More than 90 colleges across the country are locked in a competition. Only this competition isn’t played with a ball it’s played with trash. The GLRC’s Fred Kight explains:
More than 90 colleges across the country are locked in a competition.
Only this competition isn’t played with a ball it’s played with trash. The
GLRC’s Fred Kight explains:
The competition is known as Recycle-mania and it started five years ago
when officials at two rival schools in Ohio decided they needed to do
something about the amount of trash being generated on their campuses.
Over a period of several weeks, the two competed to see who could
recycle the most.
The next year, more colleges signed up… and now the number
participating is up to 93. They’ve joined in to reduce waste and save
money but Ohio University organizer Ed Newman says there’s more to it
“We’re cranking out citizens from this place… and if they could take
some of these better habits and expand on them… transfer these ideas to
the community… I think that’s part of our role as an educational
The winning school will be crowned after the competition ends on April
An artist's rendition of the Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health (image courtesy of DCPAH).
A new animal diagnostic laboratory being built in the Great Lakes region will help farmers and veterinarians get quicker answers about what’s making their animals sick. The lab will also be one of only a handful in the Midwest certified to work with potentially lethal biological agents and infectious diseases. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Erin Toner reports:
A new animal diagnostic laboratory being built in the Great Lakes region will help
farmers and veterinarians get quicker answers about what’s making their animals sick.
The lab will also be one of only a handful in the Midwest certified to work with
potentially lethal biological agents and infectious diseases. The Great Lakes Radio
Consortium’s Erin Toner reports:
Construction crews are putting the finishing touches on a huge cream-colored building
with green windows. It’s nestled among corn fields and campus dairy farms. When it
opens early next year, Michigan State University’s new animal diagnostic lab will test
thousands of animal samples every week. It’ll be one of the first lines of defense against
animal diseases that are spreading quickly through the Midwest. Testing for Chronic
Wasting Disease, West Nile Virus and Bovine Tuberculosis has already clogged many
labs in the region.
Right now, Michigan State’s ten animal diagnostic services are scattered in outdated labs
all across campus. Every day, the labs take in hundreds of samples from all over the
region. Some are entire animals – dead because of some disease or infection. Others are
just parts of animals – a liver or a piece of muscle.
These veterinary students are trying to find out why two pigs from two different farms
died. One had swollen joints and a high temperature. The other one was anorexic.
(ambient sound: “So have you taken your specimens already?”)
William Reed is the director of Michigan State’s Diagnostic Center for Population and
Animal Health. He says the current labs were built 30 years ago, and were never designed
to be used in the way they are now.
“For example, we need state of the art laboratories that have special air handling
capability. We have to be concerned about protecting the workers, we have to be
concerned about containment of the different pathogens that we work on. And it’s just not
proper to continue to run the kind of analyses in the kinds of facilities that we have.”
Besides dealing with various communicable diseases, the new laboratory will also help
the country build up its defense against bioterrorism. The lab will be one of only a few
facilities in the Midwest that’s classified Biosafety-Level 3. That means scientists are
certified to work with deadly biological pathogens and viruses, such as anthrax and
smallpox. Lab Director William Reed says it’s important there are more labs to handle
biological threats to animals and people.
“We will be able to address some of the agents of bioterrorism and it’s likely that we
would join forces with the federal government in addressing any introduction of a foreign
animal disease, whether intentionally or by accident. Particularly, some of the agents that
terrorists would want to use to harm animal agriculture in the U.S.”
University officials say the new Biosafety-3 lab would be safe and secure. People who
work in the high-containment area get special training and have to follow strict safety
There’s been strong opposition to similar bio-defense labs in other parts of the country.
So far, there’s been no sign of opposition to the Michigan State lab.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention won’t say exactly how many Biosafety-3
labs there are in the region because of security concerns. But there are reportedly two in
Ohio, and several others are being considered in the Midwest.
Randall Levings is the director of the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames,
Iowa. He says the Michigan State University lab will help the federal government build a
bigger network of labs that can quickly deal with a serious outbreak.
“And the whole concept behind that is to have not only more laboratories that can work
with some of these agents, but the concept is also that it would be better to have a
laboratory with that kind of capacity close to the outbreak.”
Levings says another biosafety lab in the Great Lakes region makes sense. That’s because
of the large number of livestock farms, and the proximity to Canada, where there have
been recent outbreaks of animal and human diseases.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Erin Toner.
An artist's rendition of the Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health (image courtesy of DCPAH).
A new animal laboratory in the Great Lakes region will be certified to work with deadly biological agents and infectious diseases. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Erin Toner reports:
A new animal laboratory in the Great Lakes region will be certified to work with deadly
biological agents and infectious diseases. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Erin
When it opens early next year, the new animal lab at Michigan State University will be
certified as a Biosafety-Level 3 facility. That means it’ll be able to test for deadly
communicable diseases, such as Chronic Wasting Disease, and bioterrorism agents, such
Randall Levings is director of the National Veterinary Services Laboratory. He says the
new facility adds to a growing network of sophisticated labs able to deal with serious
“It could be crucial in terms of quickly defining what areas have it and which ones don’t
so that you can start putting your control measures in place to contain the outbreak and
limit its impact.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention won’t say how many other Biosafety-3
labs there are in the Midwest because of security concerns. However, two others are
reportedly in Ohio.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Erin Toner.
For many people, the meaning of spirituality comes from revering a higher power. But in northern Ohio, there’s a group of nuns working to make spirituality a little more grounded. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Renita Jablonski introduces us to the woman who helped start it all:
For many people, the meaning of spirituality comes from revering a higher
power. But in northern Ohio, there’s a group of nuns working to make
spirituality a little more grounded. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s
Renita Jablonski introduces us to the woman who helped start it all:
Sister Mary Shrader drives to work every day in a Honda Civic. It runs
on natural gas. When she pulls into the campus of the Sisters of St.
Joseph, she parks right in front of two compressed natural gas fueling pumps. With a flip of her gray hair, she gets ready to refuel.
“This is very easy and it’s very convenient to come in to work, plug your car in, and when you come out, it’s all filled. (sound of plug being put into car) In a few seconds, the compressor will kick in.”
(sound of compressor)
The Sisters of St. Joseph have 12 CNG cars so far. They’re members of the Northeast Ohio Clean Fuels Coalition. The addition of alternative fuel vehicles to their fleet was one of Shrader’s first projects when she was elected to
the congregation’s leadership council five years ago. That’s when the sisters
first adopted a resolution to pursue unity with the earth.
Shrader entered the convent when she was 17. It was 1960. She says back then, the congregation’s teachings often considered the natural world separate from the spiritual world.
“But they are, they’re totally integrated and the respect that you get from
your spirituality flows into the earth entities and Earth gives us the awe and the inspiration.”
Before coming to the Cleveland diocese, Shrader worked in Alaska in the Diocese
of Fairbanks. It’s when she first started to realize that environmental work was
her true calling.
“I’ve always wanted to live in the country, I’ve always wanted to be with animals and well, I got there and it was not exactly as I had envisioned it because much of the
economy of the state is run on oil business and on military and on tourism.”
Before she knew it, Shrader found herself joining an environmental group,
doing work opposing oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. As an
English teacher, she made it a point to teach Thoreau’s Walden to get her students to think about their relationship with nature. And now, she’s leading her sisters in Cleveland on a very green path. Shrader’s latest project is a wind power study.
Last week, Green Energy Ohio installed a 130-foot wind energy-monitoring tower on the congregation grounds.
“We have done an energy audit so that we can lower the amount of energy that we use, and use it more efficiently.
They’ve also met with a consultant to evaluate every product used on site to make sure everything’s earth-friendly. Shrader is trying to integrate this environmental ethic into the sisters’ daily lives.
“I would hope we would be able to complete the educational program that we’ve
begun for residents and staff here so that they understand that this is a part of everything we do here. So no matter what area they work in, the kitchen,
maintenance, secretarial staff, health care, the priority of earth-friendly
should be a part of the decision making, the choices, and the actions that are here.”
Shrader is working with other community and religious organizations to promote
environmental awareness. The sisters are also busy reshaping their campus to become a nature trail system with special wildlife areas.
(sound of birds)
They’ve already applied to be an official bird sanctuary.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Renita Jablonski.
For universities across the Midwest energy costs are becoming a huge expense. Schools are increasingly reliant on technology and many are adding new research facilities. With that growth has come an increased demand for electricity, and at a number of schools around the region, aging power plants can’t keep up with that demand. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Erin Toner reports on this growing problem:
For universities across the Midwest, energy costs are becoming a huge expense. Schools are increasingly reliant on technology and many are adding new research facilities. With that growth, has come an increased demand for electricity. And at a number of schools around the region, aging power plants can’t keep up with that demand. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Erin Toner reports on this growing problem:
Jeff Bazzi is a freshman at Michigan State University. He shares a dorm room on campus with three other students. They use a lot of electricity.
In this one dorm room, there are four computers, two stereos, two televisions, three refrigerators, three fans, one microwave and four alarm clocks. Jeff Bazzi says even though he doesn’t get an electricity bill from the university every month, he’s aware of the amount of energy he uses.
“I know if I was at home my mom would yell at me for wasting electricity, running her bill up. So I still try to conserve. I don’t leave lights on around me and leave the TV on and all that, I try to conserve.”
that’s exactly what the university wants Bazzi and other students, faculty and staff to do…conserve. Last year, Michigan State launched an energy conservation campaign to promote ways to reduce electricity consumption. University officials say small changes on everyone’s part, such as turning off lights and computers, can collectively result in lower energy costs. Terry Link is the director of MSU’s Office of Campus Sustainability. He says just a five-percent reduction in electricity demand could save the university one million dollars a year.
“What we need to do is create that environment so that people become more aware that what they’re doing has an effect, it has a cost. It’s not immediate to their wallet, but it has other kinds of costs. And then to give them tools, examples, of how, if they feel they should do something to reduce that, what they can do.”
University officials say energy conservation is especially important now, as MSU struggles with a much tighter budget this year. Also, saving energy could delay a much larger problem. In the not-too-distant future, Michigan State’s power will no longer be able to provide enough electricity for campus. Bob Ellerhorst is the power plant director.
“Our universities are really becoming research-oriented, supported by a lot of high technology stuff. All of it takes electricity, a lot of it requires supplemental air conditioning.”
(Power plant sound up/under)
Michigan State’s power plant can make 55 megawatts of electricity, and during the hottest days of the summer, the campus uses all 55 megawatts. Over the next 15 years, MSU officials project the school will need at least 20 more megawatts of power. Schools throughout the Midwest are facing similar situations, as the demand for power on campus becomes too great for their aging power plants. Many are expanding their plants to meet demand. The University of Illinois is spending 60-million dollars on two new gas-fired turbines, Minnesota’s expansion will cost a-hundred-million dollars and the University of Wisconsin is building a brand-new power plant at a cost of 200-million dollars. Some schools, including Michigan State, are also considering buying more power from their local utility companies. But MSU power plant director Bob Ellerhorst says that electricity is almost twice as expensive as power produced on campus and isn’t nearly as reliable.
“Campus didn’t have a single outage, we had a lot of equipment failures in the plant that we just deal with. The campus has not had an interruption to service in over 36 months. I think that’s a lot longer than you’ve had to reset your clock at home.”
Michigan State is also looking into whether alternative sources of energy, such as wind and fuel cells, could play a part in a long-term solution. But in the meantime, they’re hoping students and faculty will begin conserving energy to help reduce demand and cost.
(Sounds of dorm up/under)
But that could be a challenge, from the looks of things at dorms and buildings on college campuses throughout the Midwest…where more electricity is being used than ever before.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Erin Toner.
Landscape Manager Jeff Culbertson sprays a Scots pine with thief repellant containing fox urine. The smell isn't too noticeable outdoors... but when a thief drags a conifer indoors, the repellant heats up and makes for a memorable Christmas. Photo by Nanci Ann McIntosh, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Evergreen trees grace forests, campuses, and lawns around the region. Much to the dismay of landscapers and gardeners, some of those trees disappear this time of year, stolen by someone who may not quite get the idea of Christmas cheer. But some universities have found a way to fight tree rustlers. It involves a foul-smelling concoction that makes thieves regret taking a tree. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Rebecca Williams has the recipe for this nasty, yet effective repellant:
Evergreen trees grace forests, campuses, and lawns around the region. And much to the dismay of landscapers and gardeners, some of those trees disappear this time of year, stolen by someone who may not quite get the idea of Christmas cheer. But some universities have found a way to fight tree-rustlers. It involves a foul-smelling concoction that makes thieves regret taking a tree. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Rebecca Williams has the recipe for this nasty, yet effective repellant:
About fifteen years ago, landscape managers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln had a big problem. Tree thieves were cutting down the best conifers on campus. And the landscapers were getting calls from local residents, whose trees were also disappearing. Dennis Adams is a forester at the University of Nebraska.
“It’d be, you know, trees that have good Christmas tree form, so blue spruce, concolor fir, some of the pines – white pine, scotch pine.”
Some thieves were easy to track. Jeff Culbertson is a landscape manager at the university. He says students were stealing trees during Thanksgiving break… and they weren’t always perfect criminals…
“We’ve had instances where the students, I guess didn’t do a good job or didn’t think anybody cared, but you could find the dragged marks of the tree through the snow to their fraternity or dormitory or something like that so in those cases I think it was pretty easy for them to figure out where the tree went.”
Campus trees are worth hundreds of dollars, so the university was eager to find a solution. Dennis Adams discovered a solution… literally. He found the recipe in an old magazine… 1 part glycerine, 10 parts water, and 2 parts… fox urine.
Jeff Culbertson says the fox urine makes Christmas tree thieves think twice…
“It doesn’t really smell like skunk. Maybe like an extremely strong cat urine sort of smell. Or dog, something that’s very concentrated. But you know normally you’re not going to smell that. So it’s pretty pungent.”
Culbertson says since the University of Nebraska began spraying conifers in the 80s, they haven’t lost many trees. He sprays 50 to 100 Christmas-tree size evergreens each year. He used to wear a plastic spray suit, but now he just keeps the wind at his back.
“When I do the fox urine, I don’t have many volunteers that want to help me with that. So I take on upon myself to do it. They mostly stand away from me, and they probably don’t talk to me too much that day either.”
Culbertson says there is one problem with this technique… when it’s cold out, you don’t notice the smell. So he started adding a dye… he sprays blue or red stripes on the trees where he sprays the fox urine. He says it makes the trees that much less attractive, and serves as a warning. And each year, the university lets the local papers know they’re spraying fox urine again.
But if a thief still chops down a tree and drags it into his house … Culbertson says he won’t likely do it again.
“It would be a smell that you’d have a hard time getting rid of.”
Culbertson recommends the method to anyone with a lot of trees to protect. He says the repellant is pretty affordable, and normally wears off after the Christmas season. Most of the supplies, sometimes even fox urine, can be bought at a garden store.
“I use a small, 3 gallon bottle sprayer, typical sort of garden sprayer people would purchase at the hardware store, garden center… And I try to use hot water. The glycerin is very syrupy kind of like corn syrup. So it helps to loosen it up, heat it up and make it less thick. I mix it up, take it out, and just spray the trees by hand.”
Both Jeff Culbertson and Dennis Adams think thieves are just looking for a cheap tree. But Adams still finds the thefts a little unbelievable.
“I think people have to be pretty desperate to steal a tree for Christmas. That seems like it’s kind of in the anti-Christmas spirit to steal.” (Laughs)
Other campus managers, meanwhile…have cooked up their own people repellant. The University of Idaho adds a few ounces of skunk scent. It makes their mix even more memorable.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Rebecca Williams.
Recycling, energy conservation programs, and water efficiency projects are all commonplace at many colleges and universities across the country. But a new report by the National Wildlife Federation shows schools may not be making the grade when it comes to teaching students about the environment. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Jonathan Ahl has the second report of a two-part series:
Recycling, energy conservation programs, and water efficiency projects are all commonplace at many colleges and universities across the country. But a new report by the National Wildlife Federation shows schools may not be making the grade when it comes to teaching students about the environment. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Jonathan Ahl reports.
Lisa Carmichael is a sophomore at Albion College in South Central Michigan. Her school recently made a course in the environment a requirement for graduation. Carmichael says she loves the idea, but says many students see it as just another required course. But Carmichael is optimistic about what the new course will do for even skeptical students.
“Even if they go in thinking, ‘Well, I just have to take this’, If you make it how this really effects their life, or make it about where does their wastewater really go or how is recycling is part of their life, then make it a practical project that they can go out and work on and see how they effect other people and how they effect the planet as a whole.”
Albion College is in the minority, according to a new report by the National Wildlife Federation on the environmental programs on college campuses. The Federation gives mostly A’s and B’s to schools for their on campus environmental efforts such as recycling and Water Conservation. But the schools receive only a C plus for Environmental Efforts in the classroom. The report shows that only eight percent of colleges have a graduation requirement for environmental class work. It also shows less than ten percent of engineering and education majors receive any training in environmental matters. Some teachers and administrators around the country are trying to change that. Debra Rowe teaches business and psychology courses at Oakland Community College in Michigan. She says each one of her courses includes some links to environmental issues. Rowe says every college graduate needs to have some background in the environment, regardless of what field students are planning to go in to.
“Once you understand the need and the opportunity to create a more humane and environmentally sound future, and we get more of our graduates that understand that, that’s going to benefit the business as well as benefit them in their roles as a community member where they can contribute to the overall health of society.”
Rowe works with faculty members at other Universities that want to increase the amount of environmental coursework required by their schools. But it is often a difficult process.
Abigail Jahiel teaches in the political science department at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois. She would like to see environmental coursework as part of the general education requirements for all students. But she fears it would be a tough sell at her school.
“I think the concern would be that students already have a very heavy load of requirements, it would be adding something else, and there’s often competition between various academic interests on campus.”
But some schools are working on ways to improve environmental education without adding to the coursework. Tom Lowe is a Dean and assistant Provost at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. He says already existing courses in subjects like science and the humanities could easily add an environmental component. But he says it takes a campus wide commitment to the idea to make it happen in a practical way. Lowe says Ball State has had success with a program to teach professors how to include the environment in a diverse collection of courses.
“So the idea is that the student hears these ideas in many different courses, and in many different settings. Art, music, theatre, dance, now all talk about the environment in addition than just courses that traditionally deal with environmental issues.”
This won’t come easily though. Lowe says it will be a difficult process for many schools to take this approach toward the environment. He says it can be easy to convince a school to take on programs that save money like installing high efficiency lighting or purchasing low emission vehicles. He says it can be much more difficult to get professors to change their ways and add a new element to their courses. For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Jonathan Ahl.
A report from the National Wildlife Federation shows colleges are doing a poor job in educating students about the environment. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Jonathan Ahl reports:
A report from the National Wildlife Federation shows colleges are doing a poor job in educating students about the environment. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Jonathan Ahl reports.
A report card from the National Wildlife Federation gives colleges a C plus on Environmental Lessons in the classroom. The report shows only eight percent of schools require any environmental coursework before graduation. Debra Rowe teaches at Oakland Community College in Michigan, and works with schools to add environmental coursework to the curriculum. She says every graduate needs a basic understanding of the environment.
“Since we all live on the planet and all impact the planet, don’t you think you think its really important that they at least get a core base of information so that they can be an educated citizen?”
The Federation’s report also shows some important majors like engineering and education are also lacking. Only ten percent of those students have any environmental instruction as part of their degrees. For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Jonathan Ahl.