‘DamNation’ selected as film series’ fall feature

Ever had an interest in the damming of rivers? Wonder why the once considered “marvels of engineering” were built, praised and are now being torn down in rivers across the country (and the world)?DamNation

If so, the environmental science department has an event for you.

There will be a showing of the award-winning movie DamNation on Nov. 4 at 5:30 p.m. in the Natural Science Center room 207.

The movie is part of the ongoing Greenhouse: the NKU environmental film series, which shows an environmental documentary once per semester and features a conversation with the community afterwards.

This fall’s film, DamNation, focuses on the topic of damming and the changing attitudes present on the subject from across America.

All faculty, staff and students are invited to the free event. There will be a period of social time at the event, as well as snacks and drinks.


NKU students shadow National Geographic photographer at Columbus Zoo

NKU student Emily Keener didn’t spend this past Wednesday morning in class or at work. Instead, the junior NKU environmental science major spent the better part of her day alongside birds, mussels and many other animals as a part of an excursion she took to the Columbus Zoo with world-famous National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore.

The African Elephant  is one of the species documented in Joel Sartore's Photo Ark collection. The piece is on display in one of NKU's FotoFocus galleries.

The African Elephant is one of the species documented in Joel Sartore’s Photo Ark collection. The piece is on display in one of NKU’s FotoFocus galleries.

Keener, along with fellow NKU student Evan Sgouris, traveled to Columbus with Sartore as he took portraits of several animals at the zoo and another nearby animal facility linked to the zoo for his well-known Photo Ark project.

“It was really cool for me as a scientist,” Keener said. “We had really good conversations just about the project and biodiversity and different things.”

Sartore photographed the animals as a part of his Photo Ark project—a collection of over 4,000 species he has photographed over the past nine years in an attempt to photograph every species of animal held in the world’s zoos.

Keener said the opportunity to do the shoot in Columbus with Sartore arose from a scheduling conflict with his planned lecture on Thursday night at NKU (one of over fifty venues to host a FotoFocus gallery featuring his work), which landed him in the area a day earlier than necessary.

Not wanting to waste anytime, students were invited to accompany Sartore as he travelled to Columbus to use the time to capture photos of some species he has yet to photographically document.

Sartore photographed two birds at the Columbus Zoo and then we went to a mussel and freshwater fish facility that is linked to the zoo, where he and the students “staked out in a room” and went through the Photo Ark database to see if he had photographed all of its species or not.

Keener was invited on the trip due to her time spent this past summer doing research on Sartore’s work. She joined forces with fellow NKU student Kathryn Keefe. Together, the two looked into ways this sort of scientific photography could help teach and communicate scientific lessons.

“I researched each of the 27 animals and compiled unique and interesting ‘fun facts,’” Keener said in her research poster about the project. “These fun facts were used to illustrate important scientific concepts such as natural selection, adaptation, physiological advantages and parental behavior and care.”

Evan Sgouris is a junior photography major at NKU who was invited to go on the trip through his position interning at the NKU art gallery that is featuring Sartore’s work. He was also able to go on an additional trip with Sartore to the Cincinnati Zoo on Thursday (see his photos below).

Sartore has been a freelance photographer for National Geographic for 20 years. His Photo Ark project is his own independent project separate from the National Geographic brand.

Overall Sartore’s goal is to document endangered species and landscapes in order to show a world worth saving, according to his website.

And this is something that really resonated with Keener.

“I think it is important to collaborate with other fields to make science relatable,” she said. “I like art as an avenue to show people that science is not just a bunch of fancy words. I’m really into anything that communicates science and photography is something that definitely has the potential to do this.”

Northerner Greenbeat stumbles upon People’s Climate March 2014 in NYC

I stumbled upon thousands of shouting marchers while I was walking to my hotel in New York City (where I was attending a press junket for The Northerner) last weekend.

The crowds of people were a part of the 2014 People’s Climate March that took place Sept. 21, 2014, and was the largest climate demonstration in history with over 300,000 people in attendance, according to event organizers.

While I know the event was taking place, I wasn’t quite sure of its exact location (and I was pretty tired from all the transportation and jet lag). So, the march caught me off guard.

Anyway, I was able to snap a few photos with my phone (sorry for the poor quality) before the parade passed by completely.

While I know firsthand that New York City is always a dense and busy place (I lived there over the summer), I still have never seen the city quite like this. The streets were filled with seas of people yelling, chanting, marching and clapping to raise awareness for climate change. The streets were blocked off at some sections toa llow pedestrians to cross or vehicular traffic to pass by.

To see it for yourself, check out video; more, higher quality photos; and additional information at the People’s Climate March website.

Multimedia NKU Recycling package now published

It’s finally here! After half of a semester spent reporting and working with The Northerner’s multimedia team, The Northerner Green beat is happy to announce that its interactive recycling package has finally been published at TheNortherner.com.

Whether you’re looking to test your ‘green IQ’ or read about ‘the underground world’ of recycling at NKU, make sure to click the photo or link below to be taken to the package at The Northerner’s website.

Oh, and be sure to let us know what you think!




Explore our interactive, behind the scenes guide to the university’s recycling initiatives

Snow days may be beneficial in more ways than one

Everyone has heard about the supposed ”not-so-great” parking situation at NKU. Blame it on our commuter culture or the mere fact that we all dread that never-ending walk across the furious wind tunnel that is campus.

The closer we can park to our final destination, the better.

A parking garage at NKU.

A parking garage at NKU.

Never the less, if you’ve been to campus once before, you are able to relate to the angst associated with having to park on the outskirts of campus– also known as “the gravel lots.”

This fact paired with the recent onslaught of harsh winter weather and the closure of the gravel lot next to Albright Health Center doesn’t help matters.

However you could look at this winter weather in a positive light.

If you consider the closing down or delaying of the university over a handful of times already this semester as a good thing, you could see it has allowed us all to leave our cars at home buried in ice –resulting in that much needed time to binge-watch Netflix to our hearts delight.

NKU Green Co-Director and University Planner Jane Goode.

NKU Green Co-Director and University Planner Jane Goode.

And staying at home may prove to have more benefits than just this.

A survey sent out by Campus Planning Jan. 21 aimed at assessing the carbon footprint of our university’s commuters recently wrapped up and could once again spotlight commuters’ emissions as one of NKU’s biggest environmental impacts.

The last time it was assessed, NKU’s commuters accounted for about 42 percent of the university’s total carbon footprint, according to Campus Planning Coordinator and NKU Green Co-Director Jane Goode.

This basically means that all of us waking up and getting in our own cars and driving all the way to campus each day is taking a huge toll on our environment– especially as it pertains to NKU’s total impact on the environment.

A Zipcar parked in downtown Cincinnati.

A Zipcar parked in downtown Cincinnati.

“We know it’s not the first thing people think of when they wake up in the morning,” Goode said referring to commuter emissions. “But it really is a huge impact on our environment.”

One solution, according to Goode, could be the use of Zipcars on campus. Zipcars are vehicles that can be “checked out” by people who sign up for memberships. The cars are parked in various places and are accessed via a magnetic card.

Usage of the Zipcars is charged at an hourly rate. According to the Zipcar website, the use of these cars cuts down the need for individual use of cars and serves as a backup means of transportation for those who usually carpool or have alternative means of transportation.

But the use of things such as these cars are nowhere in the immediate future for NKU.

So maybe staying home on a snowy and icy day to watch Netflix is better for us and for our environment– at least until we find a better way to commute to campus that is.

Until then, maybe we should worry more about finding environmentally-friendly ways to get to campus, rather than the convenience of parking once we get there.

NKU's campus covered with snow and ice.

NKU’s campus covered with snow and ice.

This blog is a part of Kevin Schultz’s senior project for his Northern Kentucky University honor’s capstone. Follow him @KevinEdSchultz on Twitter or look for his hashtag, #NorthernerGreenBeat, on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more on this project and others like it.

See more of Kevin’s work at his TheNortherner.com profile. Or, click and download/view his Resume.