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Sustainability News

OHIO study finds recent growth and sudden declines in Antarctic sea ice to be unique changes since early 20th century

Thursday, January 13

 A study led by Ohio University researchers shows that the increase of sea ice surrounding Antarctica since 1979 is a unique feature of Antarctic climate since 1905 — an observation that paints a dramatic first-ever picture for weather and climate implications on the world’s southernmost continent.

Dr. Ryan Fogt’s(opens in a new window) study, published today in Nature Climate Change, is the first to detail sea ice extent surrounding the entire continent though all four seasons over the last century.

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Bobcats show up for the annual Campus Recycling Winter Food Drive

Monday, January 3

Ohio University Campus Recycling wrapped up the annual Winter Food Drive on Saturday, Dec. 11 as the fall semester came to a close. This year, Campus Recycling is excited to report that 1,224.5 pounds of food was donated to Cats’ Cupboard

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ORITE addresses infrastructure needs through thermoplastics research

Monday, January 3

Ohio University’s Ohio Research Institute for Transportation and the Environment (ORITE) recently collaborated with the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) on a study that assessed the performance of pipes created from recycled plastic.

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Students promote discussions on sustainability and climate change through outreach events

Tuesday, December 14

Ohio University’s Climate and Sustainability Ambassador program culminated its fall semester outreach initiatives with November events on East, West and South greens. The ambassador program, launched in the spring of 2019 by Sustainable Administration Hub Coordinator Ryan Fogt, Ph.D., takes direct action to promote sustainability and combat climate change on campus, in the city of Athens, and throughout Southeast Ohio.

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Facilities Management and Safety provides energy conservation tips before winter break

Wednesday, December 8

Facilities Management and Safety requests that employees who have been working in campus facilities during fall semester take energy conservation actions before leaving buildings for the winter break closure.

The actions described in this article will help Ohio University save energy, reduce environmental impacts and minimize costs.

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DOE grants awarded to Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment

Tuesday, December 7

The Russ College of Engineering and Technology’s Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment (ISEE) has been awarded $2 million for two projects by the U.S. Department of Energy to develop advanced filaments for additive manufacturing and graphite for energy storage applications from mining wastes. 

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Plant Club students dig the outdoors while helping the Athens community

Thursday, December 2

Members of Ohio University's Plant Club come from multiple colleges and majors, but they have one thing in common; they are interested in engaging with our natural resources in hiking, conservation, gardening, crafting, and learning about plants.

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Sustainability Tours!

Monday, November 29

Services offered by the Office of Sustainability, many in partnership with the Voinovich School of Public Service, include providing information, reports, tours, and presentations; supporting sustainable events and programs; providing curricular and co-curricular assistance for academic courses and research.

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Sustainability Series in full swing at the Athena Cinema

Tuesday, November 2

The Fall Sustainability Series at the Athena Cinema is in full swing and takes place on select Wednesdays. The series remains free to community members and Ohio University students.

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Ohio University becomes an affiliate of Bee Campus USA

Wednesday, October 20

Ohio University has become an affiliate of the Bee Campus USA program, designed to marshal the strengths of educational campuses for the benefit of pollinators. OHIO joins many other cities and campuses across the country united in improving their landscapes for pollinators. 

According to Ohio University Landscape Coordinator Susan Calhoun, the Athens campus has a number of policies in place to protect pollinator species.

“In 2019, the University adopted an Integrated Pest Management Plan that included the designation of 11 specific naturalized areas to provide habitat for beneficial insects and other wildlife,” Calhoun said. “The plan also institutionalized cultural practices and chemical application guidelines that support healthy and diverse ecosystems.”

Properly signed naturalized and pollinator areas on campus have been embraced by the campus and local community. OHIO Bee Campus USA Committee student member Emma Little, who also works with Calhoun in Grounds Services, shared her pleasure working on the initiative.

“It’s exciting to see the University take on these beneficial environmental challenges that have such a visible impact. The pollinator garden we installed this spring on The Ridges has not only thrived with beautiful plantings but has attracted an abundance of insects and other wildlife,” Little said. “To see all the activity there is a wonderful testament that people can have an impact on protecting species and the environment while creating an attractive landscape for all to enjoy.”

Steve Mack, director of Facilities Management, agrees and sees additional benefits to the triple bottom line of sustainability: people, planet and prosperity.

“The University continues to add designated naturalized areas and is actively planning for pollinator-specific habitat expansion,” Mack said. “These areas are not only enjoyed by the campus and local community and support biodiversity, but with the reduced need for mowing we have seen a decrease in labor costs.”

Bee Campus USA

“Facilities Management and Safety continues to evaluate its processes to find the safest, least toxic grounds practices possible,” Scott Blower, OHIO Grounds Services manager, added. “We utilize soil amendment produced in our own in-vessel, industrial-scale compost operation to naturally enhance growing conditions for turf and landscape plants, provide additional education and training for staff, and continue to expand naturalized areas across campus including dedicated pollinator habitat such as the certified Monarch Waystation at the OHIO Ecohouse.”

To raise awareness about the plight of pollinators, OHIO is updating the Office of Sustainability’s webpage to disseminate information to the campus and external communities regarding the campus Integrated Pest Management Plan, native plants incorporated into the campus landscape including their bloom time and habitat needs, links to student and faculty research into pollinator issues, and information about upcoming events.

Environmental and Plant Biology Professor Kim Thompson is excited about the opportunities for student research and service-learning activities connected to the Bee Campus USA designation. Already faculty, staff, and students have worked together to study and create pollinator habitat with native plants as part of her Schoonover Green Roof Project. Numerous courses include pollinators in their syllabi and removing invasive species is an ongoing student activity led by Calhoun, her student Grounds Services staff, the Plant Club and Climate and Sustainability Ambassador student volunteers.

Bee City USA and Bee Campus USA are initiatives of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, a nonprofit organization based in Portland, Oregon, with offices across the country. Bee City USA’s mission is to galvanize communities and campuses to sustain pollinators by providing them with healthy habitat, rich in a variety of native plants, and free of pesticides. Pollinators like bumble bees, sweat bees, mason bees, honey bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, flies, hummingbirds, and many others are responsible for the reproduction of almost 90% of the world's flowering plant species and one in every three bites of food we consume.

“The program aspires to make people more PC — pollinator conscious, that is,” said Scott Hoffman Black, Xerces’ executive director. “If lots of individuals and communities begin planting native, pesticide-free flowering trees, shrubs and perennials, it will help to sustain many, many species of pollinators.” 

According to Bee Campus USA coordinator Molly Martin, “Each campus must renew their affiliation each year and report on accomplishments from the previous year. Other institutions of higher education are invited to explore completing the application process outlined at beecityusa.org.”  

For more information about Ohio University’s Bee Campus USA program, contact Sam Crowl at crowls1@ohio.edu or sustainability@ohio.edu.

Ohio University has become an affiliate of the Bee Campus USA program, designed to marshal the strengths of educational campuses for the benefit of pollinators. 

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