Coalfields Alternative Spring Break a Success!

Drs. Theresa Burriss and Rick Roth went with 11 students to the borderlands of Virginia and Kentucky to study coal mining, coal culture, and coal mine land reclamation, and to participate as volunteers in a reclamation project on a mountaintop removal mine.  The Google Earth screenshot above shows the location of our project site, near Belcher, Kentucky and only a short drive from Breaks Interstate Park where we stayed.  Given it was snowing hard as we headed for the site, the drive was more exciting than we might have wished.  The middle picture shows the site preparation for the planting.  The site had been reclaimed under the older guidelines which required extensive compaction and planting with grasses.  Using the Forest Reclamation Approach, we planted native trees after the previously compacted surface was ripped up to provide suitable growing conditions for trees.  We were especially glad to be able to plant part of the area in hybrid chestnuts supplied by the American Chestnut Foundation, and hybrid American Elms as well.  We look forward to revisiting the site to see the progress of these trees, which will help restore the highly biodiverse mixed mesophytic forest that once covered the region.

The replanting was organized and orchestrated by Green Forests Work (GFW), a nonprofit organization, and by the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative (ARRI), a federal program of the U.S. Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation.  We thank Nathan Hall of GFW and Patrick Angel of ARRI for making this opportunity available.  There was no cost to students or faculty thanks for a grant from the R.U. Scholar Citizen Initiative.  Thanks to GFW for the two photos.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

RU Environmental Center Associates Get QEP Grant for Alternative Spring Break

Drs. Theresa Burriss, Rick Roth, and Christine Small received a Radford University QEP grant to support taking up to 15 students (and interested faculty, we hope) to mountaintop removal sites in Virginia and/or Kentucky for a 3-day, two-night period during Spring Break 2013.  The centerpiece of the trip is a day spent planting native hardwoods on formerly mined lands, in support of the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative and Green Forest Works.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Radford’s Greening Efforts Get Attention

Dateline September 4, 2012

The Roanoke Times is running a story on some of the sustainability-related activities on campus.  Check it out at

The grant that is referred to was the result of a collaboration between R.U. Environmental Center associates.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Environmental Center Associates Head for the Coalfields

This gallery contains 4 photos.

On November 11, 2011, three RUEC associates and two students headed southwest into the Central Appalachian coalfields of Kentucky and southwest Virginia to learn more about mined land reclamation.  Theresa Burriss (Appalachian Studies), Rick Roth (Geospatial Science), and Christine Small … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Campus Sustainability Day

Oct. 19

7 p.m., Bonnie Auditorium
Carbon Nation
Carbon Nation is a documentary movie about climate change SOLUTIONS. Even if you doubt the severity
of the impact of climate change or just don’t buy it at all, this is still a compelling and relevant film
that illustrates how SOLUTIONS to climate change also address other social, economic and national
security issues.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Trip to Solar Decathlon

Radford University’s Environmental Center and the Department of Interior Design & Fashion (ID&F) have received a grant to send students and faculty members to the Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 26.

The trip will give students and faculty an opportunity to see a multitude of designs for sustainable residential buildings. Funding of $5,150 from an anonymous donor will be used to charter two buses to transport 100 undergraduate students and faculty on the one- -day trip from Radford to Washington.

Holly Cline, interim chair of ID&F and a certified LEED professional, is organizing the trip, which is co-sponsored by ID&F, RU Environmental Center and the Environmental Club. Cline and Rich Roth of the Environmental Center co-wrote the grant request.

“Students have been pretty well informed with respect to the environmental issues they will confront—such as climate change, loss of biodiversity, unsustainable energy resources, the necessity of reducing our human ‘footprint’ while also improving human welfare. But too often this knowledge leads to either apathy or despair,” Cline said. The Solar Decathlon, held every other year, “provides tangible solutions that inspire students by seeing what is possible.”

Seating for the trip will be on a first-come, first-served basis and is open to the entire campus. To register, contact Laurie Knowles at by Sept. 20. The buses will leave at 6 a.m. Sept 26. Lunch will be provided on the bus, but participants will be responsible for their own breakfasts and dinners

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sustainability Awareness Event

Find out about what RU is doing to become a greener, more sustainable campus at the RU Campus Sustainability Program.  The event is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct 21 at 7:00 pm in Davis 151.  Also included will be the announcement of the Sustainability Quiz Contest winner, and RU’s first ever Recycling Snapshot Award.  The event will end with a showing of the movie, “Kilowatt Ours”.   For more information, click on the flyer link below:

RU Campus Sustainability Program

Posted in Events, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

RU to Host Appalachian Environment Speaker Series

Radford University will host Appalachian Elements: Preserving Land, Water, Air, & Community for a Sustainable Mountain Future beginning on October 2 through November 10.  The series will feature presentations, community discussions and other events by local environmental organizers, artists, journalists and authors.  Click on the link below for the dates, times and location for these events:

Appalachian Elements

Posted in Events, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Green Team Hosts Earth Day Event

Earth Day Festival– Redefining Tree Hugger

The Green Team, Radford University’s environmental club, hosted an Earth Day Festival on Tuesday April 22nd. Activities included games and an outdoor screening of “Kilowatt Ours” — a film on energy conservation and alternative energy. In addition, the Geography Club hosted a contest where small groups can formed teams and raced against each other on a scavenger hunt around the campus using GPS devices.

A second showing of “Kilowatt Ours” was presented on Thursday, April 24. This event was sponsored by the Club Programming Committee 

Posted in Events, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

RU Hosts Lecture on Biodegrable Plastics

Dr. Justin Barone of Virginia Tech delivered the keynote address at the Virginia Blue Ridge Section of the American Chemical Society meeting at RU on Thursday, April 17.  Dr. Barone’s research is aimed at reducing the more than 29 million tons of non-biogradable plastic that ends up in landfills annually.  As he explains, “The challenge is how can we create a simpler plastic bag or bottle that will biodegrade?”  His novel approach to answering this question is to use agricultural waste, such as poultry feathers, to create biodegradable plastics.  Dr. Barone’s lecture followed a brief awards ceremony in the Muse Banquet Hall.

Posted in Events, Uncategorized | Leave a comment