Access improvements at the Middlebury College Floodplain Forest Teaching and Research Area: Phase II
Steve Trombulak, Charlie Hofmann, Kristen Link, Chris Free
The Middlebury College Floodplain Forest Teaching and Research Area (“the Bird Sanctuary”) has been a central part of the Biology Department’s field biology curriculum for over 20 years. However, the absence of marked walking trails in the area has meant that only students who are enrolled in a field biology course and accompanied by their instructor can use the area without fear of getting lost. In Spring 2007, with funds from the Environmental Council Sustainability Grants Program, the senior participant in this proposal and a group of students began the construction of a series of marked walking trails in this area. We are requesting funds for the coming year which will allow us to complete the trail system and to build a kiosk at the trail’s entrance so maps and educational material can be made available to trail users.
Rehearsals Cafe “Green” Mugs
Liza Sachelli Lloyd, Allison Coyne Carroll,
Christa Clifford, and Mark Christensen
We would like to purchase and distribute reusable coffee mugs to the faculty and staff working at the Mahaney Center for the Arts (and neighboring buildings). Over 80 people work in the building, many of whom visit the Cafe daily. Switching from disposable cups to reusable mugs is an easy way to make a significant impact on our materials usage, while also calling attention to environmental issues.
This event was conceived as a “staff enrichment” event and, given the interest, has been expanded to include faculty. We are planning an event on April 9th to help staff and faculty learn how they can do things in their personal lives to be environmentally friendly, and how to do so on a budget. Preliminary plans are to have a panel of experts (speaking on topics such as organic gardening, home energy efficiency, and green home renovations), led by a “celebrity” moderator (we’re hopeful for Bill McKibben), with booths available for staff/faculty to visit to get more details about the topics that most interest them.
Middlebury Outdoor Guide
Phillip Picotte '09, Elgita Eglite ’09.5, Nicole Grohoski ’05 (faculty), Adam Franco (staff).
Drawing upon previous efforts by Middlebury students, and others, this project aims to compile an online site that pairs backcountry recreational opportunities with educational information that enhances appreciation for the region’s unique ecosystems. The Middlebury Outdoor Guide will address many outdoor pursuits and include input from students, faculty, and staff.
Signs and Educational Materials for Public Display
This project seeks to augment awareness of environmentally sensitive behavior through the installment of various signs and stickers around campus.
Biodiesel from Microalgae: An Integrated Strategy for Wastewater Treatment and Carbon Dioxide Mitigation
This project seeks to develop an economically feasible microalgae bioreactor that accomplishes wastewater treatment with concomitant liquid biofuel production using municipal and agricultural waste streams.
Elin Waagen, Alyson Bourne, Emily Gustavson
The Library Eco Bio Book Bags Project would allow the LIS to purchase reusable and recyclable book bags to protect both library AND environmental resources. The bio book bags would serve a dual function - they would provide a roomy, reusable bag for books AND provide a platform for advertising the importance of protecting and preserving valuable library and environmental resources. After the initial pilot bio bag project - funded with grant monies - we would charge $1 per bag to recoup costs, encourage use of re-use bags, and eliminate the use of plastic book bags.
Emily May, Dan Kane, Helen Young, Tim Parsons
Over the past few decades, native pollinating insects, which pollinate billions of dollars worth of American crops, have experienced drastic population decline, mostly due to widespread applications of pesticides and insecticides, diseases, parasites, and the loss, fragmentation, and degradation of habitat. Our intention in this project is to research the behavioral ecology and habitat of native pollinators, identify a number of easily cultivated native plants that will attract and protect these native pollinators, and use these plants in the design and construction of an educational “pollinator garden,” to be located in the vicinity of Hillcrest Environmental Center. This garden would be both a practical application of ecological knowledge to an issue of serious concern, as well as an opportunity to educate others about pollinating insects and the need to protect and restore them.
Kim Griffin, Francisco Seijo, Peter Ryan
The conversion from agricultural and livestock farming to speculative land-development is taking a toll on the environment in Spain. Manually built stone and wood structures from past centuries are falling into disrepair at a rapid rate erasing both the visual and functional environmental history that characterizes the central plain in Spain called Castile. Following the concept of the Barn Census projects in the United States, this project calls for students to apply their knowledge of the Spanish language and Spanish culture to locate, via GPS technology, identify, and analyze the ancient rural structures in a specific area. They will also collect oral histories on environmental practices (water management, wind and solar power and use, grazing practices) as well as analyzing the data collected within historical, architectural, environmental, and linguistic parameters.
Isaac Ibrahim Sadaqah
This project aims to reduce energy consumption on campus by making public drying racks available in laundry rooms. Stand and wall mounted expandable drying racks will be installed based on need, room design, and the space available in each laundry room.
Evan Williams, Jack Byrne, Nick Dickerson, Andrea Lloyd, Carol Peddie
The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) is an organization of colleges working towards improved sustainability on campuses. AASHE has recently developed a Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS) to allow higher education institutes to formally review, and compare to other campuses, their sustainability standards. The Environmental Council has agreed to help pilot STARS for AASHE and needs a student intern, and supporting funds, during the spring academic semester to complete the STARS report for the college.
Powershift - When 130 Middlebury College students returned from the UN Kyoto Negotiations in December 2005, they brought with them a mobilizing passion that reinvigorated campus activism to a level the college had never seen before. Attendance at Sunday Night Group gatherings more than doubled, and the new devotees infused the group with fresh ideas that evolved into such initiatives as Carbon Neutrality and Step it Up. Nearly two years later, Middlebury College again has the opportunity to empower the next wave of student leaders and be a guiding force in the push for climate change solutions by sending a delegation of students to Powershift. On November 2nd through 5th, thousands of students from across the country will converge to discuss how to ensure that the next president will enforce the necessary 80% reductions in carbon emissions by 2050.