Full-time farmer, lecturer, and author Joel Salatin visited GMC on November 14 to tour Cerridwen farm and give a number of lectures throughout the day. Polyface Farm, “the farm of many faces,” arguably represents America’s premier non-industrial food production oasis, with a mission to develop emotionally, economically, environmentally enhancing agricultural enterprises and facilitate their duplication throughout the world.
Starting in 1961 when William Salatin and Lucille Salatin moved their family to Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, purchasing the most worn-out, eroded, abused farm in the area near Staunton, they used nature as a pattern, and they and their children began the healing and innovation that now supports three generations. Joel holds a BA in English and writes extensively in magazines such as Stockman Grass Farmer, Acres USA, and American Agriculturalist. The family’s farm has been featured in Smithsonian Magazine, National Geographic, Gourmet, and countless other radio, television, and print media.
Prof. Philip Ackerman-Leist (environmental studies, farm and food director) was recently the keynote address at the Mother Earth News Fair in Seven Springs, Penn., with a presentation titled “Playful Practicality.” Additionally, he presented at the “Seeding the Change” conference at Dickinson College with a presentation titled “The Practical Arts & the Liberal Arts: Cross-Pollination on the College Farm.” Later this week, Philip will be heading to Lakeside, Montana to give a keynote address titled “Sustainability Begins at Home” for the annual AERO meeting.
Prof. John Van Hoesen (geology, environmental studies) attended the Geological Society of America Meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota during Oct 7-11 where he was a co-instructor for a short-course titled "Virtual Field Experiences in Geoscience Education."
Internationally acclaimed author, entrepreneur and energy expert Steven Strong will be at GMC Thursday, October 13 to present his talk "Energy: Building the Bridge to the Post-Petroleum World” in a program sponsored by the College and renewable energy non-profit Energize Vermont. The presentation will be held at the Gorge in Withey Hall 6-8 p.m.
Strong began his own company called Solar Design Associates, and installed the first solar panels on the White House during the Carter administration. As his expertise and reputation grew, Time magazine named Strong an Environmental Hero for the Planet in 1999. More
Prof. Sam Edwards (environmental studies, law and policy) presented his paper, "Protecting Environmental and Cultural Property: Legal Theories for Valuation of Environmental and Cultural Property in Micronesia", at the 65th annual New York Political Science Association annual conference at Niagara University on April 8.
Steven Letendre (environmental studies, economics) will discuss the various ways to use solar energy to power and heat a home this Wednesday, March 16 from 12 - 1 in Terrace 124.
He will provide important insights based on his experience installing both solar thermal and solar electric systems on his super insulated straw-bale home located in Middletown Springs, Vt.
The colloquium will include an overview of the federal and state incentives that help to reduce the overall costs of investing in solar energy equipment.
Prof. John Van Hoesen (geology, environmental studies) had an article published in the Journal of Archaeometry titled “Characterizing the Micromorphology of Sediments Associated with Chinchorro Mummification in Arica, Chile, Using SEM and EDS.” Read the article here.
Additionally, he had a surfical geologic map published by the Vermont Geological Survey of the town of Dover, and also created an online virtual geologic tour of Dover with the help of Rebecca Tellar ’11. See the map here, and the tour here. (note: Google Earth required to view tour)
Prof. Sarah Mittlefehldt (environmental studies, natural resource management) was invited to speak as part of Middlebury College's Howard E. Woodin's Environmental Studies Colloquium Series. The series brings together students, faculty, and staff at Middlebury College to gather over lunch and learn about conservation and environmental topics. Professor Mittlefehldt's talk was entitled "The Appalachian Trail and the Tangled Roots of Environmental Politics in the U.S."
Prof. Sarah Mittlefehldt recently had an article entitled, “The People's Path: Conflict and Cooperation in the Acquisition of the Appalachian Trail,” published in the journal Environmental History. Sarah is currently writing a book on the complex political dynamics involved in building the Appalachian Trail and the history of the environmental movement in the United States. The book will be published as part of the University of Washington Press’s Weyerhaeuser Environmental Book Series. Read the article here.
Prof. Sarah Mittlefehldt was featured in a Vermont Public Radio story last week about local sourcing of fuel for the College's biomass plant.
Mittlefehldt provided some background for a recent $73,658 grant the College received from the Rutland Regional Planning Commission (including funds from the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program), the High Meadows Fund, the Riverledge Foundation and the Luce Foundation. Partnering with the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation (HBRF), the new initiative, called the Poultney Woodshed Project, will study the feasibility of using locally produced fuel for GMC's biomass plant. The project is aimed at maintaining the ecological sustainability of local forests, boosting the local economy, and creating a template other colleges or communities could use.
Listen to the story here.
Prof. John Van Hoesen (Geology and Environmental studies) was one of 17 educators selected to participate in an annual earth science education program known as the "School of Rock," coordinated by the Deep Earth Academy, an education program of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP). The program took place off the coast of western Canada on the research vessel JOIDES (Joint Oceanographic Institutions for Deep Earth Sampling) Resolution.
During the expedition, Van Hoesen and his colleagues learned how to interpret Earth's history from marine sediment cores and processed water samples for chemical analyses. He also had the unique opportunity to watch the installation of a permanent hydrologic observatory into the seafloor. "We were eyewitnesses to the beginning of a ten year research program that will improve our understanding of earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest -- that's pretty exciting," remarked Van Hoesen.
Prof. Sarah Mittlefehldt (Environmental studies) presented a paper titled “The Appalachian Trail and American Environmental Thought: Blazing Connections between Rural Needs and Urban Desires” at the 2010 annual meeting of Agricultural History Society in Orlando, Fla. Sarah is currently writing a book on the social and environmental history of the Appalachian Trail.
In August Prof. John Van Hoesen (Geology) was an invited speaker at a four-day workshop in Bozeman, Mont. hosted by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers and sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The workshop focused on "Using GIS and Remote Sensing to Teach Geoscience in the 21st Century." John presented a talk titled "Landscape Interpretation and Visualization Using a GIS," in addition to help review curriculum and online resources for other geoscience educators.
Prof. John Van Hoesen (Geology) was one of 16 people selected to participate in the School of Rock Program and sail on the JOIDES Resolution, a deep ocean drilling research vessel that will depart from Victoria, British Columbia on September 9 and stay at sea for two weeks. The group will learn about ocean drilling science, explore both sediment and bedrock cores, support the installation of a sub-sea floor observatory, and most importantly tell the story of the expedition through media rich curriculum and online resources. One of the goals of this program is to increase awareness of and better explain ocean drilling science.
Orlane Monga '11 (at right), an international student from the Democratic Republic of Congo at Green Mountain College, has been named a Gold recipient of the 2010 President's Volunteer Service Award. This national honor is awarded in recognition of outstanding volunteer service and in conjunction with National Volunteer Week, April 19 - 25, 2010. The President's Volunteer Service Award is a nationwide award created in 2003 by President Bush's Council on Service and Civic Participation to recognize individuals throughout the United States who are engaged in volunteer service. Orlane is a senior majoring in environmental studies with a concentration in human sciences and public policy, and a minor in biology. She is the liaison of UNICEF in the International Awareness Club at Green Mountain College and serves as the representative for the North East Region for the Campus Initiative National Council at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.
A report published by the University of Vermont's Transportation Research Center was recently published including Prof. Steven Letendre (management & environmental studies) as one of the main authors. The report, titled “Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle Research Project: Phase II,” was the result of a collaborative research project between Steve and several researchers at the UVM Transportation Research Center. Steve’s contribution to the report includes an assessment of the vehicle-to-grid (V2G) resources in Vermont based on projections to 2030 of the number of advanced electric drive vehicles in the state.
Prof. Sarah Mittlefehldt (environmental studies) hosted a talk titled “The Appalachian Trail: Blazing the 'People's Path'" on April 30 at the Green Mountain Club in Waterbury, Vt. Sarah talked about her research on the social and environmental history of the Appalachian Trail (AT). When Congress passed the National Trails Act of 1968, the AT shifted from primarily being a regional grassroots endeavor to being part of the national park system. As the National Park Service began to acquire land for the corridor, private citizens who once maintained the trail through informal, handshake agreements became directly involved in one of the most complex federal land acquisition programs in U.S. history. Sarah discussed the complicated political dynamics involved in creating the AT, and the impact that the AT project has had on environmental policy in the U.S.
Prof. Steven Letendre (management & environmental studies) and Prof. John Van Hoesen (geology) recently had an article published in Renewable Energy titled "Evaluating potential renewable energy resources in Poultney, Vermont: A GIS-based approach to supporting rural community energy planning. This research was supported by a GMC Trustee Research Award.
Stephen & Rebekah Hren, authors of The Carbon-Free Home, host a public presentation today at 7 p.m. in the Gorge. Their talk is titled "Carbon Costs for Construction: Technology Choices for the Homestead & Farm." The Hrens live in Durham, North Carolina, where they are both actively involved with renewable energy, natural building, and edible urban gardening.
Rebekah works with Honey Electric Solar, Inc., as a professional designer/installer of photovoltaic systems and domestic solar hot-water systems. Stephen is a professional restoration carpenter, focusing on antebellum houses. He teaches natural-building classes and workshops at the local community college, and in any spare time works with Bountiful Backyards, an edible-landscaping cooperative. Having weaned themselves completely from fossil fuels in their conventional 1930s urban house, Rebekah and Stephen Hren will talk about how others may do the same thing.
Annie Bourdon, executive director of CarShare Vermont, hosts a public presentation on April 13 at 2:30 p.m. in Terrace 124. The talk is titled "Alternatives to Car Ownership: The Environmental, Economic and Social Impact." Founded in 2007 by a group of local people who share a common vision for our community, Carshare Vermont is a misson-driven nonprofit organization that recognizes car-sharing as a practical, easy, and fun way to reduce car dependence, increase mobility, and improve the health of our community and environment. The presentation is sponsored by the GMC Business and Environmental Studies Programs.
Prof. John Van Hoesen (Geology) recently had a suite of maps published by the Vermont Geological Survey related to field mapping completed within the town of Rutland characterizing the surficial geology and groundwater resources. View the maps.
Long ago the Champlain Valley was covered in more than a mile of ice. As the glaciers moved south then north they deposited sediment and shaped the landscape we see today. In a talk on April 7 as part of The Nature Conservancy's 11th annual Vermont Natural History Series, Prof. John Van Hoesen (Geology) plans to explore how glaciers affected the way valleys look today. His talk, titled "In the Footprints of Glaciers," begins at 6:30 p.m. at The Nature Conservancy's West Haven office.
GMC Farm Manager Kenneth Mulder (Environmental Studies) is coauthor of an article titled: “Energy and Water: The Real Blue Chips" published in the current issue of The Corporate Examiner, a publication of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility.
Prof. John Van Hoesen (Geology) was recently selected as a finalist for the Vermont Campus Compact statewide Excellence in Community-Based Teaching Award. This award recognizes innovative teaching and curriculum employing service-learning or community-based research that develops student voice, civic agency, and critical thinking using real-life application and relevance, and that includes community voice, partnership, and impact to inform the academic objectives and outcomes.
The cover of the April/May issue of Home Power Magazine, the most widely circulated renewable energy magazine in the country, features the familiar visage of Prof. Philip Ackerman-Leist (environmental studies), his wife Erin, and the couple's children, Asa, Ethan, and baby Addie (Margaret Adelaide). The photo was taken by Khanti Munro '04, who wrote the accompanying cover story "Design Your Own Off Grid System." Khanti installed the Ackerman-Leist’s solar electric system before he graduated from GMC, and used his handiwork as a case study for the article.
GMC Farm Manager Kenneth Mulder is lead author of an article titled “Burning Water: A Comparative Analysis of the Energy Return on Water Invested” which will be published in the upcoming issue of Ambio. The article compares the energy and water demands of various renewable and non-renewable energy technologies.
Prof. John Van Hoesen (geology) presented a talk titled "Open-Source GIS: A Shopping List For Beginners" at the Society of American Foresters, Green Mountain Division Meeting January 29 in Montpelier, Vt.
Environmental activist Dave Cooper visits GMC today for a talk titled “Mountaintop Coal Mining in Appalachia.” The talk begins at 7 p.m. in the East Room.
In Virginia, West Virginia and eastern Kentucky, coal companies blast as much as 600 feet off the top of the mountains, then dump the rock and debris into mountain streams. Over 300,000 acres of the most beautiful and productive hardwood forests in America have been turned into barren grasslands. Mountaintop removal mining increases flooding, contaminates drinking water supplies, cracks foundations of nearby homes, and showers towns with dust and noise from blasting. Cooper, from Lexington, Kentucky, will explain human rights issues associated with this controversial practice.
His visit is sponsored by the GMC Environmental Studies Program and the pre-law program.
Prof. John Van Hoesen (geology) and Amber Garrard, GMC Sustainability Coordinator, had an article published in GIS Educator and ESRI's ArcUser Magazine. The article highlights two natural resource management majors, Jane Day and Kyla Jaquish, for the community project they worked on in the spring 2009 Introduction to Geographic Information Course. Jane and Kyla worked with Amber to begin estimating the amount of carbon consumed as a result of faculty and staff commuting to campus.
Prof. John Van Hoesen (Geology & Environmental Studies) has been awarded a Fulbright grant to conduct research in Chile. His work may answer questions about the behavior and migration patterns of the Chinchorro people who developed mummification techniques about 3,000 years before the Egyptians. Van Hoesen will collaborate with Dr. Bernardo Arriaza, the Instituto de Alta Investigación, Universidad de Tarapacá and the San Miguel de Azapa Archaeological Museum. During his stay in Chile scheduled for the spring of 2011, Van Housen will teach a course on GIS and involve students in his field research. He will also hold skill-based workshops.
Prof. Philip Ackerman-Leist (environmental studies) participated in a panel discussion January 7 as part of the Sustainable Agriculture Panel Series at the Franklin Environmental Center at Hillcrest. Philip’s topic was “Sustainability & Sustenance: A Vision for Sustainable Agriculture in the Liberal Arts.” Other panelists included Melina Shannon-DiPietro, a director of the Yale Sustainable Food Project,Ben Waterman from the UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Gregory Peck, a pomologist and scientist. The Middlebury College Organic Garden sponsored the series.
A root cellar using hay bale construction, a photovoltaic system on the greenhouse, a new biolung to filter carbon dioxide-saturated air from the chicken coop: These are just some of the projects GMC’s environmental design/build class has underway at Cerridwen Farm. The campus community is invited to learn more December 15 during a tour hosted by Prof. Lucas Brown (Environmental Studies) and his class. The presentation begins at 1 p.m. in the lower barn. The two-hour tour ends at the greenhouse, and will take place rain, snow or shine.
An opinion piece from Prof. Steven Letendre (management & environmental studies) was published November 20 on EVWorld.com, an “Internet portal to the world of electric-drive vehicle technology.” Steve advocates for the inclusion of vehicle-to-grid technology in a report from the Electrification Coalition that “establishes a national goal to meet 75 percent of light duty vehicle miles traveled with electricity by 2040.” Steve states that the report “falls short in my opinion by discounting the key role that vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology could play in helping to meet the 2040 goal.”
“V2G systems allow advanced electric drive vehicles to become fully integrated elements of the power system providing valuable grid support services," he writes. "The revenue potential from providing these services is significant, and could serve to overcome the higher cost of grid-enabled-vehicles (GEVs).”
Prof. John Van Hoesen (Geology) accompanied students Jane Day and Rose Robitaille to the 25th Annual New York State GIS Conference in Lake Placid, N.Y. Jane and Rose presented posters summarizing the results of their natural resource management summer internship supported by the Poultney-Mettowee Natural Resources Conservation District.
Anne Colpitts, (Spanish and Director of International Programs) and Prof. Rebecca Purdom (environmental law & policy) presented a workshop with students Brandon Gowdy '10 and Cody Broderick '10 at the NAFSA: Association of International Educators Annual Regional Conference November 4. The workshop, "Making International Collaborative Research Part of your Next Undergraduate Travel Course," focused on an innovative portion of the Brazil travel course lead by Rebecca and Anne in May and June of 2009. In that course, 15 GMC students, including Cody and Brandon, collaborated with Brazilian students on research projects for ten weeks via the internet, then traveled to Brazil to complete their projects with their collaborators. The projects culminated in public presentations at the Universidade Metodista de Piracicaba.
How will the state of Vermont supply energy to its residents in the years ahead? Are alternative energy sources – like wind and solar – viable options? On November 17, at 6 p.m. in the East Room, GMC hosts a public forum on "The Future of Energy in Vermont." The forum is sponsored by the DEEP Scholars. Panelists include David Dunn from Central Vermont Power Service Cow Power program; Jeffrey Wennberg representing Vermont Community Wind; David McElwee from Entergy Vermont Yankee and Dan Brown from Foxfire Solar Energy Company. GMC Prof. Steven Letendre (management & environmental studies) will introduce the panel. The discussion is moderated by Prof. Paul Falzone (communications). All are welcome to attend.
Prof. Lucas Brown (environmental studies) and Prof. Steven Letendre (management & environmental studies) accompanied three students, Julia Marcusa, Jeffrey Davis, and Elliott Shor, to the 8th Annual Renewable Energy Conference & Expo October 29. The conference is hosted by Renewable Energy Vermont (REV), Vermont’s renewable energy industry association. Steve, REV board member, presented at the conference in a session on transportation. The title of his talk was “Plugging Transportation into the Sun.” Julia Marcusa won a scholarship to attend the conference from the Women of Wind Industry. Julia wrote an essay indicating why she wanted to attend the conference. She was one of just five women selected in Vermont to receive a scholarship to attend the conference.
In 2005, author Steve Rinella won one of only 24 permits issued that year to hunt wild buffalo in the Alaskan wilderness. Despite the odds, he “managed to kill an animal and raft the meat back to civilization while being trailed by grizzly bears and suffering from hypothermia.” American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon chronicles his adventure and tells the story of “the many ways in which the buffalo has shaped our national identity.”
GMC welcomes Rinella for a public lecture November 4 at 7 p.m. in the East Room. He will discuss American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon, which has been called “a fascinating piece of outdoor writing and a gonzo meditation on the history of the mighty beast in our national life.”
Prof. John Van Hoesen (Geology) gave a talk titled "Open-Source GIS - A Balancing Act Between a Wampeter and Saltpeter" at the Vermont Center for Geographic Information Roundtable meeting held in Fairlee, Vt.
Prof. John Van Hoesen (Geology) presented a talk titled “Characterizing the Micromorphology and Chemistry of Sediments Associated with Chinchorro Mortuary Materials Using SEM, EDS, and XRD” at the 28th Northeast Conference on Andean Archaeology and Ethnohistory, held at the State University of New York at New Paltz October 2 and 3. View a PDF of the presentation.
GMC student Keith Drinkwine and Prof. Lucas Brown (environmental studies) co-presented the poster "Green Mountain College - Combined Heat and Power - Following the Flows." The poster illustrates the life cycle of the fuel sources required to heat and power the campus at three time scales: existing, climate neutral, and beyond.
The July 22 edition of the New York Times quotes Prof. Steve Letendre (management & environmental studies) in a story about vehicle-to-grid technology.
The story, by Annie Jia of ClimateWire, discusses how electric vehicles may feed into the electric grid to produce electricity and help to "answer one of the biggest climate-related question marks hovering over the grid's future: how to store renewable energy."
Letendre, who has modeled the economics of vehicle to grid technology, discusses the benefits of allowing adjustments to energy generation through the storage capacity of electric cars.
Prof. Steven Letendre (Management & Environmental Studies) was interviewed by RenewableEnergyWorld.com's Graham Jesmer while attending the American Solar Energy Society meeting in Buffalo, NY. Steve discussed the topic he presented on at the conference: The applications of solar energy as a fuel for passenger vehicles.
On April 18, Prof. Philip Ackerman-Leist (Environmental Studies) will host a presentation during Renew: The 2nd Annual Conference on Social and Ecological Renewal at the School for International Training in Brattleboro. Philip plans to discuss GMC’s Farm & Food Project, farm education & food security, and the idea of a Vermont FoodCorps. The purpose of the conference is to raise awareness about how environmental sustainability and degradation affect issues of social justice both locally and globally, with an emphasis on the relationship between people and the environment.
Prof. Steven Letendre (Management & Environmental Studies) delivered a presentation on March 11 in Boston, Mass. at the annual meeting of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association. The title of his presentation was “The Electric Drive Revolution: Opportunities & Challenges.” (click here for presentation). The presentation was part of a session that Steve organized called “Integrating Plug-in Hybrids: Renewable Storage and the Grid.” The session included presentation by two additional speakers, James Dunn, president of Energy Technology Consultants and past director of the NASA Northeast Regional Technology Transfer Center, and Kenneth Huber, manager of advanced technology at PJM Interconnection.
What if humanity stopped trying to prevent societal collapse and instead embraced it as an opportunity for radical social change? Prof. Jon Jensen, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Environmental Studies at Luther College and a visiting scholar at the University of Nebraska School of Natural Resources, comes to GMC on March 19 to discuss how collapse, while transformative, is unlikely to be fatal and may provide opportunities that currently seem unimaginable. His talk, titled “Preparing for a Collapse?” begins at 4 p.m. in the Dickgiesser Room. In his discussion, Jensen uses the lens of resilience thinking from ecology to explore the idea of collapse and what it means for contemporary sustainability education and environmental activism.
Prof. Rebecca Purdom (Environmental Studies, Law and Policy) has been appointed to the Vermont Water Resource Panel Science and Policy Advisory Committee. The Council will advise state lawmakers on the amendments to state water policy, including revision of the state's Anti-Degradation Policy and basin planning protocols. Rebecca joins appointees from Vermont's environmental community, industry, state and federal agencies.
Prof. Sam Edwards (Environmental Science) recently had a chapter he authored republished in a four volume set titled Electronic Business: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications. The chapter is titled “Doing International Business Online for the Small and Medium Enterprise.”
Prof. Steve Letendre (management & environmental studies) was a featured expert in a recent episode of Emerging Science, a new series airing on Vermont Public Television that takes a close look at Vermonters at the frontiers of science. The February 17th episode investigated the challenges of continued dependence on gasoline vehicles in the face of climate change and declining oil reserves. Steve spoke about transportation alternatives including electric vehicles and an emerging concept known as “vehicle-to-grid,” then answered viewer questions in an Emerging Science chatroom while the program aired.
Research in 2007 by Dr. Richard Watts, research director of the University of Vermont Transportation Center, and Letendre shows that the Vermont electricity grid can handle 50,000 plug-ins without any changes to the existing system. The number rises to more than 100,000 if people recharge the cars at night.
This spring, Green Mountain College will produce a plan to meet its obligation under the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment to become climate neutral. The Campus Sustainability Council (CSC), which will be leading this effort, is inviting all members of the GMC community to be involved in the process.
To that end, CSC is hosting a community conversation with Vermont’s leading carbon researcher Dr. Alan Betts on February 25 from 3-5 p.m. in the Gorge. Dr. Betts will provide an overview of the latest science on climate change and discuss what climate neutrality means for an organization like GMC. Community members will have the opportunity to ask questions and provide input on this important topic.
Dr. Betts is the founder of the Atmospheric Research in Pittsford, a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union, and past-president of the Vermont Academy of Science and Engineering. He is a frequent speaker on climate change issues around the state, serving on two of the working groups of the Governor’s Climate Change Commission.
Is a 100 mile-per-gallon commute reserved for some future technology or is it attainable on Vermont roads today? A recent road test of an advanced hybrid Toyota Prius conducted by Prof. Steven Letendre (Management & Environmental studies) suggests that the future is now.
Letendre has been collecting and analyzing data on two prototype plug-in hybrid vehicles owned by Central Vermont Public Service. As a test case, one of the cars was used by Prof. James Harding (natural resources management) for his nine-mile commute between Poultney and his home in Middletown Springs during the fall semester.
“As I started to analyze the data I was amazed to see that the vehicle was getting easily over 100 mpg for Jim’s daily commute to and from the campus,” said Dr. Letendre. “In a few cases the vehicle’s fuel economy was over 140 miles per gallon.”
Prof. John Van Hoesen (Geology) recently gave a guest lecture at the Instituto de Alta Investigación, Universidad de Tarapacá in Chile, titled "Applications and Availability of GIS Mapping Technology." John is working on research with a Chilean colleague, Dr. Bernardo Arriaza, on a grant titled "Bioarchaeology of Chinchorro Populations in Northern Chile." This work explores the impact of arsenic on mummification. They are using SEM and EDS to evaluate the micromorphology of the sediment, chemical variations between the different mummies, and potential origins of a thick manganese layer on the mummies’ skulls.
Members of the Poultney River Block Course will give a public presentation on Wednesday, December 10 at 6:30 p.m. in the East Room. Students will describe their semester-long research project determining the value of select ecosystem services in the Poultney River. This presentation will be repeated for public agencies and environmental decision makers later in the week, and culminates work done by the class under grants from the Agency of Natural Resources and the Vermont Community Foundation. The public is invited to attend.
Green Mountain College welcomes Dr. Robert Costanza, Director of the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont, for a lecture Monday, November 17 at 4 p.m. in the East Room of Withey Hall.
His talk is titled "Twin Crises of the Economy and the Environment and the Need for an Ecological Economics." Dr. Costanza's research has focused on the interface between ecological and economic systems including the valuation of ecosystem services, biodiversity, and natural capital and the analysis of dysfunctional incentive systems and ways to correct them.
His work has been cited in more than 3,000 scientific articles since 1987. More than 80 interviews and reports on his work have appeared in various media, including Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, The Economist, The New York Times, Science, Nature, National Geographic, and National Public Radio.
Last week GMC participated in Nagoya University's annual Feedforth, an international, interdisciplinary research conference. GMC graduate student Barbara Fraser presented her paper "The Power of Trade: Can the US-Peru Trade Agreement Stem Illegal Logging?" during the conference.
Through internet video and audio conferencing, GMC students, faculty and staff were able to listen to the presenters at Nagoya University, and many of the papers were presented from other parts of the world through the same technology. For example, Fraser presented her paper directly from her home in Peru. Thus, thousands of pounds of carbon, not to mention hundreds of thousands of dollars, were saved by allowing presenters to avoid traveling to Japan for the conference.
Nagoya University is the latest addition to GMC's exchange partner institutions. Prof. Sam Edwards III (Environmental Studies) taught at Nagoya for several years prior to joining GMC's staff. Some of Prof. Edwards' former students organized Feedforth.
More than 650 tree seedlings have been planted along the Poultney River as part of a Riparian Forest Restoration Project on campus.
Students in Ecology, Local Flora, and an Images of Nature class completed the six-week planting phase of the project October 22. The trees are American Elm, Eastern Cottonwood, Black Willow, and Sycamore, species native to floodplains like ours, and grown from local seed in The Nature Conservancy’s Southern Lake Champlain Valley Nursery. The goal is to restore floodplain forest to a section of the school’s Poultney River buffer zone.
Ecology students also installed an experiment designed by Prof. Jim Graves (botany & environmental studies) and undergraduate research assistant Evan Miller to examine the influence of logs on the survival and growth of tree seedlings.
The restoration project is supported by funding from the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP), by the local Poultney-Mettowee Natural Resource Conservation District, and by Green Mountain College’s Natural Areas Crew (Laura DiNardo this fall, with assistance from work study student Samantha Steria).
Seniors Robert Pudner and Christina Ouimette participated in the Responsible Endowments Coalition's National Conference at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia October 4 - 5. The conference contributes to the application of Robert’s independent study with Prof. Sam Edwards (Environmental Studies). The study focuses on socially responsible investing in higher education. A presentation on the students’ experience will be held Tuesday, October 21 at 7:00 p.m. in the Moses Coffeehouse. A campus forum on the topic is scheduled for late November.
Prof. Philip Ackerman Leist (Environmental Studies), GMC Farm Manager Kenneth Mulder, and student Ryan Dixon have been invited to make a presentation at Terra Madre 2008, an international bi-annual conference hosted by the Slow Food organization. The trio will travel to Torino, Italy, later this month to attend the conference and present their talk “Stewardship of Land: From One Generation of Farmers to the Next” to 700 North American delegates.
“We are thrilled at the invitation to share some of our Food and Farm Project initiatives,” said Philip. “It's quite a tribute to GMC, as the speakers at the U.S. delegation meeting in 2006 included Michael Pollan, Alice Waters, Gary Nabhan, David Masmoto, and a number of other well-known ‘slow-food’ advocates.”
Prof. Philip Ackerman-Leist and GMC Farm Manager Kenneth Mulder traveled to Tillers International in Kalamazoo, Michigan for the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy conference "Multi-Tasking Livestock: Adapted Breeds for Productive Farms." Philip described GMC's efforts in rare breed conservation and education as a panelist for a session on "Engaging Kids in Rare Breed Conservation." Their poster on "Harnessing the Educational Power of Rare Breeds at GMC" won second prize.
Kenneth and Philip are exploring avenues for combining rare breed conservation and draft animal technologies as the College begins its newly-funded "fossil-free agriculture" initiatives. Dick Roosenberg, Executive Director of Tillers International, will be a speaker for the Family Farm Forum and a visiting scholar in November.
This summer Prof. Steven Letendre (management & environmental studies) was elected to the Board of Directors of Renewable Energy Vermont, the state’s leading association promoting clean energy technologies. As a member of the REV Board, Steven will work to increase awareness in the state about the benefits of renewable energy and advocate for strong state policies to support a critical industry for the future of Vermont.
Students began the semester by discussing animals in biomedical research before moving on to discuss animal food products. Twice during the semester each student interviewed a member of the Green Mountain College faculty, staff, or community about their personal take on animal ethics. At the end of the semester, students edited the interviews and, along with essays written by the interviewees, published them as an e-book.
Click here to view the animal ethics e-book (PDF format).
Green Mountain College hosts Vermont wildcrafters Nova Kim and Les Hook for a Family Farm Forum event Tuesday, April 29.
Their talk, titled “Wildcrafting: Endangered Traditions and Endangered Species,” begins at 7 p.m. in the East Room of Withey Hall. It is free and open to the public. From 1 – 4 p.m., Kim and Hook plan to lead a wildcrafting walk at the Deane Nature Preserve. The day, co-sponsored by Chartwells, wraps up with a dinner in Withey Dining Hall featuring wildcrafted items.
With over 80 years of combined experience hunting the Vermont woods for wild foods and medicines, Kim and Hook are sought-after teachers and lecturers. Well-known for their passionate view regarding conservation, they have been guests on public television shows and have collaborated with the U.S. Forest Service to give talks on forest ethics. Their work has also been featured at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.
Kim and Hook live off the grid in Albany, Vermont, and make their living selling wild edibles to restaurants throughout New England.
Patricia Shine, an assistant professor from Lyndon State College, will visit Green Mountain College on Thursday, April 10, to speak about the matrix of race, racism and privilege. The talk begins at 7 p.m. in the Gorge. It is free and open to the public.
Shine, a professor of human services, will give a presentation specifically designed for white folks, although all are welcome. The talk will be an opportunity to talk about how “whiteness” often blinds us to how racism structures our institutions and our society. The talk will also address how white people benefit from this structure.
This isn’t a presentation about blame and shame. Rather, this conversation will provide the opportunity to understand how we live within the matrix of race, racism, and privilege—and what we need to do to shift our lens in order to challenge the racial injustices that structure our lives and society.
Prof. Philip Ackerman-Leist (Environmental Studies) gave a presentation on GMC’s Farm and Food Project during a conference hosted by Virginia Cooperative Extension March 27. The conference was part of the Virginia Agricultural Extension’s effort to build a regional food system and to forge links with colleges and their curricula. Philip gave a presentation on GMC’s approach to integrating food and agriculture into a liberal arts college and participated in a panel discussion on university food and farm initiatives. He also visited Dickinson College's new college farm in Pennsylvania, and spoke to classes at James Madison University and Eastern Mennonite University regarding ways to establish college farms and build sustainable purchasing initiatives in their food service programs.
Prof. Rebecca Purdom (Environmental Studies) is serving as visiting professor of law at UNIMEP University in Piracicaba, Brazil. She is working with Prof. Paulo Alfanso Leme Machado, known in Brazil as the "father of Brazilian environmental law," on a book about constitutional law and the environment. She recently gave the keynote address at "Deasfio Ambiental/Ribeirao Quiombo: Bacia Hidrografica e Contexto Regional" [Environmental Defense/Quilombo River: Hidrograic Basins in Regional Context] in Americanas, Sao Paulo. Her address, titled "The Public Participation in the Legal Management of Natural Resources and Freshwater System - The International Vision," marked the launch of the first freshwater ecosystem restoration effort under Brazil's new water management scheme. Rebecca will continue as a visiting professor in Brazil until May.
Green Mountain College welcomes Prof. Dong-Ho Shin, a specialist in urban planning from Hannam University in Korea, as a visiting scholar from April 9-11. On Thursday, April 10, at 4 p.m. in Terrace Hall 124, Prof. Shin will give a public talk titled “Reinventing the Urban Space Using the Physical Environment: The European Experience.” He plans to discuss how several European cities – including Dortmund in Germany and Newcastle Upon-Tyne in England – have successfully transitioned from depressed post-industrial towns to 21st century cities with renewed economic and social well-being. His talk will address ways to green the physical environment of cities as well as suggest some useful lessons based on his research. Prof. Shin's visit is co-sponsored by the environmental studies department and the Office of the Dean of the Faculty.
The spring law seminar course braved a Noreaster to make their annual trip to the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. this year. It should have been a time of cherry blossoms and warm sunshine, but the brutal late-spring storm dictated otherwise. Nonetheless, Prof. Rebecca Purdom and her 15 students had a great trip that included hearing a case in front of the court, a visit to Senator Leahy’s office, where they met and talked with Leahy’s staff, and taking in the sights of Washington, D.C. The spring law seminar is a one-credit course generally focusing on a particular environmental case before the court. The class then travels to D.C. to experience the court live in person.
Dr. Jonathan Isham, Associate Professor of Environmental Economics at Middlebury College, will give the Earth Week ’07 keynote talk on Wednesday evening, April 18 at 7 p.m. in the East Room of Withey Hall. Isham, a nationally-recognized scholar and global warming expert, will discuss ideas from his forthcoming book, Ignition: What You Can Do to Fight Global Warming and Spark a Movement (Island Press 2007). For the past several years, Isham has focused his research on building the climate change movement. His book (co-edited with Sissel Waage) draws together the most progressive thinkers and advocates of the times, including Bill McKibben and Gus Speth. Isham’s talk is free and open to the public.
Dr. Peter Horvath, nutritionist from the University of Buffalo will present a talk entitled, "You are what you eat, and where your food was grown: the effects of organic methods, storage and transportation on the nutritional quality of foods" on Monday, April 16th at 7p.m. in The Gorge of Withey Hall. This is the second of two farm forum talks this semester exploring issues of nutrition in the context of local and organic foods.
Prof. Philip Ackerman-Leist (Environmental Studies) presented at the Community Food Security Coalition’s national conference From Cafeterias to Capitol Hill: Growing Healthy Kids, Farms and Communities in Baltimore from March 16-17. Philip presented on GMC’s sustainable and local purchasing initiatives in a session entitled "Building Partnerships with Student Groups, Clients, and the School Administration." His presentation focused on the college’s ties with regional farms, connecting the college farm to the dining hall and the curriculum, and the fall 2006 block course on "Food, Agriculture, and Community Development in the Northeast." GMC guest instructor John Turenne of Sustainable Food Systems, Inc. was also on the panel. Philip was joined on the trip by food service director, David Ondria and GMC student Corinna Lowe.
Nationally recognized author, nutritionist, and organic foods expert Joan Dye Gussow, Ed.D., will give a talk entitled "Home Food: From Scary Spinach to Hardy Mache" on Monday evening, March 26 at 7 p.m. in The Gorge of Withey Hall. Gussow is the Mary Swartz Rose Professor Emeritus of Nutrition and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University and former head of the Nutrition Education Department. She is the author of many articles and books, including This Organic Life: Confessions of a Suburban Homesteader (Chelsea Green). Among her many professional activities, Gussow has served on the Diet, Nutrition and Cancer Panel of the National Academy of Sciences, the Food and Nutrition Board of NAS, and the National Organic Standards Board. A long time organic mini-farmer, Gussow lives on the west bank of the Hudson River in Piermont, N.Y., where she grows her own produce. As with other GMC Family Farm Forum presentations, the talk will include an audience-guided discussion.
Prof. Steven Letendre (Management and Environmental Studies) co-authored an op-ed column that appears in the February 12 issue of the Christian Science Monitor. The article discusses the need for public utilities and auto manufacturers to collaborate in order to build the success of a plug-in hybrid car technology that can reduce the nation's dependence on oil. Letendre is one of a team of researchers who have been exploring the feasibility of plug-in hybrids (Vehicle to Grid Technology) for several years. Letendre is currently on sabbatical researching the technology through Department of Energy funding.
In addition to the many recent improvements to Withey Student Center, all of the chandelier light bulbs in the dining hall have been replaced with energy-saving compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). The specialized dimmable bulbs were purchased by students through the Student Campus Greening Fund, after a proposal was given overwhelming support by the student body last spring and approved by the administration last semester. Members of the maintenance staff installed the bulbs over the holiday break. Alumni Tyler Crow, Tim Poole, and Chris Babcock (see photo) wrote the proposal and returned to campus over the break to put the finishing touches on the retrofit. The 8-watt CFLs replaced 236 40-watt incandescent bulbs and are expected to reduce the energy consumption in the dining hall by more than 25,000 kilowatt-hours annually, or about eighty percent.
How can Green Mountain College incorporate sustainability into its food purchasing? That is a question that was addressed by 19 students at the conclusion of their 9-credit block course entitled "Food, Agriculture and Community Development in the Northeast." On Tuesday, December 5, the class invited the entire campus community to a "local pizza" lunch at the dining hall, followed by a presentation of their research findings. Later in the evening, the class presented findings at the annual Farmers Gathering of the Rutland Area Farm and Food Link.
Over the course of the semester, students visited farms and food production facilities around the state, gathering data to help them assess the feasibility of supplying the College's own dining hall with locally produced food. They also worked closely with the faculty team of Professors Philip Ackerman-Leist, Jacob Park, and Eleanor Tison, guest lecturer John Turenne, and Chartwells food service director, David Ondria. The semester-long intensive study culminated with the various presentations.
Jim Merkel, author of the book Radical Simplicity, and Sustainability Coordinator at Dartmouth College, gave a talk at Green Mountain College on Thursday, Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. in the Gorge of Withey Hall. Originally a military engineer trained in foreign military sales, Merkel changed his life at the time of the Exxon Valdez disaster, quitting his job and devoting himself to environmental service and world peace. He downsized his life and lived on $5,000 a year for 16 years. Merkel founded the Global Living Project (GLP) and initiated the GLP Summer Institute where teams of researchers attempted to live on an equitable portion of the biosphere.
Nine Green Mountain College students attended Ideas into Action, Vermont Campus Compact's 7th Annual Statewide Student Conference this past weekend in Montpelier. Co presented this year by Vermont Campus Energy Group (VCEG), the three-day event focused on poverty and hunger, and environmental sustainability. More than one hundred students from 15 Vermont colleges participated in skill-based workshops and large-group activities presented by student peers, non-profit organizations, government agencies, and professional associations. Students who attended the conference will present on their experiences to the Student Senate and to the broader campus community. The Student Senate contributed $500 to the cost of registration for this event.
Professors Philip Ackerman-Leist (Environmental Studies), Steven Fesmire (Environmental Studies), Heather Keith (Philosophy), and Julie Alpers (farm manager) traveled to Turin Italy for an October 29 presentation at the Terra Conference, an international gathering for the slow food movement. The GMC contingent gave a presentation entitled "Local Food in a Liberal Arts College: Fields of Knowledge & Fields of Hope at Green Mountain College," which discussed how GMC uses the liberal arts to explore the cultural, economic, and ecological histories that have contributed to the development of our current food system, and using interdisciplinary approaches to try to find solutions for increasing local food production, processing, distribution, and preparation.
Sausage-stuffed peppers, roasted pork tortillas, grilled turkey, fresh salad greens, sourdough bread, apple cider... It's a week of local flavor at Withey Dining Hall as the Student Campus Greening Fund and Chartwells Dining Service present a special lunch-time series "Five Farms in Five Days." Menus each day this week include food from a featured local farm and several local food producers (11 in total). The brainstorm of GMC senior, Corinna Lowe, 'Five Farms' promotes the importance of local food sources and, Corinna hopes, gives some examples of how people can spend their dollars locally for high quality food. Corinna applied for and received a $3,000 grant from the Student Campus Greening Fund. The grant was matched by Chartwells and Corinna went to work lining up the food suppliers and planning menus with Chef David Ondria.
Author and Environmentalist Bill McKibben previewed material from his forthcoming book (due out mid-winter) in a talk entitled "Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future" at Green Mountain College on Thursday, September 7 at 7 p.m. in The Gorge of Withey Hall. McKibben's talk attempted to imagine what comes after globalization: the local economies that might allow us to deal with climate change, peak oil, and the fact that we hardly know our neighbors anymore. He discussed examples ranging from local radio and local energy to farmers' markets and community timber. Bill McKibben is a former staff writer at the New Yorker magazine. His work appears regularly in the Atlantic, the New York Review of Books, the New York Times, Harpers, Outside, and many other national publications. His first book, The End of Nature (1989) was the first book to a general audience about global warming. It is now available in 20 languages.