University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
http://www.umn.edu/
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Sustainability Education

Cornercopia Student Organic Farm

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Madeline Giefer

Over the past ten years, an on-campus organic garden has grown into a successful, diversified, and beautiful organic farm. Anyone who frequents the St. Paul campus may have noticed the bright colors and butterfly life in the distance, and visitors to the UMN farmer’s market have seen the fruits of their harvest up close. Cornercopia has become a household name on campus, and a visit to this small, thriving farm is well worth the walk.

20150720_104547Cornercopia is a student program in the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture. Since 2005 it has grown from less than two acres to six acres, due in part to growing public and scientific interest in organic agriculture. Each year professors and graduate researchers rent space for organic research, such as a strip of rye that will be used to compare brewing techniques and a row of broccoli that tests different pest control techniques. Research projects like this help keep Cornercopia well-funded and enhance institutional support for its work.

Although Cornercopia is mostly known for its produce, it has recently expanded into small animals. Chickens and rabbits have been raised successfully during the past few years, and another round of chickens are planned for later this summer. Small-scale animal agriculture has also benefited the crops, which are fertilized with the previous year’s manure and litter.

"Bachelor buttons" are both decorative and edible

“Bachelor buttons” are decorative and edible.

Thanks to skillful planning, natural processes at Cornercopia help with the needs of its own crops and those in the surrounding fields. “Beneficial predatory insects,” like ladybugs and green lacewings, control pest populations. Meanwhile honeybees find rich and diverse food sources in the flowering plants, which improves pollination in the area.

Cornercopia’s success is made possible by the work of several interns and dozens of volunteers who come to help for an hour or a few days. Students can even earn academic credit contributing to the farm by enrolling in HORT 3131: Student Organic Farm Planning, Growing, and Marketing. This spring semester course teaches the fundamentals of organic agriculture and allows students to kick off the growing season by starting plants in the greenhouse.

Volunteer coordinator Drew Zagala welcomes all the help he can get.

Volunteer coordinator Drew Zagala welcomes all the help he can get.

Even with all these helping hands, Cornercopia’s greatest challenge is finding enough volunteers to keep the farm running smoothly throughout the growing season. Anyone can volunteer for any amount of time, whether it’s for an hour one afternoon or a few days a week. Volunteers not only get to relax amid the colorful crops and flowers; they also get to sample some if its ripe fruits and vegetables.

If you are interested in visiting or volunteering, contact Drew Zagala at zagal002@umn.edu.

Sustainability Action Fair: Call for Volunteers

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Remember coming to the Institute on the Environment during your Welcome Week and touring all those sustainability groups on campus and in the Twin Cities? This year the Sustainability Action fair is on again for Friday, September 4, and we need help to give this year’s freshmen a great experience.

Volunteers are needed to take photos, guide freshmen through the fair, and help with basic setup needs. Some volunteers will tend the Water Bar, an interactive art project meant to emphasize the value of our water. Volunteers will choose where they want to help and receive a free meal.

If you’re willing to help us out, please let us know on this spreadsheet!

 

Student Opportunities with Energy Transition Lab

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Application Form

The Energy Transition Lab is now recruiting students to be a part of the University of Minnesota’s Solar University (SUN) Delegation. The SUN Delegation will be made up of a student deployment team whose goal is to have the University of Minnesota invest in, or build, at least 1 megawatt (MW) of solar. The student deployment team will help recruit other students, find solar sites, determine investment propositions and present a viable investment plan to the University of Minnesota decision makers. Students will be accepted on a rolling basis, but applications are preferred to be submitted by August 10th so ETL can make decisions on its first traveling opportunity.

The SUN Delegation is a program of the Solar Endowment project which is funded by the DOE Sunshot Initiative and managed by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association.  The University partners other than the University of Minnesota are: Purdue, University of Illinois and the Missouri University of Science and Technology. At the University of Minnesota the project is being led by the Energy Transition Lab with the guidance of the Institute on the Environment.

ETL is looking for graduate or undergraduate students with a diverse range of specialties; law, communication, finance, engineering, environmental, geography, organizing, media, journalism, economics, policy. Students from all campuses are welcome and encouraged to join including Twin Cities, Crookston, Duluth, Morris and Rochester.

Participation Perks:

  • Engagement in a long term project with significant outcomes
  • Creating a more sustainable campus
  • Free online solar classes and receive a Solar Site Assessment Certificate from the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA).
  • Photovoltaics 101
  • Solar Site Assessment course
  • Traveling opportunities for student leaders. The first complementary trip for 4-5 students will be to Colorado in September to visit National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL).
  • A Spring 2016 course, taught by Ellen Anderson and others, with this project as the main focus. SUN Delegation Members will have first priority to take this course.
  • Access to an advisory committee made up of University of Minnesota faculty and a Solar Technical Assistance Team (STAT) to assist in legal, financial and technical work.

Sun Delegation Members will commit to:

  • Attend at least one meeting a month for both Fall and Spring Semester (special arrangements will be made for students on campuses other than the Twin Cities campus)
  • At least 5-10 hours per month of independent work

Application Form

 

Two Internships with the City of Minneapolis

Two student jobs are open with the City of Minneapolis: one in “Climate, Energy, and Environment,” and one in “Local Food Policy.” Each internship begins in September and lasts one year.

Student Internship – Climate, Energy, and Environment 2015-2016

Minneapolis Sustainability
Applications due August 7th, 5 pm

The Minneapolis Sustainability Office is seeking to fill a part-time paid internship position (15-20 hours per week) to assist with all aspects of environmental policy beginning in September of 2015. This position will support the work of Program Coordinators and Sustainability Director. The duration of the position will be one year.

Responsibilities will include conducting case study research, preparing written and graphic materials for public and technical audiences, assisting with meeting logistics and facilitation, maintaining and upgrading the Sustainability website, and other duties as assigned. Key projects for 2015-2016 include the an update of environmental indicators that are part of the City’s Community Indicators, production of the quarterly Sustainability Newsletter, and support of other key projects like the Minneapolis Clean Energy Partnership and Green Zones policy development.

The ideal candidate will have familiarity with climate change and urban sustainability and/or environmental justice issues, strong writing, research and analytic skills, and experience with community engagement/meeting facilitation and web content management systems. Proficiency with Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint are essential, and experience with ArcGIS is preferred. A student seeking a master’s degree in natural resources, urban planning, public policy or related fields is preferred.

The Minneapolis Sustainability Office is responsible for tracking the City’s progress on established sustainability metrics, advancing sustainability policy initiatives, pursuing and managing partnerships on environmental initiatives, and staffing the City’s Community Environmental Advisory Commission, Food Policy Council, Clean Energy Partnership and Energy Vision Advisory Committee. Work is fast-paced, and includes a variety of topics from across the spectrum of urban sustainability. Sustainability Office staff support the City’s vision to become a more sustainable, equitable, and thriving community.

Application Instructions

To apply, send a resume and cover letter to brendon.slotterback@minneapolismn.gov by 5 pm, August 7th. Find more information about Minneapolis Sustainability at http://www.minneapolismn.gov/sustainability.

 

Student Internship – Local Food Policy 2015-2016

Minneapolis Sustainability
Applications due August 7, 2015

The Minneapolis Sustainability Office is seeking to fill a part-time paid internship position (15-20 hours per week) to assist with local food policy and Homegrown Minneapolis efforts beginning in September of 2015. This position will support the work of the Homegrown Minneapolis/Local Food Policy Coordinator. The duration of the position will be one year.

Responsibilities will include conducting research, preparing written and graphic materials for public and technical audiences, assisting with meeting and event logistics, maintaining and upgrading the Homegrown Minneapolis website, helping produce the monthly Homegrown Minneapolis Newsletter and other duties as assigned. Some key projects for 2015-16 include supporting the work of the Homegrown Minneapolis Food Council including recruitment, outreach and the Annual Open house; and support of other key research and projects related to the local food economy, healthy food access, urban agriculture system needs and farmers markets.

The ideal candidate will have familiarity with food systems, urban sustainability and/or environmental justice issues, strong writing, research and analytic skills, and experience with web content management systems. Proficiency with Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint are essential and experience with ArcGIS is preferred. A student seek health, urban planning, public policy or related fields is preferred.

The Minneapolis Sustainability Office is responsible for tracking the City’s progress on established sustainability metrics, advancing sustainability policy initiatives, pursuing and managing partnerships on environmental initiatives, and staffing the City’s Community Environmental Advisory Commission, Homegrown Minneapolis Food Council, Clean Energy Partnership and Energy Vision Advisory Committee. Work is fast-paced, and includes a variety of topics from across the spectrum of urban sustainability. Sustainability Office staffsupport the City’s vision to become a more sustainable, equitable, and thriving community.

Application Instructions

To apply, send a resume, cover letter and contact information for three references to Tamara.DownsSchwei@minneapolismn.gov by August 7th. Find more information about Homegrown Minneapolis at www.minneapolismn.gov/sustainability/homegrown

 

Photo Credit: Stephen Little

Student Job Opening: Climate Change and Natural Resource Management

July 17, 2015MadelineFaculty News, General, Graduate News, Undergraduate NewsComments Off on Student Job Opening: Climate Change and Natural Resource Management

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Position: Student Worker- Climate Change and Natural Resource Management

Agency: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Work Location: MN DNR Central Office, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN

Salary: $12.82-$13.93/hr

Anticipated Start Date: September 8th 2015

Term: September 8, 2015 to December 31, 2015 (may be extended through May 31st 2016)

Required Qualifications:

  • Enrolled in an education program or planning to enroll within three months at a university or college (3rd or 4th year) or graduate students in a university or college. Students enrolled at a credit granting institution must carry at least nine quarter (6 semester) credits. Students enrolled at a non-credit granting institution must take two or more classes. Major or degree must be directly related to field of study (botany, zoology, ecology, fisheries, wildlife, conservation biology, natural resource management, or related field).
  •  Knowledge and experience with standard literature review techniques, and
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills

Preferred Qualifications: B.S. in Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, Ecology, or related field. Knowledge of climate impacts on natural resources. Prior completion of independent research project.

Description: This position will provide support related to climate change science, communication, and planning for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Division of Fish and Wildlife. Primary responsibilities are to 1)prepare reports and resources on climate change and 2) provide support to staff engaged in climate planning. The student will work directly with staff with expertise in climate change, policy, and planning. This position provides the opportunity to increase their technical knowledge on the issue and roles and responsibilities of a state agency in natural resource management. Work hours are flexible, but 10-15 hours (Fall/Spring semester), between 8:00am and 4:30pm, are expected.

How to apply: please e-mail a resume/C.V., cover letter, unofficial transcripts, and contact information for 3 references as a .pdf file to Olivia LeDee (olivia.ledee@state.mn.us)

To ensure consideration, applications must be received by August 14th, 2015

Questions: contact Olivia LeDee (651-259-5201; olivia.ledee@state.mn.us)

 

Photo credit

ADMINISTRATION
The Sustainability Education website is administered by the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment.

SUSTAINABILITY CLASSES
The University of Minnesota offers sustainability courses in most of its colleges and campuses around the state. These courses encompass biophysical sciences, social sciences, humanities, arts, design, engineering, business, and health. The Sustainability Studies minor is one of several interdisciplinary programs through which such diverse courses come together.