USF Earth Day Event a Buzz with Activity

On April 21st, USF’s Earth Day Event was alive with energy as human-powered bikes powered the music and faculty, staff, and students roamed from table to table learning about USF’s environmental-related student clubs and degrees, global sustainability-related issues, and tips for living a greener, healthier lifestyle.

A few of the organizations and groups in attendance included:

  • Environmental Studies Cornerstone and Capstone students teamed up with the USF Seed Library to give away free seeds and sunflower starts.  They also taught attendees how to make seed bombs, balls of clay and compost, with seeds inside, that can be tossed onto vacant lots--even Don made one;
  • Rainforest Action Network raised awareness about how the palm oil industry is causing rainforest deforestation;
  • Shark Stewards and Surfrider Foundation were in attendance, educating attendees about the impact of plastic and cigarette butts on marine ecosystems;
  • Bon Appétit Management Company highlighted its Imperfectly Delicious program, a cutting-edge program that reduces food waste by purchasing cosmetically imperfect produce that are still healthy and delicious;
  • San Francisco Department of Environment promoted its Healthy Nail Salon Program, providing information and resources on healthier beauty products; and
  • Student groups included Net Impact, which promotes social responsibility, sustainable business, and social entrepreneurship, and the Environmental and Outdoor Club, which organizes fun outdoors adventures, including camping trips and yoga.

USF Bees

Craig Petersen, Director of Operations at USF, was suited up in a bee keeper suit to help promote USF’s newest tenant—a Flow Hive beehive.  The hive was recently installed in the Community Garden--a USF hidden gem located just uphill of the School of Education.  Craig explained, “It is our intent that the beehive becomes a project that faculty, staff, and students can use as a hands-on study aid, to get involved in environmental and sustainability issues, and serve as a way to more fully enjoy the USF experience and meet new friends.”

The hive will be open once a week, weather permitting, to allow the USF community to:

  • Learn more about bees, beekeeping, the associated equipment and the process of honey manufacturing and harvesting;
  • Identify the queen and assess her health;
  • Examine the colony and check its overall health and productivity; and
  • Explore opportunities for independent study or class projects related to bees.

USF Faculty in Action

One unique aspect of studying environmental science at USF is the opportunity to spend time in the field with faculty, bringing concepts taught in the classroom alive.  Below are updates from two USF faculty:

  • Mentoring Research in Antarctica:  Deneb Karentz, Professor of Biology and Environmental Science, was manning a table with students to promote USF’s environmental science programs, including an undergraduate program in Environmental Science and graduate program in Environmental Management. She researches the ecological implications of climate change in Antarctica, where the logistics of conducting research present distinct challenges.  This summer Deneb is headed to Antarctica to help train early-career scientists on how to succeed with polar research.
  • Rainforest Restoration in Borneo:  While in Borneo, developing the first marine protected areas, Gretchen Coffman, Professor of Environmental Management and Science, was encouraged to head inland—into the heart of Borneo.  Inspired by the incredible diversity of wildlife, this summer she is taking eight graduate students in the Masters of Science in Environmental Management program and four undergraduates (a mix of environmental science, environmental studies, and biology majors) to Borneo for a course on tropical restoration ecology.  “You don’t have to look for wildlife, it comes to you,” exclaimed Gretchen. The group will stay in an eco camp, which will provide students the opportunity to learn about the deforestation taking place due to illegal logging and the palm oil industry.  The students will also work with local villages to restore critical habitat for wildlife and develop a long-term restoration plan along the Kinabatangan River in Malaysian Borneo. To support the local villagers, the students have launched a crowdfunding campaign.  You can learn more about Kopel, the community ecotourism co-operative of the Batu Puteh Community, visit

Hopefully, Earth Day inspired you to respond and take action to truly make a difference. If we all pitch in, our collective local actions will make a difference.