Woodworking, Winter 2012
We hit the ground running in the Spring 2012 semester and constructed a bench for the garden.
Working With Permaculture Experts
Karryn Olson-Ramanujan is on the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute Board of Directors, and was an instrumental part of the ICPG's creation. Working with her, I learned many hands-on permaculture design skills, and am inspired to get my Permaculture Design Certificate through her course this summer.
Locally-Harvested Black Locust Wood
We used locally-harvested black locust for the trellis and pergola, cut the day before we installed it, and delivered right to the garden - bark and all!
During a full-day workday, the week before Earth Week 2012, we added 14 cubic feet of compost to the garden - an enormous feet for a volunteer crew of 30 people!
Our First Planting
On Earth Day 2012 we planted Hardy Kiwis and a Dwarf 3-in-1 Pear Tree.
Insect and wildlife were also part of our consideration when designing the ICPG. We created many habitat niches for pollinators and other creatures we love.
Dana Internship, Summer 2012
I received funding to care for the garden during Summer 2012 through the Dana Intership Program in the Office of the Provost at Ithaca College.
The Garden, Fall 2012
Now the garden is used as an outdoor classroom, a pleasant place to eat lunch, and a knock-your-socks-off demonstration of ecological design for the entire campus community.
The moment I set foot on the Ithaca College campus, I knew I wanted to garden. I began the Ithaca College Permaculture Garden project during my freshman year, and continued it throughout my college experience. This garden was the perfect opportunity for me to share my love of good food and growing things with my community on campus, and has inspired me to pursue a career in ecological landscape design.
Ithaca College Natural Lands
As an intern, I led many tours through the Natural Lands at Ithaca College, as well as tackling trail maintenance, mapping and GIS research, and other responsibilities
Brochures and Outreach
As an ICNL intern, I've made many outreach and educational materials, including an informational brochure (pictured), editing a book on the South Hill Natural Area, and creating posters for photo contests.
We work hard to keep the Natural Areas a safe and beautiful place to be
One of Ithaca College's not-so-secret treasures are its 500+ acres of natural areas surrounding the campus. As a student leader with the Ithaca College Natural Lands, I co-authored the Ithaca College Natural Lands Management Plan, which is now guiding the Natural Lands Committee in all current and future land management decisions. Through independent research, and working with the Natural Lands, I was able to study the commonalities between gardening and natural areas management.
In the fall, ENVS 104 celebrates the end of the class by planting garlic
Many generations of students have gone through the course, and have helped to teach their peers and improve the experience every year
During my second year at Ithaca College, I wrote a course proposal for a 1-credit class that would immerse students in the philosophy and practice of organic gardening, based entirely in the student-run organic and permaculture gardens. The course was approved, and has now been offered for 3 semesters, with a peer-teaching component giving students an opportunity to teach sections of the course as a Course Assistant. I have been a Course Assistant for all 3 classes so far, and thoroughly enjoy teaching my peers about the joys and challenges of organic gardening.
A New Opportunity
RISE is going through its first pilot program at Ithaca College, and I am thrilled to be a part of it
As an extension of my work with the Ithaca College Natural Lands, I served as the project coordinator for the very first offering of the Retirees in Service to the Environment Program. "RISE" is a collaboration between the Ithaca College Gerontology Institute and the Ithaca College Natural Lands, connecting retirees in the Ithaca area with learning and volunteer opportunities on the Natural Lands and beyond. Working with this program in its formative years has inspired me to work towards more accessibility as I seek to connect communities to the natural environment that surrounds them, and to bring often-marginalized communities to a more empowered and central position in the movement to care for the earth.
We experimented with Biochar Oven designs using tin cans from the Ithaca College Dining Hall, roasting marshmallows and making s'mores in the process
Our first prototype, during a burn off-campus, went well. With a few design-tweaks we were ready to bring it to the Ithaca College Organic Garden
To do our research, we first needed to make biochar, so we did four controlled burns during the course of the semester
My research group studied the effects of incorporated and topically-applied biochar on radish root and leaf mass
While at Ithaca College I worked with a team of students on biochar research, studying its effect on root length and plant mass when incorporated at different depths in the soil. Biochar is pyrolized biomass, generally combined with compost and used as a soil amendment for agricultural production.
I worked at Wargo Acres for all of January, 2013, as my cultural immersion - in rural Wisconsin
They have a herd of about 400 heade, plus a continuously-fluctuating number of calves.
I spent a majority of my time feeding and watering the calves, and I loved their sassy attitudes
Birth and Death
I was lucky enough to witness a birth while I was there. Sadly, this bull calf's twin was born in the big barn and died of cold/hunger. This lucky fella will be raised to be an AI (artificial insemination) bull, and will probably go on to father many successful dairy cows
Free Stall Barn
At Wargo Acres they recently scaled up to a large free stall barn, where cows can move freely from feed to rest
Cows that are too old to be milked are sometimes kept in pasture
Dairy cows are hard workers, metabolisms churning 24/7, and they go through 3 milkings in a 24-hour period
I saw many beautiful sunrises while at Wargo Acres
The barn cats were underfoot all the time while working with the calves. Most people found them to be pests, but being an incorrigible cat-lover I thoroughly enjoyed their company
For my major at Ithaca College, I sought out a cultural immersion in rural Wisconsin, where I worked on a dairy farm for one month. I worked with calves primarily, feeding and watering them daily, but also got to experience a wide range of work on the farm, including shadowing a vet for a day. I learned the many complex processes that lead to dairy products, and as a result I now choose to buy high-quality products and know the producer before buying, so that I can ensure that my money goes to these small farmers who keep our dairy economy going and push the industry towards more sustainable innovations.