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The Oregon State University Sustainability Blog

Eco-Rep Spotlight

November 30th, 2017

Eco-reps are an Oregon State program that are responsible for encouraging a culture of sustainability in the residence halls in which they live. They educate residents about sustainable lifestyles and resources, assist with marketing and outreach, and plan and execute sustainability-focused events.  They also maintain their hall’s composting program. Last year, the Eco-Reps reached people an amazing 9,785 times and composted over 1,741 lbs. of material! In this series, we will spotlight each Eco Rep to help you learn more about who they are and what they do.

Name: Nolan Gunter

Residence Hall they work in: Sackett Hall

Hometown: Kent, WA

Major/Future Plans: Computer Science/Sustainability. Nolan hopes to find a career that incorporates sustainability, engineering and computation.

Previous involvement/interest in sustainability: Nolan was a Support Steward for the Green Kent Partnership in his hometown. He helped lead work parties to maintain the environmental health in city parks. He also worked as an intern at the King County Wastewater Treatment Division, with the environmental communications sector.

Favorite thing about being an EcoRep: Nolan enjoys getting to hear from many different people about sustainability and how they approach it in their own lives.

Goals for the coming year: This year, Nolan would like to become a knowledgeable advisor for sustainability in the residence halls. He would love to make on-campus living more environmentally-friendly and enjoyable for residents, and to facilitate discussions and ideas about human connection to the environment.

Interests in continuing involvement in sustainability on campus and how so: Nolan is double-majoring in Sustainability. Eventually, he would like to work with some sort of research at OSU to incorporate his love for math with sustainability.

Fun fact: Nolan loves singing and performing, and was once in an opera about the environment of the Puget Sound (Seattle) region!

Pedal Corvallis Bikeshare Launches Map Upgrade

November 28th, 2017

An exciting upgrade is now available for Pedal Corvallis bikeshare participants. The program’s mobile app now shows the real-time availability of bikes and bike-parking spaces at each station to make trip-planning more user-friendly.

Bikesharing is a system of bikes available for short-term use. Pedal Corvallis is a community bikeshare program that includes eight stations, 41 bicycles, and two adult tricycles throughout Corvallis. More than 740 participants have taken more than 4,400 rides since the program launched last year. The fleet of white bikes are parked at designated racks throughout the City, and are available to anyone age 18 and older.

An annual pass costs $25, a monthly pass $10, and a three-day pass $5. Pass holders can use their cell phones to unlock the bikes, and rides two hours and under are free at each pass level. The free mobile app can be downloaded from Google Play and the iTunes store. Bikes can also be accessed via text message. Visit www.OCWCOG.org/Pedal to learn more about the system.

“This upgrade will improve the Pedal Corvallis bikeshare experience by enabling participants to see the number of bikes available at any station before they go begin their ride,” said Fred Abousleman, Executive Director of the Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments (OCWCOG). “We’re excited that the available technology continues to improve our users’ experience.”

In addition to IHN-CCO, financial sponsors of Pedal Corvallis are Oregon State University, SamFit, Linn-Benton Community College, NuScale Power, the Corvallis Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, First Alternative Co-op, Woodstock’s Pizza, and the City of Corvallis Active Transportation Program.

Community partners include the City of Corvallis, Benton County, Corvallis 509J School District, Samaritan Health Services, Oregon State Credit Union, and the Mid-Valley Bicycle Club. Maintenance and service is provided by Zagster, a bikeshare vendor with operations throughout the U.S.

To learn more about Pedal Corvallis, contact OCWCOG’s Community and Economic Development Department at 541-924-8480 or visit www.OCWCOG.org/Pedal.


Spring Creek Project: Residency Applications

November 20th, 2017

Spring Creek Project Banner

Spring Creek Project hosts two writing residencies in the spring–the Collaborative Residency at the Cabin at Shotpouch Creek and the Andrews Forest Writers’ Residency at the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest. For those interested in these positions, residency applications are due December 1st.

Andrews Forest Writers’ Residency

This residency is part of the Long-Term Ecological Reflections program, which is dedicated to bringing together writers, humanists and scientists to create a living, growing record of how we understand the forest and the relation of people to the forest, as that understanding and that forest both change over time. Creative writers whose work in any genre reflects a keen awareness of the natural world and an appreciation for both scientific and literary ways of knowing are invited to apply for up to two weeks between March 1 and May 31, 2018. Click here for more information and to apply.

Collaborative Retreat at the Cabin at Shotpouch Creek

At the Spring Creek Project, we believe that the writing life is far richer than the myth of the solitary individual, struggling alone to put words on paper, would suggest. The Collaborative Retreat at the Cabin at Shotpouch Creek recognizes that writers are part of a dynamic system of writers, readers and wider communities. Unusual energy and inspiration can emerge when people from different backgrounds work together in a place of natural quiet and beauty.

The Collaborative Retreat at the Cabin at Shotpouch Creek is a two-week retreat for two participants who wish to pursue a collaborative project, or two participants who each have individual projects and who anticipate a synergistic benefit from each other’s presence. At least one of the applicants must be a writer who takes inspiration from the natural world. The second applicant may also be a writer, or he or she may work in any other field (e.g. science, philosophy, music, art, crafts, etc.). Residencies are available February 24 – March 9 and March 11 – 24, 2018. Click here for more information and to apply.

Shotpouch Cabin

Shotpouch Cabin (Spring Creek Project)

Sustainable Landscape: Lane County Home Gardening

November 16th, 2017

Lane County homeowners can learn to save money on yard maintenance and lessen their impact on the environment through a class offered by the Oregon State University Extension Service.

Sustainable Landscape Training & Certification (Extension Service Lane County)

Sustainable Landscape
Training & Certification (Extension Service Lane County)

Sustainable Landscape training provides the public with practical information to create sustainable/green/ecological landscapes. Participants will learn to utilize landscape practices that can be applied to their own yards, and will benefit by improving their soil biology and reducing erosion. They will save money by using fewer pesticides and less fertilizer, and improving the quality and quantity of groundwater. Some outcomes to expect include lowering power, water and waste bills due to more efficient use of resources, and reducing the flow of organic matter into the landfill.

Upon completion of the course, participants will complete a self-evaluation of their yards. If requested, a follow-up on-site evaluation within a few months or so may be done to see what improvements have been implemented. With an evaluation score of over 40 points, the participants will earn a placard to display in their yard showing that their yard has been certified by OSU Extension Service as a Sustainable Landscape.

Certification Topics Include:

  • Water Efficiently
  • Mulch and Compost
  • Gardening for Wildlife
  • Stream Side Gardening
  • Yard Pest Control
  • Right Plant-Right Place
  • Lawn Care
  • Storm Water Alternatives
  • Edible Landscaping/Vegetables

The Sustainable Landscape program will be offered Dec. 12-13, from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., at the OSU Extension Service office, 996 Jefferson Street in Eugene. The cost of the program is $25 per person. Pre-registration is required. The registration form is available at the OSU Extension Service office, 996 Jefferson Street, Eugene (enter on 10th at the wheelchair ramp) or on the Web at: http://extension.oregonstate.edu/lane/gardens.


15,000 scientists in 184 countries warn about negative global environmental trends

November 15th, 2017

A recent issue of BioScience has revealed the severity of negative trends in certain types of environmental harm and their impact on human well-being. The viewpoint article — “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice” — was signed by more than 15,000 scientists in 184 countries.

Among the negative 25-year global trends noted in the article are:

  • A 26 percent reduction in the amount of fresh water available per capita
  • A drop in the harvest of wild-caught fish, despite an increase in fishing effort
  • A 75 percent increase in the number of ocean dead zones
  • A loss of nearly 300 million acres of forestland, much of it converted for agricultural uses
  • Continuing significant increases in global carbon emissions and average temperatures
  • A 35 percent rise in human population
  • A collective 29 percent reduction in the numbers of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and fish

The article was written by an international team led by William Ripple, distinguished professor in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University.

This story is available at http://bit.ly/2lZzsmC

The BioScience paper featured in this story is at https://academic.oup.com/biosci/article-lookup/doi/10.1093/biosci/bix125

Illustration by Oliver Day, Oregon State University

Squashing Food Insecurity! Make A Difference Day

November 2nd, 2017

On Friday, October 27th, volunteers gathered ~860 pounds of raw squash. Those helping gathered together to cut, puree, and cook all the squash that was then donated to the Human Service Resource Center here at Oregon State. Among the volunteers were members of The Organic Growers Club, Food for Sustainability course students, and the Student Sustainability Initiative. The project was a part of the Center for Civic Engagement’s Make a Difference Day.

“We were really excited to do this because we had the ability to provide families with food that will keep them warm, nourished, and comfortable in the cold winter months to come,” said Shiana Ramos, the Growing Food Security coordinator for the Student Sustainability Initiative. All the squash that was prepared will be given out at the food pantry nights at the Human Services Resource Center.

Interested in making a difference yourself? Information on attending future food pantry events can be found by contacting hsrc.foodpantry@oregonstate.edu or visiting http://studentlife.oregonstate.edu/hsrc/hsrc-food-pantry/food-pantry-hours-new.

Spooky savings opportunity at the OSUsed Store 10/31!

October 25th, 2017

The OSUsed Store is open for its weekly evening public sale on Halloween!

Come by on October 31 between 5:30 and 7:30 pm and reach into our “cauldron” to pick an eyeball – you just may be lucky enough to draw one good for money off your purchase that day!*

Join this event on Facebook.

*Terms: Each customer may draw once. Each coupon is good on one item purchased during public sale hours (5:30-7:30 pm) on October 31st only. Total value of discount not to exceed $50. Excludes spot bid and online merchandise. Only one coupon per customer will be accepted.

About OSUsed Store Sales

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

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.

While public sales provide an opportunity for the general public to make personal purchases, departments are welcome to shop 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays.

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

A view of the OSUsed Store.

A view of the OSUsed Store.

OSU Ph.D. Student Samara Haver Studies Ocean Soundscapes

October 23rd, 2017

samara haver in a survival suit

Samara Haver is a Ph.D. student at Oregon State University in the Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program. She listens to the ocean soundscapes at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon. Haver is learning about what animals hear underwater in the national parks and marine sanctuaries. To learn more about what she does, check out this article from the National Marine Sanctuaries!

Benton County Fairgrounds Landscape Internship Opportunity

October 16th, 2017

The Benton County Fairgrounds is looking for a motivated and enthusiastic intern to join our team! This internship is intended to provide hands-on work experience in the design and development of landscaping for the fairgrounds 29-acre facility. The Benton County Fairgrounds hosts more than 1,100 rentals each year, in addition to organizing the annual Benton County Fair & Rodeo.

The intern will generate plans and update existing planting and irrigation strategies, work with staff to develop a stewardship plan for the existing oak grove, and perform general landscape maintenance duties including pruning. The applicant must be able to do physical labor outdoors.

This internship is part-time, up to 20 hours per week, with a flexible schedule.

To be eligible for an internship, a student must be enrolled in an approved educational institution.

Rate of Pay:
$10.25 per hour

DEADLINE: Friday, November 3, 2017

How to Apply:
1. Download and complete an official Benton County application HERE, or pick up an application at the Benton County Fairgrounds office 8:00 – 11:30 a.m. or 12:30 – 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
2. Applications can be emailed to Lynne McKee (contact information listed below) or hand-delivered to the Fairgrounds office during business hours.
3. If selected, you will be notified via phone or email and invited for an interview.

For more information:
Lynne McKee, Fairgrounds Manager
Tel: 541-766-6090


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