Introduction, Environmental Issue, and Project Ideas — Evelynn Wyatt

Introduction: Hi, I’m a senior English and biology double major who enjoys reading and writing about the natural world. I’m from Louisville, KY, but over the summer I worked as a counselor and nature educator at a camp in Hocking Hills, OH. On campus I work in the greenhouse and serve as a writing and botany tutor. I hope that this course will improve my understanding of environmental issues, sustainability practices, and ecological processes.

Environmental Issue: A recent study published in Ecological Modeling attempted to determined the monetary value of all trees planted inside ten distinct “megacities”. The researchers found that the trees in places like Beijing, Los Angeles, and Mumbai provide approximately $500 million in benefits (per city) to the people that live there. These “tree-based ecosystem benefits” include reducing air pollution, decreasing stormwater runoff, lowering energy costs associated with heating and cooling buildings, and reducing carbon emissions. Those involved with the study recommend planting a greater number of trees in order to increase the monetary and personal value of these benefits. After reading this article I was curious to know if these cities will end up experiencing a large number of environmental crises all at once if they choose to reduce trees and green space in favor of expansion.


Project Ideas:

  1. Reestablish the student garden outside of the observatory using sustainable methods. Improving the design and aesthetic quality of the area to encourage student visitation and use.
  2. Create a database and map of the trees within the Jane Decker Arboretum on campus using arcGIS.
  3. Weed, prune, and replant the mini prairie habitat across from the science center parking lot (near the echo circle). Develop a permanent maintenance plan for its upkeep by future students.


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