My last post to this blog was in late May. While taking a three month break is not a good way to grow a blog, campus is quiet in the summer so I decided to allocate my time to other efforts.
This summer I had the opportunity to get back into my field research. You may have seen the short story about my work on the Lasell homepage. The Boston Area Climate Experiment is a very exciting project that is going to have a big impact in the climate change field. I have been studying how carbon and water processes in vegetation will be altered climate conditions. It was nice to return to being an ecologist for the summer. This week I am starting to assume my other role as a teacher of science.
I also spent time over the summer writing grants. I developed a proposal to implement Smart Meter Technology in the residential buildings at Lasell. The technology will allow us to meter electricity use within individual dorms and even floors. With this technology we will be able to run competitions and share energy use information with students in real time. This technology will provide a tremendous platform to build student research projects from in a variety of classes at Lasell including environmental studies courses, economic courses, and even psychology courses.
Taking advantage of the recent Davis Foundation Grant, I also wrote a few proposals for research in the courses I am teaching this fall. Students in Geography will be conducting a transect study of geographic variables along the MBTA Green Line. Students in Environmental Science will be studying the water quality of the campus pond and researching potential non-point sources such as the golf course and residential lawns. Finally students in the Diversity of Living Organisms will be conducting a biodiversity inventory of vegetation on campus to start the generation of a long-term management plan.
Also this summer I met with consultants from Princeton Energy as they conducted their work to help Lasell develop an Energy Management Plan. This document will be extremely useful in guiding energy conservation project decisions over the long-term. I look forward to seeing this report soon.
I wrote a report of the work done by the Environmental Sustainability Committee. I will be sharing that document with the campus very soon. We have made great progress in the past two years.
Finally I had the opportunity to interview candidates for the Assistant Director of Plant Operations and Sustainability position. Hiring a staff member with sustainability responsibilities will be a huge boost to our Green Campus Initiative. Hopefully we will see someone on campus in that position soon.
I am excited to be returning to the classroom though. I revamped my Environmental Science course and I am very excited about the changes in structure I have made. I am also very excited about the field experiences I will be taking students on in Diversity of Living Organisms. We will be researching birds at the Great Meadows Wildlife Refuge, crabs on the Quincy shore, salamanders at Hemlock Gorge and visiting many other great ecosystems.