Court on April 8th, 2011

Ohio is home to more than 70 state parks. That can be overwhelming when planning a park outting for firends or family. I’ve narrowed the list down to my top 10 Ohio State Parks. I picked each park based on the characteristics of location, activities, and historical value. Check out this map for the 10 parks I picked along with their location and why they are great attractions.

View Ohio Parks in a larger map

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Court on April 2nd, 2011


Powering the Dream. Grist staff writer David Roberts recently published his 5th and final article in his series about his conversations with Atlantic Tech Channel editor Alexis Madrigal and his new book, Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology.

Madrigal discusses greentech history, fossil fuels, electricity, nuclear energy, wind power, and environmental laws.

Check out the first article in the series here.

Environmental News is everywhere! Online blogs and magazines, like Grist, are great sources of information. If you check out my blog roll you will find many fantastic blogs with an environmental focus. Here is my evaluation of a few of them:


This blog was started by Hank Green while he was in graduate school. The focus of this blog is to relate nature and technology and recognize how technology can damage or save the environment. Here you will find posts about new technologies that are green like the newest electric cars but you will also find posts about you can be environmental at home like repurposing your electronics. It also relies upon users to send in tips via e-mail:

Sustainable Style Foundation

This blog is all about styling you and your lifestyle in an environmentally friendly way. What is the Sustainable Style Foundation (SSF)? It is an international nonprofit organization that is supported by members. SSF purpose is “to provide information, resources, and innovative programs that promote sustainable living and sustainable design.” Here you will find ways to live sustainably and fashionably in areas of your life such as fashion, food, travel, film, interior design, and even music!

The Lazy Environmnetalist

The Lazy Environmnetalist was founded in 2005 by environmental entrepreneur Josh Dorfman. This blog is all about taking the easy approach to being environmental in an appealing way. The Lazy Environmentalist is also a television show and book that Dorfman produced and authored. Here you will find posts about affordable green choices, information abotu farmer’s markets as well as video and radio interviews of Dorfman on various issues.

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Court on March 25th, 2011

Availability of clean, fresh water is a global issue. The Water Project recognizes the importance of this issue and is trying to help countries, currently India and Africa, get access to clean water. This organization gets help and donations from many places including student organizations. BGSU Net Impact held a World Water Week

Water is essential to every human life. Most of us never think about where our water comes from because of our instantaneous access to this clean, temperature controlled resource. The common worry of water is how much the bill is every month.

We recognize water crises when they are close to home. The United States has not been without water conflict. John Muir described the Hetch Hetchy Valley (in Yellowstone National Park) as “one of nature’s rarest and most precious mountain temples.” Not everyone agreed with this. San Francisco was in need of water and won Congressional approval to build the O’Shaughnessy Dam that buried the valley in water.  Muir fought to protect Hetch Hetchy but in the end, need for water trumped the beauty of nature.

Water is still an issue for the U.S. today.

There are dry states like Arizona that are home to unsustainable cities. But that is a man made issue of water. Phoenix is an unsustainable city built in a desert climate. It has limited amounts of water for its population of over 1,000,000 and yet there are swimming pools in backyards and green golf courses. Golf courses in the middle of the desert!

But what about countries that don’t have access to clean water?

The Water Project, Inc. is a non-profit organization that helps communities around the world that suffer from lack of access to safe drinking water. Currently, they are working on bringing clean water to Africa and India. According to statistics from The Water Project, “nearly 80% of illnesses in developing countries are linked to poor water and sanitation conditions.”

Consumption of dirty water can cause: 

  • Typhoid
  • Cholera
  • Hepatitis
  • Diarrhea
  • Dysentery

What people are doing to help.

Net Impact, an organization at Bowling Green State University, spread awareness by participating in World Water Week this past week (March 20-25). Moving to inside the union because of weather, net impact spread awareness to University students about this water crisis. The crowded union was filled with busy students rushing to one place or another but still many of them paused to look at the table with dirty water bottles and people in blue tie dyed shirts.

“If you guys donate a dollar that can supply a child with water for 40 days,” Haley Fowler, a net impact member, said. Students could donate money, buy tie dye World Water Week t-shirts, or donate money to carry a bottle of dirty water with an awareness label about one of the many diseases contracted through unsafe drinking water.

Setting up a table and taking donations was just one small part for net impact’s World Water Week campaign. In the afternoon, volunteers could be seen on what looked to be a small parade;  “Water Walk,” as Paul Hemminger called it on BGSU World Water Week’s facebook page. On this water walk, some students carried a banner that said World Water Week and some carried buckets of water.

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Court on March 21st, 2011


Spring has sprung on BGSU campus. Photo taken by Courtney Keenan

Wherever you are in the world I hope it is similar to today here in Ohio…

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, BGSU students shed their coats and sweatshirts for impulsive wearing of shorts and flips flops to later be chilled by the lake effect winds that sweep across Bowling Green in Northern Ohio.

Spring is the time to break away from your man made cages and experience nature. Take off your shoes and let the grass tangle in your toes. Turn off the TV and go fly a kite or play Frisbee. Learn a new sport like tennis or badminton.  Volunteer at your local humane society to walk dogs.  Get outside and take an adventure in your own backyard.

There are many environmental activities that you can do in the spring. Whether you are an active outdoorsy person or love nature from afar, there is a helpful and fun activity for you!

Get Involved!

Like being outdoors in the thick of nature? Volunteer at your local county park or nature preserve.  Here you can help manage events, remove invasive species, and help clean-up the park, or take responsibility for other duties.

Put Your Crafty Skills To Work!

Are you an avid bird watcher or just like seeing pretty birds outside like cardinals and blue jays? Don’t waste money on expensive store bird feeder; simply make your own! Bird feeders can be made from many things you have at your house. A popular and easy bird feeder (also kid friendly to make!) is the pine cone bird feeder.  

Take a vacation!

If you have the funds take a spring break trip to a national park. Experience the rush of the Niagara Falls, Venture down into the depths of the Grand Canyon, or walk alongside John Muir through the wonder of Yellowstone (the wilderness he fought for until his death).

Nature isn’t scary. It’s a part of who we are. We may live in a modern, technology driven world full of instantaneous information and service, but outside of our walls is world of wonder waiting to take us on a journey that can define who we are. Whether you venture to the top of a mountain or just a few feet in your backyard, nature is everywhere. So take a long look at a sunrise, a deep breath of the morning dew filled air, and take a step out into the world. You might be surprised at what you find.

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Court on March 4th, 2011

You want to become eco-friendly but can’t afford solar panels or a hybrid car. Hey no problem. Reducing your impact on the environment can be done in many ways; some ways that might even lighten your financial burden. Whatever your lifestyle -whether you are a college student wanting to save some cash or mother of two trying to find ways to handle your budget- environmentalism is the way to save!

Holidays and birthdays are probably the times when your wallet and the environment are hit hardest. There are so many people to buy gifts for and most of those gifts come with a lot of packaging that ends up in the dumpster. The chart below shows the average amount spent by an individual on holiday shopping in 2010.

There are many ways to cut this spending by being eco-friendly! The areas that could be significantly cut are gifts, decorations and cards. These three areas account for over half of the total spending. Try these ideas:


  • Get your friends to agree on having a white elephant gift exchange this year. A white elephant gift is giving something that you already have but not necessarily need or wat as a present. Maybe you have too many picture frames or you know your friend Stacey would love that sweater you never wear. This gift costs you and the environment absolutely nothing!


  • Going all out for holidays and birthdays is time honored American tradition. Decorations help bring people into the holiday whether they are a Scrooge at Christmas or a sucker for everything heart shaped. Not many people think about making decorations out of what they already have.


  • St. Patrick’s Day is all about the green…so try saving some this year.  Print out decorations instead of buying them. Turn it into a coloring activity for friends or kids. How about finding that pot of gold in your wallet? Instead of forking out cash at the bar for green beer, make your own. Buys ome cheap, light colored beer and add food coloring.


  • Tired of the mess and cost of pumpkins for Halloween Jack-o-lanterns? M family makes scary/funky decorations out of brown paper bags (you get at the supermarket) and magazines. Cute different face features from different magazines (eyes, nose, mouth, eyebrows, ect) and mix them up for a new scary face. Then glue the face to the brown bag. Add a battery powered candle if wanted. These scary faces not only save you money but they can also be used for many Halloweens to come!


  • Putting time and effort into making a card for a loved one not only shows how much you care but it can also be fun. Who knows your best friend or your girlfriend better than you? Making a card personalizes the message and makes it a more meaningful gesture. When’s the last time you made something for your mom? Making a card for Mother’s Day would deifnitely bring back the memories for her. Gifts from the heart are often cheaper, less likely to be thrown out, and appreciated more. Plus if you give it in person there is no need for an envelope or postage!

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Court on February 18th, 2011

Environmentalism seems to be a recent popular trend, especially in context to today’s youth. However, its ideas and values have always been there floating from idealist to idealist in America’s History. From famous wilderness advocators like John Muir to author’s like Dr. Seuss. Yes, environmentalism has been rooted in our childhoods since the 1970’s when Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax was published. The Lorax is one of my favorite stories and it illustrates how our way of life affects the environment.

Society  Compared to the Once-ler

  • values progress
  • values money/economy
  • dominance over nature: Christian view that man has more inherent value and nature is there for his/her use
  • myth of super abundance: belief that resources are unlimited or vast enough to not worry                  

The Lorax

  • stands for the environment
  • values nature as equal
  • human connection to nature
  • the consequences of wasteful actions and neglect

Below is part 1 and 2 of The Lorax via Youtube. If you have never watched it before I encourage you to take 23 minutes to see it. Think about the message being conveyed in context to society today. What can you do differently in your day to day routine to not end up like the Once-ler?

Part 1

Part 2

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