Thursday, February 27, 2014

UDC to Host DC Sustainability and Social Enterprise Summit

CAUSES will host the first DC Sustainability and Social Enterprise Summit, the final event of the week long DC Social Enterprise Week, held April 14-18, 2014. The conference will be hosted from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Friday, April 18, at UDC’s David A. Clarke School of Law, located at 4340 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. Co-headlining the Summit will be Seth Goldman, President and “TeaEO” of Honest Tea, and Aaron Hurst, author of the Purpose Economy

The theme for this year’s Summit, Accelerating Impact through Cross-Industry and Cross-Sector Collaboration, will bring together entrepreneurs, activists, educators, and innovators that are driving change in Washington, D.C. This Summit is an opportunity to connect with the Sustainability and Social Enterprise community in the District; therefore, if you are interested in energy, education, social and traditional entrepreneurship, innovation, social justice, transportation, urban agriculture, or income equality, then you should attend this event. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Try Out Your Green Thumb at the 2014 Rooting DC Forum

by Catherine Nourse

The Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health (CNDH) of the University of the District of Columbia announces its participation in the 7th annual Rooting DC conference, a free, all-day gardening forum that provides education about urban food production and consumption to cultivate health and preserve the environment.

Joining CNDH will be a host of other panelists who, like CNDH, are deeply invested in food and agriculture within the district.

The event offers more than 70 workshops for beginner gardeners (e.g., seed starting, soil remediation, and irrigation), seasoned horticulturalists (e.g., beekeeping, mushroom cultivation, permaculture design), and citizens invested the larger food justice landscape. An information fair with over 50 green businesses and nonprofits will take place from 8:30 a.m. -1:30 p.m. Stop by the UDC/CNDH table to exchange ideas and thoughts about nutrition education and learn about our newest endeavor, the Garden Harvest Nutrition Education Program.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

CAUSES Professor, Dean collaborate on book "Physics and the New Economy"

Dr. Sabine O’Hara, CAUSES Dean and Environmental Science Professor Thomas Kakovitch, collaborated to publish Physics and the New Economy. The book explores the relationship between physics and economics, to address how our mindsets and models must change to ensure a sustainable path of economic development.

As described in the book, everything the economy produces is physical. While economists have warned of physical constraints that will limit the production of economic goods and services, Kakovitch and O’Hara argue that these constraints do not lie primarily on the resource side of the production process. The real constraint is on the “sink” side of the economic process where emissions must be absorbed and waste products must be processed. Until now, this focus on 'sinks' has been mainly overlooked.

“We have largely ignored the context systems within which all economic production take place," states Dr. O’Hara. "These systems are real whether we are talking about the physical context of our natural environment or the social context of our communities and societies. Economic production impacts both." 

“To have balance in nature, a source most have a sink. If sources are flooding in continuously, the sink can only take so much. We are running out of sinks,” explains Prof. Kakovitch. “But we did not only want to point to the problems we have created by overlooking the connections between economic production and nature's sinks. We offer solutions as well.” 

UDC to Host April 4 National Capital Region Water Resources Symposium

For the second consecutive year, the University of the District of Columbia will host the National Capital Region Water Resources Symposium, “Water Resources and Water Infrastructures: Emerging Problems and Solutions,” bringing together water resources professionals from across the region. The one-day symposium will be held Friday, April 4, 2014, from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law, located at located at 4340 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington DC, 20008. The full agenda is available here.

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The symposium will bring together experts from governmental agencies, academia, the private sector, and non-profits to discuss sustainable management of water resources and infrastructure in the region, as well as nationally and internationally. The symposium program will include a keynote address, invited panelists, breakout sessions and poster displays. The program will also highlight student research and students will have the opportunity to meet with experts in the water field.  Eight UDC faculty members and five students (undergraduate and graduate) will participate in the symposium as panelists or poster presenters.

The keynote address will be delivered by George Hawkins, General Manager, District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water). Featured panelists include Benjamin Grumbles, President, U.S. Water Alliance; Claudia Copeland, Resources and Environmental Policy Specialist at Congressional Research Service; Emily Fishkin, Director, Infrastructure Initiatives, ASCE; and Jerry Johnson, General Manager, Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission. In addition, research papers will be presented during poster sessions.  

CAUSES partners with Go Dutch on integrated research project

The University of the District of Columbia’s College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences is collaborating with the GODUTCH Consortium (GDC) in Spring 2014 to conduct workshops by integrating academics, research, land-grant programs and Dutch expertise to originate comprehensive solutions to a case study proposed by DC Government (Lincoln Heights). The purpose of this initiative is for students, faculty, and Dutch experts to exchange knowledge and use sustainability (economics, equity, and environment) in an applied case study scenario.

CAUSES offers research-based academic and community outreach programs that improve the quality of life and economic opportunity of people and communities in the District of Columbia, the nation, and the world. The GDC is a network of leading firms in the fields of urbanism, architecture, clean technology, change management and social economic, strategic and financial consulting. 

"The District of Columbia is one of the most diverse cities in the world, and this partnership reflects the global nature of interdiscliplinary education in the modern age," explained Dr. Dwane Jones, Director, Center for Sustainable Development, who is spearheading the partnership from UDC's end.

Upcoming Events

Invasive Removal at Dumbarton Oaks Park (Feb. 22)
This activity was originally scheduled for Feb. 15 but had to be rescheduled due to inclement weather.  Though Dumbarton Oaks Park isn’t technically Rock Creek Park, it is managed by the National Park Service and adjoins with Rock Creek Park. We will be joining forces with Ann Aldridge of Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy. Dumbarton Oaks, formerly part of the Dumbarton Oaks Estate, is a lovely section of Parkland that was designed by Beatrix Farrand, America’s first female professional landscape architect. The removal will start at 10:00 a.m. and end at 2:00 p.m. Please RSVP to Mary Farrah for the meet-up location. 

4-H Volunteer Leaders Training (March 1)
The 4-H Volunteer Leaders Training prepares adults to assist youth in managing 4-H clubs and activities. Learn how to support our youth in learning about leadership and opportunities that help them to meet their full potential. Volunteers have been an integral part of the success of 4-H since the 1920s, serving as club and project leaders, camp counselors, and even as trainers and mentors. 4-H adult volunteers have the unique opportunity to make a significant and positive contribution to youth development by sharing learned skills, making a difference in their lives and leaving a legacy. Contact Rebecca Bankhead to sign up!

Lead Abatement Worker Course (March 14 and 17)
As part of its efforts to be ever more relevant to the needs of residents and communities of D.C., UDC's Architectural Research Institute is offering training for participants interested in becoming certified lead abatement workers. Attendees of the two day Lead Abatement Worker Course will: 1) Engage in interactive classroom training, 2) Participate in a small classroom setting and one-on-one training, 3) Receive  a comprehensive manual to keep for future reference, 4) Engage in hands on training in a state of the art containment room and 5) Receive a Lead Abatement Worker Certificate of Completion. The first day of the course will be held March 14 and March 17 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The course, which has a fee of $275, will be repeated in April. Contact Marshelle Hailstock at or (202) 274-7115 for more information.

March Invasive Removal
For our March invasive plant removal, we will be joining forces with Rock Creek Conservancy and John Shorb Landscaping for a short but sweet event removing English ivy from the trees along Rock Creek Parkway. This will be on Saturday, March 29th from 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Contact Mary Farrah if you are interested in participating.  

CAUSES TV: The Environment Matters and Housing and Your Health

In two new episodes of CAUSES TV, Dr. Sabine O'Hara interviews Keith Anderson, Director of the District Department of the Environment and Dr. Marvin Turner, Director of the National Capital Area Office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

On this first episode of CAUSES TV entitled  "The Environment Matters," Dr. O'Hara interviews Keith Anderson, DDOE, and William Hare, Associate Dean of Landgrant Programs for CAUSES. Together, they discuss the environment and how it impacts the quality of life, especially for DC residents; and how DDOE works to address concerns and environmental issues.

As Dr. O'Hara explains, it's the residents of the District of Columbia driving CAUSES TV. She reminds viewers that the mission of the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences is to improve the quality of life and economic opportunity for people and communities of the District of Columbia, the nation and the world.

"That is a big mission – improving the Quality of Life. And we are learning every day how much what we perceive as a high quality of life, or a lousy one, is impacted by our environment. Being only indoors is not good for us, and it does not make us feel very good either."

In a second episode of CAUSES TV, "Housing for your Health," Dr. O'Hara interviews Dr. Marvin Turner, Director of the National Capital Area Office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

4-H Corner

Aside from the upcoming 4-H Volunteer Leaders Training, here's what's happening in the world of UDC 4-H:

Healthy Lifestyles Update with 4-­H UDC

The Dream Academy youth receive weekly healthy cooking classes from 4-H's Carlita Law. Some of the recipes the kids have helped to prepare over the past couple of months include chicken and veggie kabobs, healthy spaghetti and meatballs, fruit and vegetable smoothies, Greek salad, sweet and savory waffles (with scallions, cheese, apples, and sweet potato) and chicken quesadillas. The cooking classes have helped the Dream Kids to try to and healthy foods, expanding their palates. 

We need your extra newspaper!

4-H is saving Newspapers for an event in March for our military partners. Please join us and bring in the newspapers that you saved to Room 117 by February 28, 2014. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

CAUSES Awarded Three Sustainable DC Grants!

The University of the District of Columbia was named one of the honorees of the Sustainable DC Innovation Challenge, winning three out of seven grants for a total of $921,000. The grant competition was established to promote novel initiatives among District agencies that will advance Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s Sustainable DC Plan that seeks to make the District of Columbia the greenest, healthiest and most sustainable city in the nation. 

In his announcement Mayor Gray stated:

“These Sustainable DC Innovation Challenge grants demonstrate that a dollar invested in sustainability can return multiple benefits for the city. By building outdoor classrooms, urban farms and greenhouses, and green infrastructure for storm-water control we can help educate the next generation, increase access to healthy foods, expand job training and business opportunities, and ensure protection of our natural resources.”

UDC’s College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences was awarded three grants; one for building three state of the art neighborhood scale aquaponics facilities; one for building a commercial kitchen facility and food truck to promote nutrition, job-skills and entrepreneurship training; and one to create a native plants nursery to combat invasive plant species and restoration native habitats. All three facilities will serve as community education center to create local green-jobs training.

“This is a unique opportunity to see the community education and research programs we offer through our land-grant programs transform District neighborhoods,” said UDC Interim President Dr. James E. Lyons. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Heads of DC Water, DDOE, close Post-Oil City Workshops

For the first time in history, more than 50 percent of the world’s population lives in urban areas. This new reality raises fundamental questions about water management, water and food security and urban food production. Given the history of urban spaces, soil and water pollution problems are prevalent. They also pose threats to meeting the water and food needs of urban populations as transporting food and water over long distances are inconsistent with the energy and mobility goals of the Post-Oil City and its high efficiency economy. The Post-Oil City must therefore adopt models for achieving water and food security that include reductions in the long-distance transportation, increased urban food production, improved water capture and reuse, and new solutions for an aging and outdated urban infrastructure.

Presented by CAUSES and the Goethe-Institut Washington, Post-Oil City: The History of the City’s Future is an international planning and landscape architecture exhibition that presents paradigms of traditional climate-sensitive construction from the past on display in the field of sustainable urban planning. The innovative solutions for the Post-Oil City were envisioned by architects, planners, designers and engineers from 10 different countries. Embedded within the exhibition were workshops and panels on topics shaping the Post-Oil City of the future including mobility, energy and functionality.

The final in this series of dialogue workshops, 
The City of the Future: Water & Food Security, will focus on Water & Food Security and will bring together a broad range of stakeholders to discuss how food and water needs can be met in the post oil era. Expert panelist include George S. Hawkins, General Manager, DC Water and Sewer Authority; Keith Anderson, Director, District Department of the Environment; Dr. Jill Auburn, National Program Leader, Division of Agricultural Systems, Institute of Food Production & Sustainability, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and Dr. Thomas Schmidt, Minister Counselor, Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

4-H Volunteer Leaders Training

The next 4-H Volunteer Leaders Training will be held on March 1. Sign up today by emailing

Thursday, February 6, 2014

When Dreams Take Flight

"When Dreams Take Flight," is a new campaign being unveiled by the University of the District of Columbia. This short video above featuring CAUSES Dean Sabine O'Hara emphasizes the joy of being an educator. If you are local to Washington, D.C., you might catch the video on UDC's local cable station!  Lookout for more videos in the future.

For more information on CAUSES, visit