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The Oregon State University Sustainability Blog

OSU Master Gardeners: Growing Gardeners Conference

June 21st, 2018



The Oregon Master Gardener Association, in cooperation with Oregon State University Extension service, is holding its Growing Gardeners conference July 13th through July 14th. The gardening symposium, formerly known as Mini College, is taking place at Linfield College in McMinnville and will feature a wide range of speakers and 38 workshop sessions!

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Philip Mote

This year’s keynote speakers are Philip Mote and Gail Langellotto. Dr. Mote is the director of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute, the Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives, and a professor in OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences; he will speak about what climate change means for gardeners on Thursday.

On Friday, Gail Langellotto, statewide coordinator of the OSU Extension Service Master Gardener program, will share a vision for the role of gardening in environmental sustainability and public health.


Attendees will get to pick between 38 sessions, where they will learn about everything from orchids and plant identification to dwarf conifers and rain gardens. There are many types of sessions, including hands on workshops like building a birdhouse and creating table centerpieces, as well as less involved lectures. Additionally, there will be four tours to choose from.

More info

  • Click here for speaker bios and a full program
  • Register here


OSUsed Store open for special sale this Saturday

June 19th, 2018

Yard Sale graphic

The OSUsed Store is hosting a special sale on Saturday, June 23, 2018 at 10:00 am – 1:00 pm featuring res. hall move-out merchandise (lamps, rugs, décor, small furniture, mini fridges, electronics, OSU gear and other housewares).

The OSUsed Store also carries computers and computer accessories, furniture (desks, file cabinets, tables, chairs, bookcases, etc.), office supplies, sporting goods, household items, bicycles and much more.

Join this event on Facebook.

We are located at 644 SW 13th Street in Corvallis (view on Google Maps). The store is operated by OSU Surplus Property and sells surplus equipment and material to departments on campus as well as members of the public during special public sales, in an effort to reduce landfill waste and keep money in the university.

Our public sales provide an opportunity for the general public to make personal purchases. Departments, government agencies, and qualified non-profits are welcome to shop 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays.

See more sale dates on our calendar. For more information, visit our OSUsed Store webpage or contact us.

150 Species Sustained

June 16th, 2018

OSU’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife has been operating since 1935, helping to manage the conservation of species through their research. The goal of faculty and students is to provide the public with knowledge to help make more informed decisions on “issues of conservation, sustainable use and ecosystem restoration”, and to contribute to the conservation of natural resources. The Department continues to grow every year — providing “comprehensive research, education, and outreach programs” pertaining to the management of fish and wildlife resources and conservation biology.

As part of OSU 150, the department created 150 Species Sustained Project – a slideshow that encompasses 150 species that have been influenced by OSU researchers through policy, management decision, or conservation plans. Each slide contains photos, facts, and the names of the researchers behind these accomplishments. For example, see the entry for Red-Legged Kittiwake, influenced by Rachael Orben:

Latin name: Rissa brevirostris: Red-legged kittiwakes are endemic to the Bering Sea. In the 1980s populations of this seabird declined, prompting the IUCN to list the species as ‘Vulnerable’. Reasons for the decline are unknown. In 2010, Dr. Rachael Orben began tracking this species during its winter migrations so that its year-round spatial ecology could be considered when assessing factors influencing populations changes.  Additionally, she is studying carry-over effects to better link migration behavior to egg laying and reproductive success to the winter migration. This approach will help to understand the trade-offs individuals might make during suboptimal environmental conditions.  

Did you know? The majority (~70%) of red-legged kittiwakes nest on the tall sea cliffs of St. George Island.  They specialize on foraging for myctophid fishes and squids in the waters to the southwest of the island. They are smaller than black-legged kittiwakes with larger eyes, shorter legs, shorter bills, and red legs. Red-legged kittiwakes winter in the Bering Sea and western North Pacific. They sound like squeaky toys. “

Red Legged Kittiwake – Department of Fisheries and Wildlife

Check out the full slideshow here.

Workshop: Telling the Stories of Radiation Exposure

June 11th, 2018

Hanford Nuclear Reservation

The Hanford Nuclear Reservation

The Hanford Nuclear Reservation is a decommissioned nuclear production complex located by the Columbia River in Hanford, Washington. The site was established in 1943 and the final reactor, N reactor, operated until 1987. Hanford Nuclear Reservation was created under the Manhattan Project, the U.S. led research and development project that produced nuclear weapons for World War II. It was home to B reactor, the first plutonium production reactor in the world, which was in turn used to produce the plutonium for the nuclear bomb that detonated over Nagasaki, Japan. Hanford expanded during the Cold War, adding reactors and plutonium processing complexes that ultimately contributed materials for over 60,000 nuclear weapons. Weapons production projects ceased after the Cold War, but Hanford continued to supply nuclear energy for the surrounding area.

These days one would most likely hear of Hanford in the context of the environmental and public health issues that it has caused; a class action case initiated in 1990 consolidated thousands of plaintiffs who alleged that Hanford’s groundwater seepage, river pollution, and atmospheric discharges were responsible for various health problems such as thyroid disease and cancers.

The OSU Downwinders Project

The “OSU Downwinders Project”, headed by Doctor Jacob Hamblin and Doctor Linda Richards, is oriented towards two main goals: developing an archive of case materials supplemented with oral history interviews and producing the first detailed historical studies of the dose reconstruction project, then linking it with issues in the history of science, environmental history, and science and technology studies. The Hanford Dose Reconstruction Project, although controversial, is the basis for most references of thyroid exposure from Hanford. The team at the Downwinders Project seeks to tell the story of Hanford in its various scientific, environmental, historical, and social contexts, as accurately as possible.

 Dr. Linda RichardsDr. Jacob Hamblin


On June 21st and 22nd, Dr. Hamblin and Dr. Richards are holding a symposium to discuss the methodological, conceptual, ethical, and social justice challenges of telling the full story of radioactive pollution. Over a dozen participants will meet to discuss various topics, such as measuring harm and legal recourse. Please join if you are interested!

Event Details

When: June 21 (9am-8pm) and June 22 (9am-5:30pm)

Where: Memorial Union room 211

Additional Information

Behind-the-Scenes of OSU Campus Recycling: What you don’t see…

June 7th, 2018

Ever wonder what it actually takes to have recycling options? Most of the time, you may only see our Campus Recycling trucks on their way to service buildings, or the events we put on, like Beyond Earth Day, to help educate and spread awareness of recycling options on campus. But there’s so much more that happens behind the scenes to make our dream of campus sustainability a reality!

For instance, check out the bins below…

Look familiar? These are our most common recycling units that collect our most common recycling streams: containers (e.g., bottles and cans) and paper. During 2017, we spent an entire year investigating signage efficiency for these two streams . A whole year dedicated to signage! What could we have possibly been doing?! For all you STEM students, what we did is what you all use every day: the scientific method.

In the fall, we conducted research on recycling signage used at other universities and decided to experiment with a couple styles here at OSU. What does this mean? This means lots of audits. Winter term had us auditing recycle bins for three weeks to customize our signage to what was being placed in different bins types. Then spring term, we had three weeks of audits to test each type of signage (of which there were three). You may be asking what it means to “audit” recycling. Basically, we take the recycling bin contents and sort/count the different types we find. So, yes, one of our employees spent a total of 12 weeks last year dumpster diving and counting trash (if you were living in McNary, you may have seen her first-hand, crawling inside your orange 90-gallon commingled recycling carts on the 6th floor!). To see what your waste looks like sorted, check out the photo below from the audit:

Why on earth would we do this? It may seem baffling why we would put in so much effort to look at recycling signs. However, even if you don’t know much about Campus Recycling, I’m willing to bet you see one of our recycling signs at least once a day while you’re on campus. This is our main form of communicating with you! And this is just a taste of what it means to bring sustainable practices to your everyday life! From this experiment, we saw a decrease in percent contamination in the residence halls between two signage styles – which means our signage is actually making a difference for you!

Here at OSU, we’re pretty lucky to have such a passionate and dedicated team to help coordinate and implement some of the important waste programs you pass by every day on your way to class. We’re here to make sustainability as easy and convenient for you as possible. Check out more about how we do things at our Campus Recycling website and let us know what we can do to help make this more enjoyable for you!


World Oceans Day is June 8th!

June 6th, 2018

If you missed World Environment Day yesterday (June 5), you’re in luck because you have a chance to redeem yourself by participating in World Oceans Day this Friday, June 8th! World Environment Day and World Oceans Day even have the same action theme this year: prevent and reduce plastic pollution. So instead of beating yourself up for forgetting about the environment on its special day, simply double your plastic pollution prevention efforts this Friday!

What is World Oceans Day?

The Ocean Project has recognized World Oceans Day since 2002 and the United Nations made World Oceans Day official in 2008. The purpose of the Day is to educate the public on the importance of the Earth’s oceans for humans and the rest of the ecosystem and to unite citizens of the Earth in an initiative for sustainable ocean management. The Ocean Project’s website worldoceansday.org serves as an educational tool by providing free resources ranging from informational posters about plastic pollution and the ecosystem to full lesson plans on plastic pollution to documentaries on the impact of plastic in our oceans. It also serves an equally important organizational role, as a database where people can locate, organize, and participate in World Ocean Day events such as beach clean-ups or movie screenings.


Why is it so Important to Participate?

from worldoceansday.org



What is the first thing astronauts look for when searching for planets that could potentially support human life? Water. Earth’s large quantity of water is what makes it such a unique planet that is hospitable for a diverse array of biology (particularly humans). In addition to their majestic beauty and immense potential for recreation, our oceans provide a multitude of critical ecosystem services that we literally could not live without (according to the UN):

  • Oceans contain 97% of Earth’s water and represent 99% of the living space on the planet
  • Over 3 million people depend on marine biodiversity
  • Oceans absorb around 30% of carbon dioxide produced by humans and generate oxygen that we breathe
  • Oceans are the world’s main source of protein; more than 2.6 billion people depend on the oceans as their main protein source
  • Many medicines are derived from the oceans

Plastic pollution is threatening the oceans’ ability to provide these services!

  • 80% of ocean pollution comes from people on land
  • 8 million tons of plastic is deposited in the ocean each year, where it destroys wildlife, fisheries, and tourism
  • Plastic pollution kills 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals per year
  • The fish that we eat are eating plastic

There is a World Oceans Day Event Near You!

Albatross Screening in Portland

Join Portland Surfrider Chapter at Spirit of 77 in Portland for a free screening of the new film Albatross and a post-screening discussion about ways to take action! The film documents the perspective of the albatross as it suffers the impacts of global plastic pollution. For all details click here.

What Can You do to Help?


Are You Ready For The Great Move Out?

May 30th, 2018

Last year we diverted almost 36,000 pounds of goods from the landfill during the Great Move Out. This year we are going to do that again! Here is how you can help:

Living in a Residence Hall?

Most on-campus residents find it difficult to balance packing, cleaning and finals all in one week. So lighten your load, and get started today!

  • Donate! Your residence hall received donation bins this week. You can start placing your clean, unwanted items in them now! Visit the Move Out Donation Drive website for details and how-to’s.
  • Visiting home soon? Take some of your belongings with you.
  • Eat the food you have now, before you buy more.



Want to help keep our OSU community clean and sustainable? Our volunteers help us collect and sort donated items during the move out every year! You can sign up for short and long shifts from June 11th-19th here.

Join the 2018 Pac-12 Sustainability Conference!

May 30th, 2018

What is the Pac-12 Sustainability Conference?

The Pac-12 Sustainability Conference is the first high level symposium aimed at integrating sustainability into college athletics across college campuses. Each Pac-12 athletic department has committed to measuring their sustainability efforts, developing strategies to increase sustainability, monitoring their progress, and harnessing their influence on local communities for the sake of environmental progress. At the 2018 Pac-12 Sustainability Conference, hosted by CU Boulder, sustainability representatives from Pac-12 schools and elsewhere will collaborate to design new initiatives and share successful strategies. The conference begins on the afternoon of July 11th, with a tour of the CU Boulder Champions Center and a Reception on the Champions Center Rooftop Terrace & Lounge, and then runs from 8am to 6:30pm on July 12th. Topics include greening athletic events, how student athletes can impact sustainability initiatives, sustainable tailgating, leveraging interest in sports in order to promote sustainability, and much more.


Keynote Speakers

The 2018 Pac-12 Sustainability Conference will feature two keynote speakers: Arielle Gold and Mary Harvey.

Arielle Gold

Arielle Gold is a professional snowboarder, Olympic Bronze Medalist, undergraduate student at CU Boulder and climate change activist. For years, Arielle has been volunteering for Protect Our Winters (POW), a nonprofit organization that unites athletes and outdoor enthusiasts in the fight against climate change. While affiliated with POW, Arielle spoken about climate change at several schools and even traveled to Washington DC to speak with congressmen about the impact that climate change has had on her sport.

Mary Harvey

Mary Harvey is a retired professional soccer player; she was the starting goalkeeper for the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team that won the Olympic gold medal in 1996 and for the World Cup-winning  U.S. National team. Mary is working with United Bid 2026, an organization devoted to integrating sustainable environmental, economic, and social initiatives into the 2026 World Cup.


When is the Pac-12 Sustainability Conference?

Wednesday, July 11th: 3:30pm-7:00pm

Thursday, July 12th: 8:00am-6:30pm


Click here for the full event program!


Where is the Conference Taking Place?

The 2018 Pac-12 Sustainability Conference is hosted by CU Boulder and will take place in two buildings on campus.

Opening Night Reception (July 11th): Champions Center Rooftop Terrace & Lounge

Conference (July 12th): Byron R. White Club

Click here for more info: maps, directions, parking, hotel accommodations, etc.

How Do I Register?

Click here to register now, because early-bird rates end June 7th at 11:59pm!

  • Conference admission includes: all conference sessions, tours, lunch and all receptions
  • Business casual attire is recommended for conference attendees
  • Onsite registration/check-in opens on Thursday, July 12th at 8:00am
  • Receive complimentary registration in exchange for volunteering at the conference. Spots are limited, learn more and apply here.

Its time for the Great Move Out!

May 24th, 2018

Last year during our Res. Hall Donation Drive we diverted more than 35,000 pounds of goods and materials from the landfill and donated them to local nonprofits. This year, we will be working both on-campus and off-campus again to divert and donate even more materials!

Each year our amazing volunteers help us to keep those materials out of the landfill and maintain our beautiful community. You can help us too!


On-Campus Volunteering

What: Campus Recycling, Surplus Property and UHDS are partnering to collect donations from residence halls. Shifts are available for collection (going out on trucks with our staff to collect recyclables and donated items) and sorting (working at the fairgrounds, accepting and sorting incoming items).

When: Various shifts are available June 11-19, from 8am-5pm

You can sign up here!

Off-campus Volunteering

What: OSU, the City of Corvallis, Republic Services, RPMG, and the Sustainability Coalition are partnering to maintain the cleanliness and livability of our community, and to help off-campus students responsibly donate and recycle unwanted items.

When: Various shift available on June 15 from 10am-5pm

You can sign up here!

Read the rest of this entry »

Environmental Arts and Humanities Graduate Conference

May 21st, 2018

What’s Happening?

The fourth annual Environmental Arts and Humanities Graduate Student Conference is this Thursday, May 24th, and all are welcome! Students representing many different universities will be presenting their work on diverse, environmentally-themed topics. This year, students are attending from OSU, University of Oregon, Portland State University, Pacific Northwest College of Art, and the University of Essex (UK).

At 5pm, when all four sessions of graduate student presentations have concluded, Marsha Weisiger will give her keynote address, “Danger River: Narrating Adventure down the Colorado River.” Dr. Weisiger is the Julie and Rocky Dixon Chair of U.S. Western History and the Co-Director for the Center of Environmental Futures at the University of Oregon.

At roughly 6pm, Professor Jacob Hamblin, Director of Environmental Arts and Humanities and organizer of the conference will walk the students, Dr. Weisiger, and all others who are interested, to McMenamins to unwind with a social hour.

When and Where?



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