University of Delaware
delware environmental institute


Environmental news from Delaware and the surrounding region.

May 2: Water in developing countries: Case studies from Benin, West Africa, focus of Darcy Lecture
05/02/2011 -

Stephen E. Silliman, the 2011 Henry Darcy Distinguished Lecturer, will discuss his work in developing groundwater resources in Benin, West Africa, at a talk in Room 103 Gore Hall on Monday, May 2, at 3:30 p.m. Ensuring a high-quality water supply can pose challenges in developing countries, since it requires both reliable hydrologic data and effective collaboration among local communities. Silliman will discuss the value of both statistical analysis when sampling in difficult environments, as well as the power of close collaboration with in-country colleagues and local populations.

May 3: Where does water go when it rains?:  Watershed expert to present new data and innovative concepts
04/26/2011 -

Jeffrey J. McDonnell, the 2011 Birdsall-Dreiss Lecturer of the Geological Society of America, will discuss his new ideas conceptualizing runoff processes in headwater catchments at a talk in Room 102, Delaware Biotechnology Institute, on Tuesday, May 3, at 2 p.m.

McDonnell is University Distinguished Professor of Hydrology, Richardson Chair of Watershed Sciences and director of the Institute for Water and Watersheds at Oregon State University.

Streamflow generation concepts have remained largely unchanged since the First International Hydrological Decade (1965–1974) despite numerous case studies from an ever-widening array of catchments. McDonnell’s talk examines the future of runoff conceptualization and advances a simple concept of subsurface "storage excess" and offers evidence in support of storage excess using field data from catchments distributed across a wide array of climate, geology, vegetation, and topographic conditions. These data show subsurface storage filling and then spilling is a simple concept that makes sense across many scales and may help explain runoff amount and timing, geographic and time source components, and residence time. (full article)

Delaware EPSCoR annual meeting:  State leaders mark progress, plans in economic and workforce development
04/26/2011 -

Delaware EPSCoR, the statewide network that links higher education institutions with the public and private sectors to develop Delaware's research infrastructure and capacity, held its annual meeting on April 14 at the Delaware Technical and Community College campus in Dover.

At the meeting, approximately 70 people representing the University of Delaware, Delaware State University, Delaware Tech, and Wesley College, as well as state agencies and the National Science Foundation (NSF), focused on how the program is having an impact on economic and workforce development in the state.

Henry Blount, head of the NSF EPSCoR Office, complimented Delaware EPSCoR on being a model of partnership for other states. Delaware is one of 29 states currently being funded by NSF’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). (full article)

Environmentally responsible:  UD highlighted in guide to green colleges
04/23/2011 -

The University of Delaware has been named one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the U.S. and Canada, according to a new book published by the Princeton Review.

Created by the Princeton Review in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), The Princeton Review's Guide to 311 Green Colleges is a free guidebook that profiles institutions of higher education that demonstrate a notable commitment to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation. Schools were selected based on a survey of administrators at hundreds of colleges that the company polled in 2010 about their school's sustainability initiatives.

The guide's section on the University of Delaware notes that the "overarching objective is to make the University of Delaware a national and international resource for environmental research, technology, education and policy -- today and into the future -- by leading the way in environmental research, becoming 'The Green University,' developing and demonstrating alternative energy technologies and integrating environmental programs within the curriculum." (full article)

Eco-attire wins design award:  UD students honored for eco-friendly clothing, footwear
04/22/2011 -

Eco-friendly clothing and footwear has earned four University of Delaware undergraduates the 2011 Youth Council on Sustainable Science and Technology (YCOSST) P3 design award.

Given by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ (AIChE) Institute for Sustainability, the award recognizes the UD research team’s interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation in creating sustainable products.

Huantian Cao, associate professor in fashion and apparel studies, and Richard P. Wool, chemical engineering professor and director of the Affordable Composites from Renewable Sources (ACRES) program, advised the group with help from chemical engineering graduate student Mingjiang Zhan. (full article)

Carbon sequestration:  UD students plant trees to sequester carbon in Milford Neck
04/22/2011 -

University of Delaware Professor Kent Messer and his students went to the state's Milford Neck region on Saturday, April 16, to start a project that aims to plant more than 55,000 trees over a 60-acre plot of land -- work that will result in the sequestration of an estimated 17,500 tons of carbon.

The team planted 5,000 trees in the initial weekend and, in addition to carbon sequestration, Messer said the trees will provide direct benefits for biodiversity and water quality in the region.

Messer, assistant professor of food and resource economics in UD's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, jumped at the opportunity to have his students gain valuable hands-on sustainable development experience while also providing a beneficial service to the environment.

“I want my students to not only learn in the classroom, but also to get involved with environmental projects in the local community and region," he said. (full article)

04/19/2011 -

The Science, Ethics and Public Policy Program (SEPP) at the University of Delaware will continue its Science Café program with a presentation on Tuesday, April 19, entitled “What Happens in the Forest When It Rains, and Why Is It Important?”

The event will be held from 5-6:30 p.m. at the Deer Park Tavern, 108 W. Main St., in Newark.

Del Levia, associate professor of geography and plant and soil sciences, as well as the director of the Environmental Science and Studies Program, will be the guest speaker. (full article)

Focus on UD’s footprint: Green construction diverts 75 tons from landfill
04/19/2011 -

Rebar juts from concrete and stretches toward the sky at the corner of Academy Street and Lovett Avenue like crocuses in springtime, signaling new growth at the University of Delaware.

The East Campus Utility Plant (ECUP) is taking shape, part of a larger project that also includes the new Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Laboratory (ISE-Lab).

With UD’s green construction efforts, these projects have diverted 82 percent, or 75 tons of waste from landfills, according to Whiting Turner, the company leading construction.

“That’s 150,000 pounds of bricks and mortar,” explained Larry McGuire, senior project manager for UD’s Facilities Planning and Construction. (full article)

04/15/2011 -


Contact:  Melanie Rapp, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

New rain gardens open for view at Blackbird State Forest and St. Jones Reserve

DOVER, (April 15, 2011) – Rain gardens are sprouting up throughout Delaware – courtesy of the “Rain Gardens for the Bays” campaign that encourages citizens to create rain gardens where they work, live and play. Two rain garden demonstration sites for the public to view and enjoy were recently created at the Blackbird State Forest, 502 Blackbird Forest Road near Smyrna and the St. Jones Reserve, 818 Kitts Hummock Road near Dover. The rain gardens are open daily, from dawn until dusk.

A rain garden is a garden located in a shallow depression near a runoff source – a downspout, driveway or paved surface – with soil that drains quickly and deep-rooted native plants and grasses that naturally absorb water and filter pollutants.

Rain gardens are sustainable, affordable and particularly effective in capturing rain water, preventing flooding, creating habitat for local wildlife, and reducing up to 80 percent of pollutants in stormwater runoff. According to the Center for Watershed Protection, typically about 30 percent more water from a rain soaks into the ground in a rain garden than the same size area of lawn.

The key to sustainability: Climate expert looks to knowledge institutions for solutions to climate change
04/15/2011 -

Knowledge institutions are the key to a sustainable future, according to Rajendra K. Pachauri, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), who spoke to more than 350 people in Mitchell Hall on the evening of April 6.

Pachauri spoke as part of the DENIN Dialogue Series, a semiannual lecture series sponsored by the Delaware Environmental Institute, which brings experts of international renown in environmental research and policy to address the public at UD’s Newark campus. His visit was co-sponsored by the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy, the Center for Political Communication and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Along with former Vice President Al Gore, the IPCC was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for its work in reviewing and synthesizing the most current research on global climate change. In his talk, Pachauri described the process through which the IPCC arrives at its conclusions, which it publishes in periodic assessment reports.

Pachauri’s presentation can be viewed via podcast. (full article)