure can be recycled, and make sure they are clean when you toss them. Michelle Bennett, the UD Sustainability Officer, recently told one of my classes, “It seems counter-intuitive, but if you aren’t sure whether it’s recyclable, please just throw it in the trash,” so as not to contaminate the recycling. 

Reducing the waste we produce is also important, since recycling isn’t an ultimate solution. I take reusable bags with me to the grocery store and try to reuse jars and containers from foods like pasta sauce to store things like pencils and stationery. I have even reused jars as pots for small houseplants like succulents. I try to buy minimally packaged and ethically-sourced food when possible.

Additionally, I am conscious of my carbon and water footprints and try to reduce consumption of both. Part of this comes from eating a plant-based diet, which is less resource-intensive than eating animal products. It also comes from reducing time spent showering and running faucets, using cold water to wash my laundry instead of hot, turning lights off when they are not necessary and using natural light instead, and reducing the amount of air conditioning and heating I use.

The next step is one that is helpful when living on a college budget: reducing the amount I buy. Consumerism runs rampant in our society, but we don’t necessarily have to give into it. Instead of buying a new dress for every upcoming formal event, I ask my friends if I can borrow dresses they have already worn. I don’t buy clothes I don’t need and try to keep a relatively minimal wardrobe. I repurpose everything I can, and if I’m not using something, I take note of it, so I don’t buy a similar item again, and then I give the item away to a friend. I only make purchases that I have thought out for a while and know I will get a lot of use out of. This has not only saved me money, but it has also lessened my environmental impact by conserving resources and reducing my contribution to industrial pollution. 

Finally, transportation is a huge part of carbon footprints. I try to walk to class as much as possible, and if the weather is bad, I’ll take the bus. I carpool to the grocery store with housemates. Otherwise, I try to avoid driving and taking Ubers, since it is not only resource-intensive and polluting, but also expensive.

I still have a long way to go when it comes to sustainability, but I’ve learned that taking it one small step at a time is manageable and can become second nature. The environment benefits, and I save money most of the time. I would urge others to not only implement these steps, among others, but to also get educated and involved with environmental activities and policy in the local area. After all, the Earth is our home, and we only get one.

© 2022

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

Skip to toolbar