UD announces week of activities to celebrate Earth Week 2013

April 12, 2013 under CANR News

A mini film festival, a local clean up, expert speakers and individual action challenges are all on tap for this year’s Earth Week, to be marked April 15-22 at the University of Delaware.

UD’s Sustainability Task Force Earth Week committee has planned a series of events and challenges that offer the University community a variety of ways to participate.

Featured speakers include:

  • Jennifer de Mooy, climate adaptation project manager for the Delaware Division of Energy and Climate and UD alumna, speaking on “Climate Change in 3D: A Discussion of Climate Change in Three Dimensions — Science, Policy and Culture” on Monday, April 15, at 4 p.m. in 219 Gore Hall;
  • Adam Rome, associate professor of history at UD, speaking on his new book, The Genius of Earth Day, a history of Earth Day on Wednesday, April 17, at 11 a.m. in Trabant University Center Multipurpose Room A, with light fare;
  • and a panel discussion regarding the intersection of individuals, communities and gardens, on Monday, April 22, at 3 p.m. in Townsend Hall.

“We challenge everyone to find their own way to honor Earth Day,” said Vincent Jackson, building manager with University Student Centers and co-chair of the Earth Week planning committee. “Whether that’s attending an event, unplugging, helping to clean up part of Newark, or finding an alternate way to work. Every small step counts.”

A complete list of events is available at the Earth Week webpage.

UD’s Sustainability Task Force is charged with fostering grassroots sustainability efforts across all areas of the University in support of the Path to Prominence.

Earth Week is one of many initiatives funded by the generous support of the UD community by means of donations to the UD Sustainability Fund.

To make a gift in support of the UD Sustainability Fund, visit the online giving form.

Article by Tabitha Groh

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

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Week of Oct. 24: Food Day events

October 22, 2011 under CANR News, Events

The University of Delaware community is invited to join the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Food Science Club, Dining Services, Food Bank of Delawareand millions of Americans in celebration of national Food Day on Monday, Oct. 24.

Food Day is a national campaign to draw attention to celebrate healthy, affordable foods produced in a humane, sustainable way and to fix the food system by:

  • Reducing obesity and diet-related disease by promoting safe, healthy foods.
  • Supporting sustainable family farms and cutting subsides to huge agribusiness.
  • Ending urban and rural “food deserts” by providing access to healthy foods.
  • Protecting the environment and farm animals by reforming factory farms.
  • Promoting children’s health by curbing junk-food marketing aimed at kids.
  • Obtaining fair wages for all workers in the food system.

The Food Science Club will host two events on Monday, Oct. 24.  From 12:30-2:30 p.m., club members will be at Trabant University Center with information about Food Day’s mission, signing up students to volunteer with the Food Bank of Delaware.

Also on Monday, from 5:30-7 p.m. in the Townsend Hall Commons, the Food Science Club and other food-related clubs at UD will host a panel discussion about important food related issues.  After the discussion, participants will be invited to stay and carve local pumpkins and enjoy local UDairy Creamery ice cream. Participants are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to the event to donate to the Food Bank of Delaware.

In addition, throughout the week, bins will be available at all residential dining halls for students to drop off non-perishable food items for the Food Bank of Delaware.

On Thursday, Oct. 27, UD Dining Services will host Local Garden Harvest dinners in Kent, Pencader, Russell and Rodney dining halls from 5-7:30 p.m. featuring local and sustainable ingredients.

The UD Dining Services menu for the Local Garden Harvest dinner includes:

  • Butternut squash and apple soup made with locally grown butternut squash, roasted and blended with apples and farm fresh cream.
  • Chicken, potato and kale soup made with locally grown kale served in a tomato base soup.
  • Carved apple glazed pork loin served with a side of caramel apple bread pudding.
  • Monterey Aquarium Seafood Watch approved flounder seasoned and encrusted, served with sweet and tangy cabbage slaw and fresh Old Bay chips.
  • Homemade herb infused biscuits topped with exotic local mushroom ragout.
  • Zucchini, squash and onion sauté.
  • Locally grown, baked sweet potatoes with toppings (honey butter, cinnamon and sugar, marshmallows).
  • Chicken and waffles drizzled with UD’s own farm fresh Dare to Bee honey.
  • Organic whole wheat pasta served in a light tomato sauce.
  • Bacon, apple and cheddar panini on eight-grain sliced bread.
  • Succotash salad.
  • Mixed green salad with apples, cranberries and candied pecans topped with a Chaddsford Winery vinaigrette.
  • Assorted dinner rolls.
  • Gooey pumpkin cake.
  • Cranberry and apple strudel with maple glaze.
  • UDairy Creamery taste testing (and voting) of final two contest flavors: Blue Hen Tracks and All Nighter.
  • UDairy Creamery Pumpkin Roll ice cream.
  • Spiced hot apple cider.

Sponsored by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest, Food Day is sponsored nationally by more than 50 organizations including Slow Food USA, the Sierra Club, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and the National Farmers Market Coalition.

View this article on UDaily.

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College converts cow pasture into thriving wetland

May 19, 2010 under CANR News

Several times a week, Chad Nelson begins his workday with a trek through a wetland near his Townsend Hall office on the University of Delaware’s Newark campus. With spring in full swing, he enjoys the sight of the butterflies, migratory songbirds, mallard ducks and their ducklings, frogs and tadpoles that make the wetland their warm-weather home.

Later this summer Nelson, an assistant professor of landscape design in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, will be on the look out for dragonflies. And even in winter, he says the wetland teems with life, with such species as glossy ibis and over-wintering songbirds.

Two years ago, about the only animal life this two-acre site supported were dairy cows and migrating Canada geese.

Jenny McDermott, facilities manager for the college, spearheaded the effort to convert a poorly draining cow pasture into a wetland.

Her go-to man on the project was Tom Barthelmeh, who is a wetlands restoration expert with the state’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC).

“This project had a lot of challenges and Tom’s help was integral,” says McDermott. “Our goal in creating this wetland was not only to provide wildlife habitat but to improve water quality in the White Clay watershed.”

Once it is fully operational, the wetland will reduce runoff to Cool Run, which is a tributary of White Clay Creek. And that’s just one of the ways it will help the watershed.

The University’s farm and main campus are where Cool Run starts, the headwaters of the stream, and thus are a critical area for influencing environmental quality.

“Wetlands, especially in this area, do a lot of good things for a watershed,” explains McDermott. “By taking the pressure off the rate and volume of water that flows into a stream, wetlands reduce problems caused by stormwater runoff downstream.”

From a wildlife habitat perspective, the wetland gets high marks from Doug Tallamy, chairperson of UD’s Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology.

“The new wetlands will raise the carrying capacity of the UD Farm for decades,” says Tallamy. “The wet areas churn out insects that develop on detritus. These support swifts, martins, swallows and bats. Wading birds eat the aquatic insects and frogs in the wet areas. The wetland also provides habitats for breeding birds. It’s very productive. And none of this was happening when it was a cow pasture.”

Barthelmeh says he enjoyed the project, especially because it gave him the opportunity to mentor students. UD undergraduate and graduate students were involved in every aspect of the project, from site design and installation to the two rounds of planting that occurred, most recently last October.

Nelson spearheaded plant design with plenty of assistance from his students. Almost 2,000 trees, shrubs and perennial seed plugs have been planted at the site, ranging from blue flag iris, which provides purple-blue spring blooms; buttonbush, which blooms in summer; bald cypress, with its brilliant rusty orange fall foliage; and winterberry holly, known for its red berries in winter.

A whopping 90 percent of the first year’s planting survived despite dry planting conditions and some damage by waterfowl.

“I was concerned last year because a lot of Canada geese were browsing the wetland but most of the damage wasn’t significant since it was confined to the stalks and not the roots,” says Nelson.

The wetland is one component of a comprehensive plan to make the UD Farm a model of sustainable, environmentally friendly agriculture.

McDermott is now busy overseeing other conservation projects. Additional channel and wetland restoration will take place along the entire length of the Cool Run tributary running through the farm. A stormwater retrofit will address building and parking lot runoff that flows into Cool Run.

“These restoration efforts wouldn’t be possible without a lot of partners within the university, from DNREC and from the New Castle Conservation District,” says McDermott. “Grant funding from several DNREC departments and from the University’s alumni-supported Sustainability Fund have been matched by funding from our college to not only implement environmental protection but to provide a teaching opportunity for students and a demonstration of watershed protection.”

The UD wetland has been utilized as an outdoor classroom by landscape design, landscape construction, ornithology, wildlife management and wildlife ecology students. And it serves a public education function, as well, especially now that it has become a part of the UD Botanic Gardens.

“We offered wetland tours on Earth Day and Ag Day and the public is welcome to take self-guided tours any day from dawn to dusk,” says McDermott. “Wetlands are sometimes seen as a ‘no man’s land.’ We want people to appreciate the positive impact they can have on water quality and the diversity of wildlife they support. Wetlands are incredibly important.”

To learn more, visitors can take a self-guided tour of the UD Botanic Gardens wetland from dawn to dusk daily. The wetland is located on UD’s Farm off Route 896 in Newark, near the Girl Scouts building.

Click here to see the article with photos online on UDaily.

Article by Margo McDonough
Photos by Danielle Quigley

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