delware environmental institute


Environmental news from Delaware and the surrounding region.

Solar panels latest in green technology at UD dairy farm
11/03/2009 -

The University of Delaware's dairy farm serves as a model for farmers in the region and leads the way in utilizing the latest green methods of farming and green technology.

“We developed a master plan five years ago to modernize the farm and as funding has become available, we are putting the plan into practice,” said Tom Sims, deputy dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and T.A. Baker Professor of Soil and Environmental Chemistry.

The most recent farm project has been the installation of 44 solar panels on the roof of the manure recycling facility at the dairy farm as a green initiative to provide clean electrical power. UD had already installed solar panels in Southern Delaware on a poultry house project on a Laurel Farm owned by Allen Family Foods.

10/29/2009 -

Before kicking off the Delaware Environmental Institute Oct. 23, DENIN Director Donald L. Sparks, the S. Hallock du Pont Chair of plant and soil sciences at the University of Delaware, traveled around the globe to speak at two international environmental science meetings in Germany and China.

Sparks was the keynote speaker at the German Research Foundation (DFG)/International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) symposium in Jena, Germany, Oct. 6-7.

His talk was entitled “The Value of a Multi-Scale, Multi-Tool Approach in Elucidating Metal(loid) Biogeochemistry in the Environment.”

“My talk stressed the importance of using macroscopic approaches and molecular and atomic resolution techniques, along with computational modeling and kinetics, to better understand complex environmental reactions and mechanisms,” said Sparks.

USDA awards grant to study hormones, antibiotics in runoff
10/27/2009 -

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded a University of Delaware researcher a $400,000 grant to study the fate and transport of hormones and antibiotics in runoff from agricultural watersheds.

The grant was awarded to Shreeram Inamdar, an associate professor of bioresources engineering in UD's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, through the competitive 2009 Agricultural and Food Research Initiative program on water and watersheds. Diana Aga, who is an associate professor with the Department of Chemistry at the University at Buffalo (N.Y.) is a co-principal investigator on the project.

UD start-up company prepares to commercialize novel detector for medical, military applications
10/27/2009 -

PAIR Technologies, a start-up company established by University of Delaware researchers and a former DuPont scientist, is preparing to commercialize a high-precision detector -- a planar array infrared spectrograph -- that can identify biological and chemical agents in solids, liquids, and gases, present at low levels, and in less than a second.

The revolutionary technology holds promise in multiple applications, ranging from the early detection of diseases, to monitoring for chemical weapons and environmental pollutants, to enhancing quality-control efforts in manufacturing processes.

John Rabolt, the Karl W. and Renate Böer Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at UD, and his students invented and patented the technology in 2001.

UD launches Delaware Environmental Institute
10/22/2009 -

More than 200 people attended the official debut of the Delaware Environmental Institute (DENIN) on Friday, Oct. 23, including a cadre of elementary and high school students who contributed posters on topics ranging from the benefits of trees to the problems associated with invasive species.

The event featured remarks by Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, UD President Patrick Harker, Provost Tom Apple, DENIN Director Donald Sparks, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Collin O'Mara, and Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator William Early.

Sustainability Day features workshops, sustainable lunch
10/21/2009 -

The University of Delaware marked National Sustainability Day on Wednesday, Oct. 21, with a series of workshops and a challenge by Provost Tom Apple to members of the campus community to help the University achieve its environmental initiatives.

Apple made his remarks to about 150 members of the UD community during a sustainable lunch held in the Trabant University Center.

The program also showcased stories of successful sustainability efforts by University individuals, departments and organizations that reflect the motto of “think globally, act locally,” Apple said.

10/20/2009 -

Delaware has a fragile coastal ecosystem, a long history of industrial production and agricultural land under pressure from increasing residential and commercial development.

As a consequence, the state faces a range of environmental challenges: Excess nutrients have resulted in algal blooms and fish kills in waterways; particulate release has polluted the air; climate change is contributing to a rise in sea level and marshland decline; industrial activity has contaminated the soil; and a growing population requires the redevelopment of urban brownfields.

At the same time, Delaware is in an ideal position to pilot research strategies to address these issues. The First State has a track record of effectively identifying, prioritizing and acting on difficult issues and valuable opportunities, and its small size and constancy of purpose enable effective communication and issue resolution among key stakeholders.

Team to study human effect on watershed
10/18/2009 -

Research will chart carbon cycle in 565-square-mile Christina River basin


AVONDALE, Pa. -- The narrow creek that runs behind the Stroud Water Research Center has witnessed plenty of changes over the centuries.

Hundreds of years ago, early settlers cleared trees and vegetation to build their homes. Later, the area became a cow pasture. Today, as Stroud scientists restore the forest, the creek bank is dotted with skinny, pale green tubes that protect young trees from strong wind and harsh weather.

The changes can be seen in the soil that makes up the creek bed. Scraping aside leaves and other debris with a small shovel, Stroud scientist Anthony Aufdenkampe reveals a swath that looks like a layer cake -- two lighter stripes separated by a chocolate-colored center strip.

UD's Byrne receives 2009 AIA Sustainability Award
10/15/2009 -

John Byrne, University of Delaware Distinguished Professor of Energy and Climate Policy and director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy, is the recipient of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Delaware 2009 Sustainability Award.

Byrne accepted the award from AIA Delaware President Kevin W. Wilson during the Sustainable Delaware 2009 Conference, held Thursday, Oct. 15, in Clayton Hall. The conference also included a free public workshop session on Friday, Oct. 16.

Based in Washington, D.C., with 300 state and local chapters, AIA has been the leading professional membership association for licensed architects, emerging professionals, and allied partners since 1857.

The award presentation also included remarks by Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, James L. Ford III, mayor of Lewes, and State Sen. Harris McDowell III, who chairs the Senate Energy and Transit Committee.

Oh, brother, it's true: Plants can recognize their siblings and now we know how
10/13/2009 -

Plants may not have eyes and ears, but they can recognize their siblings, and researchers at the University of Delaware have discovered how.

The ID system lies in the roots and the chemical cues they secrete.

The finding not only sheds light on the intriguing sensing system in plants, but also may have implications for agriculture and even home gardening.

The study, which is reported in the scientific journal Communicative & Integrative Biology, was led by Harsh Bais, assistant professor of plant and soil sciences at the University of Delaware.