Tag Archive for COE

Pumpkins, Peppers Harvested at Long Lane Farm

Pumpkins, peppers, beets, tomatoes and thyme are still growing at Wesleyan’s Long Lane Farm this October. The student-run organic farm is devoted to allowing students a place to experiment and learn about sustainable agriculture. In addition to weekly meetings, students run work days every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Long Lane students also seek to foster good relationships with local farmers.

The College of the Environment will host its annual Pumpkin Fest from noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 17 at the farm. For more information see this flyer.

Photos of the farm on Oct. 8 and 10 are below: (Photos by Olivia Drake and Will Barr ’18)

Long Lane Farm at Wesleyan University, Oct. 8, 2015.

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Students Study Kangaroo Behavior in Response to Environmental Changes

Angus McLean and Mariel Becker collecting kangaroo droppings in Boundary Road Reserve. (Photo courtesy of the Bathurst Kangaroo Project)

Angus McLean and Mariel Becker collecting kangaroo droppings in Boundary Road Reserve. (Photo courtesy of the Bathurst Kangaroo Project)

Two Wesleyan students and a former visiting professor have just wrapped up a seven-week-long research project on kangaroo behavior in Bathurst, Australia. Working with Liv Baker, an animal studies postdoctoral fellow in the College of the Environment in 2014-15, Angus McLean ’16 and Mariel Becker ’18 have collected “more than 600 pages of data recording kangaroo behavior in response to daily changes and threats in their environment,” according to an article in Western Advocate.

“There were noticeable differences in behaviour between the kangaroos we observed out of town, and between the three different mobs around the Mount,” McLean told the paper.

Angus MacLean observes a kangaroo at one of their sites. At this site, kangaroos were extremely habituated to humans.

Angus McLean observes a kangaroo at one of their sites. At this site, kangaroos were extremely habituated to humans.

“We’ve also collected a freezer full of kangaroo droppings being stored at Charles Sturt University, and which University of Technology Sydney will be testing for cortisol levels, which indicate stress. Our supervisor Dr. Liv Baker from Wesleyan University will be analysing both sets of data and writing up a paper about how Mount Panorama kangaroos are responding to stressors in their environment.”

The project began in June, when Baker held a workshop at the Bathurst Art Gallery collating descriptions of kangaroo behaviors to inform the students’ character-state recognition records.

Mariel Becker collected fecal samples, which were sent to a lab in Sydney. The samples are analyzed for cortisol levels, which is a hormone produced when the animal is stressed.

Mariel Becker collected fecal samples, which were sent to a lab in Sydney. The samples are analyzed for cortisol levels, which is a hormone produced when the animal is stressed.

Environmental Studies Class Presents Artist’s Books, Projects

Students enrolled in the Introduction to Environmental Studies course presented their artist’s books, children’s stories, documentaries and story maps during the class’s annual Project Showcase on May 14 in Exley Science Center. The class is taught by Kim Diver, visiting assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences. Suzy Taraba, director of Wesleyan’s Special Collections and Archives attended the event and spoke to the students about artist books.

Photos of the event are below: (Photos by Aviva Hirsch)

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Tucker to Study Victorian Sustainability, River Pollution Prevention Reform as Visiting Fellow

Jennifer Tucker

Jennifer Tucker is associate professor of history; associate professor of environmental studies; associate professor of feminist, gender, and sexuality studies; associate professor of science in society and faculty fellow in the College of the Environment.

As a 2015 Humanities Research Centre Visiting Fellow, Associate Professor Jennifer Tucker will study Victorian sustainability, photography, law and river pollution prevention reform at Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra, Australia.

Her appointment will be May 15-July 15.

Tucker’s ongoing research, tentatively titled “Science Against Industry: Photographic Technologies and the Visual Politics of Pollution Reform,” traces the historical roots of the use of visual evidence in environmental science and pollution reform. Using nearly 300 visual representations (drawings, engravings photographs, and graphs) from archives and libraries, many of which have never previously been studied, she analyzes the scientific impact of new forms of visual representation in chemical climatology and examines the presentation and use of specific visual exhibits in Victorian courtroom debates over air and river pollution.

The research addresses current questions that lie at the heart of several fields and disciplines, including environmental history,

New Environmental Film Series to be Presented by COE, CFA

Beginning this month, Wesleyan’s College of the Environment, Center for the Arts and other outside partners will present “The Elements: An Annual Environmental Film Series.”

The first film, Elemental, will be screened at 7:30 p.m. March 30 in the Center for the Arts Hall. The award-winning film follows three activists as they work to protect air, water and earth around the world, and offers a call for global action.

The second film in the series, WATERSHEDwill be screened at 7 p.m. May 4 in Middlesex Community College’s Chapman Hall, 100 Training Hill Rd. in Middletown. Executive produced and narrated by Robert Redford, this film tells the story of threats to the “once-mighty Colorado River, now dammed and diverted and struggling to support 30 million people.” The film offers solutions for “meeting the competing interests of cities, agriculture, industry, recreation, wildlife, and indigenous communities with rights to the waters, and the future of the American West.”

Admission to the screenings is free. For more information about the film series, call 860-685-3733. More information is available on the College of the Environment’s website.

The series is presented in partnership with The Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District, Middlesex Community College Environmental Science Program and The Rockfall Foundation.

COE Scholar Presents Multi-Media Exhibit on “Colony Collapse”

Joseph Smolinski, visiting scholar at Wesleyan's College of the Environment, is a guest artist at the Green Street Arts Center this month. His exhibit, Colony Collapse, explores the recent disappearance of millions of honeybees.  The work focuses on the notion of collapse in relation to human impacts on the environment in drawing, video and 3D printed sculpture forms.

Joseph Smolinski, visiting scholar at Wesleyan’s College of the Environment, is a guest artist at the Green Street Arts Center this month. His exhibit, Colony Collapse, explores the recent disappearance of millions of honeybees.  The work focuses on the notion of collapse in relation to human impacts on the environment in drawing, video and 3D printed sculpture forms.

The mysterious disappearance of millions of honeybees – known as colony collapse disorder – has frustrated and worried scientists around the world for more than seven years. The visiting scholar at Wesleyan’s College of the Environment explores this mystery in a new exhibit at the Green Street Arts Center that opened Sept. 4.

Joseph Smolinski, a noted artist who has exhibited in many venues ranging from MASS MoCA in North Adams, Mass. to the Cleveland Institute of Art , uses 3-D printing, video and other media to show the scale of the honeybee crisis – and note that environmental stressors

Poulos Studies Changing Perceptions of Whales Aboard World’s Last Wooden Whaling Ship

Helen Poulos climbs the rigging aboard the Charles W. Morgan, the last wooden whaling ship in existence.

Helen Poulos climbs the rigging aboard the Charles W. Morgan, the last wooden whaling ship in existence.

On June 15, Helen Poulos, a postdoctoral fellow in the College of the Environment, set sail aboard the Charles W. Morgan, the last remaining wooden whaling ship in the world. Built and launched in 1841, the Morgan embarked on 37 voyages up until 1921, roaming every corner of the globe in pursuit of whales. She had been docked at the Mystic Seaport in Connecticut since 1940, and underwent major restoration work in recent years. This month, she took one final commemorative voyage in order to call attention to the importance of historic ships and America’s maritime heritage, as well as raise awareness about changing perceptions of whales and whaling.

Helen Poulos

Helen Poulos

Poulos is one of 79 individuals—including artists, historians, scientists, journalists, teachers, musicians, scholars and whaling descendants—selected to take part in this unprecedented public history project. Together, the group will produce a creative work for the Mystic Seaport to share online, and through exhibits, publications and public programs. On nine different legs of the journey, they will work alongside staff from the Mystic Seaport museum to “examine every aspect of the journey, and to better understand the past experiences of those who sailed this ship and others like her,” according to the project’s website. The ship will stop in a number of historic ports in New England, including Martha’s Vineyard, Provincetown and Boston. The journey wraps up August 9 with a homecoming celebration at Mystic Seaport.

Chernoff Photographs Fish to Accompany Scientific Journal Article

On June 5, Professor Barry Chernoff photographed two new species of dwarf silverside fish from the Caribbean.

On June 5, Professor Barry Chernoff photographed two new species of dwarf silverside fish from the Caribbean. Chernoff is the director of the College of the Environment, the Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies, professor of biology, professor of earth and environmental sciences.

Chernoff photographed the fish for a scientific paper that he's submitting for publication. The paper will describe the two new species and their two new, formal names.

Chernoff photographed the fish for a scientific paper that he’s submitting for publication.

The paper will describe the two new species and their two new, formal names.

The paper will describe the two new species and their two new, formal names.

COE, Musician/Fellow Launch Online Environmental Teaching Tool for Kids

College of the Environment fellow Rani Arbo is working with COE Director Barry Chernoff, the Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies, professor of biology, on a project called "Earth Out Loud: Stories from Our Habitat." Earth Out Loud is designed for elementary school-aged children and educators, and offers a short story in audio and/or video format, as well as ideas for exploring the topic further in the classroom or at home.

College of the Environment fellow Rani Arbo is working with COE Director Barry Chernoff, the Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies, professor of biology, on a project called “Earth Out Loud: Stories from Our Habitat.” “Earth Out Loud” is designed for elementary school-aged children and educators, and offers a short story in audio and/or video format, as well as ideas for exploring the topic further in the classroom or at home.

The College of the Environment has teamed up with local singer/songwriter (and mother) Rani Arbo to debut the pilot version of “Earth Out Loud: Stories from Our Habitat” — an educational-but-entertaining online project where second and third graders can hear, explore and respond to stories from their habitat. It uses a straightforward interface to provide accessible audio and video clips for kids and their teachers that relate to their schools’ curriculum in an exciting way.

In the "Earth Out Loud" episode "Radical Raptors," children lean about the great horned owl and ways it adapts to its environment.

In the “Earth Out Loud” episode “Radical Raptors,” children lean about the great horned owl and ways it adapts to its environment.

Arbo, COE director Barry Chernoff and Wesleyan student interns are still brainstorming and developing the content, but the infrastructure is now live and is being built upon.

“It started with a conversation Barry and I were having about science literacy in media and kids, about this time last year,” Arbo said. “I was a science major, and now I have a kid who is happiest outdoors, finding bugs and tadpoles. I’d been wishing he could do more with science in school, but in the younger grades, the focus is really on reading and math. So, Barry and I started talking about an environmental radio show for kids. Something that would help ensnare kids’ imaginations about environmental topics at a young age.”

While the concept still revolves around featuring radio-show-like audio tracks, it’s becoming clear that video may be equally important. So far there’s an episode on raptors and a segment on recycling, available in both audio and video formats. Upcoming episodes will touch upon the nature of bees, soils, and phases of matter, as applied to sweet treats like maple syrup, chocolate and Italian ice.

“If we’re going to make any progress in the world getting an environmental ethic into people, we have to get them excited at a young age,” said Chernoff. “We’re also interested in reaching communities that don’t have a single economic basis or ethnic or social structure — to be able to reach really broad audiences that include both inner city kids and rural kids.”

“Re-Envisioning the Commons” Theme of COE Think Tank

The College of the Environment think tank met on Oct. 10 to discuss the year-long theme of "Re-Envisioning the Commons." Scholars and students in the think tank are expected to produce scholarly works on the theme by the end of the academic year.

The College of the Environment think tank met on Oct. 10 to discuss the year-long theme of “Re-Envisioning the Commons.” Scholars and students in the think tank are expected to produce scholarly works on the theme by the end of the academic year.

Humanity is called to imagine an ethic that not only acknowledges but emulates the ways by which life thrives on Earth. How do we act, when we truly understand that we live in complete dependence on an Earth that is interconnected, interdependent, finite, and resilient? – The Blue River Declaration

COE faculty Fellows Frédérique Apffel-Marglin and Nicole Stanton introduced themselves at the Oct. 10 think tank meeting.

COE faculty Fellows Frédérique Apffel-Marglin and Nicole Stanton introduced themselves at the Oct. 10 think tank meeting.

Every year, the College of the Environment gathers a group of Wesleyan faculty, scholars of prominence from outside Wesleyan and undergraduate students into a year-long academic think tank on a critical environmental issue. This year’s theme is “Re-Envisioning the Commons.”

On Oct. 10, the group began engaging with the “Commons” theme as a way to think about moral ecology. The original “commons” was a physical social space, but in the years since biologist Garrett Hardin’s much-cited 1968 essay, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” the phrase “the Commons” speaks to the impossibility of liberal visions of freedom in the face of population growth that inevitably exhausts common resources.

Whether taken as a place with physical reality or taken as metaphor, the Commons serves as meeting ground – of living things and ideas.

As a metaphor, the group discusses the interdisciplinary discourse between economists, political scientists, environmental scientists, ecologists and ethicists on the management of common property resources

Produce, Bands, Farm Tours at Pumpkin Fest

The College of the Environment hosted its annual Pumpkin Festival Oct. 5 at Long Lane Farm.

Long Lane Farm Club members offered tours of the farm and sold apples, pumpkins and baked goods. Guests attended a small vendor market while listening to the tunes of student and faculty/staff bands. Bon Appetit and the COE provided complimentary veggie burgers and cider.

(Photos by Ryan Heffernan ’16)

Pumpkin Fest at Wesleyan University.