delware environmental institute


Environmental news from Delaware and the surrounding region.

NSF Highlights: Engineering safer drinking water in Africa
02/06/2012 -

In the United States and other developed countries, fluoride is often added to drinking water and toothpaste to help strengthen teeth. But too much naturally occurring fluoride can have exactly the opposite effect. Large amounts of fluoride can lead to dental fluorosis and skeletal fluorosis.

"Dental fluorosis is a darkening or mottling of the teeth, and you can tell very easily when people smile, because their teeth will be dark and discolored," says Laura Brunson, environmental scientist at the University of Oklahoma (OU) in Norman, Okla. Skeletal fluorosis is much more debilitating.

With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Brunson is working on methods of removing fluoride from drinking water, using tools and raw materials readily available in local communities. Brunson and her team recently returned from a month of fieldwork in Ethiopia, where they tested filtering methods using charred bones and charred wood.

"We'd prefer to find filtration materials that don't have to be shipped in from another country, and that are inexpensive," says Brunson.

Promoting sustainability:  Volunteers needed to plan second Regional Institute on Sustainability
02/04/2012 -

The University of Delaware Sustainability Task Force is looking for volunteers to help plan the Regional Institute on Sustainability (RSI) to be held on the UD campus during the fall semester.

After the success of the 2011 Regional Institute on Sustainability in Higher Education, the Sustainability Task Force (STF) has committed to hosting a 2012 institute. 

01/31/2012 -

Delaware Technical and Community College is looking for volunteers to judge the 17th annual Science Expo. The expo, which is open to New Castle County middle school and high school students, will be held Feb. 28 and 29 and March 1 at the Delaware Tech Stanton campus

The event challenges students to pose a question and use the scientific method to perform and evaluate hands-on research. Each year, more than 100 members of the community volunteer to judge projects.

In addition to professors, graduate and undergraduate students are encouraged to judge the event, even if they do no have a science background. “Anyone who is willing to review some very hard work of middle and high school students and provide constructive feedback is welcome,” Trish Warriner, program manager, said.

Not just for scientists: DENIN Research Symposium offers multiple perspectives on environmental challenges
01/31/2012 -

Over 150 members of the University of Delaware community filled Clayton Hall on Jan. 12 for the second Delaware Environmental Institute (DENIN) Research Symposium, an event that brought together speakers of disparate disciplines with a shared desire to address environmental issues.

The event included an introduction to four new environmental faculty members, a keynote speech by McKay Jenkins, the Cornelius A. Tilghman Professor of English, and a panel discussion consisting of five UD professors.

“This gathering of scholars from around the University, and of activists and others from the community around UD, was one of the most energizing meetings I've been to in years,” Jenkins said. “The initiative UD has taken on the environment, from its commitment to science and environmental policy to its latest investment in the environmental humanities, is promising indeed.”

Solar energy: UD a partner in $18.5 million solar grant with Arizona State University
01/31/2012 -

University of Delaware materials scientist Robert L. Opila is leading efforts with colleagues at Arizona State University to create a new hybrid solar cell with distinct efficiency advantages.Silicon solar cells, like those perched on top of homes and businesses, only capture up to 20 percent of sun’s energy.


Potential Energy: Study of Maryland demonstrates Mid-Atlantic offshore wind capacity
01/30/2012 -

Offshore wind farms could generate more than enough energy to meet Maryland’s annual electricity consumption, according to a just-published study by researchers at the University of Delaware. The potential power output is nearly double current energy demands for the state, even when taking into account various limitations on where to place equipment in the Atlantic.

Feb. 28: DENIN Dialogue series: Writer, conservationist, advocate Terry Tempest Williams to speak at UD
01/26/2012 -

Jan. 24, 2012-- Terry Tempest Williams, renowned environmental writer and the Annie Clark Tanner Scholar in Environmental Humanities at the University of Utah, will be the featured speaker in the Delaware Environmental Institute’s DENIN Dialogue Lecture Series on Tuesday, Feb. 28, in Mitchell Hall at 7 p.m.

01/19/2012 -

Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
Jill Fredel, Department of Health and Social Services, 302-255-9047
DNREC, DHSS join First Lady Carla Markell in promoting 2012 as a year of volunteer service
New state websites offer volunteer opportunities and events
DOVER (Jan. 18, 2012) – As we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy this week, Delaware’s First Lady Carla Markell is issuing a call to volunteers statewide to resolve to make 2012 a year of service.  Mrs. Markell is being joined by Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) Secretary Collin O’Mara and Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Secretary Rita Landgraf to encourage Delawareans to make a resolution to volunteer in the new year.

Sea change:  Penguins provide window into shifting Antarctic ecosystem
01/19/2012 -

What’s the best way to study the Antarctic’s ecosystem? Follow the penguins.

Scientists are tracking penguins on land, under the sea, and even from space to unravel the environmental dynamics in the West Antarctic Peninsula as the region experiences climate change.

“We’re not just down there bird watching,” said Matthew Oliver, assistant professor of oceanography in UD’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment. “This is a concerted effort to put the whole ecosystem together.”

Critical Workshop: Landmark international workshop for critical zone scientists held at UD
01/18/2012 -

International collaboration in critical zone science took a giant step forward in November when about 80 researchers from the U.S., Europe, China and Australia gathered at the University of Delaware for a three-day workshop focused on planning future joint experiments.