Planetwalker John Francis Returns to SOU to Talk About the Environment

John Francis (photo by Becky Hale)

John Francis (photo by Becky Hale)

(Ashland, Ore) Southern Oregon University welcomes John Francis ’81 back to campus this week. On Wednesday, Dr. Francis, known the world over as the Planetwalker, will discuss how the current environmental crisis is a reflection of world-wide social and economic inequity and that any attempt to resolve the crisis must not only address the scientific issues, but also the humanitarian issues. His presentation is at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, October 10, in the Rogue River Room of the Stevenson Union. The talk is free and open to the public.

On Thursday, Dr. Francis will be honored at the university’s annual awards dinner as Southern Oregon University’s Distinguished Alumnus for 2012.

In 1971, Dr. Francis witnessed an oil spill in San Francisco Bay. The effects of the spill compelled him to stop using motorized vehicles. Several months later, to stop the arguments about the power of one person’s actions, he took a vow of silence.

His non-motorized lifestyle lasted 22 years, and his silence lasted 17. During that time Dr. Francis walked across the United States, earning a B.A. at (then) Southern Oregon State College, an M.S. in Environmental Studies at the University of Montana, and a Ph.D. in land resources at the University of Wisconsin.

He later sailed and walked through the Caribbean and then walked the length of South America. He has written two books, “Planetwalker: 22 Years of Walking. 17 Years of Silence,” and “The Ragged Edge of Silence: Finding Peace in a Noisy World.”

Dr. Francis is currently an education fellow with the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C., and a visiting professor at the University of Wisconsin where he is a member of the board at the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.

Dr. Francis is still walking and would like to teach a “semester on foot” about walking. He also still plays a banjo and will bring it with him to his presentation.

Dr. Francis says he’s looking forward to his return to Ashland, his first time back in ten years.

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Creator of SOU’s Waste Management Project is Ashland’s Conservationist of the Year

(Ashland, ORE) – Southern Oregon University student Misty Munoz will be acknowledged at the Science Works Earth Day celebration on Saturday, April 21, as the recipient of the Ashland Conservation Commission’s “Conservationist of the Year” award for her efforts to launch a campus-wide waste management program at SOU. The program began operating last September and includes a recycling center on the Ashland campus, indoor and outdoor recycling bins for every university building, a fulltime recycling coordinator and student assistants.

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SOU Environmental Studies Majors Receive National Science Foundation Research Scholarships

(Ashland, Ore.) Environmental Studies majors Paula Richter and Sarah Rudeen have both been selected as recipients of the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Scholarships.

Richter was awarded the scholarship which allowed her to conduct applied scientific research in conjunction with the University of Idaho.  Richter is co-author of a scientific manuscript to be published in the journal Crop Science entitled “Characterization of Poa supina (supine bluegrass) from the Italian Alps with AFLP markers and correlation with climatic variables.”

Rudeen will be conducting her senior capstone research this year at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in Gothic, Colorado, on a project studying the interactions between plants, herbivores, herbivore mutualists, and predators.  She will be working with the Mooney Laboratory from UC-Irvine, which focuses on uniting community, evolutionary, and conservation ecology.

According to Dr. John Gutrich, SOU Associate Professor of Environmental Science, “The National Science Foundation REU Scholarships are highly competitive programs and often include more than 100 applicants for ten scholarships at research laboratories across the United States.  Paula and Sarah are examples of exemplary SOU students with interdisciplinary environmental scientific training that has been acknowledged by NSF and premier scientific research laboratories.”

 

SOU Students Present Research Findings at the University of Maryland

(Ashland, Ore.) Keith Gigliello, an SOU master’s student in Interdisciplinary Studies, along with Environmental Studies majors Lance Woods and Jacob King are presenting their research findings on groundwater management in Owens Valley, Calif  at the Center for Environmental Science at the University of Maryland this summer.

SOU faculty and students have created dynamic ecological economic models to estimate the economic costs of managing groundwater in Owens Valley. Owens Valley is the site of the largest particulate matter (PM10) source pollution in the United States and a major water source for the City of Los Angeles.

The SOU research is part of a collaborative effort with researchers from the University of Maryland and funded by the National Science Foundation.