Environmental Studies students have many opportunities to gain valuable experience as volunteers for conservation projects on campus and in the surrounding community. In past years, Environmental Studies students have volunteered on organic garden projects, helped to build trails, and removed invasive species among many other interesting projects.

Waste Audit

Volunteers sort recyclables from trash

Denison was one of the 607 colleges and universities participating in the national RecycleMania competition,  the first year Denison has participated since the competition began in 2001.  In an effort to increase awareness of the amount of recyclable materials disposed of daily at Denison, Environmental Studies students volunteered to literally sort through the garbage.  Dozens of volunteers pulled plastic water bottles, beer cans, cardboard and other recyclable materials from the residence hall dumpsters.  In all, 641 pounds of recyclables were recovered and then displayed in a seven foot tall “Trash Tower” in the Slayter Student Union.  It was a striking visual—and olfactory—display of glass, cardboard, paper and aluminum that could have and should have been recycled.

At the conclusion of the 10-week competition, Denison placed 44th overall, and first among participating Ohio colleges.

Campus Garden

Denison Community Garden

Environmental Studies students provided leadership and manual labor to make the dream of a campus garden a reality.  With funding from the John R. Hunting ‘54 Environmental Sustainability Venture Fund, Denison broke ground on the new campus garden in the spring of 2010.  Featuring 30 raised beds measuring 24’ x 4’ the garden involves more than 100 students, faculty and staff who work in small groups to grow fresh organic produce and flowers.

Dutch Fork

Dutch Fork Wetlands Restoration

In Fall 2007, the Conservation Crew helped remove an invasive aquatic plant from the Dutch Fork Wetlands.  The Dutch Fork Wetlands is comprised of five wetland basins. It was recently restored to its natural habitat after being drained for several decades as a farm field. The Dawes Arboretum was charged with converting the farmland back to its original state.

The members of the Conservation Crew group included Professor Andy McCall, Program Manager Jordan Mora ‘07, Scott Williams ‘08, Kristen Bauman ‘10, Elizabeth Campbell ‘08, and Liz Strassman ‘08.

Dutch Fork Wetland Photos

Garden of Hope

Helping Hands Garden of Hope

On April 5th, 2008, students and friends of the Denison University Environmental Studies Program helped prepare for the summer sessions of Helping Hands Garden of Hope. The Denison students helped organize the already-tilled field into sections for various vegetables and garden flowers.  After dividing the area into seedbeds with twine and stakes, the group assembled netting for the pea plants. Lastly, organic fertilizer was added to three large sections where they planted peas, spinach, and Swiss chard.

Helping Hands Garden of Hope: 

The Helping Hands Garden of Hope is designed as a community service project for teenage girls serving time for the Licking County Juvenile Court.  In a group of about five, the girls are involved in the farming process from planting the vegetables to harvesting them. The produce is donated to the neighborhood church food pantry.  Denison students manage the program and work as counselors throughout the summer and fall.  The counselors arrange events, such as visiting speakers and field trips, in addition to the care of the community garden.

Spring Valley

Spring Valley Trail Work

Spring Valley, once a community pool and recreational area, is a wooded natural area which has preserved in 2006 as public land in Granville, OH. Donations from several local institutions, residents and organizations helped in securing the conservation easement which is now held by the Licking Land Trust.  Located off of Cherry St/Rt 16, Spring Valley adjoins Salt Run Park for a combined area of 97 acres. Salt Run, known for its high salinity count, is a small stream that meanders through the two parks.

With Spring Valley’s natural splendor and its extensive history as a central community gathering place, the preserve represents one of the most treasured greenspaces in Granville. In order to ensure the future use of the land, multiple trails have been constructed for public enjoyment.

The Denison University students and Granville Middle School students have been working to help design and construct these trails. For two consecutive years (2007 and 2008), Denison students - including mainly Environmental Studies but also friends from various departments - and Granville Middle School students have set aside one Saturday morning to work together on the Spring Valley paths.

Trail work projects have included clearing paths, building rock bridges, and picking up trash.  Paths are cleared by raking leaves, trimming branches, removing small trees, and removing small, herbaceous plants. Rock bridges are constructed by gathering large rocks found in the stream and stacking them in a line across the stream. Although the rocks are easily washed away after a large storm, they offer a natural substitute to expensive and destructive bridge building.