Archive for February, 2011

COS announces Spring 2011 funding deadlines and office hours

It’s that time of year again-time to gear up for another round of COS Green Fees Project Proposals and Summer Research Grant Applications. The Fall 2010 round of Green Fees funding produced some really great projects and COS is excited to see what ideas the W&M community will generate this semester.

The Spring 2011 Green Fees Project Proposal deadline is Monday, March 28 at 12pm. Any student, faculty member or staff member can submit a Green Fees Project Proposal. Proposals must be related to campus sustainability. Acceptable proposals include education campaigns on sustainability related topics, funding for sustainable research, and energy efficiency facilities upgrades, to name a few. Descriptions of previously funded projects, as well as applications for Spring 2011 funding, can be found on the COS website.

The deadline for 2011 Summer Research Grant Applications is Monday, March 14 at 12pm. The Summer Research Grant is intended to provide students with an opportunity to do in-depth, creative research on a topic related to campus sustainability. The award includes a $3500 stipend for living expenses, housing on the main campus if needed and up to $1500 for research expenses. Past research topics include the campus gardens, nutrient levels in Lake Matoaka, e-recycling, and testing green roof technology. All continuing students at the College are encouraged to apply, including graduate and professional students. Applications can be found on the COS website.

If you have questions about either a Green Fees Project Proposal or a Summer Research Grant, COS is holding office hours from now until March 25 to help you out. Lauren Edmonds, a senior and co-chair of the COS Science and Technical Advisory Subcommittee, will be available from 5 to 6pm on Wednesdays in room 317 in Blow Hall. Clare Stankwitz, a senior and co-chair of the COS Programs and Education Subcommittee, will be available from 11am to 12pm on Wednesdays in the OCES lounge on the third floor of Blow Hall. I will be available on Thursdays from 3 to 4pm in my office, room 322 in Blow Hall. If you can’t attend any of these office hours, send me an email at to set up an alternate meeting time.

I’m looking forward to reading your applications this semester.

Summer Research Grants:

Green Fees Project Proposals:

February 22nd, 2011

Tree-tagging at the EcoVillage site

Hello everyone,

Welcome back to campus for the new semester!  I hope by now that you’ve all settled into your classes and new routines.

COS has some new projects this semester, including performing site evaluations of the proposed EcoVillage, which where the Lodges and the Daily Grind are located.  For those of you who don’t know what the EcoVillage is, I’ll give you a quick update.  The EcoVillage is a sustainable, environmentally friendly student living and research community.  Each Lodge will be renovated to make it energy efficient and all Lodges will share common features like energy efficient windows and doors, upgraded insulation, and energy monitoring systems.  Each Lodge will also reflect a different sustainability related theme, like Alternative Energy Use or Water Efficiency.  The themes will incorporate new technologies, like small-scale wind turbines, solar panels and maybe items like composting toilets.  The exact features of each house are still under consideration, but that is the general idea of the EcoVillage.  The EcoVillage will be a long term project for the College, with the idea that one or two Lodges will be renovated each summer.

So back to the site evaluations.  In December, the COS Land Use working group, led by Dr. Jim Perry of VIMS, met Bill Apperson, the state forester, at the EcoVillage site to survey the trees to determine if any would need to be removed before the renovations could begin.  The area is dominated by large loblolly pine trees along with some young oak trees and some mature tulip poplars.  The non-native loblolly pines have almost completely replaced the native trees on the EcoVillage site.  What follows is a brief excerpt from the report of the visit by Dr. Perry.

“Loblolly pine played only a minor role in our forest canopies prior to the 1950’s and was most common in the maritime forests (Braun 1950): Braun (1950) classified the Virginia Coastal Plain forests as dominated by oaks, hickory, beech, and Virginia pine. However, Dyer (2006) found that the Oak-Pine forests had extended to the north, west and east of its original boundary in the last half of the 20th Century. He attributed the shift to the rise in the importance of loblolly pine to forestry economics. As a fast growing and highly marketable species with easily harvested and inexpensive seeds, many timbered hardwood sites were seeded or sprigged with loblolly pine after timbering. Thus, genetically selected loblolly pines have become common throughout the mid-Atlantic region of the US as an economic crop.”

The state forester determined that many of the larger, older loblolly pines on the site had completed 85 to 95% of their life cycles and were visibly diseased and unhealthy.  He recommended that these trees be removed in order to protect the buildings and the people living in them.  The diseased pines could fall down in a storm event. 

The tulip poplars, oaks, dogwoods, azaleas, and younger, healthy pines trees would be preserved on the site.  The pines that are removed will be replaced with native hardwoods such as oak and hickory, creating a valuable teaching observatory for science classes at the College.  The EcoVillage committee is exploring the possibility of using wood from the pines that are removed to build furniture for the EcoVillage.

This information so far brings us to Monday, Jan. 31.  The Land Use working group met at the site to tag the trees; a length of white tape around the trunk marks a tree for preservation and pink tape and/or an orange painted X on the tree marks it for potential removal.  However, the Land Use committee wants to stress that just because a tree was not wrapped in white tape does not mean that it will be removed.  Some trees were not specifically marked for preservation because they are far enough away from trees to be removed that they were not in the danger zone.  The state forester is planning to make another site visit soon to approve the tree-tagging.  Furthermore, the recommendations for removal will be reviewed and approved by the Land Use working group and the Administration before any action is taken.

The EcoVillage committee and the Land Use working group are committed to fostering sustainability at W&M by moving the EcoVillage project forward and by replacing diseased, non-native trees with healthy native hardwoods.  If you have questions about this project, please contact Sarah Hanke at, Dr. Jim Perry at, or Dr. Dennis Taylor (leader of the EcoVillage committee and co-chair of COS) at

February 10th, 2011


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