Environment

Thanks for the memories; why you should vote ‘yes’ on county parks levy

Do you have fond memories of picnics in the park? Did your scout troop learn about leaves and animals and insects while at the park? Do you visit the park to bird watch or celebrate a birthday or graduation with family and friends? Do you enjoy walking trails? Are you the more active type and enjoy repelling down a limestone wall? Perhaps a naturalist visited your school or club and shared information you had never considered about various critters. Do you enjoy the challenge of geocache? Is photography your thing and you find perfect subjects at the park? This list could go on and on. And that is why we support the May 8th renewal levy for the Wood County Park District. We hope you will as well by voting “Yes” for your Wood County Parks on May 8th! Joe and Lynne Long Grand Rapids


Earth Week speaker: People favor protections, but not if labeled ‘job-killing regulations’

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Lana Pollack got her first taste of government regulation, or protection as she prefers to call it, when she was a girl watching beef being butchered. As the Lamb Peace lecturer, Pollack, who chairs the U.S. section, International Joint Commission, kicked off Earth Week at Bowling Green State University posing the question: “If protections are good, why are regulations bad?” Certainly her father who ran a grocery store and butcher shop in rural western Michigan didn’t appreciate the state inspector who stood by while he and his help processed a beef carcass. Her father, Pollack said, was the kind of person who fed a lot of people whether they could pay their bills or not. Once a week he’d go to the cattle auction and buy a couple steers, which he’d bring back. Pollack said she went along, and watched the processing. “I know where my meat comes from.” She could see her father was “aggravated” by the inspector and his seemingly petty demands. In his later years, his daughter asked him if the state regulations made his ground beef or hot dogs any better. No, he said. “But it kept the guy down the road from adding sawdust to his hot dogs.” The consumer wasn’t protected from an ethical business like the one her father ran, but from the unethical ‘guy down the road.” That holds true for the environment as well, including the Great Lakes. That’s why the EPA is the Environmental Protection Agency, not the Environmental Regulatory Agency. People like “protection,” she said. They think far less of regulations, especially when they are so constantly referred to as “job-killing regulations.” That phrase is tossed around so much that it almost becomes one word. It’s a favorite of conservative lobbying efforts like the American Legislative Exchange Council. “Words matter,” Pollack said. It’s not like businesses, including agribusiness, are opposed to government action, she said. They’re fine with it as long as it benefits them. While agribusiness may fight rules aimed at controlling the run-off of phosphorus from fields that causes toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie, farm interests back federal government support for ethanol production, Pollack said. Now 40 percent of corn on 7 million acres of heavily fertilized cropland is grown for fuel. Taking action to combat pollution of the Great Lakes is a complex issue that involves understanding the science, as well as the cultural and political context. Pollack, who served in the Michigan State Senate from 1984 to 1993, describes herself as “a recovering politician.” At her lecture she showed two photos of the Cuyahoga River on fire, one from 1952 and the other from 1969. No action was taken in 1952 in the years of complacency after World War II. But the 1960s was a “time of social revolution” and “progressive change.” The burning river caught the public’s attention. Action was taken. Citizens agitated for environmental protections That action had beneficial effects. It dramatically reduced the amount of PCPs going into the Great Lakes. And it reduced the amount of phosphorus going into the lakes. That came by the removal of phosphorus, which promote algae growth, from washing detergents and commercial lawn care products. And it came from billions being invested into water treatment systems – which are…


Protecting Great Lakes focus of Lamb Peace Lecture

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Earth Week 2018 at Bowling Green State University kicks off April 16 with the annual Lamb Peace Lecture at 7:30 p.m. in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union Theater. The free lecture is titled “Policy, Politics and Pollution in the Great Lakes Basin: If Protections Are Good, Why Are Regulations Bad?” with Lana Pollack, chair of the U.S. section, International Joint Commission (IJC). The IJC was established by the U.S. and Canada to address issues related to boundary waters including the Great Lakes. Pollack was appointed chair by President Barack Obama in June 2010. She has had a diverse career in public office, education and the public interest sector. From 1996-2008, she was president of the Michigan Environmental Council, a coalition of 70 environmental organizations working to protect the Great Lakes and Michigan’s environment. She was elected three times to the Michigan legislature, serving as a state senator from 1983-94. During her tenure, she was a leading advocate for women, children and the environment and earned praise as the architect of Michigan’s landmark 1990 polluter pay statute. Pollack was a Fellow at the institute of Politics at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, taught at the University of Michigan and was an elected trustee of the Ann Arbor Board of Education. She served on a number of educational, nonprofit and corporate boards, including the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board, which annually directed $35 million to $50 million in discretionary public funds to protect, purchase and enhance parkland and open space for preservation and recreation. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Michigan. BGSU’s Edward Lamb Peace Lecture annually brings internationally recognized experts to campus to address major environmental issues and how they affect world security. The lecture series began in 1986 in honor of the late Edward Lamb, a prominent Toledo lawyer committed to social justice, civil rights and world peace. It is underwritten by the Lamb Foundation of Toledo.


Workshop at BGSU advocates for socially responsible investing

From SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE INVESTING WORKSHOP Most investors do not know what companies they own as part of their investment portfolios holding mutual funds. That is not good.   To address that problem, a group of northwest Ohio activists has spent a year putting together a two-hour workshop at BGSU. The Socially Responsible Investing Workshop will be held Tuesday, April 24, from 7:30-9:30 p.m. in room 201 in the Bowling  Green State University student union. The workshop is being hosted by: Nick Hennessey, director of BGSU Office of Sustainability; Professor Enrique Gomez del Campo, Department of Environmental Sustainability; Professor Neocles Leontis, Department of Chemistry;  Josh Mudse, CFP Munn Wealth Management; and Professor Emeritus Tom Klein, English Department. Panel members will be: Darren Munn, CFA, Chief Investment Officer, Camelot Portfolios; Owaiz Dadabhoy, Director of Islamic Investing, Saturna Capital; and Robert Huesman, CFA, CFP, Senior Investment Associate, 1919 Investment Counsel. Socially responsible investing is a strategy that had a dramatic birth in the 1970s when investors began divesting from companies operating under South African apartheid.  It has become very popular over the last three decades, considering both financial return and social and environmental good.  Since 2012 such investing has grown in popularity, with a 135% increase in assets under management to $8.72 trillion.  Today there are about 500 such funds. Specifically, it’s possible to promote positive change by investing in companies advocating clean energy, social justice and environmental sustainability.    Many funds give the investor the choice of what to avoid or invest in.   For example, choices can include harmful industries such as fossil fuels, civilian and military weapons, tobacco, GMO producers and nuclear energy; they can also include support for companies that help the poor start businesses such as the work of micro-finance in Africa. The three most important goals of sustainable investing are to protect the planet, protect our communities and families, and protect our portfolios.


Climate change poses threat to coffee business

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Climate change may increase the cost of your morning coffee. Kelly Wicks, who owns Grounds for Thought in Bowling Green with his wife, Laura, was quoted in a recent Business Forward report saying that climate change is “adversely affecting the long term outlook for coffee, putting additional burdens here at home and putting small farmers in potential financial peril in all the major growing regions worldwide.” Early this year, the Wicks family and a couple key employees traveled to the Siles Farm in Matagalpa, Nicaragua to get a first-hand look at how their main product is grown, and the challenges facing the  farmers, small business owners like the Wicks family, who provide it. Coffee growers, Wicks said, are battling “rust,” a pathogen that can have devastating effects on a coffee plantation. The disease thrives at warmer temperatures. Even a temperature increase of a couple degrees can promote the disease and that can reduce the crop dramatically. The Siles farm is large enough with several thousand acres, that the growers can, for now, combat the spread of the disease by moving production to higher elevations, where the trees are less susceptible. “They have some ability to combat the challenge from climate change,” Wicks said. Siles also has its own dairy herd. The whey is used to produce a material to help protect the trees from rust. The milk is given to their employees. “It’s small growers who have no option.”  While Siles produces thousands bags a year, a small farmer may produce 20-30 bags. “They can’t say we’re just going to go up the mountain,” he said. “And if their well runs dry, they’re out of luck.” While rust is a problem wherever coffee is grown, it is a particular issue in Central America. Should the region’s coffee crop be devastated, that would put a million people out of work, Wicks said. Coffee harvesting and processing is still a labor intensive process, Wicks said. “It’s labor intensive hands-on commodity.” The crew from Grounds got to experience that first hand, getting up before dawn to head out to pick the fruit that contains the beans from the trees. They did so under the watchful eye of the experienced hands at Siles Farms. The coffee fruit that look like mini crab apples, must be picked one by one since they ripen at different rates. And this highlights another problem posed by climate change. It is extending the growing season by as much as 30 days. That means more labor for a smaller crop. Once the pods are harvested, they go through a machine that separates seed from fruit. From there, the beans undergo initial fermentation for 24 hours. After that they may or may not be washed. A farmworker will run his hands through the beans to determine whether enough of the sticky residue from the fruit has been removed. The Siles farm is a big enough operation to maintain these facilities on site. Small farmers will sell their beans and have a processor do the job. Siles Farm ships its beans to a dry mill in nearby Matalgalpa. The beans are spread out on a screen on a patio to dry. Once the moisture level is cut from about 50 percent to 16 percent or so, the beans…


After years of resistance, EPA says Lake Erie ‘impaired’

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Since the green algae scare in 2014 that resulted in the Toledo area being warned to not drink the water, the Ohio EPA has insisted that Lake Erie would not benefit from being declared “impaired.” But this afternoon, the EPA released a report stating the lake’s status should be changed to “impaired.” The battle has been between the state – which didn’t want the region to suffer economically from being named “impaired” – and environmentalists, who said the lake would improve only if the source of the harmful algae is identified – and the farming community that didn’t want all the blame for the algae, and didn’t want more regulation of their practices. In Thursday’s announcement, the EPA is proposing the open waters of Lake Erie’s Western Basin be designated as impaired for recreation and drinking water. This includes the area of the lake from the Michigan-Ohio state line to the lighthouse in Marblehead. The shoreline areas of the western basin and drinking water intakes had already been designated as impaired. This first assessment of Lake Erie included input from Bowling Green State University, Ohio State University Sea Grant College Program, University of Toledo, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. EPA. The report identifies a science-based process for assessing impairment from harmful algae of the western basin open waters. “While designating the open waters of the Western Basin as impaired does not provide, as some suggest, a magic bullet to improve the lake, the state remains committed to our obligations under the Clean Water Act and to examine emerging science and practices that we can put in place to help improve it,” Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler stated in the report released today. The news was welcomed by area environmentalists, who have insisted for years that Lake Erie would only get worse if the sources of the harmful algae aren’t identified and limited. The “impaired” status will require such studies. While the farming community has made progress in self-monitoring and reducing phosphorus runoff that contributes to the algae, it hasn’t been enough, environmentalists said. One of those applauding the designation is Mike Ferner, coordinator of the Advocates for a Clean Lake Erie. “This decision that took massive public insistence and a federal court suit is way overdue, but let’s get down to work now.  An impaired designation kicks off a process under the Clean Water Act that includes finding out exactly who the polluters are and the amounts from each,” Ferner stated in a press release.  “It must be completely transparent, with public involvement every step of the way.  ACLE will be vigilant to see that this declaration actually means something.” Ferner has made repeated visits to the Wood County Commissioners, trying to convince them to sign onto a resolution designating Lake Erie as “impaired.” “We think the voice of local government is important,” he told the Wood County Commissioners. The “impaired” designation would trigger a full-scale investigation of all possible sources of pollution going into the lake, and then require action to reduce that contamination. Ferner said similar action was taken in the Chesapeake Bay area, which allowed about $2 billion in federal funding to be used to solve the problems there. Prior to that, voluntary efforts were tried for…


Gamby a natural as BG’s first sustainability coordinator

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Amanda Gamby has been a tree-hugger and nature defender as long as she can remember. “This is pretty much who I am,” Gamby said as she sat in her office surrounded by recycling bins, giant plants, tree pictures, and hula hoops (we’ll get to that later.) “It’s always been where I’ve gravitated toward.” Soon Gamby will be leaving this office, as Wood County Solid Waste environmental educator, to fill the newly-created position of Bowling Green city sustainability coordinator. She starts the new job on April 2. When she takes over as sustainability coordinator, Gamby will be expected to be a “utility player,” said Joe Fawcett, assistant municipal administrator. She will be educating the public about the city’s programs for trash, recycling and sustainability. She will explain new rules to the public, plus give tours of the county landfill and the recycling center. And she will work with the utilities department on stormwater management, and on educating the public about the new solar field and wind turbines. Gamby is quite comfortable being a “utility player,” since she has appreciated combining her love of nature and teaching in her position with the county over the last 12 years. Wood County Administrator Andrew Kalmar has no doubt that she can handle the new job. “She’s really good with people,” especially with school-age children, he said. “She has a good way of communicating. She’s just a bubbly person.” That enthusiasm comes naturally, Gamby said. “I’m very personable with them, and I truly do care about each group who comes out” to environmental presentations, she said. As a child, Gamby always chose nature, recycling or litter collection for every Girl Scout, 4-H or school project. “We were always outside, as kids,” she said. She went on to get an environmental policy and analysis degree in college, and worked in education. So she already does double-duty as an environmentalist and educator. “It’s pretty awesome,” Gamby said with a grin. During her years with the county, Gamby worked hard to create a network and partnerships between like-minded agencies in the area. “I’m most proud of building those relationships,” she said. Gamby said she is looking forward to being able to concentrate her efforts on one community – Bowling Green – rather the entire county. “I’m looking forward to really being able to apply some of the training I’ve received,” she said. Oh, and the hula hoops? Gamby plans to continue her efforts to make learning about sustainability fun – especially for kids. Her demonstrations often include a giant earth ball, and the hula hoops, which double-time as big worm segments.


Falcon lays an egg in courthouse tower

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS At least one more falcon is getting ready to call Bowling Green home, as a new peregrine falcon egg has made its appearance on the Falcon Cam, www.bgsu.edu/falconcam. One egg so far is visible on the camera, which is provided by a partnership between the Wood County Commissioners and Bowling Green State University. Last year, four eggs were laid in the Wood County Courthouse tower. “Spring is on the way and our falcon family hanging around the Courthouse nesting box is a sure sign,” said Andrew Kalmar, Wood County administrator. “This is the eighth year we will be able to watch the falcons grow their family. We have had a few bird watchers with big scopes in our parking lots the past couple weeks, trying to get a good view.” The peregrine falcon is BGSU’s official mascot. A pair of the raptors took refuge in the clock tower — just two blocks west of campus — eight years ago. “It’s fitting that the peregrine falcons have formed a unique bond with the town and University,” said Dave Kielmeyer, chief marketing and communications officer of BGSU. “We’re happy they have made a tradition of calling Bowling Green home.” Peregrine falcon eggs typically have a 33-day gestation period, so the eggs are expected to hatch in early April. For more information about the peregrine falcons in the courthouse clock tower, go to bgsu.edu/falconcam.


County Park District seeking comments on programs at open forums in March & April

From WOOD COUNTY PARK DISTRICT The Wood County Park District welcomes the communities of Wood County to several Community & Parks Open Forums. The Park District is offering many new opportunities for nature and cultural education, and outdoor recreation. Many new features and amenities have been added and will continue to be added in the future to the twenty Nature Preserves and Parks managed by the Wood County Park District. The public is encouraged to visit these open forums to learn about what is new and upcoming, as well as, share opinions with the Park District. Public opinions will help shape the future of the parks. Wednesday, March 14; 5-7  p.m. N Baltimore Public Library 230 N. Main Street, North Baltimore   Thursday, March 15; 7-9 p.m. W.W. Knight Nature Preserve: Hankison Great Room 29530 White Road, Perrysburg Saturday, March 24; 1-3 p.m. Wood County District Public Library Meeting room 251 N. Main Street, Bowling Green Thursday, March 29; 6-8 p.m. Way Public Library 101 E. Indiana Avenue, Perrysburg Saturday, April 14; 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Pemberville Public Library 375 E. Front Street, Pemberville Wednesday, April 18; 4-6 p.m. Weston Public Library – Grand Rapids Branch 17620 Bridge St, Grand Rapids, 43522 Thursday, April 19; 5-7 p.m. Walbridge Library 108 N Main St, Walbridge, OH 43465 Tuesday, April 24; 7-9 v Bradner Interpretive Center 11491 Fostoria Road, Bradner Light refreshments, good information and great company will be provided. For more information, please visit www.wcparks.org.


County parks are busy places during March

From WOOD COUNTY PARK DISTRICT Native Bees and Bee Houses Wednesday, March 7; 6:30 – 8:30 pm J.C. Reuthinger Preserve 30370 Oregon Road, Perrysburg Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalists Suzanne Nelson and Dean Babcock will present on native bees and how to encourage them to visit your backyard. You will complete your own mason bee house with guidance from the program leaders. Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897 Native American Moccasin Making Workshop Series Tuesdays, March 6, 13, 20, and 27; 6:00 – 9:00 pm Carter Historic Farm 18331 Carter Road, Bowling Green Learn the skill of making authentic Native American moccasins over the course of four sessions. The Plains two-piece style will be featured. Attendance at all sessions is required. Cost: $20; FWCP $15. Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897 EcoLit Book Group Meeting Thursday, March 8, 7:00 – 9:00 pm W.W. Knight Nature Preserve: Hankison Great Room 29530 White Road, Perrysburg For this meeting, please read The Boilerplate Rhino: Nature in the Eye of the Beholder, essays by David Quammen. Group meets once a month. Register for any or all. Discussion leader: Cheryl Lachowski, Senior Lecturer, BGSU English Dept. and Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist (OCVN). Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897   CPR Certification at the Park Saturday, March 10; 8:00 am – noon Park District Headquarters 18729 Mercer Road, Bowling Green Get certified in adult, child, and infant CPR and AED use and learn choking relief. This American Heart Association course is taught by certified Park District staff. Participants must be 14 years of age. Registration deadline is March 3. Card certification cost: $20. Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897 Community & Parks Open Forum Wednesday, March 14th  5:00 – 7:00 pm N Baltimore Public Library 230 N. Main Street, North Baltimore Learn about the new and exciting opportunities with the Wood County Parks. Your input matters. Share your thoughts with us to help shape the future of the parks. Light refreshments and good company provided. Archery Skills: M-Archery Madness! Friday, March 16; 6:00 – 7:30 pm William Henry Harrison Park 644 Bierley Ave, Pemberville Beginning archers build their skills in this fun and instructional program, where we’ll focus on body posture and aiming, eventually progressing to moving ball targets! All archery equipment provided, personal gear welcome (inspected at program). Must be 7 years of age or older. Cost: $5/$3 FWCP. Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897 Working with Black Swamp Soils Series                          Sundays, March 18, April 22, & May 20; 1:00 – 3:30 pm W.W. Knight Preserve 29530 White Road, Perrysburg Working with the soils of the Great Black Swamp can be a challenge. In this workshop series participants will learn how to identify the soils on their property; test soil for various properties and learn how to mitigate some of the challenges. Topics will include soil management, native plants, ways to attract wildlife and sustainability. Sign up for the March 18 session only and plan to attend the April and May sessions. Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897 Spring Solstice Woodcock Wander                          Tuesday, March 20; 7:30 – 9:00 pm Slippery Elm Trail: Cricket Frog Cove 14810 Freyman Road, Cygnet As the sun sets a very special bird begins preparing for one the best aerial courtship displays in North America. He goes by names such as: bogsucker, timberdoodle, mudbat and many more. This will be a twilight hike under a crescent moon. We will listen for nocturnal wildlife and gaze at a…


Historic farm acreage could be site for wetlands project

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Settlers in the Great Black Swamp worked hard to drain the soil to make fields that would grow crops rather than flood. Now, a group dedicated to conservation may work hard to turn one field back into wetlands. Melanie Coulter, of the Black Swamp Conservancy, presented a proposal on Tuesday to the Wood County Park District. The conservancy is a non-profit land trust with a goal of conserving primarily private and some public lands. Coulter’s proposal to the park district board was to set up a demonstration project on acreage at the Carter Historic Farm, located north of Bowling Green on Carter Road. “It’s a working farm that the public comes to,” she said. So the project could become an example of how wetlands can be used to filter out nutrients from farm fields. The preliminary proposal calls for a series of wetlands with a wooded buffer on 20 acres on the far west end of the farm. The acreage involved sits along a ditch that flows into Toussaint Creek. If grant funding is received, a public meeting would then be held to explain the wetlands project, Coulter told the park board. The wetlands would be designed to create wildlife habitat, she added. The acreage being considered for the wetlands project would be on land currently being used as farmland. The existing wooded area near the field would not be touched and the existing drainage would not be changed. Working on the design of the demonstration project is Hull & Associates. The construction of a wetlands and buffer area would be quite expensive. The preliminary estimate is in the $400,000 range, Coulter said. That amount could be trimmed if the acreage was reduced, she said. Wood County Park District Executive Director Neil Munger said if the project proceeds past the design stage, grant funding would be sought for construction. Since the Toussaint Creek is in the Maumee “area of concern” for waterways and contamination of Lake Erie, the wetlands demonstration project may stand a better chance of receiving funding, Coulter said.


Science teachers enrich lesson plans with activities about Lake Erie algae blooms

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Area science teachers visited the Bowling Green State University campus early this month to learn how to integrate lessons ripped from the headlines into their lesson plans. The professional development sessions brought about a  dozen teachers to learn ways to teach intermediate and middle school students about issues surrounding algae blooms in Lake Erie. Doug Reynolds, who teaches fifth grade at Holland Elementary, said he was excited about having the professional development on “real world problems.” Like several other teachers in the class this was a return to his alma mater. He earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from BGSU in 1997 and 2000 respectively. Karen Krontz has yet to earn her BGSU degree. She’s student teaching at Dorr Elementary in Springfield. “It’s so relatable to everyday life,” she said of the issue. During lessons students share stories about how they use water, and they’re aware of the consequences when something goes wrong. In 2014, toxic blooms made the water in Toledo and much of the surrounding area undrinkable. “They know about algae blooms. Some were affected a few years ago, so they’re very interested.” The workshop was taught by BGSU professor George Bullerjahn, one of the leading experts on algae blooms, with Mark Seals, director of the School of Teaching and Learning, and STEM educator and researcher Ken Newbury. The sessions, funded by a $60,000 Ohio Math Science Partnership grant awarded to BGSU, demonstrated simple hands-on activities that showed the dynamics of how algae blooms form and how they can be mitigated. That meant the teachers getting their hands dirty as they put dirt into trays on top of wire screening. The lesson is intended to show how buffer zones around fields can help keep the runoff rich with nutrients applied as fertilizer from flowing into the lake. Those nutrients nourish the plant life in the lake, just as they nourish plants on land. Conor Whelan teaches science to fifth and sixth graders at a school for the gifted in Sandusky. Surrounded by farm field, his students are well aware of the concerns. There are field all around, and run-off comes from those fields. Whelan quizzed Bullerjahn on what was more of a problem in Lake Erie, farms or municipal runoff. Bullerjahn said that overflows from sewage plants were the major problem years ago, but as plants have improved. Also more efforts are being made to separate storm water from waste water. Storm water can overwhelm a water treatment plant forcing the release of untreated water. There are still some problems, he said, but now the flow of nutrients from agriculture represents 80 percent of the input, and much of the attention is focused on reducing that. The use of cover and roots crops which capture the nutrients, and creating buffer areas that can hold and filter the water are key strategies. The problem has been exacerbated by more powerful rainfalls that have gotten more frequent in recent years. Whelan has gotten money from the grant, so that his fifth grade students can go out to the lake and collect their own water samples. “They get excited being out on the water doing something.” That tangible activity not only makes them more aware of this particular issue, but also piques their interest…


Past, present, & future live in the art of indigenous activist Dylan Miner

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News In the language of the Metis one word refers both to ancestors and descendants. The word means both great-grandparents and great-grandchildren. For indigenous people the past, present, and future are not a continuum but ever present, said Dylan Miner, an artist, activist, scholar and educator from Michigan. “All are intimately connected in a being that is myself,” he said. And all that’s connected in the art he creates. Miner, who teaches at Michigan State, was the guest for the opening talk in the Homelands and Histories Speaker Series presented by the Institute for the Study of Culture and Society at Bowling Green State University. He spoke Tuesday at the Wood County District Public Library. Miner’s art is deeply rooted both in the history of indigenous peoples and their current struggles, which are fought to secure the future. Miner is Metis on his father’s side. The Metis are a people that trace their ancestry back to the descendants of indigenous people and French and English fur traders. Miner’s people lived on Drummond Island until removed. The land of the Metis stretches from the Georgian Bay to through western Canada, straddling the border with the United States. The Metis language, Michif, is a mix of French nouns and Cree verbs and grammar. Miner introduced himself in Michif and then in Ojibway, which he learned from Ojibway elders living in Lansing. The first art work Miner discussed was a fire bag, called colloquially an “octopus bag,” which his grandfather’s grandmother had, and which still remains in his family. It was used to carry the herbs for medicine. Miner continues to use natural materials for some of his own art. In a piece celebrating Louis Riel, a Metis who led two insurrections against the fledgling Canadian government in the late-19th century, Miner altered archival photos by covering Riel’s image in birch bark. The legal systems that ended in the executions of Riel in Canada or 38 Dakota men in Minnesota in 1862, the largest mass execution in U.S. history, persist to this day, he said. It was around 1862, Miner noted, that his Scandinavian ancestors on his mother’s side arrived in the Midwest, availing themselves of free land offered by the government. Pointing out a photo of his ancestor’s farm, he said: “Even when individuals are not actually participating in a system of mass violence, the benefits are passed to them.” In 2015, 110 years after his grandfather’s grandfather was arrested for poaching when he went to harvest a deer on traditional tribal land, Miner recreated that landscape using copper pipe, drawings of constellations each with 110 stars, 110 copies of the arrest documents, and deer antlers. “The material is important to me in its relationship between me and the history, the stories, the land.” The work, in part, reflects the mix emotions about pipelines. His great-grandfather was one of the first to come to the city, where he worked as a pipefitter. There are “beautiful pipelines,” Miner said. Metaphorical pipelines, he said, bring students of color and first generation students to the university. And the copper pipes like those he used in the installation bring water into homes. “Then there are the pipes that are smoked in many indigenous communities as a way of connecting with the…


BG Council asked to encourage businesses to go ‘green’

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A group of environmentally-conscious students would like to see Bowling Green businesses going more green. Members of the Environmental Action Group at Bowling Green State University approached City Council at its last meeting about encouraging local businesses to adopt environmentally-friendly policies. The organization has worked to lessen waste and increase sustainability on campus, and now would like to extend those efforts to more of the community. Julia Botz, a senior biology major, suggested such practices as: Green composting by restaurants. Recycling at Main Street businesses. Restricting the use of disposable plastic foam. Adding more electric car charging stations. Businesses could be encouraged to participate with the awarding of a “Green Bowling Green Business” designation to those that make efforts to help the environment, Botz suggested. Council President Mike Aspacher thanked Botz for making her presentation. “I appreciate your efforts,” he said. Aspacher suggested that members of the BGSU Environmental Action Group meet with Municipal Administrator Lori Tretter to discuss ways the city can assist with the organization’s efforts. Mayor Dick Edwards complimented the student organization for the changes that are being put into place at BGSU. “You’re really accomplishing some amazing things on campus,” Edwards said. “Pretty amazing.” The mayor asked the students to bring a report to City Council of the successful programs on campus, so city officials and the general public can be made aware. On a related matter, the city recently created the new position of “sustainability coordinator” and is in the process of hiring a person to fill that spot. That position was established to help the city develop sustainability programs and work on public outreach on items like refuse/recycling, solid waste diversion and reduction, storm water management and assist with an urban forestry program. “It has become evident that the city needs a position like this to educate, inform and work with residents on the services provided and responsibilities of residents when it comes to refuse and recycling,” Assistant Municipal Administrator Joe Fawcett said.


Hull Prairie ditch cleaning supported – but cost details sought

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Landowners along Hull Prairie Road are in favor of the county cleaning out the ditch that runs along the road. But they have one big concern – how much will it cost them. The Wood County Commissioners held a public hearing Tuesday morning on the Hull Prairie ditch project, which covers 11.6 miles in Bowling Green, Plain Township, Middleton Township and Perrysburg Township. The project extends from south of Newton Road to north of Roachton Road. For years, clogged ditches along Hull Prairie Road only affected neighboring farmland. But now, with so many homes and housing subdivisions growing along the road, ditch drainage is necessary to keep water from creeping into basements. The estimated cost for the project is $422,000, according to Wood County Engineer John Musteric. The watershed area covers 6,749 acres, with 1,378 parcels. A preliminary cost per acre would be $62.53. However, no surveys have yet been conducted, Musteric said. Several neighbors of the ditch project attended Tuesday’s hearing to voice their support for the ditch cleaning. Carl Barnard said several of his neighbors get water in their basements with heavy rainfalls. One neighbor recently had $6,000 in damage due to flooding. “This is very critical to us,” Barnard said. Musteric agreed that the project should proceed. “Prolonging implementation now will do nothing but exacerbate drainage issues later,” he said. Better drainage will not only result in better farm yields, but also help the residential areas, Musteric said. Unless the ditch is placed under the county maintenance program, the responsibility to keep it clean is on the townships and landowners. The benefits of the project are greater than the costs, Musteric said. But the landowners would really like some more specifics on exactly what those costs might be for them individually. “This is all well and good. But the bottom line is the cost,” Joe McIntyre, of Cogan Lane, said. Until the survey is done, those costs are unknown, Musteric said. “Everybody is very curious about the costs,” said Robert Ashenfelter, of Lake Meadows Drive. The flooding problems are worsening as development occurs, according to Ashenfelter, who said the two drainage ponds in his subdivision don’t drain if the ditches are clogged. “We would like something to get rid of the water a little faster,” he said. “We’re excited to see this come to fruition.” Musteric listed the benefits of the project as: The ditch will be maintained by the county rather than the farm and residential communities. The potential for water damage will be reduced. The assessments are only charged when monies are needed for maintenance. The plat of the project will become a permanent record. The county engineer listed the disadvantages as: Landowner assessments are necessary. Most landowners aren’t aware of the permanent 25-foot maintenance easements with ditch programs. So they tend to place objects like fences, sheds or yard debris in the easement area. Time – “the improvement of this ditch and the three branches cannot happen fast enough,” Musteric said. The county commissioners voted unanimously to approve the ditch proposal. “It seems it’s needed and we’ve got good support for it,” Commissioner Craig LaHote said. The next step is for a survey of the ditch to be conducted. Musteric said the Hull Prairie ditch is…