Summer 2021 Course Preview for SUST 361 Urban Ecology

This coming Summer 2021, the Sustainability Studies program will offer an innovative and exciting fully-online course, SUST 361 Urban Ecology, taught by Prof. Graham Pickren.

SUST students conduct field experiments on water infiltration rates in Chicago parklands (summer 2018)

A unique experiential learning (EXL) seminar, SUST 361 introduces students to the research methods and practices of the growing field of Urban Ecology. In the environmental sciences, cities were once considered unsuitable for studies of “nature.” However, urban landscapes are now being recognized not only as important places for wildlife habitat, but also as laboratories where new relationships between people and ecosystems are emerging.

This course provides students with an overview of urban ecology followed by instruction in research methodologies like air quality monitoring, urban heat island monitoring, and stormwater management. While normally offered as an in-person experiential learning course, due to COVID-19 this course will be offered fully online in 2021. Students will independently collect and analyze data relevant to human and ecological well-being in Chicago and will visit significant ecological sites around the city on their own. Professor Pickren will provide guidance via Zoom and Blackboard. This will typically involve students meeting with the professor via Zoom in the morning and then practicing research methods in the field in the afternoon. The course culminates in a series of reports on topics of significance to the environmental community in Chicago.

  • Title/number: SUST 361 Urban Ecology (section 98)
  • Semester offered: Summer 2021, Session D (July 12 thru Aug 14)
  • Location: Online
  • Pre-req: ENG 102
  • Registration info for Visiting and Non-Degree Seeking students

SUST majors and minors may take this class to fulfill an upper-level SUST 3xx requirement, but 361 also is open to students at large (currently at RU, from the colleges and universities of the Resilience Studies Consortium, or other institutions) seeking an experiential learning course, needing a general education course, or desiring elective credit.

Course goals:

  • Demonstrate basic command of core urban ecology methods, concepts, and theory;
  • Design a practical multidisciplinary research project as a team;
  • Collect and analyze data to inform research questions;
  • Write a research report and deliver project findings to stakeholders in written and oral form; and
  • Make scientifically informed decisions about societal issues related to urban areas.

For questions and more details about this course, please contact Dr. Graham Pickren (gpickren@roosevelt.edu), assistant professor of Sustainability Studies. RU’s summer session registration information is available here.

Posted in biodiversity, cities, conservation, courses, ecology, education, faculty, parks and public land, Roosevelt, science, students, wildlife | Leave a comment

Apply Now for the Mansfield Fellowship for Activism and Community Engagement @RooseveltU

The Mansfield Institute Fellowship for Activism and Community Engagement (FACE) will fund a cohort of 15 Roosevelt University undergraduate students from any college or discipline. The cohort-based summer fellowship includes funding for the 3-credit Social Justice in Action internship-based course in May 2021.  In addition to tuition, fellows will receive a stipend of $2,500.

Students will be placed in in social justice-focused community-based organizations in Chicago for 10 hours per week, for 10 weeks over the summer. Fellows will also attend University events together, including a recognition ceremony and will have opportunities to present work at conferences.

Eligibility:

  • Open to all Roosevelt University undergraduate students in any college or major.
  • Students must have between 45 and 72 credit hours completed on March 15, 2021.
  • GPA of at least a 2.0.
  • Be able to participate fully in fellowship activities including course work, internship work and ongoing cohort activities throughout the year.

Deadlines:

  • The application process opens on February 15 and closes on March 15.
  • The committee will meet on March 17 and applicants will be notified by March 17, 2021.

To apply, visit the Mansfield Institute Fellowship for Activism and Community Engagement (FACE) webpage. For questions or more information, please contact Prof. Heather Dalmage (hdalmage@roosevelt.edu), Director of the Mansfield Institute.

Posted in education, fellowships, internships, Roosevelt, social justice, students | 1 Comment

Fall 2021 Course Preview for SUST 330 Biodiversity at the Field Museum

This coming Fall 2021 semester the Sustainability Studies program once again will feature a special section of SUST 330 Biodiversity that meets at the Field Museum of Natural History on Thursdays from 9am to 12:30pm.

Overview of SUST 330 at the Field Museum

SUST major Lindsey Sharp in the FMNH mammalogy lab, Fall 2015 (photo: J. Kerbis)

SUST student Lindsey Sharp (BPS ’16) in the FMNH mammalogy lab, Fall 2015 (photo: J. Kerbis)

Taught by Dr. Julian Kerbis Peterhans, professor of natural science at RU and adjunct curator of mammals at the FMNH, this course is an exceptional opportunity to learn about biodiversity, conservation, and sustainability at one of the world’s foremost natural history research museums.

The Field Museum is actually a “Library of Biodiversity” as it has been documenting plant, animal and fossil species of the world for over 125 years. As Dr. Kerbis Peterhans notes, “Come join the team at the museum where you will work on these specimens: either sorting, cataloguing, photographing, drawing, databasing, or counting. Let us know if there are a particular group of plants or animals that you are interested in and we will see if we can find you a position.”

Prof. Julian Kerbis Peterhans

Dr. Julian Kerbis Peterhans

SUST 330 includes weekly seminar-style class meetings where students discuss readings and hear from scientists working on biodiversity research in a variety of fields. They then work individually with a scientist in one of the many laboratories/collection departments of the museum, based on their individual interests. Several RU students have secured research internships as well as short-term paid positions following their successful experiences in this course.

For additional information about SUST 330 at the Field Museum, please contact Dr. Kerbis Peterhans (jkerbis@fieldmuseum.org).

Course Registration Information

  • Title/number: SUST 330 Biodiversity (section 01)
  • Semester offered: Fall 2021
  • Location: Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago (map here)
  • Day/time: Thursday 9am-12:30pm
  • Start date: 30 Aug 2020
  • Pre-req: UWR (ENG 102)

SUST majors and minors may take this class to fulfill an upper-level SUST core requirement, but 330 also is open to students at large who need a general education course in natural science and/or experiential learning, or who desire elective credit. It also counts toward the Environmental Science minor BIOL and other science majors.

Posted in biodiversity, conservation, courses, education, faculty, museums, research, Roosevelt, science, students | Leave a comment

Updates on Bubbly Creek’s Future Restoration (January 2021)

Since 2009, Roosevelt faculty and students have taken field excursions to Bubbly Creek on Chicago’s near SW Side, canoeing its one-and-a-quarter-mile length with Friends of the Chicago River and cleaning up trash from the riverbank at Canal Origins Park at the creek’s mouth. For over a decade we’ve explored the biodiversity as well as the environmental and cultural history of the Creek as well as learned about the conservation efforts made on its behalf by citizens and environmental nonprofits like Friends.

In late December 2020, the future restoration of the Bubbly Creek ecosystem took a huge step forward with the approval of federal funding for this work, though challenges remain in the plan’s implementation. Below are updates from Friends on the status and significance of this legislation and funding.

SUST 220 Water students after their Bubbly Creek canoe trip w/ Friends of the Chgo River, Fall 2017 (M. Bryson)

The efforts of Friends of the Chicago River and our partners to restore the health of the South Fork of the South Branch of the Chicago River, known as Bubbly Creek, gained a major victory . . . [in late December 2020] with the final adoption of the omnibus spending act in Washington. It includes $11.6 million for restoration work to address the impacts of combined sewer overflows, sediments, and the loss of aquatic habitat on this vital reach of the Chicago River.

The act funds the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Bubbly Creek Integrated Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Study and Environmental Assessment Project, an important next step to restore healthy aquatic and riparian habitats at Bubbly Creek to protect urban wildlife and migratory species that are under threat from the loss of habitat and the increasing effects of climate change. 

In 2004, Friends of the Chicago River, the City of Chicago, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other partners launched the Bubbly Creek Recovery Initiative to lay the foundation for investment in habitat functions, in-stream structure, and the planting of native plants in this reach of the Chicago River system. 

“This critical funding will allow the Army Corps to begin the healing process for Bubbly Creek which is one of most abused reaches of the entire 156-mile river system,” said Margaret Frisbie, executive director of Friends of the Chicago River. “This investment in ecological health will benefit people and wildlife and compensate for more than 100 years of abuse and demonstrates that if we invest the right amount of time and energy we can undo almost any amount of disastrous environmental damage we have done. We look forward to working the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and our partners to meet the ecological objectives of this important restoration project and to help spur environmental justice for communities along the Chicago River system.”

Frisbie thanked U.S. Senator Dick Durbin for his longtime support of Chicago River restoration and the funding of the Bubbly Creek project. She also thanked members of the Illinois Congressional delegation who have worked hard to advance the restoration work at Bubbly Creek including U.S. Representative Sean Casten (IL-06) and U.S. Representative Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04).

“Authorizing an Army Corps feasibility study for the Bubbly Creek Project is a critical next step towards the restoration of this important segment of the Chicago River,” said U.S. Senator Dick Durbin. “The Bubbly Creek Project has been years in the making, and I will continue working to advance this project and to protect and improve the Chicago River.”

U.S. Representative Sean Casten (IL-06) said, “I’m proud that so many important Illinois water infrastructure priorities were included in the appropriations omnibus and emergency coronavirus relief bill. The package includes the legislation that funds U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects to improve flooding mitigation, protects the Great Lakes, and safeguards our environment and lake shorelines from the impacts of climate change. I’ll continue working with my colleagues in the Illinois delegation critical infrastructure projects for our state and region.” 

“Bubbly Creek is an asset for our communities in the Southwest Side who deserve access to a healthy and clean river where wildlife can thrive,” said Congressman García. “I’m proud that the omnibus spending package I voted for includes robust investments to protect our natural treasures, including the Great Lakes and the Chicago River. This is an important step to restore Bubbly Creek and protect our environment.”

Bubbly Creek was originally a prairie slough/wetland that meandered slowly with its water flowing into the South Branch and eventually towards Lake Michigan. Frisbie added, “We have already observed beavers, turtles, herons, kingfishers, hawks, and a host of other bird species, including migratory waterfowl and songbirds in the vicinity of Bubbly Creek. We know that with the work planned, broader wildlife populations will be supported in the future and that Bubbly Creek will emerge as a vital community asset.” 

The spending package also authorizes more than $557 million in federal funds for the Brandon Road Lock and Dam in Joliet, Illinois to support commerce and prevent the aquatic invasive species Asian Carp from reaching the Chicago River system or the Great Lakes. Friends of the Chicago River is part of the Chicago Area Waterway System Aquatic Invasive Species Stakeholder Committee which includes representatives from 40 public and private stakeholders working to prevent Asian Carp in the waterway system.

Update from Friends of the Chicago River on 30 January 2021:

Passage of the omnibus spending bill by Congress earlier this month authorized plans for $11.6 million in restoration work of the South Fork of the South Branch of the Chicago River, widely known as Bubbly Creek; a critical step in plans to address years of abuse on this vital reach of the river. However, negotiations involving environmental liability protections surrounding the planned work at Bubbly Creek preclude final funding “appropriations” for the work in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) Fiscal Year 2021Work Plan.

Friends of the Chicago River calls on all federal, state, and local agencies to swiftly resolve outstanding liability issues, and we will work with our partners to advocate for this critical funding in 2022 so this long overdue work can get underway. The $11.6 million authorized in the omnibus bill does clear the way for restoration work once final funding is secured and liability concerns are resolved. In addition to final federal funding, $6.2 million in funding will come from the City of Chicago, the project’s local sponsor. Restoration work at Bubbly Creek will address the impacts of combined sewer overflows, sediments, and the loss of aquatic habitat.

In 2004, Friends of the Chicago River, the City of Chicago, USACE, and other partners launched the Bubbly Creek Recovery Initiative to lay the foundation for investment in habitat functions, in-stream structure, and the planting of native plants in this reach of the Chicago River system. This project is an important next step to restoring healthy aquatic and riparian habitats at Bubbly Creek which assist urban wildlife and migratory species that are under threat from habitat loss and the increasing effects of climate change. “Authorization of the USACE’s Bubbly Creek ecosystem restoration plan is a significant step toward restoration work at Bubbly Creek,” said Margaret Frisbie, executive director of Friends of the Chicago River. “Now we must amplify the call to resolve outstanding liability issues and to secure funding to allow the Army Corps to start work at Bubbly Creek.”

Sources for above text: FCR Email Bulletins on 1 Jan and 30 Jan 2021

Posted in biodiversity, conservation, ecology, news, policy, restoration, water | 1 Comment

Summer 2021 NSF Fellowships: Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)

SUST majors @RooseveltU, particularly those who have had some biology and/or environmental science classes, are in a good position to apply for a Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) summer fellowships, offered through generous funding by the National Science Foundation. These fellowships are excellent opportunities to work directly with scientific researchers on lab- and field-based topics, gain hands-on research experience, and network with fellow undergrads from other schools. Plus they’re well compensated with a fellowship stipend of several thousand dollars. (Yes — you read that correctly.)

Chicago Botanic Garden REU Symposium 2015 (Source: CBG)

Chicago Botanic Garden REU Symposium 2015 (Source: CBG)

Here in the Chicago region there are several notable REU programs that offer multiple paid fellowships, including those based in the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Plant Biology and Conservation Program (2/5 application deadline) and Northeastern IL University‘s water quality study in the Yucatan Peninsula (2/15 deadline).

Further afield, there are many other opportunities available in Illinois, in the Midwest, and across the US. Two excellent ones, for example, are the Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region program at the University of Michigan Biological Station (2/15 deadline) and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s Summer Student Fellowship program (2/5 deadline). Both have very generous stipends and are phenomenal places to spend a summer doing field-based environmental research! (Coincidentally, SUST prof Mike Bryson worked at both of these sites back in his college days in the late 1980s, when the REU program was a new thing.)

Interested applicants should also check out the NSF’s REU Students website for access to dozens of fellowships opportunities across across the US. Consult individual program sites for 2020 application materials and deadlines, which are usually in late January or throughout February/March.

Back in summer 2012, SUST alum Allison Breeding (BA ’13) won a REU fellowship at SIU’s Center for Ecology and studied agroecology in beautiful Southern Illinois. She blogged about her experiences here and presented an overview of her research at the October 2013 Sustainability Studies Student Symposium.

Want to learn more? Check out the links above! And remember: you can’t get one of these awesome fellowships unless you apply . . .

From the NSF Website (REU For Students):

NSF funds a large number of research opportunities for undergraduate students through its REU Sites program. An REU Site consists of a group of ten or so undergraduates who work in the research programs of the host institution. Each student is associated with a specific research project, where he/she works closely with the faculty and other researchers. Students are granted stipends and, in many cases, assistance with housing and travel. Undergraduate students supported with NSF funds must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States or its possessions. An REU Site may be at either a US or foreign location.

By using the web page, Search for an REU Site, you may examine opportunities in the subject areas supported by various NSF units. Also, you may search by keywords to identify sites in particular research areas or with certain features, such as a particular location.

Students must contact the individual sites for information and application materials. NSF does not have application materials and does not select student participants. A contact person and contact information is listed for each site.

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Graduate Program Info Sessions this Month @RooseveltU

Roosevelt’s Wabash Building (background) and Auditorium Building (foreground); source: Roosevelt University

Are you looking to continue your education with a graduate degree? This month the College of Arts & Sciences and the Office of Graduate Admissions @RooseveltU are hosting a series of information sessions on various graduate programs in our college. Click on the links below to go to the registration pages for each event:

Dec. 9th – Public Administration, MPA Online Info Session from 2:00 – 2:30pm

Dec. 9th – Paralegal Studies Program Online Info Session from 5:30 – 6:30pm

Dec. 9th – Biology Graduate Programs Online Info Session from 6:00 – 6:45pm

Dec. 14th – Graduate Psychology Programs Online Info Session from 2:00 – 3:00pm

Dec. 15th – Marketing Communications Online Info Session from 5:00 – 5:45pm

Dec. 17th – Industrial Organizational Psychology Online Info Session from 5:00 – 5:45pm

Dec. 17th – Roosevelt University Graduate Programs Online Info Session from 5:00 – 5:45pm

The full calendar of graduate admission events @RooseveltU can be found here: https://www.roosevelt.edu/news-events/events#!categories/admission

Posted in degrees, education, events, Roosevelt, students | 1 Comment

RU Green Sponsors “Climate Warriors” Film & Discussion on 12/7

The Roosevelt sustainability student organization, RU Green, is hosting a showing of the documentary Climate Warriors on Monday, December 7th, at 5 pm. This film follows many stories of climate injustices around the world and shows what people are doing to combat these atrocities. Following the documentary will be a short discussion about the climate justice movement.

All RU community members are welcome to attend! To register for the event please go to https://linktr.ee/rugreen so RU Green organizers can get a rough headcount of attendees and work out final logistics. RU Green will email responders a link on the day of the event. For more info, contact RU Green president Sophia Gallo (sgallo01@mail.roosevelt.edu).

Posted in activities, arts, climate change, education, events, Roosevelt, social justice, students | 1 Comment

Register Now for SUST 370 – Mapping for Sustainability (Spring 2021)

jerome-b1-image-il-schl-gardens-pop-up.png

Interactive IL school garden map created with GIS by B. Jerome, 2019

The Sustainability Studies program’s will offer an innovative course entitled Mapping for Sustainability this coming Spring 2021 semester at Roosevelt U. This remote course utilizes Geographic Information Science (GIS )software, which allows us to visualize data, ask questions, and conduct analysis so that we can better understand relationships and patterns in our world. A great example of GIS in action is the recent work by SUST alum Bria Jerome (BA ’19), who mapped school gardens across the state of IL as part of her Spring 2019 sustainability internship with Seven Generations Ahead.

Everything is geographical – literally everything happens somewhere. This means that GIS is used in every field, from businesses trying to figure out the best new location for a new store, to public health officials trying to identify patterns in the spreading of disease, to conservationists looking to map critical resources for protection. And of course, many of the apps on your smart phone are using and producing geographic data that help us in our daily lives! Perhaps most importantly for RU students, job growth for folks with GIS skills is predicted to be higher than the national average.

Students in the course will be exposed to the rapidly growing world of spatial analysis and cartography using the industry’s leading software tool, ArcGIS. Through a combination of lecture and hands-on work with GIS software, we’ll learn

  • about the types of geographic data and the theories underlying GIS
  • the principles of cartography (scale, resolution, projection, etc)
  • how to store, analyze and interpret spatial data
  • how to make maps
  • how to apply GIS to create apps

Because this is a course in the Sustainability Studies program, the majority of our GIS applications will focus on environmental and social questions. However, students will have the opportunity to develop their own GIS projects, so students from all majors are welcome in the course.

As an example of how GIS works, consider the following image:

Snip20180215_58.png

Data from different sources (layers) can be combined so that specific questions can be asked about their relationships. Let’s say we wanted to identify a suitable location for a new park in the city of Los Angeles. We could combine data about population characteristics, land use, and the presence of toxic releases and then use GIS analysis tools to refine our search. Consider the image below, which shows a screenshot from an ArcGIS project on ESRI’s website that deals with this question:

Snip20180215_57

The green squares indicate places where a park would serve an underprivileged area using vacant land that is far from toxic releases. The ability to inform land use decision-making is just one of the many useful applications of GIS that we will engage with in the course.

Course Registration Information

  • Title/number: SUST 370 Mapping for Sustainability (section 01)
  • Instructor: Dr. Graham Pickren
  • Semester offered: Spring 2021
  • Location: Remote (Bb and Zoom)
  • Day/time: Thursday 2-4:30pm
  • Start date: 19 Jan 2021
  • Pre-req: Undergraduate level ENG 102 Minimum Grade of C-
Posted in courses, education, faculty, Roosevelt, science, students | Comments Off on Register Now for SUST 370 – Mapping for Sustainability (Spring 2021)

Summer 2021 Course Preview for SUST 361 Urban Ecology

This coming Summer 2021, the Sustainability Studies program will offer an innovative and exciting fully-online course, SUST 361 Urban Ecology, taught by Prof. Graham Pickren.

SUST students conduct field experiments on water infiltration rates in Chicago parklands (summer 2018)

A unique experiential learning (EXL) seminar, SUST 361 introduces students to the research methods and practices of the growing field of Urban Ecology. In the environmental sciences, cities were once considered unsuitable for studies of “nature.” However, urban landscapes are now being recognized not only as important places for wildlife habitat, but also as laboratories where new relationships between people and ecosystems are emerging.

This course provides students with an overview of urban ecology followed by instruction in research methodologies like air quality monitoring, urban heat island monitoring, and stormwater management. While normally offered as an in-person experiential learning course, due to COVID-19 this course will be offered fully online in 2021. Students will independently collect and analyze data relevant to human and ecological well-being in Chicago and will visit significant ecological sites around the city on their own. Professor Pickren will provide guidance via Zoom and Blackboard. This will typically involve students meeting with the professor via Zoom in the morning and then practicing research methods in the field in the afternoon. The course culminates in a series of reports on topics of significance to the environmental community in Chicago.

  • Title/number: SUST 361 Urban Ecology (section 98)
  • Semester offered: Summer 2021, Session D (July 12 thru Aug 14)
  • Location: Online
  • Pre-req: ENG 102
  • Registration info for Visiting and Non-Degree Seeking students

SUST majors and minors may take this class to fulfill an upper-level SUST 3xx requirement, but 361 also is open to students at large (currently at RU, from the colleges and universities of the Resilience Studies Consortium, or other institutions) seeking an experiential learning course, needing a general education course, or desiring elective credit.

Course goals:

  • Demonstrate basic command of core urban ecology methods, concepts, and theory;
  • Design a practical multidisciplinary research project as a team;
  • Collect and analyze data to inform research questions;
  • Write a research report and deliver project findings to stakeholders in written and oral form; and
  • Make scientifically informed decisions about societal issues related to urban areas.

For questions and more details about this course, please contact Dr. Graham Pickren (gpickren@roosevelt.edu), assistant professor of Sustainability Studies. RU’s summer session registration information is available here.

Posted in biodiversity, cities, conservation, courses, ecology, education, faculty, parks and public land, Roosevelt, science, students, wildlife | Comments Off on Summer 2021 Course Preview for SUST 361 Urban Ecology

Just By Nature: Environmental Justice Events @RooseveltU throughout Fall 2020

All Events will take place on Zoom:

https://roosevelt.zoom.us/j/6078422961?pwd=OG1jWGJHV2lIUE9UT3UrL2x3aWpQdz09

For more information please contact Prof. Bethany Barratt (bbarratt@roosevelt.edu), and share a pdf of these events:

Posted in conservation, education, ethics, events, faculty, policy, presentations, Roosevelt, social justice, students | Comments Off on Just By Nature: Environmental Justice Events @RooseveltU throughout Fall 2020