Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Students, Go Dutch Collaborate on Lincoln Heights Project

The Center for Sustainable Development  has been collaborating with the GO DUTCH Consortium (GDC) on a semester-long case study project that integrates academics, research, landgrant programs and Dutch expertise to originate comprehensive solutions to a case study. The focus of the case study is the Lincoln Heights neighborhood in Washington, D.C. Go Dutch is a network of firms covering the fields of urbanism, architecture, clean technology, change management and social economic, strategic and financial consulting. 

Since January 2014, representatives from GO DUTCH and participating UDC classes have collaborated on an applied, integrated research project that incorporates principles and practices learned in the traditional course curricula (nutrition and food science, respiratory care, urban sustainability, public policy, architecture). The purpose of this initiative was for students, faculty, and Dutch experts to exchange knowledge and use sustainability in an applied case study scenario.

"Chinese philosopher Lao Tze once said 'Pots are formed from clay, but the empty space within it is the essence of the pot,'" explained Bart Mispelblom Beyer, Chairman of Go Dutch. "In this scenario, the essence of a good functioning neighborhood is the space between urban living rooms and urban corridors, where social interaction takes place."
The interdisciplinary project helps to develop: integration, experiential learning, teamwork, communication, leadership and problem-solving skills, explained Dr. Dwane Jones, Director, Center for Sustainable Development and the UDC lead on the project.

"Interdisciplinary learning is the beauty of this project. We provide a framework for the students to work within," explained Dr. Elgloria Harrison, Assistant to the Dean for Academic Programs & Climate Initiative, CAUSES. "This promotes the growth process."

Located in Ward 7 of the District, Lincoln Heights offers low-income housing east of the Anacostia River. The area has a high crime rate, is food insecure and lacks public access accessibility due to its secluded location (the area is a twenty minute walk from the nearest metro station). Ironically, Lincoln Heights is located in the greenest Ward in the District.

Update on Sustainable DC Grants

In February of 2014, the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Science was awarded with three grants from the Sustainable DC Innovation Challenge. The Sustainable DC Innovation Challenge 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. Remarkably, out of the seven total grants awarded, UDC was honored with three, for a grand total of $921,000. 

The grants will help to:
  1. Build three state of the art neighborhood scale aquaponics facilities.
  2. Build a commercial kitchen facility and food truck to promote nutrition, job-skills and entrepreneurship training.
  3. 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.

Winter Freeze Injury to Plants and Trees

By Sandy Farber Bandier
Extension Agent II/Master Gardener Coordinator

This winter has delivered more than a few punches to the landscape. The DC Metro Area have reported multiple instances of winter injury to flowering and evergreen landscape plants as a result of the winter wallop. While it is not unusual to see some freeze damage after an DC winter, this year the extent and severity was notable. 

Huffington Post
For early flowerers, timing was everything. Damage was reported on blossoms of magnolias, spring flowering bulbs and even bamboo! This occurred sporadically around the area and severity of damage seemed to depend upon where plants were in their blooming phase when the freeze hit and their location in the DC Metro Area. Flower buds that were still tight may pull through.

Winter burn was also noticed on many evergreen plants across the area. This winter burn occurs when water is lost from the living tissue faster than the roots can replenish it.  When the ground is frozen, the roots are unable to transfer water into the leaf or needle tissues exposed to biting winds and the winter sun.  This results in leaf and needle desiccation that appears as bleaching, yellowing or browning, and leaf drop. Damaged plants observed with winter burn include: white pine, arborvitae, rhododendron, boxwood, ivy, etc.   

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Architecture Program Granted NAAB Candidacy Accreditation Status

The College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences of the University of the District of Columbia is pleased to announce the Department of Urban Architecture and Community Planning is in-candidacy for accreditation by the National Architecture Accrediting Board. The program was formally granted retroactive candidacy by the National Architecture Accrediting Board, Inc. on Jan. 1, 2013. The next candidacy visit will take place in 2015, with completed candidacy expected to be granted by 2019.

 How does Architecture fit into CAUSES, you ask? The program resides in the only urban land-grant institution in the nation and as such, its primary aim is to stress the importance of design as a tool for creating sustainable urban environments through research-based academic collaboration with partners in the health profession, nutrition science, environmental studies, water resource management, agriculture and Cooperation Extension Services. The program will also work on the urban agriculture issues in an effort to provide leading edge ideas on farming in urbanized areas; for instance, optimizing the design of hoop house and aquaponics system for maximum production of fish and vegetables within a small facility.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Summer Bridge and 4-H Summer Camp

Summer Bridge Program in Science and Technology (June 30 - July - 25)

These days, it is practically impossible to secure a reliable job without a college degree. Help students gain the edge in STEM education. This July, CAUSES is again offering a Summer Bridge course in Environmental and Sustainability Sciences and Technologies, sponsored by the National Science Foundation. This course is designed to provide high school and incoming college students with the essential skills necessary to succeed in college studies and beyond. 

Students will participate in water quality analysis, field studies, field trips and a capstone project. Through this hands-on, interactive course, students will gain a fundamental knowledge of environmental computing, sustainability, water quality, climate change, data analysis, advanced computing and mobile technologies for learning using the latest technology (iPads, computer, hydroponic system and soil, water and air quality monitoring sensors.

The program will be offered on UDC's Van Ness campus. Applications are due by June 20. Contact Dr. Tolessa Deksissa for more information. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

UDC Farmers Market Opens May 17!

We are excited that the 2014 Farmers Market of the University of the District of Columbia opens May 17! This year's market has a new staff that is working hard to bring you a list of fun, tasty and educational activities.Isaac Gembi is the new market manager and will be supported by Kelli Webster and Xiangling Shi. 

All three are UDC students: Isaac, a native of Nigeria, is pursuing his master's degree in Architecture. Kelli will be graduating in May from CAUSES' Environmental Science program. Shawn has a master of Pharmaceutical Analysis degree from China's Pharmaceutical University and is currently enrolled in UDC's Nutrition and Dietetics program. 

"The world is focused on sustainable development, and I'm excited to be part of the Farmers’ Market Management team," Isaac stated. "The whole world will be a better place when everyone lives and eats sustainably."

Together, they will make sure the market is run smoothly and successfully, and is an asset to the neighborhood. This means raising the profile of the market--both internally at UDC and externally in the community.

"The goal of our market is to make the connection that healthy eating and healthy living go hand in hand," Kelli explained. "We also want the market to be inclusive of UDC and hope to involve different departments." 

That even includes having D.C.'s 4-H involved in educational activities for the children; and having the Institute of Gerontology involved for the senior market attendees.

"Our farmers market brings together urban shoppers with rural vendors," Xiangling stated. "It's not just a wonderful place to shop--it's an experience."

Market events for May include live music, cooking and food safety demonstrations.
Introducing your 2014 farmers market staff: Xiangling Shi, Isaac Gembi and Kelli Webster

Continue reading to learn about market events coming up in May

4-H Spring Break: NYC with OMK and STEM Camping Trip

2014 OMK Spring Break Trip to New York City with D.C. National Guard

Over spring break this year, the District of Columbia's "Operation Military Kids" (OMK) hosted a successful and educational trip to New York City for 29 D.C. National Guard military youth. The trip included lots of exercise with tons of walking! 4-H’s Feifei Sun fills us in:

During the four day visit, we began our trip by taking the ferry to Manhattan. Everyone was excited to see the Statue of Liberty and breathtaking view! We then walked down to Wall Street and the Financial District, past the New York Stock Exchange and the Charging Bull statue. After that, we visited the Museum of the American Indian followed by the World Trade Center Ground Zero, where our heroes dedicated their lives on Sept. 11, 2001. Our busy day ended at the New York City Hall.

The next day was even more exciting. An early rise was worth being on the NBC Today Show! After browsing Rockefeller Plaza, we headed to Sony Technology Lab where the kids had a great time leaning all the new technology and being involved in activities exploring the high-tech world.

We then walked to Bryant Park and got to see the magnificent Empire State Building, before visiting Times Square! Eventually, we ended our New York City trip with a tour of Central Park. It was a great spring break and everyone had a great time in the "Big Apple!"

Continue reading for an overview of the 4-H STEM camping trip!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

First ever DC Sustainability and Social Enterprise Summit Concludes

CAUSES hosted the first ever DC Sustainability and Social Enterprise Summit, the final event of the week long DC Social Enterprise WeekThe event, Accelerating Impact through Cross-Industry and Cross-Sector Collaboration, brought together entrepreneurs, activists, educators, and innovators that are driving change in Washington, D.C. Seth Goldman, President and “TeaEO” of Honest Tea, and Aaron Hurst, author of the Purpose Economy, co-headlined the event

Goldman explained how the combination of health and wellness, environmental consciousness and
social responsibility are the pillars that make up today's standard for doing business. HonestTea prides itself on using honestly, integrity and sustainability to craft its business and its product.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Around CAUSES and Upcoming Events

Here's what's been happening around CAUSES!

CAUSES participated in Mayor Vincent Gray’s Sustainable DC First Year Progress Report on Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22. The mayor reported on progress made during the first year of the sustainability initiative. According to the Mayor's Office, there are 27 District Government agencies involved; 83% of plan actions are moving and 6% are already complete. Read the report
UDC and CAUSES hosted the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO) on Friday, April 25. NAFEO partnered with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to assist in identifying and preparing eligible students for career opportunities with NCRS. Participating students had the opportunity to hear from various CAUSES experts and also toured Muirkirk Farm.

Have you seen the beautiful daffodils blooming around the District of Columbia? Well there is a good chance they were planted by DC’s Master Gardener Coordinator Sandy Farber and her team of gardening volunteers! Sandy created “Daffodils for Dad” as a living memorial to her father, Ted Farber. Beautiful daffodils have been planted in all 8 Wards of the District and like DC’s other famous flower, the cherry blossom, they signify that spring is finally here (and they last longer, too)!

Final 4-H Volunteer Leaders Training for the school year on May 17

If you've been waiting to get involved in 4-H, the last Volunteer Leaders Training for the Spring semester is upon us! 

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. 

The last training of the academic school year will be held May 17 from 10:00 a.m. - 2:45 p.m. at UDC's Van Ness campus in Building 44, Room 110.

Please visit or contact Rebecca Bankhead, director, Center for 4-H and Youth Development for more information.

2014 Water Symposium Concludes

By Carilyne Vance

The University of the District of Columbia for the second consecutive year hosted the National Capital Region Water Resources Symposium, “Water Resources and Water Infrastructures: Emerging Problems and Solutions,” bringing 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 program included panelists, breakout sessions poster displays and a keynote by George Hawkins, general manager, District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water).
DC Water moves over 300 million gallons of enriched water around the District and treats water for Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties in Maryland and Fairfax and Loudon Counties in Virginia. Future challenges exist for this under-recognized and life sustaining entity. DC Water maintains and monitors over 1300 miles of pipes, four pumping stations, five reservoirs, five in-ground holding tanks and also maintains over 1800 sewer lines.  Faced with a pipe system that is over 100 years old, DC water must not only maintain but upgrade this system while keeping operating costs down.  

The Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant is located in Southwest DC and provides wastewater treatment for over 325 million gallons a day, while reducing the levels of phosphorus and nitrogen flowing into the Chesapeake Bay. This reduction of nutrients has slowed the growth of algae in the water system, thereby increasing indigenous fish and wildlife populations.  

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

CAUSES TV: Healthy Eating Habits

It's time to SPRING into a healthier lifestyle now that winter is finally over. And there is no better way to improve our health than by improving our eating habits. When we eat well, we feel better; hence, healthy improves our quality of life. 

We obviously have to eat to stay alive; but how many of us also eat because it feels good or tastes great? 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Honors Speaker Series with Dean O'Hara

Dean Sabine O'Hara served as the March guest speaker for the UDC Honors Speakers Series. The program was established in 2009 with the Office for International Programs & Exchanges to incorporate global concerns into the Honors curriculum.

The Honors Speaker Series offers students and the campus community a chance to come together to discuss ideas and issues that affect us all, explained Dr. Howe, Director of the Honors Program. "The series invites prominent scholars and experts from a variety of fields to discuss issues fundamental to our humanity and our shared existence in a world that becomes smaller, and more fragile, with each passing day."

Past guests of the Honors Speaker Series have included Governor (and former Congressman) Jay Inslee, prominent physicist Sylvester Gates of the University of Maryland and renowned climatologist Margaret Leinen, current direct of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.

Dean O'Hara, who holds degrees in Environmental and Agricultural Economics, and specializes in sustainable economic development, lectured on
 The Five Pillars of Economic Development: Building Sustainable Communities. This type of development, as she explained, focuses on quality of life and must address the five pillars of: health, education, social and cultural amenities and access to transportation. The five pillar theory is derived from the development theory of the 1970s that addressed building capacity in underdeveloped countries to strengthen their ability to fend for themselves. 

"Sustainable development must be long term, providing economic resources in a manner where there is enough left over for those who come after us," Dr. O'Hara explained to the Honors students.

After her lecture, during the 'Q & A' portion of the evening, the audience asked questions about her experience and in particular, wanted to know more about beginner gardeners and the UDC farmers market.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Healthy Recipes

Recommended by our Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health, here are some healthy spring recipes,  courtesy of NIH.  This month's recipes are Chicken and Mushroom Fricassee and Spinach and Limas. Enjoy!

Prep time   - 10 minutes        
Cook time  - 15 minutes        
Yields   - 4 servings 
Serving size  - 1 cup of limas and spinach

2 C frozen lima beans
 ½ C onion, chopped
1 C fennel bulb, rinsed and cut into 4-inch strips
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
¼ C low-sodium chicken broth
1 bag (10 oz) leaf spinach, rinsed
1 Tbsp distilled vinegar
⅛ tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp dried chives

Nutritional InfoCalories               93
Total fat               2 g
Saturated fat       1 g
Cholesterol         0 mg
Sodium               84 mg
Total fiber           6 g
Protein                5 g
Carbohydrates  15 g
Potassium          452 mg

1  In a saucepan, steam or boil lima beans in unsalted water for about 10 minutes.  Drain.
2  In sauté pan, sauté onions and fennel in oil.
3  Add beans and chicken broth to sauté pan, and cover.  Cook for 2 minutes.
4  Stir in spinach.  Cover and cook until spinach has wilted, about 2 minutes.
5  Stir in vinegar and pepper.  Cover and let stand for 30 seconds.
6  Sprinkle with chives and serve.

Monday, April 7, 2014

CAUSES TV: Preparing for Spring Gardening

On this Spring Gardening episode of CAUSES TV, Dean Sabine O'Hara interviews  Che Axum, CAUSES' Director of the Center for Urban Agriculture and Gardening Education. 

"Feeling the dirt between my fingers; the moist and warm soil is just the best feeling and seeing the first light green or fresh sprouts reminds me that there is new life, growth and new possibilities all around me," explains Dean O'Hara about her love of gardening.