Plantapalooza 2018

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first_imgSpring is here, which means it’s time to plant summer gardens. Through plant sales and the annual Plantapalooza event on Saturday, April 14, the Trial Gardens at the University of Georgia; the State Botanical Garden of Georgia; the UGA Horticulture Club; the Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics (PBGG) Graduate Student Association; and the Plant Biology Graduate Student Association (PBGSA) make plant-buying easy.Trial GardensThe trial gardens will have annuals, perennials, succulents, vines and tropical plants, many of which are difficult to find, for sale. UGArden representatives will be on hand, selling medicinal teas, and the King of Pops will sell popsicles. The only methods of payment accepted will be cash or check.Location: 1030 W. Green St., Athens, Georgia, 30602Date and time: Saturday, April 14, 8 a.m.-noon.More information is available on the gardens’ Facebook page at The Trial Gardens @ UGA or online at Botanical Garden of GeorgiaThe botanical garden will have native plants, trees and shrubs, perennials, herbs and vegetables for sale. This year, more than 20 varieties of tomatoes will be available. Admission and parking for the botanical garden sale is free and includes access to the tropical conservatory, horticultural gardens and more than 5 miles of nature trails.Location: 2450 S. Milledge Ave., Athens, Georgia, 30605Date and time: Saturday, April 14, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.More information is available on Facebook at the botanical garden’s page, State Botanical Garden of Georgia at UGA, or online at Horticulture ClubThe horticulture club will have landscape and herbaceous plants, perennials, annuals, herbs, vegetables, houseplants and succulents for sale. The club gives UGA students real-world experience in the horticulture industry, and the funds raised from the plant sale will go directly toward scholarships, educational trips and into plant materials for students to grow and sell in future plant sales.Dates and times:Friday, April 6, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.Saturday, April 7, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.Sunday, April 8, 12 p.m.-5 p.m.Friday, April 13, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.Saturday, April 14, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.Sunday, April 15, 12 p.m.-5 p.m.Location: 111 Riverbend Road, Athens, Georgia, 30605Both graduate student associations will also have pickup for online orders in the parking lot on April 14.More information is available on Facebook at the club’s page, UGA Horticulture Club, or online at Breeding, Genetics and Genomics Graduate Student AssociationThe PBGG Graduate Student Association will sell a variety of fruits and vegetables, including squash, cucumbers, peppers, toma verde tomatillos, Georgia rattlesnake watermelons, Mexican sour cucumbers and ghostbuster eggplants.Plants are $2.50 apiece or $2 when ordered online. Online orders can be picked up Friday, April 13; at Plantapalooza on Saturday, April 14, across from the horticulture club sale; or Friday, April 20. On April 14, during Plantapalooza, only online orders will be filled. As far as payment, cash or check is preferred.Dates and times:Friday, April 13, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.Saturday, April 14, 10 a.m.-noon. (Online pickup only)Friday, April 20, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.Location: D.W. Brooks MallOnline order pickup on April 14 will be available in the parking lot at 111 Riverbend Road, Athens, Georgia, 30605.More information is available on Facebook at the graduate student association’s Facebook page, Institute of Plant Breeding, Genetics, & Genomics at the University of Georgia. Presale orders can be placed online at         Plant Biology Graduate Student Association The PBGSA will sell herbs, including lavender, rosemary, apple mint and more. PBGSA will also have houseplants, orchids and succulents for sale, ranging from $5 to $10.Plants are $2.50 apiece or $2 online. Online orders can be picked up Friday, April 13; at Plantapalooza on Saturday, April 14, across from the horticulture club sale; or Friday, April 20. On April 14, during Plantapalooza, only online orders will be filled. As far as payment, cash or check is preferred.Dates and times:Friday, April 13, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.Saturday, April 14. 10 a.m.-noon (Online pickup only)Friday, April 20, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.Location: D.W. Brooks MallOnline orders may be picked up on April 14 in the parking lot at 111 Riverbend Road, Athens, Georgia, 30605.More information about the sale and preorders is available online at

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Tracking insects for work and play

first_imgGary Alpert spends a lot of time bringing ants to Harvard. He travels the world to exotic locations, collecting specimens in efforts that draw praise from eminent ant biologist Edward O. Wilson.On the other hand, Alpert also was the guy who got rid of ants at the University in the early 1980s, eliminating pest ants through the use of a new hormone strategy.In the years since, Alpert has lived two lives. By day, he is an environmental biologist, specializing in both pest control and compliance with government wastewater standards for Harvard’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety. He handles pest outbreaks, tackling everything from ants to bedbugs to rabid animals, and ensures that Harvard’s wastewater is within allowable limits for certain compounds.Alpert notes that he has minimized the use of chemical spraying at Harvard to just those cases where health and safety are threatened. He is a proponent of integrated pest management, which entails understanding pests and eliminating the things that attract them.“We bait for ants, we bait for cockroaches, we eliminate food sources. We’re not in the killing business. We’re in the excluding business,” Alpert said.When he’s not working his day job, Alpert is working on ants. Wilson called him “an extraordinary scientist” and an “authentic explorer-naturalist” who has journeyed far in search of specimens to enrich Harvard’s already notable ant collection. Wilson and Alpert traveled together a couple of years ago to the mountains of the Dominican Republic to collect ants, getting their car stuck in the mud and having to get it pushed out by a nearby garrison of soldiers.Alpert has traveled to Nepal, Madagascar, the Philippines, and Cambodia, among other countries, and he plans a floating trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon in the spring with the National Park Service and area Indian tribes to collect ants. A Navajo medicine man has blessed him in advance of the trip.He has cataloged ants as well, and has developed an imaging system that is being used to show clearly the University’s collection of key ant specimens. He also occasionally is a private entomology consultant, and has worked at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and at U.S. Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground.“I love travel,” Alpert said.Alpert received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Washington State University in 1969 but had a change of heart during graduate study and laboratory work afterward. He received a master’s degree in entomology from Washington State in 1972 and a doctorate in biology from Harvard in 1981.“I discovered this whole new world of the outdoors where I could stop worrying about theories of personalities and deal with hard facts instead,” Alpert said. “Once I switched, I never looked back.”Curatorial Assistant Stefan Cover, who works in the Museum of Comparative Zoology’s Entomology Department and who has known Alpert for years, jokingly compared Alpert’s two lives to those of the famous literary character Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.“There’s Dr. Alpert and Mr. Gary,” Cover said, describing “Mr. Gary” as “this [wild] field biologist who would like nothing better than to be plunked down in the middle of nowhere and collect ants.”last_img

New life for Memorial Church

first_imgOn a campus as historic as Harvard’s, renewal never ends. Now it is Memorial Church’s turn. Immediately following Commencement, the centerpiece of Tercentenary Theatre will close as, for the remainder of the calendar year, the 84-year-old structure undergoes renovations.The Boston firm Payette, which was part of the team that renovated the Harvard Art Museums, has been selected as the architect for the project. This will be the first significant renovation work on the church in more than 30 years.The project will involve long-deferred building and infrastructure maintenance, including accessibility and safety compliance upgrades; a reconfigured lower level; and a new climate-control system to allow for improved use of the church year-round. In addition, the renovations will bring the church up to Harvard’s green building standards. Newton-based Elaine Construction, which has managed more than 100 projects for the University, will oversee the upgrade.The renovations — in particular ensuring that the main entrance is readily accessible — are in keeping with the church’s mission, says Professor Jonathan L. Walton, Plummer Professor of Christian Morals.“The church sanctuary is a beautiful aesthetic space,” said Walton, who also serves as the Pusey Minister in Memorial Church. “But we need to make sure that entire building meets the needs of the entire growing community.” That includes, he noted, accessible portico entrances, “so that every student and every congregant can walk in the front door together.”Once in those front doors, Walton said, the eventual renovations may not be immediately apparent. Although air-conditioning, now limited to the church’s lower levels, will be extended to include the main floor, the appearance of the vaulting sanctuary and more intimate Appleton Chapel will not change. The project is also working with organ-builders C.B. Fisk of Gloucester to ensure the health and acoustics of the recently renovated Appleton Chapel instrument and the Opus 139: Charles B. Fisk and Peter J. Gomes Memorial Organ, which was installed in the rear gallery in 2011.Designed by University architects Coolidge, Shepley, Bulfinch & Abbott, Memorial Church was dedicated on Armistice Day (Nov. 11) 1932 to commemorate those from Harvard who had died in World War I. “We are working hard to make sure that the integrity of the sanctuary remains in place,” said Walton. “We understand that this was a war memorial for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. We want to make sure we honor and respect that space.”In keeping with the work, the church has developed a new mission statement. It says, in part, that the church is “a space of grace in the center of the Yard,” and “aims to promote justice and mercy by confronting life’s challenges, differences, and our own imperfections with courage, empathy, and an ethic of love.”Now in his fourth year in his current position, Walton said the timing is right to commence this work. “We are in a solid place, where I feel comfortably rooted in the community and have a better sense of the needs of Harvard College, and we’re well placed to meet the needs of that community.”Extending year-round climate control will be a crucial step to make the church more inclusive and useful. Citing the uncomfortable heat that can extend from Baccalaureate and Senior Sunday in May through Freshman Convocation in the fall, Walton noted that building-wide air conditioning will aid the church mission of welcoming the entire community. “If we want people to come inside,” he said, “we want to try hard to make sure they’re comfortable.”The redesigned lower level will feature more open areas for student and community use, including family-friendly areas, such as a “crying room” for children that their parents can utilize during services, as well as private areas for nursing.The functionality of the lower level will be further increased by a new, open reception area and student “oasis.” This gathering space will seat up to 100 people and offer a place for meetings or lectures that will fall somewhere between the significantly larger areas in the sanctuary and Appleton Chapel and the smaller conference rooms currently available. Walton is also hoping to incorporate a larger, open-plan kitchen for gatherings at the church as well as many student culinary projects, from the convivial baking of cookies to meal preparation for local shelters. The rebuilt lower level will also have better soundproofing, a necessity when the sanctuary organ is in use.Central to the renovations will be an integrated sustainability and environmental design strategy, including the incorporation of sustainable-design practices as outlined in Harvard’s green building standards. Some primary examples of sustainable design practices in the project involve lighting power density and water use reductions. The church will also establish an HVAC control strategy to reduce energy use. Users’ health and wellness are key to the sustainable design. Citing a “moral commitment to sustainability,” Walton said, “The way I read the Garden of Eden narrative is that God created humanity and gave us the garden and said, ‘Till and tend it.’ This is what it means to be good stewards.”A more cosmetic change will complete the renovation. When the church is reopened in 2017, the portraits on its walls will reflect an increasingly diverse Harvard community. “We will have gender, racial, ethnic diversity represented on our walls so that anybody who comes into these doors will see themselves.”The project will be supported in part by the Office of the President, which aims to foster a stronger sense of community across Harvard by providing students, faculty, and staff with opportunities to share spaces and experiences.Initial enabling work will begin in the coming weeks, as crews begin repairing portions of the exterior walls. Immediately following Commencement, the church will close and remain closed for the duration of the project.Morning Prayers, Sunday services, and other events will be held at an alternate location, details of which are still being determined. The expected reopening is early next year.last_img

Siding with science

first_img EPA chief says issue is economic as well as environmental Former EPA administrator Gina McCarthy, now the director of the Harvard Chan School’s Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment (C-CHANGE), says that if we pull our eyes away from the federal government’s actions on the environment, we’ll see positive things happening in cities and states and among consumers.The Boston native brings a deep background in public service to her new post. She served as an environmental adviser to several Massachusetts governors and as commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection before taking the helm of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under President Barack Obama.We asked her about her vision for the center, her view of the current EPA, openings for environmental progress, and more.  Q&AGina McCarthyGAZETTE: How are you settling in at the center? Will you be teaching or just focusing on getting C-CHANGE going?            McCARTHY: There’s so much going on. I taught during the fellowship that I had originally, but I’m not teaching again until next semester. I have to get the center up and functioning, get the new mission set, and get some funding opportunities. I’m excited about it.GAZETTE: That excitement is one thing I wanted to talk to you about. It seems like in some corners there’s a woe-is-us attitude about the environment, but I don’t detect that from you. Why is that?McCARTHY: First of all, I think it’s counterproductive. If I want to do nothing, that’s probably a really good strategy, but it’s never been my attitude.I’ve seen ebbs and flows and I think that the challenges we’re facing now are extreme — I don’t minimize those — but if you don’t get up every day with a positive message and a can-do attitude, then you might as well have admitted defeat. And I’m not big on admitting defeat when I think that the futures of my kids and grandkids are at stake.I also think there are lots of reason to be hopeful. The federal government is clearly stepping aside on many of the protections that we value, but it’s just a matter of time before people speak up. I think it’s our job to make it clear to them what we’re losing and how we need to move forward.GAZETTE: Do we focus too much on the federal government? Do we forget all the things that are going on at the state level, and that, as you’ve pointed out, more people are putting solar panels on their houses and buying electric cars?McCARTHY: We do, and we forget all the solutions that are available and that are already cost-effective.There are many solutions for clean energy already in the marketplace. If we’re creative, with cities and towns and grassroots-level action, we can make those solutions available to everybody. You don’t need a federal government to regulate and you don’t need it to provide leadership. It’s better if it did, but if it doesn’t, that shouldn’t stop what’s happening in the U.S.There are lots of really good things happening at a time when the federal government is asleep. People look at the eight years of the Obama administration, the work we did, but forget that it was built on a foundation of grassroots-level action, action at the city level, state level, regional level, and without all of that, wouldn’t have happened.GAZETTE: It’s got to be hard to see a lot of the work you did at EPA being dismantled. Do you just put that out of your mind and focus on the task at hand?McCARTHY: I’m working at C-CHANGE because it’s such a great opportunity to be at Harvard with young people — to motivate them and to see the information that they have available to them and the expertise they’re developing and to know they want the science to actually work, not just to provide information but activate people and government and policies and rules and actions. It’s so much fun.That’s why I’m here. I divide that with the time to respond to what’s happening at the federal level, to try to have my voice out there in support of EPA and support of the science. I will not deny that I get angry at times when I see that science is being attacked and see some of the rules that are out there that I don’t think are based on science, the law, or even real facts.It’s bothersome because I see it as a dismantling not just of EPA, but of science itself. And frankly, I’m getting calls from a lot of other countries to try to explain to them why the U.S. is acting this way, because it undermines science everywhere and it undermines the international efforts that have to happen, particularly on climate.That’s hard. I’m not denying it and I’ll raise my voice on those issues. I will raise my voice in defense of science and scientists. So will C-CHANGE, because that’s what we do. But I’m not going to let it blind me to the more positive things that are happening or to the opportunities that are available today.GAZETTE: How did the center select its areas of focus? Kids and climate, cities and climate, buildings and climate, and nutrition and climate?McCARTHY: These are areas where we think we have the capacity to make a difference right now.Most of the world is going to be living in urban areas — up to two-thirds of the population — by 2050. How do we work with mayors to identify the best things they can do to invest their money to reduce impacts from climate? How do you do that in a way that improves health today?Seventy-five percent of the buildings that are going to house those people are not yet constructed. If we don’t talk about buildings now, when are we going to? When we have to retrofit everything that we’re building between now and 2030? Or 2050?We are absolutely cutting-edge in our understanding of how you do green buildings, but there’s been very little discussion as to what that means for indoor air quality. We think we have opportunities to talk about the impacts of indoor air quality on health and on the performance of that building: what it means for workers, what it means for individuals. There’s a great opportunity to connect with the business sector to move those issues along, as opposed to just talking to individuals about air quality in their homes.We recognize that air pollution is one area where climate change has immediate and extreme health consequences. Air pollution internationally, as well as domestically, is going to be a huge driver of investment. And we have the best scientists in the world on air pollution.But some of the biggest challenges associated with health are those that relate to nutrition — good nutrition and getting sufficient food and water. Climate change is going to disrupt food supplies across the world. We have folks in our Department of Nutrition who have understood this for a long time and will inform us not just about diet but also what that means in terms of a changing climate. Climate change can also result in large-scale migrations of populations, which can inundate both food and water systems in the places where they go. We have to start thinking more thoroughly about that.GAZETTE: What is the biggest non-climate environmental problem that you see?McCARTHY: That’s a really good question and how we answer it could change every day. But the attack on science itself is a fundamental problem.There are two other areas that worry me a lot: the amount of chemicals that are in the marketplace today, and nanotechnology that has never been really looked at in terms of impact on people and health. There are all these nanotechnology advances that open up a world of opportunities in the health care sector. It’s terrific, but it’s totally unregulated. Center for health and environment relaunched with former EPA administrator at the helm Related GAZETTE: I remember talking with a faculty member not too long ago about a class of chemicals that people don’t worry about because they don’t know about them — I think they are used in food-package lining.McCARTHY: That’s what concerns me, in the U.S., emerging contaminants. I’m afraid that in our rush to make America great again, we’re going backwards on this.You’re probably talking about PFAS, which are really pervasive. They are everywhere, it seems. And they are extremely concerning in terms of their health impacts at very, very low levels. It’s just one more failure in the system and I think these things are going to be mistakes that could have been avoided.Probably directly related is aging water systems in this country. In the air world we’ve had great research and a continued push for innovation in terms of technology; in water we have not. I think that is where we’re going to see things like these chemicals getting into the system.GAZETTE: The water pipes are buried, not like with air pollution: a big black cloud coming out of a smoke stack.McCARTHY: That is why this center is hoping to get information out to people, to give them a good sense of what the science is saying, credible science that doesn’t require the kind of endless discussion that the federal government needs.I know if I have a chemical in my system that tremendous science tells me is damaging, I don’t want it there anymore. That’s why a center that provides valuable information on science — without thinking that the sole audience is the EPA — is important today, because consumers are going to drive change in products, in drinking water, in their expectation for what is clean and what is healthy. They are going to have to stand up and I think they can. There have been expressions of that already that are really important to think about.Walmart was the big driver in getting BPA, which is an endocrine disruptor, out of baby bottles. EPA was taking endless amounts of time — and is still working on its endocrine disruptor program because this administration doesn’t want to fund it. And Walmart overnight said, “This is ridiculous. We don’t need it. There are bottles without it, so we aren’t buying any with it.” Boom, the market changes.That is what I want this center to think about: Where can science change markets and get them over a tipping point, simply by working with the public to enhance their understanding of the risks and working with the business community to make that change happen.Interview was edited for clarity and length. McCarthy urges scientists to raise their voices on climate change Targeting climate change Fighting words from former EPA leader Fired-up McCarthy takes leadership role at Harvard Chan Schoollast_img

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