Faculty explore the Oxbow stream on Ohio University campus with Kelly Johnson, associate professor of biological sciences. The Oxbow is the former Hocking River prior to rerouting by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Photographer: Loraine McCosker


Kanawha faculty tour the Monday Creek Watershed group, learning about acid mine drainage and its impacts.

Photographer: Loraine McCosker

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Environmental Studies Program receives 1804 Grant and Environmental Achievement Award

The Ohio University Environmental Studies Program has received an 1804 Grant for its Kanawha Project, and was awarded the Ohio Environmental Council’s (OEC) 2010 Environmental Achievement Award for Innovation in August 2010.

Named for the physiographic region where Ohio University is located, the Kanawha Project enhances the undergraduate curriculum by integrating environmental sustainability across disciplines through faculty professional development. To date, more than 40 faculty members have participated in the Kanawha Project, and more than 30 syllabi have been revised to incorporate environmental sustainability themes in classes ranging from Art to Business.

According to Nancy Manring, principal investigator for the project, the 1804 grant and the OEC award demonstrate Ohio University's statewide leadership in sustainability in higher education.

The level of faculty interest and involvement in the Kanawha Project also underscores the growing need and national trend toward incorporating environmental sustainability topics across the curriculum, said Project Coordinator Loraine McCosker. McCosker cited a recent report  by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, which calls for the inclusion of environmental themes and environmental sustainability across the higher education curriculum.

The OEC Environmental Achievement Award is given to individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to improving Ohio’s environment. Kanawha Project coordinators and faculty will be among the environmental leaders honored Nov. 6 at the OEC Green Gala in Columbus.

The 1804 Grant supports an outgrowth of the Kanawha Project called Place-Based Sustainability Discourse: Using the Kanawha Model to Advance a University Dialogue. This new project will contribute to ongoing discussions about sustainability in the context of the emerging Ohio University sustainability plan.

Twenty faculty members from the Athens and regional campuses and seven undergraduate scholars will be recruited to participate in monthly discussion groups to explore the dimensions and meaning of environmental literacy for Ohio University, and to propose research methodologies to evaluate Ohio University students’ environmental knowledge.  It is expected that the data generated from this project will inform curriculum decisions, providing future students graduate with a better grasp on sustainability.

 “The increasing urgency and complexity of environmental sustainability challenges, from the local to global levels, necessitates that all students, regardless of major, become environmentally literate,” said Manring.