Environment

Sugar Ridge still under EPA orders to get sewers

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For a decade now, the community of Sugar Ridge has been on the Ohio EPA’s clean up list. In 2007, the Wood County Health District got a report of a sewage nuisance in the unincorporated village located north of Bowling Green. The EPA took over sampling and “deemed it a sewage nuisance,” said Lana Glore, director of environmental services at the Wood County Health District. The area was ordered to connect to a public sewer system. But that proved to be easier said than done. The Northwestern Water and Sewer District conducted a feasibility study to find out how to make it affordable to hook up the homes to public sewer. “They found it was very costly to build the sewer” – too expensive for the average homeowners in Sugar Ridge, Glore said last week. The project recently came onto the health district’s radar again when a concerned citizen reported that a resident of the Sugar Ridge area was trying to install a new sewer without approval, on Long Street. Upon inspection, Glore found that the resident was actually trying to fix a drainage system. She also found serious ground water drainage issues that could be affecting the septic systems. Residents in the area were advised to pump their septic tanks more often and lessen their water usage if possible. Worsening the situations is a plugged ditch along Sugar Ridge Road. Middleton Township officials are looking at how that ditch may be cleaned to allow for proper drainage, Glore said. The bad news is the septic systems are not sufficiently handling the…

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Falcons hatch in courthouse clock tower

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Bowling Green welcomed its newest falcons to town Saturday and Sunday (April 22-23). Two of four peregrine falcon eggs hatched Saturday in the clock tower of the Wood County Courthouse. The first view of a hatched egg was around 8 p.m. on the Falcon Cam, www.bgsu.edu/falconcam, which is provided by a partnership between the Wood County Commissioners and Bowling Green State University. The third egg hatched early Sunday morning with the fourth hatching sometime before Monday. “This year mom falcon chose to lay her eggs in a better viewing location for people watching the Falcon Cam,” said Andrew Kalmar, Wood County administrator. “From year to year it has been fascinating to watch the young falcons hatch and grow, as well as watch the parents fly, hunt and teach their young. We are truly fortunate they chose the Courthouse as home base.” It’s well known that the peregrine falcon is BGSU’s official mascot. Seven years ago, a pair of the raptors took refuge in the clock tower located just two blocks west of campus. “We’re happy the peregrine falcons have made it a tradition of calling Bowling Green home,” said Dave Kielmeyer, chief marketing and communications officer of BGSU. “It’s fitting that the falcons have formed a unique bond with the town and University.” The first egg was laid March 14, and there’s typically a 33-day gestation period. For more information about the peregrine falcons in the courthouse clock tower, go to www.bgsu.edu/falconcam.


Farms are victims, & part of the solution, as climate changes

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Farmers are in the crosshairs of climate change. The climate is moving south, said Neocles Leontis, one of the founders of the Black Swamp Green Team. That means as the years go by our weather will be more like what we associate with areas further south, and that means problems for agriculture. The Black Swamp Green team is a loose-knit alliance of faith communities, advocacy groups, non-profits, and individuals that promotes energy efficiency, renewal energy, and sustainability. As Pastor Deb Conklin, of Peace Lutheran said: “Who we are is whoever shows up when we make a decision.” On Sunday the team hosted the Creation Celebration at Peace Lutheran. The event focused on agriculture, the challenges it faces, the ways of addressing those challenges, and its role in combating climate change. Alan Sundermeier, of the Ohio State University Extension Service, catalogued the dangers. The effects of climate change can harm farms, whether it’s increasingly severe rainstorms or drought. Drought, Sundermeier said, poses the greatest danger. High water rarely destroys an entire crop. Drought can. But unpredictable weather, such as can late freeze, can also play havoc with crops. “The variability is more severe.” That severe weather can also carry pests with them. People have to keep in mind that: “Whatever we do, whatever small part we play, affects the rest of the world in big and small ways.” The effects of rising temperature are many. Leontis noted that 2016 was the warmest year on record. Sundermeier showed a slide of a dry, brown field. That field should be green, he said. What could the farmer…


BGSU’s Greek Village earns LEED gold certification

By BOB CUNNINGHAM BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS The color green is usually associated with Earth Week, but sometimes green is gold. Bowling Green State University learned during Earth Week that the Greek Village, a $32.7 million Greek housing project which opened at the beginning of Fall 2016, received the LEED for Homes Gold certification from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a rating system devised by the council to evaluate the environmental performance of a building and encourage market transformation toward sustainable design. The Greek Village is the sixth LEED-certified structure at the University. Each of the 33 residences was constructed using sustainable construction practices and materials, with the intention of operating efficiently. We are so proud of this significant designation for our new Greek Village and are so pleased that our students have access to facilities that are state-of-the-art and environmentally friendly,” BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey said. The efficiency credits that helped the Greek Village earn LEED Gold include: The use of low-volatile-organic-compound (VOC) emission paints, adhesives and coatings. Construction Waste Management records indicating that the project diverted more than 75 percent of construction waste from a landfill to a recycling or reuse center. The Greek Housing projects diverted approximately 605 cubic yards of material. The installation and use of high-efficiency toilets and showerheads, along with very high-efficient lavatory faucets. The complete air infiltration sealing with a continuous air barrier: Each Greek Chapter is sealed separately from the other adjacent chapters. All the wall assemblies and trusses were delivered to the site as prefabricated…


Creation Care Celebration to be held on Sunday

The Black Swamp Green Team’s second Creation Care Celebration will take place Sunday, April 23 from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm at Peace Lutheran Church, 1201 Martindale Rd at W. Wooster in Bowling Green. The event celebrates local efforts, organizations and leaders practicing good stewardship by increasing awareness and practices for sustainable renewable energy use and healthy living. Lunch will be included, as will music by the Peace Band. Keynote presentation and panel will be on the topic of sustainable and regenerative agriculture by Don Schooner of Schooner Farms, Alan Sundermeier from the Ohio State University Extension Office, and Paul Herringshaw of Bowling Green. There will be recognitions, displays, and electric car test drives. A tour of Schooner Farms will immediately follow the event at 3:30 pm. The Black Swamp Green Team is a collaboration of faith communities, advocacy groups, non-profit entities, and individuals engaged in promoting and practicing good creation care among itself and its constituents so as to: implement energy efficiency; the use of renewable energy; the production and delivery of local renewable energy; and, thereby, improve its overall stewardship of creation.


Earth Week speaker to explain how a grizzly killing changed the face of national parks

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Nature has a way of asserting itself. Jordan Fisher Smith noted a small example of that as he walked into Hanna Hall on the Bowling Green State University campus. During his talk to the 40 students in Amilcar Challu’s American Environmental History class, he showed them a shard of limestone. The building represents human ideas of architecture set in stone. Now nature, through freezing, thawing and the movement of water, is having its way with human design. Or maybe it’s the dandelion, an invasive species, rising up through the concrete sidewalk. “That’s wildness,” he said. “That’s the unexpected that happens without human intervention and design.” Or maybe, that assertion comes during the 1972 celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of Yellowstone Natural Park. In the midst of all the activities, a hiker Harry Eugene Walker is pulled off the trail, killed and eaten by a grizzly. That’s the subject of Smith’s book “”Engineering Eden: The True Story of a Violent Death, a Trial, and the Fight Over Controlling Nature,” a finalist for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award. He’ll speak about the book and the National Park system tonight (April 18) at 7 p.m. in the Student Union theater. Though Yellowstone was created in 1872, people knew nothing about how to run them. They served as “nature management kindergarten,” Smith told the class. Officials were guided by a few “crude rules.” Plant-eating animals were good, and the predators who ate them were bad. Fire was bad. So after human market hunters killed off the elk and bison, park officials decided they…


BGSU taking steps to reduce its carbon footprint

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bowling Green State University is in it for the long haul when it comes to sustainability. Under the terms of the American University and College Presidents’ Climate Commitment, which BGSU president Mary Ellen Mazey signed with almost 700 of her peers, the university will work to reduce its carbon footprint by an average of 4 percent a year, leading to being carbon neutral by 2040. Monday marked the kickoff for Earth Week activities on campus. A short ceremony to mark the occasion was held outside McFall Center with those gathered moving to place green pinwheels outside the student union. The theme is “Action Today, Better Tomorrow.” Nick Hennessey, BGSU’s sustainability manager, said Monday that the university is close to reducing its carbon footprint by 4 percent annually, but hasn’t done so yet. “We’re working on it. We’re taking a big chunk of it. We’re right where we want to be.” He’s looking forward to finalizing the university’s greenhouse gas analysis. “The most change has occurred in the last year,” he said. Renovation of buildings helps, Mazey said. She’s proud of the number that have earned LEED – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – Certification. When the Harshman Quad, the Family and Consumer Science building, and West Hall come down this summer that will have “a major impact on our energy consumption,” Mazey said. Hennessey said the effort to reduce the carbon footprint also got a boost from the city. Now 40 percent of the electricity supplied to BGSU comes from renewable sources. Mazey praised the Friday Nights Lights Out program through which student…