Class Project: Sustainability Region / Green Action Trail

January 31, 2012

Digital print; assemblage of historic museum labels. Made by Rebecca Jewell while Artist in Residence on the Melanesia Project at the British Museum, 2006. (via British Museum)


As indicated the first day of class, the course project in Geography 355 will be coming into focus as we brainstorm ideas in the context of previous work on the Delaware and Campus green maps, the sustainability region idea, and the green trail idea. Below are basic components of the project, as well as the results of student interests expressed in class, and our meeting with Sustainability Coordinator Sean Kinghorn.

After that, find a section (“Project: Sustainability Region & Green Action Trail”) where I try and pull together a plan for the project this semester. Hopefully students can find some aspect of this project that fits their interests and abilities. We will discuss Wednesday in class, after the reading presentations.


Course Project

General Context: Sustainable Region | Green Mapping OWU | Delaware (map & map)

Green Trail + Habitats + sites (brochure map and map back and proposal)

Sustainability Region Initial Draft Proposal (PDF)


Sustainability Region & Green Action Trail: Revised Draft for NSF Grant

We propose a sustainability region, encompassing Ohio Wesleyan University and Delaware Ohio, arrayed with a system of research “action” locations linked by a pedagogical green action trail. Our project seeks to enhance the understanding of science by non-science Environmental Studies majors, to enhance the understanding of social factors by science Environmental Studies majors, to ensure substantive theory-into-practice research experiences for all Environmental Studies majors, and to contribute to the sustainability of the OWU campus and the city of Delaware.

I. The Idea of a Sustainability Region

  • Sustainability
  • Campus and City Sustainability
  • The Regional Concept of Sustainability
  • Anthropogenic Biomes, Urban Ecosystems, Political Ecology
  • City of Delaware, Ohio & Ohio Wesleyan University Sustainability Region
  • geography & ecology of the sustainability region
  • partners & progress on sustainability
  • motivations

II. Pedagogical Issues: Undergraduate Education

  • STEM
  • Interdisciplinary Environmental Programs

III. Interdisciplinary Environmental Programs & Sustainability

  • Environmental Studies at Ohio Wesleyan
  • history & goals of program
  • need for engaged, research or practical experience as part of major
  • ties to curricular initiatives: theory-into-practice
  • natural science + environmental studies majors: understand the importance of the social / human context of science in practice
  • social science / humanities / arts + environmental studies majors: understand the importance of natural science in practice
  • Enhancing ES Major with sustainability in practice
  • joint sustainability and student research coordinator
  • collaborate with faculty to provide all Environmental Studies students with a 1-2 semester sustainability project in the sustainability region. Project budgets and stipends.
  • projects contribute to regional sustainability and include
  • real data collection and analysis
  • implementation of action plan for sustainability
  • engagement in environmental practice, with faculty and environmental professionals

IV. Green Action Locations

  • locations of data collection and monitoring within region: focus of student engagement
  • linked to sustainability issues, faculty, campus, and city interest
  • equipment: remote sensors, field monitors, app data collection, etc. Low to high tech.
  • long term monitoring and assessment of sustainability practice impacts
  • data funneled through a database / web server (Ohio Link? OWU Libraries/Info Services)

V. Green Action Trail

  • marked trail linking green action locations
  • tours, K-12 education, exercise, “destination science”


Project: Sustainability Region & Green Action Trail

Given the in-class ideas and brainstorming, I propose that we proceed on the course project through the steps outlined below. In essence, we are building upon the existing Green Trail project and feeding into the Sustainability Region research proposal. Ultimately, I envision a network of locations for monitoring and ongoing student/faculty research as well as class activities, connected by marked trails that will allow OWU to highlight it’s commitment to sustainability, the environment, student research, engagement, and action.

Consider the campus/Delaware area as a sustainability region: what kinds of habitats (ecological and human) are there and what are their characteristics? What kind of data do we have now, related to sustainability and the environment? What are the range of “action” locations throughout the sustainability region? How are they or can they be monitored? How to connect these locations to existing trails and provide access to them? How do we provide access to the information?

(1) and (4) below will take a person or two each, possibly with some skills for carrying out the tasks (in consultation with Krygier and other faculty/staff)

(2) and (3) below can be divided up among the rest of the people in the class. I grouped the “action” locations into categories, possibly corresponding to student interest areas (social/human, science, environmental, etc.)

(5) and (6) are issues Krygier will work on.

With the issues in 1, 2, and 3 below in mind, read this article on anthropogenic biomes, which, in essence, incorporates humans in ecological studies. This is an important intellectual component of our “sustainability region.” Please blog your notes on the reading, as well as how the reading can help us to develop and refine the class project. You can also google the term (anthropogenic biomes) and see if you can find other projects or ideas that will help to shape our project. Please be as particular as possible, in your blog posting, in modifying or adding to the issues outlined below in 1, 2, and 3.

1. Sustainability Region Habitats: Revise map of habitat types:

  • expand to entire city of Delaware (or most of it)
  • evaluate existing habitats and modify if necessary
  • develop a series of urban habitats (instead of just “gray spaces”)
  • classifying humans (what categories? habitats)
  • consult with OWU faculty (ecology, geography, etc.)
  • Julian Kusin, John Reierson (+ Krygier)

2. Sustainability & Environmental Data: Gather existing data related to environment and sustainability

  • real-time data
  • non-real-time data
  • potential data collection/monitoring
  • monitors which allow pre/post evaluation of sustainability efforts
  • monitors which allow competitive sustainability contests (eg., two dorms compete to cut down on energy usage)
  • range of human and environmental activities
  • consult with Sean Kinghorn
  • consult with city of Delaware
  • consult with OWU faculty
  • consult with Delaware environmental people (Sustainable Delaware)

3. Revise map “action” locations

  • monitoring or data collection locations
  • research sites
  • important environmental phenomena
  • exemplars of different habitat types
  • urban and natural areas
  • ongoing projects and potential projects
  • Action locations tied to Delaware Schools, kids
  • humans, animals, plants, water, air, geology, etc.
  • develop green “trading cards” idea
  • consult with OWU faculty
  • consult with Delaware environmental people (Sustainable Delaware)
Examples of “Action” Locations:
Atmosphere: Weather, Climate, Air
  • weather monitoring station w/real-time data collection
  • air quality monitoring: outside
  • air quality monitoring: inside (Sci Center Atrium)
  • impacts of climate warming monitoring
  • Christina Fesz, Xandi Titus
  • Delaware Run: water monitoring (agricultural and lawn run-off)
  • City of Delaware water: real-time data collection (?)
  • Retention ponds (Meeks, new Delaware YMCA)
  • Sulfur spring monitoring
  • ground water / well monitoring
  • Water runoff monitoring (buildings, pavement)
  • Locations for rain gardens (Wilmer ditch)
  • Wetlands preservation, monitoring
  • Delaware Run restoration (Sandusky St. to Olentangy River)
  • soils
Energy & Utilities
  • Silas Jolliff, Sam Newman, Adam Pinkerton, Jon Rux, Mason Tice, Keegan Varner
  • wind turbine w/real-time data collection (proposal here)
  • Solar energy issues and data; real-time data collection potential (Sam Newman)
  • Campus building energy usage: real-time data collection
  • Campus and Delaware Map of Energy Usage: like this NYC Map
  • Campus water and sewer use: data
  • Campus gas use: data
  • Geothermal monitoring (Meeks)
Waste & Recycling
  • Reed Callahan, Zack Khalifa
  • Campus garbage: data
  • Recycling locations: assess and collect data
  • Food waste locations: assess and collect data
  • paper usage (track by rate/program)
  • plastic bottled water sales (track at different locations; relate to hydration station)
Biosphere: plants, animals
  • Christina Fesz, Xandi Titus
  • Delaware Run: wildlife monitoring (bird counts, fish, etc.)
  • Delaware Run: plant monitoring
  • Tree monitoring: carbon sequestration by city trees, arboretum trees
  • Invasive species monitoring
  • Linear habitats to encourage wildlife movement
  • Monitor feral cats
Biosphere: humans
  • Amy Carr, Sophie-Helen Kiendl
  • Green business assessment: how to assess and collect data?
  • Human health assessment: how to measure, where? Delaware Health Department
  • Campus transport: monitor cars in Selby lot (vs walkers)
  • Parks: data on usage
  • Census and other demographic data
4. Green Action Trail: Develop a series of trails to connect the “action” locations
  • investigate access issues
  • connect to existing recreational trails
  • time to walk, kinetics
  • markers
  • potential users: existing students, staff, faculty, prospective students, Delaware City Schools

5. Paper / Poster Maps:

  • Revise existing poster maps to reflect an OWU “look.”
  • Revise 11×17 Sustainability Region and Green Action Trail map.

6. Online Map: Develop interactive map of sustainability region with above data and information