Exhibit inspired by 2014 expeditionThe exhibit of artifacts and photographs, many previously on view in UD’s Old College Gallery, grew out of a 2014 “cultural mapping” project in Peru led by Cox and Rainforest Expeditions. In that project, UD faculty members, four undergraduate students and two alumni, including Bale, spent three weeks in Ese’Eja communities. The interdisciplinary group documented the everyday lives of the people through photos, video, oral histories and maps created from GPS coordinates and the recollections of older Ese’Eja who remember the good hunting and fishing locations and sacred places. The mapping project resulted in a video titled “The Ese’Eja: From a Cotton Thread in the Sky to Protectors of the Amazon.” The title refers to the traditional belief that the Ese’Eja traveled down to Earth on a cotton thread. The video, hosted on the National Geographic website, can be viewed via a link on the overall project website, “The Ancestral Lands of the Ese’Eja — The True People,” at www.eseeja.org. The cultural mapping project was supported in part by National Geographic’s Genographic Legacy Fund, and in 2015 Cox was named a “National Geographic Explorer.” For the students who took part, the expedition was a unique learning experience that encompassed research in anthropology, ethnobotany and education, as well as hands-on photography, videography and mapping skills. For Brian Griffiths, who graduated in 2016 with degrees in environmental engineering and plant science, the project led him to a new passion and altered career plans. “That trip was really my first research experience in the field, which was huge for me because now that’s what I do,” said Griffiths, a doctoral student in environmental science and policy at George Mason University who continues a particular interest in Peru. “I’m studying environmental science in terms of people—their impact on the environment and how environmental change affects them. My focus is always on indigenous people.” Another student from the cultural mapping expedition, Chelsea Rozanski, is completing her Peace Corps service in Panama. A 2014 graduate in anthropology and women and gender studies, Rozanski said the experience ”profoundly influenced” her plans to study and teach cultural anthropology. “The opportunity of being a part of this interdisciplinary collaborative effort was the richest personal and educational experience during my time at UD,” she said in an email from Panama. “I grew as an aspiring anthropologist, world traveler and advocate for environmental and indigenous rights.”
Photographs hold deeper meaningWhen Cox and Bale were deciding how to select and display photographs for the exhibition and book, they wanted to do more than show what the Ese’Eja people and communities look like. They came up with the idea of using photographic processes that would symbolize some of the challenges the Ese’Eja face from outside influences. Portraits of community members were created using mercury-developed gold-gilded daguerreotypes, a labor- and time-intensive technique that was first developed in 1839 to make the earliest photographic images. The use of mercury and gold was important, Cox said, because illegal mining of gold in the Peruvian Amazon releases some 38 tons of mercury a year, threatening the Ese’Eja’s health and ecosystem, as well as their way of life. In addition, because daguerreotypes have a kind of mirrored surface, the viewer sees his or her own reflection as well as the image of the person who was photographed. “You see living people in the image, but you also see yourself, because we’re all [as consumers] part of the problem,” Cox said. Other photographs show sacred sites and ceremonies in platinum-palladium prints, a process developed in 1873. The prints are made on Japanese Kozo paper, symbolizing the influence of Japanese refugees who settled on Ese’Eja ancestral lands after World War II.
Program supportSupport for the project has come from the Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research, Dickinson College, the Greater Philadelphia Latin American Studies Consortium, National Geographic’s Geographic Legacy Fund, Hahnemuhle, Notchcode Creative and Rainforest Expeditions in Peru. University of Delaware units supporting the work include the Department of Anthropology, the Department of Art and Design, a General University Research Grant, the Institute for Global Studies, the College of Arts and Sciences’ Interdisciplinary Humanities Research Center, the Office of Undergraduate Research and Experiential Learning, and the School of Education. Article by Ann Manser Photos by Jon Cox and Andrew Bale This article can also be viewed on UDaily.
- Therapeutic riding, the largest program, teaches riding skills that relate to the life goals of the participants.
- Therapeutic carriage driving utilizes the same goals but is a preferred program for individuals that fall below or above the size restrictions for riding, in addition to people who have equipment that cannot fit on the back of a horse, such as ventilators.
- Equine movement therapy is designed to support physical improvement for muscles, joints and systems, which is done with the help of a physical therapist.
Farm originsHock apprenticed at Fernbrook Farm, a large enterprise with about 20-25 acres of vegetables, for a year. She wanted to get more experience working on a smaller and newer farm so in 2015 she cut her hours at Fernbrook and took a position at the smaller Appelget Farm CSA in Princeton Junction, New Jersey. “I got the experience and even a visual of what a small farm looks like. It was hard to have a visual of what three and a half acres looked like going from the 20-25 acres that we were growing at Fernbrook,” said Hock, who added that she continued working at the larger farm because of the farm manager, Jeff Tober, who she called her farm mentor. “If I have any questions or concerns, I call him. He’s a lifelong friend, just a really great person,” said Hock. Having gained that smaller farm experience, Hock got the job at Caramore Farm in January and said that it has been an interesting transition going from a farm apprentice to creating and managing a farm. The farm is starting out as a little over an acre and a half and Hock said that they will grow potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter and summer squash, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, kale and collards, among other crops. Hock has a farm assistant who works 40 hours a week and two work-shares who work in exchange for food from the farm, which is how Hock began her farming career. Her husband also volunteers at the farm and set up the farm’s irrigation system. “I’m very grateful that I married someone who is smart and handy because as a farmer, you’re supposed to be all these different skills like a mechanic, a plumber, and I’m still learning those things,” said Hock. With regard to the education component, Hock will meet with Collier staff this winter to discuss how to incorporate farming into the curriculum, as Hock said that almost any subject can be taught on the farm. “Math students can do statistical analysis on the farm crops successes and failures, the English class can get inspired to write poems by walking through the farm fields, the photography class can capture the beauty of working the land, science class can do soil tests. The possibilities are endless. Plus, the students would be able to snack on vegetables straight from the vine and hopefully develop a passion for locally grown food,” said Hock. This summer, however, she will be able to have students out at the farm in the extended school year program helping out for two hours every morning doing tasks such as hand weeding, transplanting, and making flower bouquets. She said she is looking forward to interacting with students again, as teaching is something she feels has been missing from her life lately. “When my husband and I go hiking and we see a family with children, my inner educator comes out and I have to stop them and point out the goldfinch in the tree and share information with them such as it being New Jersey’s state bird and that they like to eat thistle seed; so he is relieved that I will have students again to teach and maybe we can actually just go for a walk in the woods without distraction,” she said. “So I’m definitely excited to be able to work with students again. I have such a love for nature and the environment and farming, and I want to tell as many people as I can. And who better than kids who will hopefully incorporate that and bring it into their future lives?” Article by Adam Thomas This article can also be viewed on UDaily.
Environmental lawAs an undergraduate at UD, Simmons said that an environmental law class sparked her interest in pursuing a career in the field. “That was the first law class that I took and it really got me interested in thinking of different ways that we can influence changes happening to the environment,” Simmons said. “I actually thought that being an attorney working for the court or the legal system was probably the most effective avenue to go about changing the law or to be an advocate for natural resources that don’t have their own voice, and to protect natural areas and endangered species.” Simmons, who received her law degree from Boston University in 2015, also worked as an intern at an Alaskan non-profit law firm for a summer and worked at American Tower Corp., where she spent time going over real estate documents and leasing documents after the company purchased towers from Verizon. During that process, Simmons said that some of the projects had to submit environmental reports that included wetlands impact studies or native species impact studies, and she was able to see her degree from UD pay off. “Not only were we reviewing the leases but we actually were looking at these environmental reports and documents. It was interesting because as an undergrad, I saw all those documents and I saw how a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) report was set up – then to actually be put on a project where I’m not only dealing with the legal side but I have this environmental scientific background, it made it a lot easier to understand the science behind things,” said Simmons. Because many lawyers have undergraduate degrees in political science or law, Simmons said that having a degree in natural resource management and wildlife conservation helped her to be well-rounded and to have hands-on research opportunities “When I was in Alaska, the people who didn’t have environmental backgrounds often had a really difficult time reading reports from state departments and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) because they didn’t know all these different chemicals or economic analysis of affected property values,” Simmons said. “I think my background at Delaware was really well-rounded in that sense. It allowed me to apply the law in this field in a really useful way that not a lot of law students have, and being in this field in particular really helped.”
Time at UDSimmons singled out Steve Hastings, professor and associate chair of the Department of Applied Economics and Statistics, Josh Duke, professor of food and resource economics, economics and legal studies, and Jacob Bowman, chair of the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology, as being particularly helpful to her during her time at UD. Of Hastings, Simmons said that he was “always great and easy to talk to” and that he helped her out with recommendations throughout law school. “He taught me to not just be so one-sided when you look at something and not be an environmentalist who contends ‘development is always bad.’ Everything is shades of gray so you can’t really be too far on one side or the other. You have to find compromises, which I think is a lot of what natural resource management is all about,” said Simmons. Simmons said that by looking at different points of view throughout her time at UD, her undergraduate experience allowed her to figure out ways to compromise. “That’s a lot of what being an attorney is. The last straw is for people to take things to trial. We want to get things done well before that or before something is even filed in court. I think all those perspectives were really helpful,” said Simmons. She also said that she enjoyed studying in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and being on south campus. “The labs were one of the best features. I took soil science and mammalogy and apiology. Just being able to go out and get your hands dirty and learn how to harvest honey, it’s something that a lot of people don’t get the opportunity to do. I think having that hands-on part of the undergraduate degree really helped make me a more well-rounded person in the way I approach things,” Simmons said. Article by Adam Thomas This article can also be viewed on UDaily.
- Nazdrowicz, whose responsibilities included wetland design, producing the wetland mitigation plan report, planting specifications, agency coordination, and plant installation and oversight. She also will oversee wetland monitoring.
- Colm DeAscanis, president of CDA Engineering Inc. who graduated from UD with a bachelor of science degree in civil and environmental engineering in 1996, and who designed the wetland and the swale and did the construction stake-out.
- Vince Dills, vice president of Merit Construction Engineers Inc. who graduated from UD with a bachelor of science degree in civil and environmental engineering, and who constructed the wetland and swale.
- Will Twupack, environmental scientist at Landmark Science and Engineering who was at the wetland April 10 and whose responsibilities include siting of the wetland construction area, the soil investigation, coordination with UD staff, wetland design, construction oversight and plant installation.
Alumni members of the inaugural Minorities in Agriculture and Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) student organization at the University of Delaware returned to the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) on May 2 to talk about their experiences at UD and their career paths, as well as to give advice to current students.
The event was held in conjunction with the end of the year celebration for AGcelerate, a new college-wide student enrichment program geared toward student success that began this academic year.Both programs support diversity and inclusion within CANR. The AGcelerate Enrichment Program and the MANRRS reunion event were funded through a President’s Diversity Initiative grant. The mission of MANRRS is to promote and implement initiatives which foster inclusion and advancement of members of ethnic/cultural groups underrepresented in agricultural and natural resource sciences and related fields in all phases of career preparation and participation in these areas. The other main goals of MANRRS are to help students develop leadership skills and career-building assets, as well as to build networking skills needed for future careers. The group of panelists assembled were all founding members of MANRRS within CANR and included:
- Natalie (Durrett) Crawford, who graduated from CANR in 2000 with a bachelor of science degree in animal science and pre-veterinary medicine and now works as a veterinary pathologist for W.L. Gore and Associates and serves on the advisory board for CANR.
- Sherri (Freeman) Fentress, who graduated in 2001 with a degree in animal science and concentrations in agriculture biotechnology and pre-veterinary medicine and now works as a forensic DNA analyst.
- Marcus Lynch, who graduated in 2002 and now works as a senior health care technology analyst at the Emergency Care Research Institute (ECRI).
- Shanika Whitehurst, who graduated in 2000 with a bachelor of science degree in environmental science and minors in biology and chemistry, and now works as an environmental scientist for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
In 1970, Michael Balick gave his first public lecture in the Townsend Hall Commons at the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. As a freshman studying ornamental horticulture and plant agriculture, that lecture focused on the harvest, processing and utilization of garden herbs.
Now, after 37 years traversing the globe and studying herbs with medicinal properties within indigenous cultures, co-founding the New York Botanical Garden’s Institute of Economic Botany with Sir Ghillean Prance, and receiving his doctorate in biology from Harvard University, Balick will return to the spot where he gave his first talk. And, again, he will be presenting a lecture.Balick will discuss “Ancient Wisdom and Modern Medicine: Plants, People and Cultures in the Tropical Rainforest” in a presentation at 7 p.m., Monday, May 5. It will focus on Balick’s work as an ethnobotanist at the New York Botanical Garden, highlight some of the places that he has worked over the past several decades, and focus on what herbals are and why they are important for contemporary times when people are searching for healthier, more natural lifestyles and more time spent outdoors in the gardens and fields. Following the lecture, there will be a launch event for Balick’s new book 21st Century Herbal: a Practical Guide for Healthy Living Using Nature’s Most Powerful Plants. Balick said it meant a lot to have the “launch of the book in the same place that was so important to the earliest parts of my career.” Ethnobotany Balick described ethnobotany as the study of the relationship between plants, people and culture and said that he got involved with ethnobotany from the beginning of his time at UD. Ethnobotany has always fascinated him and it has allowed him to travel to many parts of the globe. “During part of my career, I worked with indigenous people in the Amazon, I’ve worked with indigenous cultures in Belize, Central America, and I currently work with indigenous cultures in tropical Pacific islands,” said Balick. Explaining that he has been able to learn from traditional healers about all sorts of herbs, Balick stressed that there are many herbs of which people in the United States are not aware. “There are around four billion people who use plant medicines for some part of their primary health care around the world and they use many tens of thousands of the 420,000 species of flowering plants that are known to exists on earth,” said Balick. “Scientists have identified at least 30,000 species of plants used by traditional cultures for some part of primary health care. So there are a lot we don’t know about in the United States; they don’t appear in our markets or in our books.” Balick’s book draws upon the work he has been doing since the 1970s and he said that through his work with integrative medicine — combining state of the art Western medical practices with evidence-based, traditional herbal medicines — he discovered there was a need for a book that could articulate some of the wonders of herbs to the general public. “At the same time, the book allows me to tell stories about some of the things that have happened in my travels and studies,” said Balick. “And I can try to explain to the broader public the importance of botany in their lives, how herbs work, the mechanisms of plant chemistry and how to make all sorts of different formulas.” As for his time at UD, Balick said he enjoyed spending time at Longwood Gardens with the Longwood Graduate Program and that he was given the freedom to explore the things in which he was interested, satisfying his curiosity about the different aspects of the plant world. “Education for me at the University of Delaware was about identifying my passion and sailing in that direction with the encouragement of so many fine professors and a wonderful student body, to whom I am really grateful,” said Balick. “I’d encourage everyone to find something in life that they’re fascinated with and go full speed ahead in that direction because in the end it’s not a job you’re searching for, it’s a career and it’s just so satisfying to work on something that brings excitement to you on a daily basis. I would say horticulture and agriculture and plant science allow you the freedom to do just that.” Article by Adam Thomas This article can also be viewed on UDaily.
- Maia Tatinclaux, a graduate student studying environmental engineering at the University of Maryland;
- Samantha Loprinzo, associate at ICF International;
- Matthew Loaicono, market analyst at Monitoring Analytics;
- Kristen Atwood, research assistant at ICF International;
- Chelsea Halley, environmental scientist at the Site Investigation and Restoration Section of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control;
- Kristen DeWire, assistant attorney general in the Office of the Attorney General, Maryland Department of the Environment; and
- Alex DeWire, environmental scientist, Tetra Tech Inc.
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