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The Oregon State University Sustainability Blog

Sixth Annual Natural Areas Celebration Week

May 2nd, 2015

It’s time for the sixth annual Natural Areas Celebration Week, a celebration of the incredible natural resources in our community. Join the celebration for a hike, walk, workshop, or lecture! Every event is family-friendly, free and open to the public, so come and spend some time exploring the natural world around us. Below are a few of the events happening the first weekend, click here to see the full calendar!NACW-top-2015-1024x511 (1)

Saturday, May 2

Marys Peak Interpretation Workshop
Saturday, May 2 – 8am-5pm
Participants will be trained over two full days to be Marys Peak Interpreters of the cultural and natural history of Marys Peak. Registration is limited to 25 people. Information pertaining to the workshop will be provided upon request.
Meeting Location: Registration Required
Contact Information: Dave Eckert maryspeakinterpreters@gmail.com
Sponsor: Alliance for Recreation and Natural Areas (Marys Peak Alliance), US Forest Service

Work Party at Fiechter House & Cabell Barn
Saturday, May 2 – 10am
This is the annual fluff ‘n buff before the Open House the following weekend. Come sweep out the 1910 barn and gather owl pellets, or vacuum the 1850s Fiechter House and clean the windows!
Meeting Location: Fiechter House. South on 99W to mile marker 93; follow signs for Finley Refuge. After crossing Muddy Creek look for Fiechter House on the left. Park by the picket fence.
Contact Information: Finley Wildlife Refuge: 541.757.7236
Sponsor: PreservationWORKS

Raptor Conservation Program @ Chintimini Wildlife Center
Saturday, May 2 
– 10am-2pm
Come meet the Chintimini Wildlife Center’s live educational birds of prey and learn about Chintimini’s new weekly Raptor Conservation Program.  This program will feature hawks, owls, falcons and vultures and will include free-flight demonstrations with some of the birds.
Meeting Location: 311 NW Lewisburg Ave, Corvallis, OR
Contact Information: Zach Heesch: (541) 745-5324
Sponsor: Chintimini Wildlife Center

Wildbird Wetland Walk
Saturday, May 2 – 1-4pm
Family Fun Bird Adventure along an easy boardwalk trail include Hands on stations for Bird ID, Nest Building, Food searching,  and wetland habitat Investigation. (Bring your own Binoculars or borrow a pair at welcome table) Suggested donation $10. Details at www.corvallisenvironmentalcenter.org
Meeting Location: Sunset Park Board walk (45th and SW Country Club Drive)
Contact Information:  www.corvallisenvironmentalcenter.org
Sponsor: Avery House of the Corvallis Environmental Center

Sunday, May 3

Marys Peak Interpretation Workshop
Sunday, May 3 – 8am-5pm
Participants will be trained over two full days to be Marys Peak Interpreters of the cultural and natural history of Marys Peak. Registration is limited to 25 people. Information pertaining to the workshop will be provided upon request.
Meeting Location: Registration Required
Contact Information: Dave Eckert maryspeakinterpreters@gmail.com
Sponsor: Alliance for Recreation and Natural Areas (Marys Peak Alliance), US Forest Service

Spring Garden Festival
Sunday, May 3 – 9am-4pm
Mark your calendar for the 28th Annual Madison Avenue Task Force’s Spring Garden Festival on The Arts Center Plaza, 7th and Madison. Each year the Festival features dozens of vendors and information booths offering gardening products, advice and inspiration that will help you limber up your green thumb. We hope to see you there!
Contact Information: www.madisonavenuetaskforce.org
Sponsor: Madison Avenue Task Force

Forest Health Post November Ice Storm @ Peavy Arboretum
Sunday, May 3 – 9am-12pm
Steve Pilkerton, a forester and forest engineer with the OSU College of Forestry’s Research Forests, will discuss the types of damages sustained, what the forest community can learn in the aftermath from the type and pattern of damage, what and when to salvage, and to what extent forest practices might change, if at all. The route will most likely be along the first 1.25 miles of Davies RD 580, starting at the Lewisburg Saddle, with little or no elevation gain. Limited to 25 participants. Contact leader for meeting time and place when pre-registering.
Meeting Location: RSVP for Meeting Directions
Contact Information: Robert Verhoogen: at rverhoogen@mac.com or 541-745-5185
Sponsor: Marys Peak Group of the Sierra Club

Oak Creek Aquatic Ecology Experience
Sunday, May 3 – 2pm-4pm
In our special Aquatic Ecology class, we will explore Oak Creek and learn about the basic environmental quality of the waterway through the various life that makes Oak Creek its home! We will do our own water testing and learn about environment interactions within the riparian zone near Hesthavn . We will spend part of the time learning about food webs and ecosystem health while hiking around Hesthavn and Macdonald Forest. The second half of the session we will carefully be exploring Oak Creek, collecting macro invertebrates, and enjoying some aquatic testing and fun data collecting! *Geared towards 4th grade and older.*
Meeting Location: Hesthavn Nature Center, 8590 NW Oak Creek Drive
Contact Information: Jessica Brothers: educationaudubon@gmail.com
Sponsor: Audubon Society of Oregon

“12 Easy Steps to a Sustainable Garden” Presentation
Sunday, May 3 – 6.30pm
Hear from Lane County Master Gardener Jody Fairchild as she leads a presentation on ‘The 12 steps to a Sustainable Garden’, a quick synopsis of a 2 day class offered in the Lane County Master Gardener class. This presentation will also cover components of the ‘Wildlife in the Garden’ program discussing the importance of backyards for wildlife and suggestions for gardeners to think about wildlife in their garden design and examples on how to do it.
Meeting Location: Corvallis-Benton Library – Main Meeting Room, 645 NW Monroe, Corvallis
Sponsor: Natural Areas Action Team



Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center links research, education and outreach

May 1st, 2015


As part of our annual sustainability report building for FY14, we learned about a fun connection between research, education and outreach.  The Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NNMREC) was established at OSU in 2008 and is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy to facilitate the development of marine renewable energy technologies via research, education, and outreach. Partner universities include the University of Washington and the University of Alaska Fairbanks.


NNMREC hosts weekly educational forums on campus, has developed hands-on educational materials for K-12 (accessible through all Oregon STEM centers), and is assisting in the development of two college-level courses on renewable energy technology. During FY14, NNMREC hosted 22 presentations at OSU on marine renewable energy through Marine Forum, engaged over 60 K-12 students in build-it-yourself wave energy converter activities, and began developing a college-level introductory course and textbook on renewable energy technology.  Keep making waves, NNMREC!


Washington Way Pocket Park Project

April 30th, 2015



Oregon State campus is home to many beautiful green spaces, gathering spots, recreational areas, and study spaces. Starting this May, we we need your help to develop another beautiful addition to the campus. OSU is embarking on a collaborative pocket park design effort for the vacant space left after construction of the 15th & Washington Way street improvements in 2014. This May, there will be three workshops for developing the new green space, so make sure to come and voice your opinion.

Workshop #1 – Introduction and Brainstorming

May 1, 2015
10:00 am—4:00 pm
MU211 American Indian Conference Room

Workshop #2 – Reviewing Concepts and Creating a Preferred Alternative

May 18, 2015
10:00 am—4:00 pm
MU211 American Indian Conference RoomPocket-Park-Diagram

Workshop #3 – Review and Discussion of Vision for Park Space

June 4, 2015
10:00 am—4:00 pm
MU206 Asian/Pacific American Conference Room


With input from the campus and Corvallis communities, the design will reflect the desired and expected use of students, staff, faculty, and community members for construction completion by fall 2015. For more information about the park or the meeting times, click here!

Waste Watchers Spotlight: Amy Salisbury

April 28th, 2015

P1090370Name: Amy Salisbury

Title/Nickname: Membership Chair

Degree: Civil Engineering

Year in School: Freshman

When did you start volunteering with the Waste Watchers?

October 2014

What has been your favorite project or event that the Waste Watchers have been involved in?

“Spin to Win” and “Got a Mug? Get FREE Coffee!”

What keeps you volunteering with the Waste Watchers?

I really like what they are centered around (waste reduction) and I like that they are so involved on campus. There is always something going on, some kind of campaign or event or competition and it’s all for a good cause. It feels good to volunteer some of my time to help educate my community in creating a healthier planet.


Amy staffs the Eco-Representative booth during the 2015 Community Fair. Click to view larger.

What would you like to see the Waste Watchers do in the future?

I would love for them to find a way to get involved in sporting events. I know it’s fairly difficult but it would be amazing outreach. Hopefully something can work out in the future.

What is one way you reduce waste in your everyday life?

I try to use resuable items as much as I can. I bring my own cup for to-go drinks and I always refuse a bag – plastic or not. I also just started regularly composting and that takes away a lot of waste.

Want to learn more about the Waste Watchers? Visit the volunteer webpage to learn more about how to get involved.

Arbor Day At OSU

April 24th, 2015

Happy Arbor Day everyone! Oregon State has a long long-running tradition of tree planting, care and stewardship and this year is no exception. This week we have been celebrating  Beyond Earth Day, ten days of exciting events to raise awareness of and engagement in sustainability.

For the last six years, Oregon State has been the recipient of Tree Campus USA, awarded by the Arbor Day Foundation and the Oregon Department of Forestry. The Tree Campus standards require the school to have a campus tree advisory committee, campus tree care plan, campus tree program with dedicated annual expenditures, Arbor Day observance, and a service learning project. OSU has succeeded in receiving the award every year since 2010.   bicycle,

In addition to tree care on campus, OSU landscapers have taken many steps to reduce their operation’s impact on the environment via:

  • Incorporating native and/or drought tolerant plants into landscaped areas
  • Leave grass clippings on the lawns to return nutrients
  • Obtain annual Oregon Dept. of Agriculture training to maintain pesticide best practices and application licenses
  • Maintain the campus to different standards based on need (i.e., MU quad vs. low profile areas)
  • Use of Maxi-com computerized irrigation system with weather-based watering to conserve water
  • Minimal use of only slow release fertilizers to avoid fertilizer run off
  • On-campus handling and chipping of woody debris and compostable material
  • Application as groundcover of mulch and wood chips to reduce watering and weeding needs

To learn more about Oregon State’s natural features, check it out on our website here. Also, don’t forget that Beyond Earth Day events continue until Tuesday, April 28th!

Get your fix at the April Repair Fair!

April 23rd, 2015

April Repair Fair

Bring those broken or damaged items to the April Repair Fair on Tuesday, April 28 from 3:30 – 5:30 PM. This time, the event will be held at the Student Experience Center Plaza (2251 SW Jefferson Way) located between the Student Experience Center and the MU Quad.

Volunteers will teach you how to fix your broken items; attend demos to learn more skills! See the list below for this month’s skills and demonstrations. The event is free and open to all.

Repair skills offered:

  • Appliances (small items only, please)
  • Bicycles
  • Clothing (hand and machine sewing)
  • Electronics (small items only, please)
  • Housewares (furniture, ceramics, lamps, etc.)
  • Instruments (woodwinds, brass, and guitars only)
  • Jewelry
  • And more!


3:30-4:00 pm

  • Cut ‘Cho Hair: Cutting your own hair empowers you to define yourself. This demonstration includes tips and tricks for becoming your own hairdresser. Be prepared for a small spiritual journey that will be useful for the rest of your life. (Leader: Jesse Pettibone, Director of the Student Sustainability Initiative)
  • Basic Shoe & Boot Repair: Drop by to learn how re-attach loose soles, fix scrapes and tears, and polish shoes to lengthen the life of your footwear. We’ll show you how it’s done and you can try your hand at it with our sample shoes. (Leaders: GEO 300 class project group)
  • Everything You Want to Know About Recycling: Ever had a specific waste item and not known if it should go in the trash or recycling? Drop by this demo booth and learn from the masters – the Master Recyclers of Linn and Benton Counties! Play the sorting game or simply bring your questions and questionable items. (Leaders: Linn Benton Master Recyclers)

4:00-4:30 pm

  • Bombs for Butterflies: We are going to teach you how to make beautiful landing patches for butterflies by making seed balls! (Leader: Lauren Armony, Garden Manager for the Student Sustainability Initiative)
  • Basic Shoe & Boot Repair continues (see description above)
  • Everything You Want to Know About Recycling continues (see description above)

4:30-5:30 pm

  • Turning Tubes into Treasures: Bicycle inner tubes are replaced very regularly, leaving discarded tubes to be destined to be thrown away. Luckily for people who don’t like throwing things in the trash, there are many things that can be done with these inner tubes. With a bit of nylon thread you can make bags, wallets, and belts. Come by this demo to learn how to make a belt out of bike inner tubes. (Leader: Tyler Coleman, volunteer with the Waste Watchers).
  • Basic Shoe & Boot Repair continues (see description above)
  • Everything You Want to Know About Recycling continues (see description above)

Additional Details

Note: We don’t have spare parts, but will do our best to repair what we can and/or refer you to where you could find the parts you need. If you have parts already, we may be able to help you install them.

Directions:The Student Experience Center Plaza is the new outdoor, covered area between the Memorial Union and the new Student Experience Center (S.E.C.). View the S.E.C. on the OSU campus map (http://oregonstate.edu/campusmap/?locations=1025) to see the locations and parking options.

Join this event on Facebook.

Save the Date: May Repair Fair

Can’t make it to the April event? Don’t worry: we will be hosting our second Repair Fair on Wednesday,May 13 from 5:30 – 7:30 PM. Repair skills and demos are TBA.

Waste Watchers Spotlight: Zach Stark

April 21st, 2015
Zach teaches attendees how to recycle during last year's Earth Week Community Fair.

Zach teaches attendees how to recycle during the 2014 Earth Week Community Fair. Click to view larger.

Name: Zachary Stark

Title/Nickname: Zachster

Degree: Electrical Engineering

Year in School: Sophomore

When did you start volunteering with the Waste Watchers?

Last year, winter term

What has been your favorite project or event that the Waste Watchers have been involved in?

Repair Fairs hands down.

Zach staffs the Waste Watchers booth at the 2015 Community Fair. Click to view larger

Zach staffs the Waste Watchers booth at the 2015 Community Fair. Click to view larger

What keeps you volunteering with the Waste Watchers?

The people are so nice and welcoming while the work is meaningful.

What would you like to see the Waste Watchers do in the future?

Work on the athletics department. They should really care about going green. Their waste is very significant.

What is one way you reduce waste in your everyday life?

I keep a recycle bag next to my trash bag to remind myself to recycle when I’m cooking.

Want to learn more about the Waste Watchers? Visit the volunteer webpage to learn more about how to get involved.

OSU Sustainability Office Now Hiring!

April 17th, 2015


The OSU Sustainability Office seeks outgoing and enthusiastic students to fill two different paid positions beginning in May 2015 and running through at least the end of the 2016 school year. Positions are available to both work-study and non-work-study students. Applications are due by 5PM, Thursday, April 30.

Energy Project Student Technical Assistant
$11.00/hr | 10-20 hrs/wk | 20-40 hrs/wk in summer

This position is responsible for reading OSU utility meters, maintaining and transporting the Solar Trailer, helping to plan and manage energy and water conservation projects, surveying buildings, and joining colleagues for various outreach events. For the complete position description please click here.

Digital Media and Marketing Student Outreach Assistant
$10.50/hr | 10-20 hrs/wk | 20-30 hrs/wk in summer

Delivers marketing and outreach via the web, social media, and in person. This position supports Sustainability Office staff in developing and delivering various programs that promote behavior change. For the complete position description please click here.

To apply for either or both positions send a concise cover letter and resume to brandon.trelstad@oregonstate.edu by 5PM, Thursday, April 30.

SSI Research Grant “Food Insecurity” by Juliet Sutton

April 16th, 2015

“In coping with food insecurity, students often purchase lower quality and less healthy foods than they would like. Essentially all students expressed the desire to eat healthy foods, but were blocked from doing so mostly because of cost and sometimes because of a lack of transportation or cooking equipment. Many mentioned organic and environmentally responsible foods in describing their idea of healthy eating. Contrary to the image of the slobby uncaring student, most people I talked to had sophisticated ideas about what is best for them to eat, even when they couldn’t always choose those things for themselves. Most people did not use any other sources of free food or alternative food procurement such as gardening, which surprised me. There were no noticeable differences between people who grew up with food insecurity and those that did not. Shame, as mentioned above was the most noticeable social impediment to alleviating food insecurity. Institutional impediments that came up frequently were the difficulty for students to access government assistance, the inadequate salaries for graduate students, and specifically for students living in the dorms the cost and lack of cooking equipment on campus. In addition to their current excellent food education efforts, I recommend that the SSI continue to focus on increasing access and awareness of helpful resources for students, and advocating for socially and economically sustainable practices with the university.

The SSI award helped me a lot in that the extra income allowed me to focus more fully on my research and other academic work instead of looking for other sources of income. My connection to the SSI has helped me to become more integrated and aware of programs and groups that are relevant to my work on campus. In particular my involvement with Hunger and Homelessness Week this fall, although not specifically connected to this award, was really great in spreading awareness of my work, networking, and practicing presenting my research. Thank you once again for awarding me this grant.” ~ Juliet Sutton

Beyond Earth Day Begins This Saturday, April 18th!

April 15th, 2015


Get ready everyone, Beyond Earth Day is almost here! OSU has celebrated Earth Day since 1970 and we are still going strong! Starting this Saturday, April 18th, there will be ten days of fun and engaging events that involve the interconnectedness between people and the planet. From a sunset trail run to an All Species Masquerade, there’s something in it for everyone. Don’t forget to visit the Beyond Earth Day website for more information, and take a look at the list of events below to find out what exciting events you would like to be a part of!


Saturday, April 18

Monday, April 20

Tuesday, April 21

Wednesday, April 22

Thursday, April 23

Friday, April 24

Saturday, April 25

Monday, April 27

Tuesday, April 28

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