Thursday, April 17, 2014

SCC Mo-hawks...

Technically we are the Cougars, but hopefully we will welcome a couple of mo-hawks around campus for a day...

If you talk a walk through the main hallway of the Social Science building, you will see a wall with hanging portrait photographs. These are portraits of faculty that have recieved the "Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching"  Among these you will find Darren Osburn. Darren Osburn has been a SCC Associate Professor since 2006 and is one of the most passionate and amazing resources we have on campus. His list of awards and declarations are so long I would need to devote an entire blog post to them... As if that wasn't enough, he is also a great human being. So what can we do to thank him... embarrass him!!!!


Darren Osburn, Say goodbye to that hair!

Darren Osburn has started a St. Baldrick's Fundraiser Team. The St. Baldrick's Foundations is a volunteer-driven charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long, healthy lives.

Darren has promised to shave his head if he reaches $500, but sweetened the deal by offering to sport a mo-hawk if he reached $1000 by April 26th! " I have an important meeting on the 28th, so this is really your chance to embarrass me while fighting cancer..." - Darren Osburn

So I decided to join Darren's Team, and if he does raise $1,000 or more, and I can't believe I am going to type this, I too will sport a mo-hawk on April 28th...

See you outside!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Outside Inspiration...

Be sure to follow this blog as two Former Mizzou students and St. Louis locals take a 2,600 mile journey, from Mexico to Canada...

Friday, March 21, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Parade... Green?

St. Patrick's Day is by far one of my favorite holidays. It is one of the few holidays I personally believe you can make it whatever you want to be, and be whatever you want to be... I consider it as a time to celebrate my friends, family, just to share some simple smiles and laughs together.

Much to our surprise Monday morning when we returned we found a huge mess leftover from the St. Patrick's Day Parade. In fact, it was the largest amount of trash I have ever seen on the ground. We removed multiple bags of cans, bottles, candy wrappers, and confetti streamers.

I must have missed a really good time...

It was very clear that we were overwhelmed. We even attempted at using our leaf vacuum to remove the stuff that to do by hand, would have taken days...

The very next day I received an E-mail from my boss that fellow blogger, and S.C.C. President Ron Chesbrough, is coming out to give us a hand, and many other faculty and staff had also volunteered to help. And help they did, they removed a huge pile of bags of trash and allowed me an audience to tell bad jokes to.
Volunteers making campus a little greener...

The teamwork and sense of community here at S.C.C. is really something special and never ceases to amaze me. Thank you to Al Koehler, my manager, who is always open minded and a problem solver, to Ron Chesbrough for never fearing loosening your tie to play in the dirt with us, and everyone that helped to make us a little Greener after St. Patrick's Day! See you outside...



Wednesday, January 29, 2014

SCC Winter is Coming...

This winter has us all wondering if it will ever end... We have been so busy with snow and ice removal while trying to maintain our normal responsibilities at the same time, I have let this Blog idle too long...

So I am here to discuss the SCC Community Garden Project is a go! We have received grants from SCC Foundation and assistance from the SCC Green Team and Green Club... There are seven current plots available to Faculty, Staff, and Students. Please e-mail me at dporter@stchas.edu if you are interesting in applying for a plot for the 2014 growing season!

Until then, I'll see you outside!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Mountain Fresh, Driving Us Gnats Revisited...

This time last year I wrote a blog, which can be found here, on how to prevent and treat Fungus Gnats. Fungus gnats are a very common issue with indoor plants. Typically it is caused from over-watering.

I had a discussion the other week with a industry colleague and they said they had read a peer reviewed
research paper on controller Fungus gnats, and other indoor insects, with a dryer sheet. I laughed, thinking it was just some friendly ribbing we have been known to partake in. I received an e-mail from them a few days later with this link... A study authored by Raymond A. Cloyd, Kansas State University Department of Entomology...


Photo of experiment courtesy of  American Society of Horticulture Science...

I tried it on a plant on campus that was infested with fungus gnats. I placed a couple of 1" by 1" square on top of the soil. I inspected it the next day and still had gnats. I instructed the plant owner to start watering the plant through the dryer sheet pieces thinking it may cause the linalool, the product in dryer sheets that has the effect, to seep into the soil. Within 48 hours the fungus gnats had disappeared. It has yet to show if any damage to the plant has resulted from the product, but so far I am impressed with the results and the research.

One of my favorite things about my industry is the little things I learn on a daily basis. Consider trying this if you ever encounter fungus gnats in your plant husbandry careers! Thanks for reading, and I will see you outside!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Holiday Light Recycling...

I am sure everyone is getting prepared to decorate for the holidays! I just wanted to get the word out for the second year in a row we will be a drop off site for the St. Louis Green! The dropoff location will be at the Campus Services building, feel free to e-mail me or call me for more information!


If you would like to learn a little more about the procedure you can watch this video here courtesy of KPLR... See you outside!


Friday, November 8, 2013

Green Shoes...

I will not eat them with a who, I will not eat them without a view! I am no Dr. Seuss, thus why I write this tiny little blog on my spare time... But I do like to be green whenever possible!

See the Presentation November 12th @ 11:30 AM, S.S.B. Auditorium.

Yesterday I saw a flyer for shoe donations for "The Shoe-man Project." I have been wanting to get around to disposing of my yard work shoes, but just felt terrible throwing them out when I know so many people around the world go shoe-less.  Shoes not only comfort our feet, protecting us from the pains of terrain, but they also protect us from disease and parasites, in a way; shoes save lives. This organization has taken that life saving a step further...

Many miles hiked in these shoes, goodbye old shoes and safe travels!

By reselling these shoes at a discounted price so it can reach someone who may not be able to afford shoes themselves, the money raised is then utilized to provide clean drinking water to places that may usually not have access to such an invaluable resource. This is another thing I have myself taken for granted, as water is the essential ingredient for life as we know it, and many people still drink from contaminated waters to survive. See this link to learn more about the Shoeman Project

Shoe Collection Bins will be placed November 7th until November 21st

The Student Global Network and International Club has boxes planted around SCC, and today these old yard work shoes are going to a better place, so if you have an old pair of shoes and need an excuse to get out on campus to break in some new ones, you can donate your shoes to some happy feet, and help provide some clean drinking water to a community in need! See you outside!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Gardening... Life...

Fall is here, and we just experienced our first frost. Many of us are evaluating our growing year and thinking about what worked, what didn't, and what to do next year.

Sunrises on campus, a perk to the job...

Often while discussing gardening I hear people say "I did this and it failed..." or "Why did you do it this way when you are supposed to do it that way..." I love trading gardening advice with other gardeners, but in my experience I have learned one thing about gardening: I know absolutely nothing about gardening!

Establishing new plantings, SSB Paver Circle...

Gardening is an experience, and in a way a constant experiment. What works for one person may not work for another; what works in one area might not work in another; why did it work this year but not the last? If gardening was anything like a set of Ikea instructions, everyone would be doing it, and doing it well.

Beautiful autumn skies over campus...

I always browse the gardening and outdoor book section when I go to a bookstore and even after devoting my entire life to this career field, I am always amazed at how much there is to know, to experiment with, to explore, to experience. I am also amazed at how many gardening "Rules" and "Practices" change. It is an ever-evolving industry. I realize in my entire lifetime I will only know a tiny bit about gardening and an even smaller fraction about the outdoors. I began this path knowing absolute nothing, and even further down the path I still know nothing.

Saying goodbye to the growing season is always bittersweet...

So what is the point of this post? We are all experiencing this "garden" together, trading advice, experimenting, learning, laughing... It was a great experience this year, can't wait to do it again!

See you outside!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Let That Rake Rust...

Fall temperatures and shorter days are here, and it is time to start cleaning out those gardens... The trees will be changing at a fast pace this year and before you know it your yard will be covered with beautiful fallen leaves. Watching the leaves float to the ground is a very relaxing experience, until you have to rake them up that is!

Oak on Campus hinting at Autumn...

I always try to figure out ways to make gardening less maintenance, or in other words, do things the lazy way. Raking leaves is something I remember doing growing up and it is a painful experience at times. So here is a little secret for you other lazy gardeners, don't rake!

Green (cough, lazy, cough) gardeners rake...

I run over my leaves with a mulching mower. This mulches the leaves into the soil why mowing the lawn at the same time. This reduces the use of a fossil-fuel powered trash truck to go around and pick up bags of leaves, and fertilizes your lawn the natural way!

Those of you that have Sweetgum Trees, I am sorry. I'll see you outside!

Monday, September 30, 2013

There Is An App For That...

Ahhhh, fall has arrived, and the weather is in our favor again. The trees have begun to tinge a little, but some of the color change we are seeing is likely due to this late drought! I am preparing for my annual fall adventures to see the beautiful Autumn leaves, but in the meantime check out this App released through the Missouri Department of conservation! http://mdc.mo.gov/mobile/mobile-apps/mo-fall-colors

See you outside!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Flight of the Butterflies...

The Fall migration has begun for many species of birds, insects, fish, mammals, and more! We will be having visitors right here on campus soon. Figured I might as well start it off with something a little different, my first film review!


Flight of the Butterflies is one of my favorite films I have seen st the St. Louis Science Center. I try to make it there for as many of their films as possible. One of my favorite things about this film as it was not filmed with action in mind, so for the person who does not do well with a wrap-around screen (dizziness/motion sickness) this film is rather easy on the senses.

The beautiful and prestigious Monarch, Danaus plexippus can fly over 80 miles a day!

My favorite part about this film is, while focusing on the scientific aspects of the Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus,) it also tells the story of Dr. Fred Urquhart and his wife Norah Urquhart and their lifelong dedication to the species, as well as some huge contributions to the scientific community as a whole. The film touches on their beautiful journey together without becoming too cliche, and had me yearning to learn more about their work as I walked out of the theater.

Norah and Fred Urquhart, photo courtesy University of Toronto

I of course give this film a 5/5! Be sure to experience this film soon as it only plays until September 30th. I have a little secret on how to get $2.00 off the $9.00 ticket price, feel free to message me to find out how! It will surely set the stage for some amazing sightings we will witness as the migration of many species begins! Keep an eye out for the butterflies! See you outside!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Together we are transforming lives...

Many have tried to write books on how to be a better teacher, a better manager, a better person, but I do not believe any of these things can be found in a book. It can not be purchased.

Mutinus elegans, first time discovery on campus, beautiful specimen!

Development is such an important aspect in all our relationships. With our families, our friends, our employees, and our students. I also believe we are made up of all these things. No matter our title; Supervisor, Manager, Professor, laborer, Vice President, we must also learn from each other, including those we are teaching. This is as an important factor in how we develop ourselves. We are all friends, we are all family, and we are all students.

Here at SCC we have a special place that encourages development as well as education. Our students come here to learn, but the secret is we also learn from them. Staff and Faculty work together with the utmost care and passion that is evident everywhere you go, it is a magic in the air I feel no where else.

These words are just a discovery I made today, and lucky for me I get to make discoveries everyday. We once again welcome students back on campus, and every moment, everywhere, we impact them, and they impact us. How lucky we are. See you outside!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

"Why are you tearing up the grounds..."

I have been getting asked this quite a bit lately, and it is past due I write about it. Currently Great Rivers Greenway has partnered with multiple municipalities and organizations, including SCC,  on developing green-spaces for wildlife, commuters that do not utilize an automobile, and for communities to explore!

Trail Construction near the South-East corner of Campus...

Great Rivers Greenway mission states "The fundamental purpose of the Great Rivers Greenway District is to make the St. Louis region a better place to live, by creating a clean, green and connected region. Through this work, Great Rivers Greenway strives to build a vibrant legacy for future generations."

They have many awesome projects going on right now and have been making huge impacts on communities and facilities in a short amount of time of being around. I have had the pleasure of exploring some of their projects in the St. Louis area, and I have been blown away. If the results we are seeing now are what we can expect from this organization in the future, I think we are going to be amazed and proud.
Trail Construction at the North-East end of Campus
This undoubtedly will be a challenge for us here in the grounds department as the project integrates our team, but we are excited to be involved in such an amazing project! To learn more about the project affecting SCC you can see more here. Keep an eye on my blog as well as I intend to do a multi-day trail ride that ends at SCC once the trail is complete, anyone interested in joining me? All are welcome! See you outside...

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Tree of the Month...

I am always looking for an excuse to talk about trees! I have blogged about a few of my favorites, Red Oak, Fringe Tree, Blackgum, and many others.... Today I figured with all this precipitation we have been having it was time to talk about a tree that likes it wet!

Bald Cypress, Taxodium distichum, is a native species to Missouri. Usually Bald Cypress is found around swampy areas. Which is great news if you have a wet spot that you just can't get anything to live! This is the perfect species for a rain garden. They can grow rather large, up to 75 feet in height, so be sure to give it plenty of space and to not plant near power-lines. The width of these trees varies greatly, but 20' of space should be plenty.

Young Bald Cypress near SCC Visual Arts Lake

Bald cypress has proven to be pretty tolerant of the occasional drought as well. Considering it is native, that should not surprise us, it has hundreds of thousands of years more practice living here then we do! We have not see to many problems other then the occasional bag-worm (which is my next blog...) One issue with this tree is the roots. This particular tree has surface roots called "knees." Tree specialists still debate the purpose of these "knees" but they can become a problem for lawn mowers. The fruit/cone of Bald Cypress has never proven much of an issue for us.

Surface Root that has been pruned by a mower on a regular schedule... 

Also keep in mind although this tree has the characteristics of an evergreen, it is in fact deciduous and drops its needles every fall! In doing so you will notice a beautiful exposed bark that really is interesting and beautiful when holding onto a little snow...

Typical  root "knee" on bald cypress 

I hope everyone is taking advantage of our beautiful summer thus far. See you outside!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Big Harvest...

Summer is here, although today you wouldn't guess it by the beautiful mild weather! The harvests in our garden is getting bigger every week!

July week 1 Harvest SCC Grounds Vegetable Garden...

Speaking of harvest season, we recently had the pleasure of assisting with some very cool events, one being Reg-Fest! It is really great to see so many of the academic community, heck, I will even call it the SCC community, come out and put their heart and soul into reaching students. I sometimes forget, as many of us do, how everyone here at SCC touches a students life on a daily basis; whether it is providing them a safe, clean campus, providing them with a a top-notch education, or in many cases and not any less important, providing them with a caring smile. Everyone in this community cares about our students, and cares about each other. We have some magical people with passionate energy here. I can tell you from first hand experience, SCC is the best at what we do.

I hope everyone's gardens are fruitful and providing you with many things! I have a couple of blog posts in the making, one being a "Tree of the Month" post and a "Native of the Month" post! Until then, see you outside!