Project Proposal

September 30, 2015

Insect Hotels

 Project Participants: Emily Romig and Blake Fajack

Project Overview:

Pollinators, especially bees have been declining in numbers since 2006. At least three quarters of all food crops depend on insect pollinators to grow and flourish (Klein et al 2007). Pollinators represent not only an incredibly important group of insects that helps us sustain our but they are also vital as overall environmental health indicators. Bees specifically help pollinate apples, nuts, seasonal fruit such as blueberries and strawberries, alfalfa, and guar beans (Holland 2013).  My project is directly aimed at providing habitat for pollinators, a vital part of our agriculture and environment. The main goals of my project include construction and placement of what are coined as “bee hotels.” In all reality these structures work well for various pollinator insects and not just Hymenoptera. Although these habitats will not be providing homes for typical honeybees, which require bee boxes as they are eusocial, other bees and pollinators will be able utilize these spaces.

Overall the design I have in mind is quite simple. After looking at various mock-ups, and speaking with Blake Fajack about design plans we have seem to have come to a low cost plan. In order to accommodate pollinators and keep prices low, the bee hotels will be constructed of old plastic bottles filled with bamboo sticks that are cut to the appropriate length. Some have already been constructed and are ready to be put up. Blake has already been approved for certain areas that we could place the bee hotels and I will continue to meet with him about placement in light of the other project happening at the Meek Retention Pond.

Project Outline:

Main Project Goals

  1. Gather Background information:
    1. Importance of Pollinators
    2. Species that would utilize new habitats
    3. Insect data from collection in Delware
  2. Design Prep and Layout
    1. Finish assembling hotels that have already been started construction on
    2. Review other designs and how they would work with materials we already have
    3. Gather other potential needed materials
    4. Begin construction of adapted designs
  • Hotel Placement
    1. Use the areas already set aside to put up the oldest constructed hotels
    2. Work in conjunction with Meek Rentention Pond Project to see if that is a possible location
    3. Work with off campus groups to see if there would be potential to place any extra hotels on sites around the community
  1. Post Placement data collection
    1. Determine if the hotels are being used
      1. What insects
      2. How many insects
  • Diversity in orders
  1. Assess the longevity of current hotels
    1. Do repairs need to be done
    2. Is there a better design that should be used to accommodate specific constraints that come up

Annotated Bibliography

Holland, J. “The Plight of the Honeybee.” National Geographic News. 10 May 2013. Web.

This article discusses honeybees in particular and how they have been rapidly declining over the past decade. It also calls attention to the importance of pollinators in agriculture. The article also examines how pesticides are harmful to many pollinator species because of their impacts on pollinator nervous systems.

Klein, A.M. Vaisseiere, B. E. Cane, J. H. Steffan-Dewenter, I. Cunningham, S. A. Kermen, C. Tscharntke, T. Importance of pollinators in changing landscapes for world crops. Proc. Biol. Sci. 274, 303 (2007).

The authors collected data to determine actually how dependent the agricultural industry is on insect pollination around the world. They also analyzed global food production to determine exactly what proportions required pollination by insects. They found that pollinators are essential for at least 13 major crops.

“How to Make a Bee Hotel” Friends of the Earth. Web

More specific directions on how to build bee hotels including: which materials are best, placement of the hotel, how to install them, and other general cocerns.

MacIvor, J. Scott, and Laurence Packer. “‘Bee Hotels’ as Tools for Native Pollinator Conservation: A Premature Verdict?” Ed. Fabio S. Nascimento. PLoS ONE 10.3 (2015): e0122126. PMC. Web.

The article examines possible pitfalls with bee hotels and the like. With general societal concerns about bee declines many others have taken to creating bee hotels, the data that they gathered will be useful in determining if our bee hotels are actually a negative instead of benefiting pollinators.

Shae, J. “Building Your Own Bee Hotel” National Geographic. Web.

The info graphic from this site gives details and general layout for basic bee hotel designs.

Tylianakis, J.M The Global Plight of Pollinators. Science: 339. 6127: 29 March 2013. 1532-1533. Web.

Tylianakis gives a comprehensive perspective on how pollinator decline will disrupt the ecosystem and food industry. This is why pollinator decline is starting to become a pollination crisis. Due to the decline of native wild pollinators, crops are becoming more dependent of managed honeybees, which are not able to truly compensate for the growing losses of native pollinator species.

Blake Fajack: previous work with bee hotels and bat boxes

Dick Tuttle: Delaware Naturalist

Luke Steffen: possible collaboration partner for meek retention pond

Ohio Wesleyan Zoology Museum Collection: insect collection data will be useful in determining what major orders are most common in the area.


Project proposal

September 30, 2015

Bottled Water Reduction Efforts: in particular, pick up on efforts during the fall of 2015 to reduce bottled water sales on campus. Promote hydration stations, propose new locations for hydration stations (for example, in athletic facilities where large amounts of bottled water are used). Promote reusable water containers.

The goal is to ban the distribution and selling of disposable water bottles on campus. This original goal was modeled after the Ban the Bottle campaign going on internationally in high schools and universities. The focus of this goal changed when it did not appear to be economically feasible for Chartwells to do right now. The ultimate goal is to raise awareness of how disposable water bottles are a waste of resources.

I intend to survey people around campus and attempt to identify prime locations throughout the school where hydration stations would be benifical in reducing plastic bottle waste. In addition to that i am going to try and promote the use of nalgine bottles. I was thinking since the school usually gives out some free stuff to the incoming freshman a nalgine bottle would be cool. Also maybe some type of give way to the current students could get them popular. I will be in contact with Emma Drongowski of WCSA regarding this project because i believe she will be able to help me move this along.

contacts

Gene Castelli of Chartwells (Gene.Castelli@compass-usa.com)

Dennis Wall of B&G (dawall@owu.edu)

Emma Drongowski of WCSA  (egdrongo@owu.edu)

Emily Romig of Treehouse (esromig@owu.edu)

The Transcript (owunews@owu.edu)


Environmental News

September 30, 2015

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In this article it mainly talks about how the U.S. and China have essentially come to an agreement about a carbon trading system as a way to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. Both countries  prepare to strike a global carbon emissions agreement at the Paris climate negotiations in December. The U.S. and China are the top greenhouse gas emitting nations in the world. That approach will reduce the need for high-carbon power, such as coal, and encourage the use of more solar and wind power, according to the statement. The pledge also said China plans to reduce its emissions intensity by up to 65 percent, doubling its current wind and nearly quadrupling its solar power generating capacity by 2020. Even though this is a step in the right direction there are still people who are not happy with this. Food and Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter said in a statement. “Through a system of ‘credits’ and dubious and unverifiable offsets, cap-and-trade programs essentially create a commodity out of pollution, allowing for financial corporations to profit from polluting industries.”


2nd Half of Nature Discussion

September 30, 2015

The second half of Nature was very similar to the rest of the book. He went in-depth with the landscape of nature, reassessment of Nature, the disunited colors of Nature, and the future of Nature. Coates made interesting points, but I thought he would ended the book differently. It didn’t right for me. It felt weird. Ideas were similar, and he was quoting multiple people with similar or strikingly different ideas.

  • Coates discussed about in the 18th century and the development of parks and gardens. “The privatization of nature was particularly evident in the conversion of woodland in hunting estates (115). With gaming laws becoming a thing, private land became important, and the establishment of parks began to increase.
  • Francis Bacon made an interesting point about gardens. Bacon considered gardens the greatest refreshment of the spirits of man (116). Gardens were places where people can escape to the wildlife since that was the closest thing to Nature for them. I agree with that today with the increase of urbanization. It’s hard to enjoy the wildlife in areas where there is no space. People enjoy gardening and allotting space in their yard to build luxurious gardens.
  • Francis Fukuyama believed that the definitive triumph of capitalism and liberal democracy signaled the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution. With the increase importance of the economy and urbanization, it has brought the importance of nature to a decline. It has brought more unprecedented disasters like a nuclear winter or global warming (173).
  • Coates also discussed about the relationship between humans and animals. He talks the difference between communication and language, how animals have similar behaviors to humans. Coates discussed how bears learn to hunt from their parents, and buffalo calves get support from their aunt and uncle. Humans have similar relationships in that we learn from our parents basic necessities that we use in life. We are very similar to animals and we process information in similar ways.
  • Another thing that struck me was the biotechnology that humans are doing. He mentions the cloning of sheep (Dolly), and using pigs to help grow human organs (178). He talked about how humans are playing God, and its becoming a norm. He also talks about making it ok to have genetically engineered plants which are not grown from nature. It has become more popular of using nature to help sustain the humans. Cloning, modifying plants, and using animals to grow organs are not of God’s creation.

Overall, the book was interesting. It was great to get an insight of the history of Nature. We don’t learn about the history, but so many people throughout time have so many insights on how we perceive nature. Peter Coates makes some valid points, and did a great job collecting all of this information. I’m glad I had an opportunity to read this book.


Readings for Second Half of Nature

September 30, 2015

As noted in my previous analysis, Coates presents to the reader, the environment in terms of its history and how it has been effected by in large through different time periods. Earlier he examined the Middle Ages, Ancient Greece and Rome etc. and demonstrated through examples how we as humans have affected our environmental landscape. In one view, Coates went as far as to suggest that had the Native Americans been equipped with more technology, rather than environmental stewards, they would have damaged their environment to a far greater extent.

In the chapters following, Coates specifically looks at more recent history, including our own. He discusses the effects of the Romanticism period and its beliefs of the pure and utopian ideology of nature. This notion of nature has been scrutinized or discussed in all the books we have read so far. The Romantics concept is a misconception that clearly requires a thorough going-over. Coates also examines nature’s influence in such practices as Darwinism, Nazism, and Communism. Darwinism used the ideology of nature to justify the general exploitation committed in the earlier centuries, such as exploration and conquering of new lands, and the spread of religion (146). Nazism used nature and its appreciation of animals and other fauna as a curtain over the real intentions of their destructive practice and ideals. It was used as a cover for the extreme accounts of hatred committed against the Jewish population. Nazism, at first glance, appears to have been one the contributing factors to Germany’s Green Movement. However, as Coates demonstrates through examples, that is not the case. Nazi practices were conducted following the guidelines of Kashrut law. The Nazi regime presented the Jewish practice of slaughtering animals while conscience, as an example of the supposed cruelty of the Jews (170). This is of course another example of a common theme throughout history, where the ideology of nature is taken advantage, to justify corrupt and cruel practices.

In Coates’ conclusion, he clarifies that there will be not one spot where a rock has not been overturned. The idea that there are no longer any “natural” areas left untouched by human influence. He does add that although man has been able to destroy nature and alter its original setup, it seems that nature has been able to survive the disasters we have created. I believe Coates tries to explain to the reader that we, humans, have still been unable to clearly define what nature is, how we handle it, exploit it, attempt to control it. Although, I found it difficult to not stray from the intentions of the book as a whole, I was able to appreciate his attempt at constructing a text that included a “timeline” of sorts, of environmental history and how we have used nature to justify the means at which we are striving for, whether it be, to discover new lands, or build an economically beneficial industry. He shed light on many examples we don’t necessarily like to dwell on or admit we were responsible for; so in that way he has own up to the acts we have committed throughout our long and continued history.

Nothing hasn't been altered in some way by human interactions and involvement.

Nothing hasn’t been altered in some way by human interactions and involvement. I thought this image illustrated that well.

Kashrut Law.


Nature Comments (chapter 7-9)

September 30, 2015

The second half of the books is like a more detailed explanation of the first half book to me. Coates seems talked about more real issues than drawing from theories. In Chapter 6 where Coates mentioned that landscape was once a far more precise term: “For the medieval peasant, it meant a system of cultivated plots. In its original medieval sense, the related expression, ‘countryside’, was also primarily associated with the peasantry.” (p.111) This reminded me of one term I am recently learning in my Ecology and Human Future class – anthropogenic biome. Biome means a group of living organisms, usually defined by their living climate and vegetation cover. However, a anthropogenic biome is defined by human population, their density, as well as the land cover type: urban, agricultural crop cover, forest, etc. It seems interesting to me that the landscape, as well as the biological term biomes, are actually, partly defined by the influence of humans in particular.

Chapter 6 and 7 both talked about the history, eighteens century in particular, of nature. In these chapter, Coates claims that there is a definition change of nature – from a more problematic term to its opposite: peace, concord, toleration and progress in the affairs of men, and, in poetry and art, perspicuity, order, unity, and proportion (p.127). In the end of chapter 7, it discussed Darwin’s ideas about nature that flowed into ecological science. Coates claim that Darwinism closed the gap between nature and culture. People began seeing humanity from animals and claim it as part of nature. They use Darwinism to support that view, when Darwin was viewing it oppositely.

In Chapter 9 where Coates talked about the future of nature, Coates talked about that man-made structures, like buildings and bridges, can be accepted as part of nature. I think this point of view is very interesting. He claims that nature goes beyond what we imagine as nature. Many urban environments are been see as wildlife habitats. Man-made things, like buildings can become shelter to other organisms. However, despite these inputs to the idea of nature, Coates claim that “far more important than authenticity or some inscrutable essence of naturalness or wildness is nature’s well-being” (p.190). No matter how we think about nature, and how the definition is changing about nature, it is more crucial that we, as human beings, together with other living organisms, are making an effort to make the earth a better and healthier living environment that we could all last.


Project Proposal

September 30, 2015

LIASE East Asian Waste Management Symposium

Project Participant: Shaoyin Sun

Description & overview of project:

Ohio Wesleyan University is working with the Luce Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment (LIASE) in achieving their goal of bringing new lights from the Asian perspectives to bear on the intellectual and pragmatic approaches in the West in the overall context of sustainability. The topic for the 2015-2016 school year is waste, and will be focused on East Asian management strategy, especially on Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. A symposium collaborated with other colleges in Ohio will be hold on November 13th, the fall semester of the 2015-2016 school year. Through a careful examination of the East Asian culture, sociology, economics, geography, natural sciences and engineering, we could import some new ideas about waste management to the US. My project will be first focus on giving out a survey to the Asian student group to collect their opinion on waste. Then, through a careful analysis of those data, make a conclusion of what in particular caught the students’ attention about the difference in managing waste here in the US and in their home country. Based on their interest, I would do further research on that topic, and would give out a presentation about my findings at the symposium. I will also attend the discussion session on November 14, the day after the symposium, in order to contribute more to their planned trip to Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan next summer, as well as the topic for the Spring 2016 Sagan National Colloquium, through my research, as well as my inputs as an East Asian international student. If I have chance and time next semester, I would love to help the trip in learning some basic words in mandarin, as a Chinese international student who’s first language is mandarin. And I would also love to gather some resources from my friends who speaks Japanese, Korean to help the team.

Important Dates:

  • October 7: give out the Waste Management survey to the International student population.
  • October 21: start the research on the particular topic that the student body is mainly interested, and brought more insights.
  • November 11: have the outline and PowerPoint/research paper ready for the presentation at the symposium the Friday, November 13.
  • November 14: mark my my calendar to leave this date free in order to join the discussion of waste topics with all the OWU students attending this discussion.
  • December 2: have the final project report ready for class.

New Survey Draft

September 30, 2015

I have space between each question, but WordPress doesn’t like that apparently.  So I apologize for how cluttered this looks right now.

What class are you?

Fr     So     Jr     Sr

Where do you live?

(insert residential list here+off campus)

How much do you know about the reusable food containers?  (0=nothing, 5=everything)

0     1     2     3     4     5

How often do you use the reusable food containers offered here at OWU?  (0=never, 5=all the time)

0     1     2     3     4     5

Do you think there should be more of the containers available?

Yes          No

Do you think there should be more drop-off locations around campus?

Yes          No

If so, where?

(insert list of campus buildings here)

What do you think of the return process?

Fine          Needs work

Did you know that you don’t have to wash the containers before returning them?

Yes          No

Do you think Chartwells should keep the $5 charge/refund system, or find something else?

Keep          Find something else

Do you think a system of having and using a token to get a box, then getting a token back upon return would work better?

Yes          No

If you have any other comments or suggestions, please write them in the box below:

(insert text box here)


Chapters 6-9 of Nature: Western Attitudes Since Ancient Times

September 30, 2015

Chapters 6-9 focus on what is considered broadly by historians the “modern” times, or the fifteenth through twenty-first centuries. However, he does occasionally reference older times to tie everything together.

I appreciate his detailed look into Georgian England’s relationship with nature. This is an interesting period to me in general because of the transitions and conflicting ideas about art and nature that existed among British intellectuals of the time. He uses a clever literary device to introduce Chapter 6 as well, by introducing philosopher Ronald Hepburn’s idea that nature is viewed through immersion while art, which is often literally framed, is viewed through seperation of the viewer from the object. By the end of this chapter, Coates shows how untrue Hepburn’s distinction actually is by citing English landscapes, even the ones with the more “wild” were, in fact, framed and contrived. The description of the “ha ha” gave me a sense of deja vu because it is mentioned in Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia, a play set in one of the late Georgian estates where the garden and its design figures prominently. In this Chapter, Coates reinforces the idea that all landscapes are human-constructed in the story of a the last member of the Native American tribe that lived near Yosemite. He came back and thought that it looked unkempt and improperly managed.

In Chapter 7, Coates brings up an idea that has been mentioned before but is still difficult to believe. This is the idea that mountains and wilderness were not always considered beautiful or of spiritual value; in fact, some elite travelers would close the windows of their carriages to avoid seeing hideous mountains! For people to believe that mountains are beautiful, there first had to be the development of the “sublime” nature, spiritually or culturally valuable in the same way tragedy is, by its horror, and picturesque, or orderly, which soothes.

In chapter 8, Coates points out that our ideas about nature and human nature are influenced by our general political world view. He says that even in the natural sciences, which are stereotyped as objective and not biased, this is still true. He is right because social darwinism has been used to justify capitalism, but appeals to a return to nature have been used by communitarian anarchists as well. His most intriguing example, however, was in chapter 7 of Walter Clyde Allee,a Quaker zoologist who asserted that the animals he studied became more fit to survive when they cooperated than when they competed and fought. Because he was a pacifist, writing in the post World War Two years when pacifism was popular, it makes sense that he would come to this conclusion.

Towards the end, Coates examines Marx and Engels in order to see how well their ideas line up with leftist environmentalists who claim them. The answer to this question seems to be the same as any answer to the question of how “green” people were in the past; they were and they were not simultaneously. Marx did not like industrial pollution, but thought rural life was banal. Communist Russia taught children to plow the virgin steppe and create industry, but Gorbachev praised pristine old growth forests. In these final parts, Coates also looks at the latest environmentalist ideas. Most interesting among these is the social justice environmentalism, which dismisses wilderness worship as elitist and wants to broaden nature to include the city. It focuses on the fact that most pollution and environmental suffering happens in the poorest areas of cities to the most marginalized people. I think this movement is headed in the right direction; we do need to save the woods in our backyard. However, I think wilderness preservation is a noble cause as well, so why cannot both be promoted?


Formal Project Proposal

September 29, 2015
Archaeopteryx lithographica: The Thermopolis Specimen.

Archaeopteryx lithographica: The Thermopolis Specimen. Image (c) Wyoming Dinosaur Center.

My final project will explore the fossil trade in both a global and local context. Specifically, I will focus on:

  • Collection: should it be legal for fossils to be collected?
  • Private vs. Public Ownership: Should fossils be public or private property?
  • Acquisition: Does ownership only come with discovery? Should people be able to purchase fossils? Should fossil export/import be permitted?
  • Ownership status: when is it acceptable to seize a fossil from a private or public collection?
    • This category closely relates to the acquisition category, so I may combine them

I will use the Wyoming Dinosaur Center as a “case study”; I will write a small paper explaining the WDC’s stance on these four issues. I will also prepare a presentation that examines those issues in a broader, more global perspective.

WDC Stance Paper

  • Collection: people may collect marine fossils and keep them; they may also keep dinosaur bone if it is under a designated size (excepting teeth)
  • Private vs. Public Ownership: the museum is a private collection owned by Burkhard Pohl; controversy surrounds the Archaeopteryx specimen in his collection because it is so scientifically valuable
  • Acquisition: some museum specimens are bought at auction; some are dug from the WDC quarries; some are obtained through partnerships
  • Ownership status: A Mongolian specimen was seized by authorities; it is illegal for Mongolian fossils to leave the country

Presentation:

  • Collection: In the US, is is legal to collect invertebrate fossils, but vertebrate fossils may only be collected with a permit. In other countries (China, Argentina) it is illegal to collect any fossils without a permit
    • laws pertaining to collection (i.e. prohibiting it):
      • Archaeological Resources Protection Act, 1979 [P.L. 96-95; 93 Stat. 721; 16 U.S.C. 470]
      • Antiquities Act, 1906 [P.L. 59-209; 34 Stat. 225; 16 U.S.C. 423,433]
      • Federal Land Policy and Management Act, 1976 [P.L. 94-579; 90 Stat. 2743; 43 U.S.C. 1701]
      • Theft of Government Property Act [62 Stat. 725; 18 U.S.C. 641]
      • Destruction of Government Property [62 Stat. 764; 18 U.S.C. 1361]
      • Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, 1990 [P.L. 101-601; 25 U.S.C. 3001-3013; 104 Stat. 3048-3058]
  • Private vs. Public Ownership: From what I can tell, fossils found on private land can be sold by the owner, and fossils found on public land belong to the county or state that owns the land. Fossils found on private land can be sold into public ownership, such as when a museum buys a specimen.The issue with private ownership (and why people were mad that the Archaeopteryx was in a private collection) is that it takes specimens away from the public and prevents scientific study.
  • Acquisition: the black market and a growing desire for acquisition
  •  Ownership status: this really depends on how the specimen was acquired; it’s a case by case basis. I will look more in to it.

Sources

Commercial Collection of Fossils
Buying Fossils-Law, Ethics, and Forgeries
Dinosaur Fossil Wars
Fossil Poaching and the Black Market
Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Code of Ethics
What’s the Deal with For-Profit Paleontology?
Dueling Dinosaurs Hit the Auction Block

Testimonials from:
Bill Wahl, Paleontologist at WDC
Andrew Rossi, Hill Manager at WDC
Jessica Lippincott, Director of BHBF

I might also bring in some specimens from my private collection, because why not.

The rare species of dinosaur, Rawrasaurus.

The rare species of dinosaur, Rawrasaurus.