Personal Introduction and Project Ideas

January 25, 2017

Personal Introduction: My name is Serena and I am a sophomore Pre-Professional Zoology and Environmental Studies double major. I’m working towards becoming a wildlife veterinarian so that I can work in a rescue, rehabilitation and release program. I’m on the tennis team and am a member of the Interfaith House. I’m from the southwest suburbs of Chicago, and I love to travel, hike, rock climb and draw.

Project Ideas:

  1. I think it would be fun to work with Dr. Fink on his Cooking Matters program. I volunteer with Delaware County’s Big Brothers Big Sisters program, and I’d like to incorporate a way to add an educational component for those kids to the Cooking Matters program. This might give the kids a healthy activity to do with their families, in addition to the other objectives of the Cooking Matters Program.
  2. I could work with Dick Tuttle to construct bird houses and/or feeders out of recycled material.
  3. Residential Life likes SLUs to host theme weeks, so I was thinking I could organize a week that instead of focusing on a theme from one house, involves all of the houses. Each SLU could either do a service project or organize a discussion/event that relates to environmentalism and their house mission.

Reading Notes for Week 2

January 25, 2017

Notes on The Meadowlands

Pg 20: “On top of Snake Hill, I am in the middle of a place that the forces of progress have perennially targeted but have never managed to completely control, a place that people rush past on their way to the rest of America, a place they spit at with their exhaust pipes.” This quote portrays feelings of disdain toward the Meadowlands and reveals how so many Americans take them for granted. Perhaps this is because the nature in the Meadowlands is not pristine or untouched;  this connects to Cronon’s complaint that “By teaching us to fetishize sublime places and wide open country, these peculiarly American ways of thinking about wilderness encourage us to adopt too high a standard for what counts as ‘natural’” (Cronon, 8).

IMG_5664.PNGPg 28: While some thought the pig farms in the Meadowlands were laughable, Mayor Just believed them to be an important form of recycling. This reminded me of a trip I took to Price Farm Organics. They use some of the larger food scraps from what they receive for composting to feed the pigs, which were later used for meat.

Pg 36-40: The stark contrast between what the marsh looks like today and what the marsh used to be like (so much plant and animal diversity, Indian tribes living responsibly with the land, and farmers practicing sustainability) was shocking. The description of the cedar stumps as “piles of old bones” (40) stood out to me because it made me feel like the diversity loss in the Meadowlands was something to mourn since it can never be restored. The shift from sustainable use in the Meadowlands to the disregard for the wildlife, like in the case with cedar deforestation, directly connects to Cronon’s idea that people must be educated on using nature responsibly, not jut trying to keep humans and nature completely separate; after all, we are surrounded by nature.

Pg 48-50: “People were always trying to invent new uses for the Meadowlands; most people thought anything was better than what was there” (48). The developmental plans for the Meadowlands embodied the ideas of Americans in the 1800’s who thought nature was something that needed to be controlled because it was only impeding progress; order and industrialization was beauty. People described the Meadowlands as “barren acres,” even though they are teeming with life, because they lacked industrial development (50).

Pg 77: I was surprised at how expensive it was for Sullivan to travel across the Meadowlands. This reinforced Cronon’s point that experiencing wilderness at one point became a luxury for the upper class. This train of thought led me to think about how not everyone can experience wilderness the same way today, sometimes not just because of money, but because of physical or health limitations. People who can only experience certain areas in nature if, for example, a ski lift can bring them to the top of a mountain or a road is built to drive them through a forest probably have different opinions than those who feel nature should remain as untouched by humans as possible.

Pg 82-87: I found much of the description of Sullivan’s journey to be comical: “Using our compass and the power lines to guide us… [we] observed the migratory patterns of the cars” (82, 87). Sullivan finds a way to appreciate both the natural and industrial parts of the Meadowlands. I like how Sullivan does not use nature solely as an escape like many do today; he interacts with the people of the Meadowlands and questions the history, while also appreciating nature as a place of solitude (“We felt alone and far away” (82)).

Pg 116: The mention of DDT reminded me of the book “Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson. She describes the use of pesticides as “man’s war against nature” (Carson, 7) to portray the lethality (to both humans and the environment) of pesticides and the need for constant “combat” as using insecticides that some insects are resistant to results in bugs coming back stronger in the next generation. Carson points out that the “insect problem” is actually connected to modern social conditions or social practices. For example, disease-carrying insects are a result of overcrowding and poor sanitation, like during war or in poverty-stricken places (9). In addition, farming a single crop over an unnaturally large area provides insects with an unnaturally large habitat and food supply (10). I find it interesting that things seemingly unrelated to the environment like politics and economics can have such a profound effect on the ecosystem. At the same time, as Cronon expressed, a person’s economic state and social status can effect how they view and what they value in the environment.

206: Ending the book with the juxtaposition of Sullivan’s encounter with the kind man and the policeman with the magazine mentioning details of murders in the meadowlands noted the stark contrast of feelings that can be evoked from the Meadowlands. On the one hand, it is possible to find people like Walter (137) and Sheehan (192) who value the Meadowlands and the nostalgia it evokes. The Meadowlands are a place of connections with people and history. On the other hand, there are many gory parts of that history and that history’s impact lingers today.

Notes on Uncommon Ground

While elite tourists thought “wild land was not a site for productive labor and not a permanent home; rather, it was a place of recreation” (5), when I went on a service/ hiking trip to Peru, we focused on trying to live as “travelers” rather than “tourists,” the difference being that travelers try to engage with the people, culture and history of a place (they try to live in it, even though it is not permanent), whereas tourists use the place as an escape from responsibility. At the same time, we indulged in the recreational aspect of the landscape.

“No matter what the angle from which we regard it, wilderness offers us the illusion that we can escape the cares and troubles of the world in which our past has ensnared us” (5). I think many times I do go hiking, I view it as an escape from the stresses of daily life. However, it is not so much of an escape from total responsibility because many times I use it as a time for reflection and prayer. I think this is why I experience what Cronon might call a “domesticated sublime” when hiking, because I let myself slow down and take extra time to be thankful when I feel peaceful in nature. I think connecting nature with solitude and spirituality may also be because when we are in non-human places, we are away from material things, money and many other corrupting influences which distract us from God. The vastness of nature also reminds me of God’s power.

Three Issues/ Questions:

“And yet protecting the rain forest in the eyes of First World Environmentalists all too often means protecting it from the people who live there” (Cronon, 6). What are some ways we can protect the environment without compromising the ways of life of people living off the land?

Which of Cronon’s descriptions of nature (the original garden, the frontier, the sacred sublime, etc.) do you most relate to?

What do you think should happen to the Meadowlands—industrialization, restoration, or a mixture of both?

Google three issues:

As Sullivan listed the various animals that used to inhabit the Meadowlands, I became curious as to what the biodiversity is like today.  I found that the Meadowlands are home to 275 plant species, 332 bird species, 50 fish species, 25 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 24 species of mammals. I was also interested in the conservational milestones in the Meadowlands, which this site also describes.

120927012648-01-jimmy-hoffa-horizontal-large-galleryI wanted to know more about the Jimmy Hoffa case and found a relatively recent article. According to one source, he is buried in Oakland County, Michigan and the FBI are trying to get a warrant.


I was interested in learning more about the role of phragmites and found that phragmites are actually an invasive species due to habitat alteration, and while they do prevent many birds from foraging in the marsh, there are also specialized phragmite foragers whose populations significantly decrease when areas of the marshes are destroyed.


I made a mistake, this is too long and I’m unhealthy.

Post #1-Dom

January 24, 2017

Intro: My name is Dominick Anthony Orsini and I am from Massillon, Ohio (NE Ohio). I am a senior majoring in Economics Management and minoring in Accounting. I played football for 4 years at OWU as well as multiple other intramural sports. I also work the front desk in the weight room at OWU.

3 Ideas:

1.) Rid the purchases of water bottles in fraternities by installing convenient water access to each floor of their building.

2.) Rid the campus and surrounding areas in Delaware of invasive plant species.

3.) Look for affordable ways to create renewable energy on  campus.


Current Event: “Trump advances controversial oil pipelines with executive action”(CNN)

-On Tuesday, newly elected President Donald Trump signed an approval to build the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines. With this approval, the pipelines cause risk of polluting water and air throughout its route. Due to these risk, protesters quickly assembled in scrutinizing the Trump Administration, speaking out that the administration is seeking their own interest instead of America’s interest. With this approval of the oil pipelines, which was denied during the Obama Administration, it is possibly foreshadowing a dark future for the environment around our country due to a new president who has already vowed to slash environmental protection regulations.



-Sullivan does a great job of presenting his audience with a piece of nature that has rejected human alteration and development. This book brought to my attention how any piece of nature, ugly or beautiful, can positively affect a person, by bringing them either peace of mind, calmness, or helps them to “escape the real world”. This book opened my eyes up to how much untouched nature around us is being consumed by human use, which is taking away homes from animals and plants that are inhabited there. This made me think about how much land humans have actually affected, which according to national geographic, the “human footprint” has been seen on 83% of earth’s land. This shows that one day people might have to convert to Sullivan and the other’s vision of an industrial toxic wasteland as a spot to enjoy nature and get away from city life.

-In the article “The Trouble with Wilderness; or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature” I found it interesting when Cronon talked about how humans need to remember that we are also apart of the nature, but that wilderness sometimes makes us feel like we are not, which when we feel that way it will lead us to be irresponsible with nature because we create a thought that we are better than it, which in reality we are apart of it.


Blog Post #1

January 24, 2017


My name is Maggie Greer and I am from Dayton, Ohio. I am majoring in Environmental studies and Zoology. I play field hockey for OWU and am in a sorority.

The Meadowlands and The Trouble with Wilderness: 

I enjoyed the book more than I thought I would. A gross polluted industrial swamp has never crossed my mind of interest before but Sullivan was able to keep it interesting and enjoyable to read. I liked the fact that he, himself adventured through the meadowlands and was able to get his information from people he met on the journey. I honestly had no idea that there were such places as industrial dump swamps so I truly learned great amount from this book. What caught my eye in the book was when Don Smith described the meadowlands as an “urban wilderness”(pg.195). Those two words seem so contradictory but when put together it seems as though a perfect description of the meadowlands. Overall I truly enjoyed the book and loved all the crazy stories from the people smith met on his expedition.

The article was very interesting. I have never thought of the concept of wilderness to be an “invention” of the humans. It was engaging to read about how past relationships with the wilderness didn’t create a beautiful and euphoric outlook on the outside world and how we have created the concept of the wilderness being an escape from everyday life, associating it with beauty and peacefulness instead of danger and satan trying to tempt you. I haven’t really associated wilderness with religion before. I have felt “free and spiritual” before in the outside world but I never thought that the wilderness could not only be associated with God but also Satan.

Project Ideas: 

1)composting system in hamwil/throughout campus

2)selling reusable plastic water bottle instead of bottles of water (smart water, dasani, etc.)

3)Solar lighting around campus

4)advocate for less food waste. Educate the campus on the right proportions of food

Current Event:


Plastic has been polluting the ocean for decades. It has come to the point where tiny pieces of plastic are small enough to mingle with plankton, the tiny organisms at the base of the food web that support many fish and whale species. Marine life is surrounded with these micro-plastics especially in the Garbage Patch. It is projected that in 23 years there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean. Dead fish and birds/chicks are dying with their stomachs full of plastics. Around 80% of plastic waste in the oceans originates on land and just 9% of plastic in the U.S. is recycled according to the EPA.Plastic is starting to be in the fish we eat. Californian oceanographer Captain Charles J. Moore says, “Plastic is in the air we breathe, it’s become part of the soil and the animal kingdom. We’re becoming plastic people.”



Post #1

January 24, 2017

Introduction: I’m Kylie Shaw I’m a sophomore and a Biology and Environmental Studies double major with a math minor.  I play varsity soccer and work as a tour guide in the admissions office.  I’m from Washington, Pennsylvania which is a bit outside of Pittsburgh.

Readings:  This book does a really good job of exploring an environment that has nature and industry fighting against each other so strongly.  I’m not surprised that this area ended up the way it did with New York City being so close, but I’m pretty sure the people would have been happier in their town without all of the attempts to build it up.  The original descriptions of the area sounded so beautiful with the trees and the meadow, and any attempt to improve it only made it worse.  This area is a perfect example of too many people seeing land being wasted, when the land is doing exactly what it’s supposed to be doing.

Project Ideas:

Putting up bat boxes around campus as well as teaching people about why it is beneficial to the area.

Contacting the Ohio Wildlife Center to ask if they have any community or field projects that I could do for them.

Collecting litter around campus and around Delaware and possibly making something out of it

Current Event: The invasive species of the Mediterranean Sea due to the Suez Canal has had a harmful affect on the native species and environments and raised concerns for the people who live off of the Mediterranean, but the problem has been ignored up until last year.  Last year at a EuroMarine workshop, the issue was brought up and new ideas to mitigate and manage the problem are being discussed.

Espen’s Intro

January 24, 2017


I’m Espen Stalder, a sophomore Geography and SOAN double major. I’m from Bellingham, Washington, right on the Canadian border (closer to Vancouver than Seattle). At OWU I’m on the ultimate frisbee team and the jazz band. I go hiking whenever possible back home (I at least try to in Ohio)

The Meadowlands:

I enjoyed the book more than I thought I would. I knew the area around Newark was gross and swampy, but never knew that there’s many people that actually appreciate it for what it is. I’ve always been able to appreciate “urban wasteland” stuff as pretty in its own way, but the combination of the two has never seemed appealing at all. I don’t think the book changed my mind about that personally, but it did at least show me that it is possible to appreciate that kind of landscape and that it does have its merits. The book almost read like an ethnography of the people associated with the Meadowlands, and I was surprised at how many creative uses for it people had. I was surprised that a place so close to the largest city in North America could be so relatively isolated. Even with highways all around the author rarely saw other people while canoeing. It’s great that such a place exists, regardless of how swampy. Everyone needs time away from big cities now and then.

Project Ideas:

  1. Bringing recycling programs to the fraternities (and maybe the whole campus eventually). I’m always frustrated that my house has literally no recycling bins anywhere near.
  2. Some way to encourage students to drive to classes less
  3. Looking into ways to help the new Bashford be built with energy efficiency in mind

Current Event:

Over the summer, 4 separate wildfires started in Olympic National Park in Washington. Wildfires are normal in the dry eastern part of the state but Olympic is the wettest place in the lower 48 states, and lightning fires like these usually go out very quickly. The fires weren’t particularly big, but the fact that they started in such a normally wet environment is worrying as climate change continues to make weather more unpredictable.


Blog Post #1

January 24, 2017


My name is Ariana Campos I’m from San Francisco California. I’m a sophomore majoring in Zoology and Environmental Studies. I’m a waitress at Shorty’s Restaurant and I play rugby for OWU.

Interesting Thought

In the article “The Trouble with Wilderness” the idea of wilderness being a hell and heaven is not something I ever thought about. You could meet devils or you could meet god in the wilderness. I’ve never associated wilderness with religion, or God for that matter. It was a different yet interesting perspective.

I think the way this article and The Meadowlands relate can be based off this idea of good and bad. There are aspects of the Meadowlands which were explained to be very beautiful, an oasis. Yet to some it was also viewed as a toxic wasteland.

Project Ideas

  1. More ash trays and garbage cans for cigarette buds around the residential side of campus.
  2. Having composting units available throughout the entire campus.
  3. Stream restoration on campus

Current Event