The Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District has gained a new team member: Maryann the freshwater mussel. Maryann is very passionate about the water quality of her river because she is a filter feeder! If the water quality in her river is poor, Maryann will be negatively affected by a toxic diet. Freshwater mussels help keep our rivers clean, making them vital to the aquatic ecosystems in Ohio.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 11 freshwater mussel species have become extinct, and 46 more are struggling on the endangered species list. The Ohio river basin, encompassing 14 states and over 25 million people, is home to 41% of freshwater mussel species native to North America. Our streams and rivers empty into the basin, eventually emptying into the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. Freshwater mussels filter feed anything and everything we dump into our rivers, causing mussel species in Ohio to be disproportionately affected due to dense populations of mussel species. More specifically, the Little Miami River holds 36 species of freshwater mussels, including two threatened species.
Not only are mussels threatened by water pollution, they are also fighting for resources with the invasive Zebra Mussel species. Zebra mussels are native to Eurasian freshwater bodies, but spread through dumping ballast water into the Great Lakes by ships from Europe. Zebra mussels thrived in this new environment with no natural predators, allowing them to spread rapidly across the country. Native mussel species are reducing in number due to these invasive mussels, causing a decline in overall biodiversity in our rivers.
Freshwater mussels are vital for our rivers’ ecosystem filtration, but many species are declining in population due harvesting for shiny buttons, and nutrient rich sea food in the past. Human impact on the freshwater mussel population can be greatly reduced by keeping our rivers clean, helping to reverse the negative affects of previous harvesting. According to the Ohio River Foundation, our river is a source of drinking water for more than five million people. Without freshwater mussels digesting harmful bacteria such as E. coli, our rivers would become very dirty.
Article written by WCSWCD Intern Abbey Raison
It is incredibly important that we all do our part to prevent water pollution in our river and consume fewer mussel products to protect the native species of freshwater mussels.
You can adopt a mussel just like Maryann! Visit https://secure.donationpay.org/ohioriverfdn/adopt.php to adopt the mussel of your choice, and help the Ohio River Foundation protect the freshwater mussel population. According to the Ohio River Foundation website, "The donors of the Adopt a Mussel program provide much needed funds for food, aquariums and other supplies needed to care for and house these important conservation ambassadors for our Mussels in the Classroom program." These education initiatives align with those of Warren County SWCD and we are proud to support water quality education!
For questions regarding Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District programs and/or technical assistance on water or soil questions, visit http://warrenswcd.com or call, 513-695-1337.
Step 1. Download the free, easy-to-use iNaturalist app (www.iNaturalist.org). After you create your iNaturalist account, search for project “Warren County Nature BioBlitz”. If you have questions about how to use the app, go here: www.inaturalist.org/pages/help
Step 2. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, go outside with your smartphone or camera and become an “Observer.” Look for any and all natural life and snap photos (“observations”) to upload into our project. According to the Department of Natural Resources, Ohio has about 56 species of mammals, 200 species of breeding birds, 84 species and subspecies of amphibians and reptiles, 170 species of fish, 100 species of mollusks, over 4,000 species of plants and fungi, and countless species of insects and other invertebrates.
We can’t wait to see what you discover and share with our project!
Questions? Contact Naturalist Shannon at MotherNaturesClassroom@gmail.com
For a list of Warren County Park District properties, visit www.co.warren.oh.us/Parks
As we celebrate the legacy of Aldo Leopold, the father of wildlife ecology in the United States, I wanted to share an amazing resource for teachers: The Leopold Education Project. The LEP is an interdisciplinary environmental education curriculum. Targeted mainly to middle school and high school students, it can also be adapted for use with families, adults, and elementary age children.
Its goal is to create an ecologically literate citizenry by heightening student awareness of the natural world; fine-tuning the skills necessary to read the landscape; and instilling a love, admiration, and respect for the land so that each individual may develop a personal land ethic.
The objectives of the Leopold Education Project are:
The LEP curriculum is distributed by a volunteer network of State Coordinators, who organize workshops to train formal and non-formal educators throughout the country. LEP State Coordinators also have access to discounted rates on the LEP curriculum, so workshops are an excellent (and economical) opportunity to add Leopold’s land ethic to your teaching toolbox.
To learn more and to find a state coordinator or purchase this LEP curriculum, visit The Aldo Leopold Foundation.
"Believe it or not, you have a bee to thank
for every one in three bites of food you eat."
Each day, pollinators are responsible for 1 out of 3 bites of food we intake on average. Many pollinators are at a critical point in their own survival; there are various reasons contributing to their decline. One thing is for certain, providing more pollen and nectar sources from native flowering vegetation will improve the health and numbers of our pollinators. Pollinator-friendly gardens and landscapes also revive the health of bees, butterflies, moths, birds, bats and other pollinators.
What is the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge (MPGC)?
The Million Pollinator Garden Challenge is a nationwide call to action to preserve and create gardens and landscapes that help revive the health of bees, butterflies, birds, bats and other pollinators across America. As we explore and enjoy the "great outdoors", take time to make connections between pollinators and the healthy food we eat.
Annual Milkweed Pod Collection:
September 1st and goes until October 30th (pods accepted thru November 1st)
The Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative is calling on all Ohioans for another year of Milkweed pod collections! This project started in 2015 as a 7 county pilot and since that time hundreds of Ohioans have worked together collecting thousands of pods across the state.
Milkweed is the host plant for the Monarch butterfly for egg laying and caterpillar rearing. It also serves as a food source for Monarchs and many other pollinator species. . The disappearance of milkweed across the U.S. has contributed to the 80% decline of the eastern monarch butterfly population over the last 20 years. We are working hard in Ohio to change this, and you can help!
Here are helpful and simple collection tips:
• Before you collect seed pods, become familiar with the common milkweed to avoid harvesting pods from similar plants such as hemp dogbane (a poisonous herb) or swamp milkweed.
• It is best to collect the pods when they are dry, grey, or brown. THIS is IMPORTANT! Pod collection starts Sept 1 and runs through Oct 31… please use September as the benchmark time to locate milkweed plants and to keep an eye on the pods while they ripen; then pick them once they look like the picture shown below.
• If the center seam pops with gentle pressure, they can be harvested.
• Store the pods in paper bags (vs. plastic bags collect unwanted moisture).
• Place the date and county collected on the bag when you turn them in.
• Keep the pods in a cool, dry area until you deliver them to the nearest collection site as with Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District located in Lebanon, Ohio or you can find the nearest collection site at:
Numerous pollinator species are at risk; many are listed as federally endangered or threatened. Disturbances such as habitat loss, climate change and application of pesticides contribute greatly to diminishing populations and disrupting ecological interactions.
Become a Bee Spotter...The Cincinnati Zoo has teamed up with Bee Spotter to learn more about the bees in the greater Cincinnati area, and we need your help! Simply snap pictures of bees that you see and submit it with a date and location to beespotter.org/cincinnatizoo. An expert will identify the species and add it to the database.
Native & Local Plant Sale:
Visit the Zoo’s EcOhio Farm and Wetland in Warren County, Saturday September 29th, 2019
Learn more about native local plants and about the group "Pollen Nation" that supports pollinator conservation. Multiple beehives on EcOhio Farm are home to thousands of honeybees that help pollinate the entire ecosystem. Observe honeybees up close through an observation frame, and learn how these busy creatures keep people, and their hives, fed.
EcOhio Farm is located at 2210 north Mason-Montgomery Road, Lebanon, OH 45036.
National Geographic - Honeybee Apis mellifera:
It's A Rap!
Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District wishes to thank our Earth Team Volunteers, Staff, Interns, Partnerships and OCVN's for assisting with Bat Acoustic Surveys this past July. We will highlight some of our results at a "Tech Free Tuesday" Event held on August 6th at Landen Deerfield Park. Come learn about our beautiful, native bats, real bat biofacts and build a batty craft! These programs are FREE to the public! Programming starts at 10:00 am. Address: Deerfield Township 2258 W. St. Rt. 22/3, Maineville, Ohio 45039
What Bats Do For Us
One of the most important things bats do for us is consume vast amounts of insects each night; many of these insects are damaging agriculture pests. In fact, pregnant or nursing mothers of certain bat species can consume their body weight in insects each night. Scientists estimate that throughout the United States bats help save farms $3.7 billion a year in reduced crop damage and pesticide use. Bats also save over $1 billion in the corn industry alone. Ohio's bats are "insectivores". Controlling the pest population is not the only thing bats do, they are also pollinators of certain plants and disperse seeds. "Bats are an important part of the ecosystem and do more for us than we even realize." - Sidney Thomson
Acoustic Bat Survey photos from the Caesar Creek/Warren County route that also ventures into Clinton and Greene Counties.
What You Can Do
Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District partners with the Ohio Division of Wildlife (ODNR) to perform acoustic bat surveys in July; this is a perfect way for people to get involved in tracking populations of bats. In addition, ODNR trains others, county-wide, to perform bat monitoring surveys throughout Ohio. Look on ODNR's website for more information.
Another great way to help bat populations is to build a bat house and count the number of bats that use the house. Being mindful and minimizing the disturbance of bat habitats or places that bats are known to hibernate helps their over-all population and ecosystems. A big factor that increases bat populations is to avoid the possible spread of White Nose Syndrome by people. Bats slowly reproduce, female bats typically have one pup at a time, so it is important for us to do whatever we can to protect our bats.
Data from this project allows the Division of Wildlife to monitor population changes for bats through long-term assessments. As potential threats to bat populations increase in Ohio (e.g., White-nose Syndrome, habitat destruction), it is imperative that we continue to monitor and assess our Ohio bat populations.
White-nose syndrome (WNS) is a disease caused by a fungus that affects bats. It is considered one of the worst wildlife diseases in modern times; the fungus, called Pseudogymnoascus destructans or Pd for short, has killed millions of bats across North America. Pd grows in cold, dark and damp places; it attacks the bare skin of bats while they are hibernating in a relatively inactive state. Pd sometimes looks like a white fuzz on the faces of bats, As the Pd fungus grows, it directly causes changes in bats, making them become more active than usual. Bats with white-nose syndrome may do strange things like fly outside during daytime in the winter. The infected bats burn up fat that is crucial to survive the winter. Besides, Ohio's Bats are nocturnal.
In 2007, Biologists first noted bats were sick and dying from white-nose syndrome in caves near Albany, New York. Cave explorers had taken a photo of bats with a white powder on their noses the year before in this same area. Thus, white-nose syndrome has been in North America since at least 2006.
WCSWCD Volunteer Opportunities:
Acoustic Bat Survey photos from the Little Miami State Park route.
Other WCSWCD Wildlife/Ohio's Bats Blog publications:
Authors and Contributors; Sidney Thomson, Ben Haynes and Marta Farrell
Since the 1995 reintroduction of wolves in Yellowstone, wolves are causing a trophic cascade of ecological change, including helping to increase beaver populations and bring back aspen, and vegetation.
Wolves are highly social animals that live in packs; pack sizes depend on the size and abundance of prey. In Yellowstone, ten wolves is an average pack size. The pack is a complex social family including older members (often the alpha male and alpha female) and subordinates. Each wolf has individual personality traits and roles within the pack. Packs defend their territory from invading packs by howling and scent marking with urine.
Wolves Feed Other Animals: The remains of a carcass left behind, unfinished by wolves, help feed grizzly bears, bald eagles, wolverines and many other scavengers.
Wolves consume a wide variety of large and small prey. They efficiently hunt large prey that other predators cannot often kill, like Bison. In Yellowstone, roughly 90% of their winter prey is elk and 10–15% of their summer prey is deer. Other animals benefit from wolf kills. Like when wolves kill an elk, ravens arrive almost immediately. Coyotes arrive soon after, waiting nearby until the wolves are sated. Bears are usually successful to chase the wolves away. Many other animals, from magpies to invertebrate, consume the decomposing remains.
Discover the history of wolves in Yellowstone, including what happened to the ecosystem when they were eradicated and when they were reintroduced Jan 12, 1995:
The loss of a breeding wolf can affect the fate of the pack: In 2012, biologists at Denali National Park and Preserve noted a drop in wolf sightings following the death of a breeding female from a pack that lived along the Denali Park Road. This was one of several instances where the death of an individual wolf from legal trapping or hunting sparked widespread attention. "The death of a breeding wolf could harm the packs that provide the greatest opportunities for park visitors to see a wolf in the wild, either through a lack of reproduction or the loss of the entire pack."
Biotic (living) and nonliving (abiotic) resources are linked by energy that flows through an ecosystem. Each tropic, or energy, level plays a role in an ecosystem. Food Webs demonstrate the flow of energy through an ecosystem; this helps illustrate how energy is lost between the tropic levels. Energy Pipeline shows how energy from the sun affects top predators such as owls and humans.
Wolves Strengthen Ungulates: Wolves cull sick, old and genetically inferior elk and deer, allowing the healthiest individuals to breed and perpetuate their species.
Wolves Improve Riparian Areas: Wolves have redistributed the elk herds, allowing vegetation to recover along rivers and streams. More willows and aspens provide food for beavers. More beaver ponds benefit aquatic plants and animals. Shade from the trees cools the water, making the habitat better for trout.
Wolves Decrease Coyote Populations: Wolves kill coyotes, so rodent populations increase, benefiting struggling birds of prey. Also, with fewer coyotes, pronghorn antelope calves are less likely to be preyed upon.
Wolves Boost Ecotourism: The reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone has attracted thousands of new visitors each year, adding millions to the local economy annually.
Educational Materials ODNR/Ohio Division of Wildlife:
Mammals of Ohio Field Guide:
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." -Maya Angelo
World Water Day – March 22, 2019
Water is the building block of life. For some, it’s easy to take water for granted..."it just comes out of the faucet anytime you want it." Yet around the globe, there are people who don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water. March 22, World Water Day, is dedicated to drawing attention to the water related issues that affect humans in almost every country. As created by the United Nations, the goal of World Water Day is to bring aide to people who are truly in need.
Try to reduce your water footprint:
Earth is the only known planet in our solar system that humans can live on. No other planet has oceans, Earth is also our only known planet to have bodies of liquid water on its surface and enough oxygen to comfortably breathe. Because we have so much water, Earth is is also referred to as the Blue Planet. The oceans combined with the atmosphere makes our planet look blue from outer space.
About 71 per cent of the Earth's surface is covered with water. Earth is the only planet where water can exist in liquid form on the surface. Less than one percent of Earth's water is drinkable. Most of Earth's water is salty (~ 97%) and over 2/3 of Earth's freshwater is frozen. Earth is the fifth largest planet and the third planet from the Sun.
What is potable water? Water that is suitable or safe for drinking.
Water is not distributed evenly across the Earth. Water can be found in oceans, lakes, rivers, glaciers, underground (ground water), in soil and in Earth's atmosphere. A molecule of water can remain in the ocean for thousands of years. A molecule of water can remain in the atmosphere for as short a time as just a few days.
Visit DiscoverWater.org to experience an interactive
on-line version of related topics.
An estimated 780 million people live without clean, accessible drinking water. Drinking contaminated water can lead to a host of life threatening diseases. Although this may seem like a third world problem, Flint, Michigan showed us that water problems even plague the United States.
Our wildlife also require access to clean water. Every year, countless animals die as a result of water pollution. Pollution can occur in many ways, from physical litter to wastewater and chemical runoff, which causes the water to become toxic to the animals that depend on it for drinking and habitation.
Many of the environmental problems we are coping with are intertwined — such as climate change and ecosystem degradation are related to and sometimes direct causes of water pollution, floods and droughts. — https://nationaltoday.com/world-water-day/
Project WET and Healthy Water Healthy People
Teaching people to understand and value water, promoting water conservation and protection for all: https://www.projectwet.org/
ODNR Division of Wildlife Aquatic Education:
ODNR Division of Wildlife Conservation Education:
USGS All About Water: water.usgs.gov/edu/
2019 Caesar Creek Lake Calendar of Events:
#MountainsMatter: International Mountain Day 2018 Theme
Mountains matter yet they are often forgotten. Mountains play a vital role in providing essential "goods and services", especially water, to our planet. Mountain ecosystems are centers of biological diversity. These ecosystems, however, face severe threats from unsustainable land use practices (ex. overgrazing or non-conservation agriculture), illegal wood extraction, development of large-scale infrastructure (dams, roads) and unsustainable natural resource projects (fossil fuels, mining, & increased hydrocarbons). Our human well-being and livelihoods cannot be sustained without healthy ecosystems. Mountains also provide vulnerability in the "face of climate change", People living among mountains face subsistence challenges brought about by elevation, rough topography and even severe climate. https://adaptation-undp.org/projects/mountain-eba
"Going, Going, Gone" - Glacier National Park Photo by Marta Farrell
"Glacier National Park continues to lose its glaciers as global temperatures rise. Initially, this park had about 150 glaciers when it was founded in 1910. "Today, only 26 still meet the 25-acre threshold to be called a glacier." Credit: Jinrui Qu/CC-BY-SA-2.0
#MountainsMatter for Water: Think of mountains as the world’s 'water towers’, providing between 60-80% of all freshwater resources for our planet. Reliable resources indicate that glaciers in mountain ranges around the world are retreating and disappearing due to climate change. As many as 600 glaciers have disappeared completely over past decades, affecting water supplies relied on by billions living downstream.
Five Thousand Miles of Wild; "It's More than a River, it's our way of life."
https://www.5000miles.org/ #5000 Miles of Wild
In 2018, we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act. We continue this celebration in 2019 as tribute to the 50th Anniversary of the Little Miami River being named a State and National Scenic River.
#MountainsMatters for Disaster Risk Reduction as climatic variations are triggering disasters. Avalanches, mudflows and landslides are tumbling downstream, stripping bare forests, flooding communities and populations.
#MountainsMatter for Tourism: Mountain destinations attract roughly 15-20% of global tourism; these are areas of important heritage, knowledge and cultural diversity, . Such tourism has potential to affect or foster economic development especially in remote and isolated regions. Unfortunately, many mountain communities are not benefiting and still live in poverty.
#MountainsMatter for Food: Mountain regions are important centers of agricultural biodiversity; they are "home to many of the foods that come to our table"...rice, potatoes, quinoa, tomatoes and barley. Sadly, such regions are home to some of the hungriest peoples in the world given a high vulnerability to food shortages and malnutrition; climate change is directly affecting mountain agriculture.
#MountainsMatter for Youth: Despite magnificent landscapes, rural life in mountainous regions can be "tough", particularly for the youth; abandoning their villages in search of employment elsewhere has lead to an absence of young people. This directly increases labor shortages. Consequently, migration from mountain regions has lead to an increase in abandoned agricultural, land degradation to even forest fires. Consequently, many cultural values and ancient traditions are lost.
#MountainsMatter for Indigenous Peoples: Many mountainous areas host ancient indigenous communities that often posses and maintain unique knowledge, languages and traditions. Mountain peoples have developed unique land-use systems; they posses a wealth of knowledge and strategies that have accumulated over generations, including how to adapt to climate variability.
#MountainsMatter for Biodiversity: Half of the world’s biodiversity hotspots are concentrated in mountains where approximately 25% of terrestrial biological diversity is supported. Mountains are home to many rare wildlife such as gorillas, snow leopards, the majestic tahr and strikingly, beautiful plants such as orchids and lobelias. International Mountain Day is an occasion to create a large social movement that can bring mountain issues "at large".
Take a "step-up" and raise attention to mountains. #MountainsMatter
"Human wellbeing and livelihoods cannot be sustained without healthy ecosystems." UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME
Some of the many "Public Lands to Explore in Winter" See: https://www.doi.gov/blog/20-public-lands-explore-this-winter
Gallery Photos by Marta Farrell
Seasons in the Smokies: https://www.nps.gov/media/photo/gallery.htm?id=28D901AE-1DD8-B71C-078D04CCD4FBAFBC
Glacier National Park in Montana
Photo above by Bill Hayden, National Park Service
If you love snow, Mother Nature blankets the landscape in white at Glacier National Park. As the snow accumulates in Glacier, snowshoeing and skiing are among some of the favorite recreational activities in the park along with watching the wildlife come out to play.
Glacier National Park Gallery Photos by Marta Farrell
Yellowstone National Park
Photo above by the National Park Service
Winter at Yellowstone National Park indicates fewer crowds, frigid temperatures, and steaming geyser basins, hibernation or even migration. Skis, snowshoes and snowmobiles are often the primary modes of transportation as roads close, rivers and lakes freeze and snowstorms transform the park. One of the most amazing winter sights at the park is the ice dam at Lower Falls. Often growing over 100 feet tall, it’s known as an "astounding natural spectacle".
Yelllowstone N.P. Gallery Photos by M.J. Farrell and Marta Farrell
Starry Night: The Milky Way glows in the sky over a geologic formation known as Monument Rocks in Gove County, Kansas. The Milky Way is best viewed on moonless summer nights, far from the light pollution created by cities and towns. Astronomers believe our galaxy contains about 200 billion stars.
— Travis Heying / The Wichita Eagle via AP
Year in Space Pictures - 2018: https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/year-space-pictures-2018-ncsl950631?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Morning%20Rundown%20Dec%2031&utm_term=Morning%20Rundown
Geologists create a basic unit called a formation to classify and map layers of rock. Thus, a formation is a rock unit that is distinctive enough in appearance that a geologic mapper can tell it apart from the surrounding rock layers; also, the rock formation must be thick enough and extensive enough to plot on a map.
"Formations are given names that include the geographic name of a permanent feature near the location where the rocks are well exposed. If the formation consists of a single or dominant rock type, such as shale or sandstone, then the rock type is included in the name." - By Christine Wilkerson, Utah Geological Survey "What is A Formation?"
Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado
Photo above by Carl Finocchiaro
"Cracks in Dream Lake create a gorgeous but perilous, natural tapestry at
Rocky Mountain National Park."
Always test ice first before walking on it; never take chances when walking on ice.
In the winter, enjoy site-seeing, watching wildlife, sledding, snowshoeing,
cross-country skiing, or hiking while exploring
Rocky Mountain’s spectacular mountainous environments.
Iditarod National Historic Trail in Alaska
Photo above by Kevin Keeler, Bureau of Land Management.
Encompassing a 1,500-mile system of winter trails, the Iditarod National Historic Trail initially connected ancient Alaska Native villages and opened up Alaska for the gold rush; it continues to play a vital role for travel and recreation. This trail is maintained by the Bureau of Land Management and it is often identified with the famous annual Iditarod - sled dog race. This annual race starts each year in March. There are upmost challenges the racer and the 21-dog team face given harsh conditions across rugged but beautiful Alaskan terrain. Meanwhile, dog mushing is the traditional Alaska winter transportation. Dogsledding, or the practice of a musher guiding a team of dogs pulling a sled over ice and snow, may serve multiple purposes. "Whether it’s a casual run along public recreational trails, racing against competitors, or hauling supplies, public lands have much to offer." -https://www.blm.gov/programs/recreation/recreation-activities/alaska
November 15 - America Recycles Day
Take the #BeRecycled Pledge
Top 5 Impacts of Recycling:
Explore ways to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle at Home, at School, at Work
& in your Community...
Learn how reducing, reusing, and recycling can help you, your community and the environment by saving money, energy and natural resources. Recycling programs are managed at the state and local level—find information on recycling in your community.
"Student project leads to 1st foam tray recycler in state"
"What began as a Little Miami middle school research project has led to a first-of-its-kind Styrofoam tray recycler in Ohio." Instead of sitting in a landfill for centuries, used Styrofoam school lunch trays are being converted to paving bricks. After undergoing a process called densification (short 10 hour process), the trays are converted into a single square brick that feels like glass or tile but is solid as a rock. Densification involves removing air from Styrofoam and using heat to melt it into a liquid resin that, when cooled, forms bricks from bundling multiple foam lunch trays.
Foam lunch trays turned into reusable products:
Little Miami is the first school district in the state of Ohio to use a StyroGenie machine to create a closed-loop recycling system for the foam trays used in some of the district’s cafeterias. Findings included that this machine presented a possible cost effective path to reduce the schools’ foam tray footprint by more than 90%, reducing trash volume and waste disposal costs.
Save money by decreasing waste removal costs:
"The StyroGenie is a low cost machine that is easy to use and is a responsible choice for the environment. Standing at six feet by four feet, the StyroGenie can hold up to 1200 trays in each cycle. While it takes about ten hours for the trays to be densified, the machine only uses the same amount of electricity as an average hair dryer. In addition, it operates without any moving parts or harmful emissions, making it safe for the environment." -
Little Miami Schools Food Service Director, Rachel Tilford, purchased the StyroGenie machine for the Little Miami District after learning about its existence through a group of middle school students (members of a local First LEGO League team). The team’s challenge in the 2015 competition was to identify a piece of trash to research and invent a solution to "help the trash problem". The students chose Styrofoam cafeteria trays; they researched ways on how to reduce waste in Little Miami lunchrooms. That’s when they found out about the StyroGenie.
View in the News video:
Thank you Mrs. Tilford for taking extra time to meet with Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District and with our LMHS Intern and Volunteer, Ms. Honigford.
We also extend our gratitude to LMJH Principal, Mr. Ryan Cherry, for sharing more about the recycling efforts on a "school wide" basis. We enjoyed learning more about this phenomenal idea and how the idea came about.. We hope more districts can "get on board".
Other StryoGenies in the news - Lake Hills Elementary School, Michigan City,
"The school's trash output in the cafeteria has gone down from 52 to 15 bags a day."
The cost of the StyroGenie for Lake Hills Elementary was $12,000, "but it should pay for itself in two years from refuse disposal savings." Plus, "It's the right thing to do," - STEM coordinator at the school said,
Bricks were painted and placed in the school garden for decorative purposes and for a walkway incentive. The city's street department was contacted for additional use for the bricks.
"In addition to promoting a safe environment, the Styro-Genie shows students what is possible if they open up their minds." Lake Hills Elementary is also preparing kids to be problem solvers and creative thinkers as to solve some of the problems the world might have in the future.
Resources for Students and Educators:
Office of Environmental Education: epa.ohio.gov/oee/
Grants: Ohio EPA's competitive grants provide opportunities for communities, local governments, businesses and non-profit organizations to establish and implement recycling, recycling market development, litter prevention and scrap tire recycling programs. See what grants are awarded on an annual basis. Applications are generally available in October and the deadline for application is early February.
Additional Funding Opportunities: Ohio EPA has funding available for a wide variety of environmental projects such as helping communities plan and complete water and wastewater projects, promoting environmental education and reducing the impact of nonpoint source pollution. For more information about the funding sources available, click on the link below or view a summary of funding programs.
Rural Action’s Zero Waste Pledge Program encourages local organizations to strive for zero waste. They help businesses and organizations achieve their goals by working one-on-one with them to identify waste that is being produced and ways to reduce it. The zero waste pledge shows the business is committed to using natural resources wisely, increasing its environmental consciousness, and supporting the local economy through waste reduction, recycling, composting, and reuse.
We are pleased to have Little Miami High School Senior, Ms. Honigford, intern and volunteer with Warren County SWCD and the Warren County Water Department. We wish Ms. Honigford the best in her endeavors as she further explores environmental engineering careers.
Green Umbrella’s Local Food Action Team (LFAT) is working to strengthen our regional food system by encouraging all consumers to take the 10% Shift: Eat Local Challenge.
PROMOTE LOCAL FOOD CONSUMPTION
Green Umbrella Regional Sustainability Alliance Mission: The Local Food team brings together local farmers, distributors, farmers markets, cooperatives, community gardeners, community supported agriculture organizations, health professionals, restaurants, extension services, educational organizations, government entities and processors to develop strategies to increase the demand for local foods, increase production and identify new markets for local foods.
You can participate by taking the 10% Shift to Local Food and pledging to shift 10% of your food budget to purchase local foods. Learn more here! You can also join in the work by joining Green Umbrella and attending Local Food Action Team meetings--typically held the first Thursday of the month. greenumbrella.wildapricot.org/Local-Food
Greener Living: https://www.epa.gov/environmental-topics/greener-living
Information about state-level Master Gardener Volunteer programs and activities is available at http://mastergardener.osu.edu.
Warren County Extension will be hosting the next Master Gardener volunteer class beginning in September 2018. This training will run through November. If you have any questions contact Beth Giffin at 513.695.1311 or email@example.com . The application deadline is August 17, 2018. You must be accepted to the program, attend an eight-week class, and complete 50 hours of volunteer activity. More information, including costs, a program application and a flyer can be found here: https://warren.osu.edu/program-areas/master-gardener-volunteers/becoming-master-gardener
Active Master Gardner Projects in Warren County, Ohio:
Working with county Extension personnel, Master Gardeners provide such educational services to their communities as: answering gardening questions from the public; conducting plant clinics; gardening activities with children, senior citizens or disabled persons; beautifying the community; developing community or demonstration gardens; and other horticulture activities.
Contact a Project Leader to Volunteer!
Local Ohio State University Extension Warren County Office: