Did You Know . . . ?
. . . that St. Mary’s River Project (SMRP) students measure nutrients in our river’s water to determine if there are extreme amounts. Surplus nutrients cause excessive algal growth, which can result in no-oxygen conditions that kill fish.
Drawing by Elizabeth Black '08
St. Mary's Project Spotlight
“The first lines of the foreword in A Sand County Almanac read, ‘There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot. These essays are the delights and dilemmas of one who cannot.’ In a way, I think this is Aldo Leopold confessing that ultimately he writes for himself, to reconnect with the wild things that inspire him. Leopold’s book inspired this group of twelve essays, which were written with the explicit goal of learning from this county, this river. What I have found is that at the root of human nature are all the things that exist around it.”
St. Mary's Arboretum | Campus Community Farm | Community Garden Club | Eco-Reps | St. Mary's River Project (SMRP) | St. Mary's Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC) | Sustainability Committee | Helpful Links
The St. Mary’s Arboretum is comprised of students, faculty, staff, administrators, and community members. This group is working to label trees and plantings on campus grounds. The aim is to identify, create and protect habitats for native animals and plants (as a designated Audubon International site) and planting primarily native species to support birds and beneficial insect populations. The group’s purpose is to manage our campus acres so as to nurture and instruct young and old. Plantings will reflect a goal of building collections for scientific study as well as aesthetic appreciation, with sustainable maintenance and ecological awareness as guiding principles. Anyone interested is welcome to join. See the Arboretum website for further information. http://www.smcm.edu/arboretum/index.html
In March 2010 SMCM students planted the first farm crop for
the campus. Prior to 2010, the
Community Garden Club had maintained its steadily producing garden next to
DPC. However, the garden is in a
shaded spot with poor soil, and it is small in size. In 2010, working with Environmental Studies and the
Sustainability Committee, the Community Garden Club leased a piece of the Bean
farm from Historic St. Mary’s City and officially began farming. Their crop was so successful that they
were able to donate pounds of produce to the local homeless shelter as well as
to Bon Appetit. With interest
growing, in 2011 they expanded their farm to an acre. For more details, see the farm’s blog. Several academic
courses have already incorporated the farm into their curriculum, and Dr. Holly
Gorton currently offers a Contemporary Bioscience class entitled “The Science
of Gardening.” All students may come
out to hoe or plant or weed for as short or long as they want. If looking for information, please
contact the club’s adviser Dr. Kate Chandler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Community Garden was originated and is maintained by students. Many students are interested in eating locally grown foods, and this Club has provided a way in which students can go from garden to table through their own efforts. Located next to DPC on the Lewis Quad side, the garden is open to all. With the growing enthusiasm for kitchen gardens and growing fruits and vegetables organically, the Club has expanded to include more growing capacity at the Campus Community Farm. Both locations afford a way for students to learn, hands on, the procedures and practices involved in “growing your own.”
Eco-Reps are environmental resource persons who help facilitate awareness and behavior change related to energy conservation and sustainable living on campus. The program is new in Fall 2009, and when fully implemented, each residential unit (hall, collection of townhouses, apartments, or suites) would elect a volunteer to act as their Eco-Rep. In 2009-2010, we are beginning with the dorms. In the first stage of the program, Eco-Reps will assist residents in doing energy audits, coordinating recycling efforts, developing signage to encourage behaviors such as reducing energy and water use, providing outreach at campus events, and helping to develop and lead other environmental initiatives for their residents. See your RA to sign up for the program or find out more information.
The SMRP ED Club provides an educational program in which St. Mary's College student volunteers visit local elementary schools to teach about regional ecology and environmental issues. Club members teach fifth graders and promote awareness and stewardship of the St. Mary's River Watershed and the Chesapeake Bay. Once a semester the fifth graders have the opportunity to come to the College where SMRP ED students take them around greenhouses, wet labs, and other campus and river locations to give them on-site, hands-on opportunities. The St Mary's River Project Education Club provides college students with an opportunity to gain experience in the classroom and laboratory with a goal to raise awareness in children of the care we must take of our environment. Contact the SMRP Education Team for more information about what the club does and how you can join.
SEAC is as student club that is part of a national network of grassroots organizations whose aim is to "uproot environmental injustices through action and education." SEAC is one of the most active clubs on campus, and it serves as an information clearinghouse and networking group as well as leadership in environmental activism on campus and in the Mid-Atlantic region. To learn more, check out their blog at http://seacstmarys.blogspot.com.
The Sustainability Committee has on it students, faculty, staff and administrators. The Committee works to enhance communication between campus departments and environmental groups, while also responsibly engaging with the College community. The Sustainability Committee encourages small groups of students, faculty and staff to work together to identify environmental initiatives they find important for the campus community to implement. To find out about recent initiatives and learn how to join the committee see the website at http://www.smcm.edu/sustainability/index.html.
- Campus Climate Challenge
- Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN)
- CCAN blog
- Energy Action Coalition
- It's Getting Hot in Here
- Sierra Student Coalition
- The Rainforest Site