Project Ideas: Amanda Apicella

August 31, 2016

1) I am interested in the idea of raising mealworms by/and feeding them plastics and styrofoam for their primary diet. Mealworms apparently are able to digest/break down and even survive (and thrive healthily) on a diet solely consisting of styrofoam and other forms of polystyrene (which make up many types of plastics). The waste they produce alongside the usual CO2 from the process is also able to be used for soil for plants to grow so it is a fascinating process that may help with breaking down/recycling such a stubborn substance in our environment. It would require a lot of mealworms which doesn’t generally take up that much space but the main issue I would think is the life cycle and the time in each stage (and whether they would be able to digest it in other stages or will I just end up with a bunch of useless beetles and have to get or breed more mealworms to continuously cycle it). It is just an idea and I have a few papers/studies I am reading to look more into the technicalities of it so I just thought I would throw it out there.

Sources: Link to the Study (may require permissions) // Article by Fusion


2) Make houses and feeders for local bird populations on campus and bat houses (there are 2 species of bat in Ohio that are on the endangered/threatened species list due to white-nose syndrome and habitat loss).


3) I would also be interested in working on the Meek Retention Pond Native plantings project.


4) While I don’t know if this would be possible/feasible given the season and timing of this I would really like to help get a project with the Stratford Ecological center going by starting and maintaining bee hives on campus. They have been wanting to do it for awhile now but they would need students to help and invest in it on our end.

James Ormerod post#1

August 31, 2016
MEDOWLANDS – Robert Sullivan
As I quickly read through is book, I realized that Sullivan never speaks poorly of the Meadowlands. This is not a tale of how bad humans are at taking care of the land, but more of a natural account of his time learning about the Meadowlands. His descriptions of the lack of wildlife in the land is clever in how it reflects the natural surroundings,- “a small school of plastic soda bottles.” However he also comments on the wildlife in the area and how it is thriving in these poor conditions.
One of my favorite quotes was when he compare is voyage from NYC to the meadowlands to New Yorkers who are flying out West to unexplored lands when there are places they have never seem so close to home. He says, “people have packed their trunks or their backpacks or their carry-on luggage with travel books or maybe brand-new water-repellent hiking clothes or Power Bars and polypropylene underwear, and they are heading west to travel and explore. But I am creeping slowly back into the East, back to America’s first West — making the reverse commute to the already explored land that has become, through negligence, through exploitation and through its own chaotic persistence, explorable again.”
I think the Meadowlands tell us a lot about the incessant nature of… nature! Right next door you have big, bustling New York City where everything seems to be happening. But just down the road the Meadowlands exist- almost as a reminder of how nature always finds a way and will continue to do so long after we are gone.
Hello friends! My name is James Ormerod and I am a senior double majoring in Geology and Environmental Studies with a music performance minor. On campus I live in the Slu called Tree House where twelve of us work together to promote sustainability on campus and in Delaware. I was born in Cambridge, England and enjoy being out in nature more than sitting in an office.
Costa Rica makes is 113 days and counting surviving on 100% renewable energy.
1. re-vamp the bike sharing system. write a grant to fund fixing up bikes behind tree house.
2. something with music and the environment in a group
3. organize a group trash clean up of Blue Limestone Park

Meadowland Reading

August 31, 2016


The Meadowlands: Wilderness Adventures at the Edge of a City by Robert Sullivan is the book of the week and was a great read to start of the course. This book was not a normal read as you wouldn’t find it in an English class book list and is not making the New York Times best seller. What it manage to do is make you want to explore the Meadowlands page by page. Living in close proximity to the area and driving through it numerous times, I was interested in what he had to say as I had first hand experience and do also accept the idea that the mafia probably dumped a lot of bodies within the area’s confines. What once used to be an area that received lots of attention and drew in the culture that leaked out of the Big Apple is now a place that is (almost) prime real estate development in which firms are capitalizing on due to it being more affordable and available than land 5 miles outside of places like Manhattan. Sullivan aims to try to connect the past with the present in a way that promotes conservation. A main point he makes is that nature was here before us and is still here, although now it has shifted forms into “urban nature”. Through the use of metaphors such as the black snake he brings up the notion that humans are ruining the environment. Deforestation, urban sprawl and things like landfills may have shorter term benefits but long term repercussions.

Current Event


The Paris Agreement is one of the latest agreements that sets forth efforts to curb climate change. Its objective is to put forth a global action plan prevent long term harm to the environment by agreeing on numerous limitations of carbon emissions in an attempt to keep the global average temperature “well below 2°C”, while also aiming “to limit the increase to 1.5°C”. What this article states is that the governments that agreed to this have no idea what they signed and probably also have no intention of honoring it even if they do. To effectively meet fossil fuel levels then countries would have to curb back production and stop developing future fossils fuels as well. Top government officials and politicians think they can prevent carbon emissions from rising by putting the carbon dioxide that is extracted rom the natural gas at power stations back into the ground. The author states “despite vast efforts to demonstrate the technology, it has not been proved at scale, and appears to be going nowhere. Our energy policies rely on vapourware.”


Project Ideas

August 31, 2016
  1. I would like to look into a more efficient means of cigarette butt disposal around campus; I am not a smoker although its seems like a mindless effort to dispose of cigarette butts properly instead of littering.
  2. I would possibly like to present a recycling outreach program to primary and grade school kids to promote an efficient means of recycling at a young age so it becomes a practiced habit
  3. The construction of a sustainable organic agriculture farming plot on campus to promote healthier eating options in regards to a more raw diet on OWU campus.

Project Ideas: Max Kerns

August 31, 2016

Possible Project Ideas for Fall 2016:

  1. I have always been interested in noise pollution and the effects it has on communities. I think it would be fascinated to do some research and find out if there would be any way to enhance the OWU community. Though a lofty Idea it would encompass but not be limited to: Sound study of the OWU campus. Traffic patterns of student and noise impact on local residence (especially in the early morning hours with effects on being a good neighbor). Potential so soundscaping along the Jay with additional messaging ideas. Effects of sound on students and study areas. Noise Pollution. Music and learning.
  2. I would also like to see the Delaware Run project come back. I have had a lot of experience with a great team. I think it would be great to continue the efforts with Delaware water in general. Maybe do an overview of water quality, including but not limited to, Delware Run, Olentangy River, Scioto River, and overall drinking water.
  3. I would also be interested in working on the Meek Retention Pond project.
  4. Final idea would be possibly looking at light pollution in the Delaware area. There is a rich history here with Perkins observatory and OWU observatory. I think it would be great to do some research on this project. We could couple this with the possibility of a turn the lights off campaign, with a special day and community outreach, maybe inlibe with an astronomical event? (both economical and beneficial) along with potential clean up of the OWU student observatory. I am sure it could use some student love.

Decision has been made to move forward with #4 and light pollution: I will be using Earth hour to help promote ideas for this project.

General Brainstorming: 9.14.16

Earth Hour Link

Emerson Link:

Huffington Posts

Cornell Link:

University of Alberta Link:

Light Pollution Link:


Things to consider:

History at OWU with astronomy. <- info on the Perkins Observatory. Only observatory in Ohio that provides public programs to tens of thousands of people every year. Founded by OWU.

Can’t find as much about student observatory though :/ Maybe try to get more info or contact someone in charge of it

Laying out the project plan for this years Earth Hour.

Earth Hour (the official one) isn’t going to happen again for another 141 days. What day will we be planning for?

Future initiatives to get the City of Delaware involved. (energy saving)

Possibly inquire about potentially adding top covers for outdoor lighting to limit the amount of light that travels upwards. I know the lights near Austin Manor could use covers and could inquire about that.


Second Class Reading: Brad Brodek

August 31, 2016

The Meadowlands by Robert Sullivan looks at the environment and nature from a different point of view. When I think of nature or wilderness a picture of Yellowstone national park pops in my head. There are mountains, clear skies, plants, animals and a colorful landscape. Robert Sullivan talks about nature from an Urban view which relates more to me since I am from a bigger city. From this reading I now understand more of Urban nature and  will now try look at it the way Sullivan did. He wanted to keep the past alive and kept trying to remind people of that. Conservation is a big problem with the increasing demand of homes and everything else we want as humans, but what is amazing is the adaptation of nature to be able to survive in an “urban environment”.

The Meadowlands that are being talked about are located just outside of New York City. Some people may not see beauty in this land because it can be viewed as a gross landfill filled of mosquitoes, trash, smell and even human remains,  but he talks about amazing nature that has grown and adapted that environment. Sullivan talks about the history of the Meadowlands and how it has changed over hundreds of years. “Big black snakes are said to once inhabited the Secaucus environs-snake hunts were very popular in the nineteenth century-“(pg 21)  This snake is no longer here because of the way us humans changed its environment. This made me think about how we take away animals homes everyday with deforestation, pollution, landfills and also new construction. Do we have the right to do that just because we are superior and physically can? And why do we do this?

After I read “An Achievement of the Future” and learning more history and inventions of these Meadowlands I got the idea that the Meadowlands had potential and was wasted, but to the people who live it, its the biggest well kept secret.

Mosquito were such a big problem in the Meadowlands even before we got to it. “They early Dutch settlers of the area described mosquitoes as big as sparrows.” (pg 107) Then on top of that we, John B. Smith, ended up just making the mosquito problem worse by digging ditches and filling them with flowing water which extinguished the saltwater mosquito problem, but actually increased the number of freshwater mosquitoes in the Meadowlands.


Quotes I found interesting

“Once, there were actual meadows in the Meadowlands, decorated with wildflowers the way they are today littered with bits of paper and plastic and truck tired shards.” (Pg 35)

“People were always trying to invent new uses for the Meadowlands; most people felt anything was better than what was there.” (pg 48)

“ I look out from the car window, as if the wild roses and the meadow grasses were growing over the graves of those buried hopes.” (pg 56)

“Now Meadow Ridge residents stare out at the only radio towers in the Meadowlands with lights that blink day and night.” (pg 62)

“In the mid-1980s, playing football in the Meadowlands meant possibly risking your life, because shortly after the stadium opened, players for the Giants began developing cancer.” (pg 87)

“at a stream’s source in the modern meadows, this little seep was pure pollution, a pristine stew of oil and grease, of cyanide and arsenic, of cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, nickel, silver, mercury, and zinc.” (pg 97)

“The Meadowlands owes its longtime reputation as one of the most disgusting areas in America mostly to  three things: trash, industry, and mosquitoes.” (pg 107)

“The person I have called upon to do so on so many occasions is a retired detective from Kearny by the name of John Watson, who also happens to have more experience finding actual bodies in the Meadowlands than anyone I know” (pg 165)

“If you want to make money, you’re better off working at McDonald’s. I just do it for sport” (pg 189)




Personal Introduction: Amanda Apicella

August 31, 2016

My name is Amanda Apicella and I am currently a 5th year senior majoring in Geology with a minor in Environmental Studies (would be a major but I switched late and don’t have an independent study) and Art History. I am from Richfield, Ohio and own a mini-macaw named Jack. I also collect minerals/crystals and fossils and am a bit of a beginner rock hound. I am very passionate about science in general but my primary interest is the environment and interactions within it as well as its’ relationship/balance with human development. I love learning new things, discussion/debate, and reading so I am really looking forward to this semester.

As for my background I was born in the US but actually lived in Hong Kong, China for the first several years of my life due to my father’s work. We moved back when I was 7 as my father and one of his business partners started a company called American Environmental which provides specialty environmental, construction, and maintenance services for companies that deal with solid/hazardous waste, the environment, energy, and mining. What I always remembered is that they made landfills environmentally friendly by turning trash into mountains/hills using tarps and pipes so that they decompose properly. I have traveled to many places including Arizona (Have seen the Grand Canyon a few times), Utah, Wyoming (Yellowstone National Park), Massachusetts, Dominican Republic, and the Philippines when I was little.


Sullivan and Cronon Readings

August 31, 2016

Sullivan’s Book

I found Sullivan’s book to be extremely insightful and interesting overall. Being from a state like Maryland, although so close to the Jersey area, I rarely visit. Since I do not go often I have much knowledge about New York and Philadelphia, but not much besides perceptions and things that I have heard about New Jersey. As I read the story i became more and more conflicted with Sullivan’s overall view point of the Meadowlands. He seemed very torn. Often times he would talk about how terrible and dirty the Meadowlands were, but then in other instances shed light on the resources and positives traits in the Meadowlands. Because I am currently watching the Sopranos I couldn’t help but relate my readings to the show to hopefully help bring me to some understanding of the authors angle. Very similar to the Sopranos, which is set in New Jersey, the place used to be an area rich with culture and community, but as times progressed it became less and less of what it used to be. That is the angle that I believe Sullivan is going for.He wants to like the Meadowlands for what it was, but can’t help but have a clouded depiction of the area because of what it currently is.


I found the Cronon article fascinating. In particular one of the parts I thought were most interesting was the evolution of the perceptions of the idea of wilderness. In the article Cronon describes wilderness as a symbol of fear and chaos, whereas an earlier time period wilderness was a thing of tranquility and beauty. This I thought was relatable to Sullivan’s book because the Meadowlands and swamp area use to be rich with resources and now it’s viewed ugly and abandoned.

Thoughts on Readings for 8/31

August 31, 2016

While reading through the Meadowlands, I couldn’t help but think of the persistence of wilderness. Throughout the book, Sullivan discusses the history of the Meadowlands, of all the public works projects, industries, and urban plans for the area. Many of the projects he mentioned fell though, or more accurately, sunk into the swamp. For generations, those who live in and around the Meadowlands have thought of the area as an eye sore or an area of wasted potential. For decades, the area was used for garbage burning and waste dumping from factories that were in the area. One factory dumped mercury into Berrys Creek, making it one of the most polluted tributaries in the entire area. The Meadowland’s resources were reduced, with all of the Cedar trees having been cut down and the salt hay had been harvested. However, despite the pollution, the Meadowlands have fought to stay alive and thriving. Plants such as moss or reeds as well as a few species of fish still live their in spite of the pollution that threatens them. The Meadowlands can not be destroyed that easily. It thwarts all attempts to be tamed. You could probably drop a bomb in the middle of Meadowlands and it’ll be fine.

This description and history of the Meadowlands that Sullivan gives us disagrees with some of William Cronon’s thoughts. Cronon argues that wilderness is not an area that is inherently uninhabited but that it reflects our true desires of what we believe the world should be. However, if this was true, how come the Meadowlands have endured a long history of abuse. Was it because it was so close to New York, a shining beacon of American ingenuity and modernism, that the Meadowlands seemed like a road block rather than wilderness to be respected or romanticized? Does it not capture the imagination like Yellowstone or the hundreds of other protected nature preserves? It sure seems like that is the case when reading Sullivan’s adventures through the Meadowlands.

Ideas for project:

  1. Revitalizing the Meek retention pond project and beyond.
  2. Reducing heat in campus buildings without adding air conditioning.
  3. Promoting and selling non-packaged foods in Thomson (possible extension to student run garden?)

Environmental News

This isn’t necessarily environmental news, but it was a cool video of some recent hurricane activity. I found a video of hurricanes Leston, Madeline, and Gaston seen from space all in one day. It’s just amazing to see the size of these massive storms from a perspective we don’t normally seem them from.

The video can be seen here. (Source)

Pacia Purcell: Project Ideas

August 31, 2016
  1. Factory Farm vs. Traditional Farm
    1. I want to visit each of the types of farms and interview someone (whoever would be willing to talk to me) to get a feel for how they feel about their own farming practice.
  2. Food Waste on Campus
    1. I want to estimate the amount of food wasted on campus and discuss and implement ways to help reduce the food waste.
  3. Beekeeping at Stratford Ecological Center
    1. To learn about why honeybees are in danger and also to learn how to properly care for and maintain a hive.