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"-the community supports the environmental quality and management of natural resources that best provides for a sustainable future"


Yesterday (Thursday, October 27th 2004), I attended a special visiting speaker on "Renewable Energy Resources" at UMM's Edson Auditorium. The speaker (?-women) was invited by a UMM Professor for his science class, which was attended by many students and handfuls of adults (both UMM and community). I was enlightened by the cool topics, such as...

-Colorado's up-coming bill proposal on Nov 2nd
-Wind Power (see new wind turbine that was dedicated on 4/22/05)generators: bird byways, quietness
-local Morris biomass
-hybrid "gas efficient cars"
-ethanol production
-negative environmental consequences of coal production
-proposal of a coal refinery across the lake in Ortonville
-speaker's recent 5-state meeting at Madison, MN
-legislation division on supporting renewable energy: partisan and non-partisan support

that we talked about briefly at last month's Morris Leadership Retreat-regarding Biomass as 5 Issues in our community

VOTE Pic for Photo Contest!

Photo by Salphoto.biz


Wind Turbine Dedication on April 22nd of 2005

Current Community Projects

Mark your calender! The Minnesota Design Team will help advise our community on the Morris Beautification Project on October 12-14th of 2005!

Renowed explorer Will Steger to speak in Morris 02/25/2006 (Morris Sun Tribune

"Arctic expedition leader, team member, educator, polar explorer, photographer, writer and lecturer. Will Steger has become a voice calling for understanding and the preservation of the Arctic. Steger will give a presentation on global warming and Minnesota's energy future at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27, in the Science Auditorium (room 2950) at the University of Minnesota, Morris. The presentation will include first-hand accounts of climate change at the poles.
J. Drake Hamilton, science policy director for Minnesotans for an Energy-Efficient Economy will join Steger to discuss current facts on global warming and the impact on Minnesota. "It's hard in Minnesota to see clearly the effects of global warming,� said UMM sophomore Halley Molstad, the event's organizing intern. �It will be more effective to see the actual effects through these presentations."

Steger has led the most significant feats in dog-sled exploration such as the first confirmed dog-sled journey to the North Pole without re-supply in 1986, the 1,600-mile south-north traverse of Greenland, the longest unsupported dog-sled expedition in history in 1988, the historic 3,471-mile International Trans-Antarctica Expedition, the first dog-sled traverse of Antarctica (1989-90), the International Arctic Project, and the first and only dog-sled traverse of the Arctic Ocean from Russia to Ellesmere Island in Canada in 1995.
Historic feats for which Steger has received numerous honors and recognitions among others include: Explorers Club Finne Ronne Memorial Award (1997), National Geographic Society's First Explorer-In-Residence (1996) and National Geographic Society's John Oliver La Gorce Medal for "accomplishments in geographic exploration, in the sciences, and for public service to advance international understanding" (1995). He joins Amelia Earhart, Robert Peary, Roald Amundsen and Jacques Cousteau in receiving this prestigious award. He founded the Global Center of Environmental Education at Hamline University in 1991 and the World School for Adventure Learning at the University of St. Thomas in 1993. Steger is the author of four books. The program is free and open to the public.

Echoes of Cry of the Marsh
Morris Sun Tribune Published Wednesday, May 09, 2007
" Bob Hartkopf�s 12-minute film, �Cry of the Marsh,� probably stirred anger in many people in West Central Minnesota and beyond when it was produced in the late 1960s. The film, set only to music, chronicled the drainage of Minnesota wetlands similar to a marsh near his boyhood farmstead in Swift County, showing cold, massive machinery dredging up the earth and drawing out the water from an idyllic prairie wetland. It�s where he spent hours of his youth gazing on abundant wildlife, lush plant life and wondrous sunsets. One of its most poignant segments shows a tiny, frightened duckling fleeing over massive wheel tracks imprinted in the dry earth, just ahead of the steel blade breaking the ground behind.
The documentary, released about the time of the first Earth Day in 1970, won several awards as a visual paean to conservation and ecological diversity. Being virtually a silent film, however, left it to viewers to point fingers at the culprits. And many of those viewers trained blame on farmers.
With their hour-long documentary, �Echoes of Cry of the Marsh,� a group of University of Minnesota, Morris filmmakers presents evidence that the destruction of Minnesota wetlands � estimated to be 11 million acres -- was a conspiracy of us all.
Robert Hartkopf stands by the now-drained marsh near his boyhood home in Swift County. His fight to save Minnesota�s wetlands is chronicled in the documentary �Echoes of Cry of the Marsh.�
Robert Hartkopf stands by the now-drained marsh near his boyhood home in Swift County. His fight to save Minnesota�s wetlands is chronicled in the documentary �Echoes of Cry of the Marsh.�
�So many times we want to personalize the whole thing,� Tom Kalahar, a Renville County Soil and Water Conservation District Conservation Planner says in �Echoes of Cry of the Marsh. � �It�s your fault, you�re a farmer so you screwed this up. My water�s dirty, I don�t have any wildlife left.� Hey, we did that as a society and we�re still doing it to this day. And it all boils down to money.�
Echoes of Cry of the Marsh� had its debut April 29 on Pioneer Public Television, and it will be shown again on Thursday at 9 p.m. and at noon, May 16, on Pioneer.
This fall, the documentary will be the first produced by UMM�s Media Services Department to be distributed for broadcast nationwide. Media Services officials are trying to arrange a symposium on wetlands in conjunction with the national release, and copies of �Echoes� and Hartopf�s original documentary will be made available to the public.
The film is a collaborative effort among several public and private groups, including the University of Minnesota, Morris, Ducks Unlimited, the Upper Minnesota Watershed district and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Media Services director Roger Boleman produced the documentary and Media Services senior media resources producer Mike Cihak filmed and edited the documentary based on research and a script written by Christopher Butler, UMM English and Sociology lecturer.
The documentary explores the wetlands issue through the life�s work of Hartkopf, who grew up in rural Appleton and was so inspired by the marsh near his home that he became a high school science teacher in Bloomington, his current home.
With his beloved marsh on his mind, Hartkopf in 1959 began to chronicle the drainage of wetlands and the creation of �monotone� ecosystems � corn and beans � that replaced the diverse environments. Draining wetlands devastated wildlife, made areas prone to flooding and led to the tainting of water supplies. The film earned acclaim and viewers, but today Hartkopf�s marsh has yet to be restored.
As he says in Echoes, Hartkopf will not give up on his dream, and the film makers made him the personification of an issue that, probably more than at any time in history, weighs heavily on the public consciousness.
Farm policy past and present � conservation efforts and public health concerns all boil in the mix, and the issues involved are complex, Cihak said.
�It�s not just a simple matter of, �Let�s restore it,� � he said. �Bob�s story parallels all the issues. He provided the soul for it, gave it a face, gave it emotion. You can see he has emotional ties to his land.�
Wetlands restoration was a chief concern of Rex Johnson, a Conservation Planner in Fergus Falls, and Hartkopf�s �Cry of the Marsh� inspired him. UMM�s team previously produced a 13-part series, �Minnesota: Rivers and Fields,� which offered perspectives on how agriculture and environmental quality can co-exist. The combination on �Echoes� was a natural.
Cihak and Boleman shot more than 14 hours of video over more than two years, and Butler spent more than 18 months rewriting and revising the script. Well-known Minnesota outdoorsman, writer and television personality Ron Schara was enlisted to narrate �Echoes.�
The team took pains to include an array of sources, including Department of Natural Resources representatives, the executive director of the Upper Minnesota Watershed District, and retired Swift County farmer Loren Harste and farmer and Swift County Commissioner Doug Anderson. The documentary offers viewpoints but no preaching.
�We didn�t want to set out to blame this group or blame that group,� Cihak said. �Yeah, that could have been done, but it would have been less credible. There needs to be a balance.�
�We didn�t provide any answers, per se,� Boleman said. �It says, �Here it is, folks.� �
The documentary�s interviews were filmed on location, and Butler and Cihak traded compliments about the script making filming easier and vice versa.
It so visually compelling,� Butler said. �Visually, it�s such a nice film, in addition to being such a nice story.�
It all starts with the script,� Cihak said.
Boleman teased both: �You the man. No, you the man.�
What all involved agree on is that Hartkopf is the man, as the tribute applies to �Echoes� and what the film makers hope it accomplishes. Butler sees the film as a perfect example of university outreach -- a way to teach the community as well as the students on campus -- and personify a polarizing issue.
�Bob�s a very eloquent spokesman,� Butler said. �He talks about his family, but also, at a philosophical level, he talks about consumerism � what we take from the land and what we put back.�
Boleman wants it to touch a nerve with all involved, to provide an understanding that a series of events over many years brought people to this point in time.
What keeps coming back to me is that we live upstream, Boleman said. We're the people upstream and we affect what happens.

Recommended Resources

CAMPUS

Articles

  • University of Minnesota Morris Building Wind to Fertilizer Plant, Updated at: 06/10/2010 11:57 AM | KSAX.com By: Megan Matthews from KSAX.com

  • "MORRIS, Minn. - University of Minnesota is finding new ways to use wind energy, and it will soon help farmers fertilize their crops.
    It's a renewable energy project that's been in the works since 2005. They just broke ground Monday, June 7, 2010, to start building a system that will use wind power to produce a popular nitrogen-based fertilizer for farmers.
    "More of a niche for our region is the production of nitrogen-based fertilizer, or anhydrous ammonia, so the process is somewhat elegant," Michael Reese, director of UofM renewable energy center, explained.
    The process involves using saved wind energy from the university's wind turbine, electrolyzing water, which in turn takes nitrogen out of the wind, and producing anhydrous ammonia.
    Reese said anhydrous ammonia is commonly used throughout the United States, and Morris is no different. This test plant will produce fertilizer to test on the university's soil.
    "Anhydrous ammonia is the most widely used nitrogen fertilizer across the Midwest for corn and small grain," Reese explained. "It is the core product for more synthetic fertilizers that ag producers use."
    Right now more than half of this type of fertilizer used in the U.S. is imported from overseas. That's why producing it here in Minnesota will create jobs and bring the industry to rural communities.
    "It will add economic development to our region and create energy intense industry and so we own the demand for it, for nitrogen fertilizer, here in the Midwest. Now we can also participate in the supply of it," Reese said.
    Another selling point is renewable energy. Reese hopes this test plant is just a starting point for a new way to produce nitrogen-based fertilizer.
    "We might see a time when producing anhydrous ammonia, nitrogen-based fertilizer, from electricity will be the preferred route," Reese said.
    Right now most nitrogen-based fertilizer is produced using gas.
    The plant is expected to be complete and producing the nitrogen-based fertilizer by December 2010. Reese predicts it will take a couple years to test the fertilizer on the university's farmland to see how it works and collect the data."

  • Building Solutions for Energy Self-Reliance Posted by Judy Riley on Thursday, May. 1, 2008 Event Date/Time: Tuesday, Jun. 3, 2008 End Date/Time: Wednesday, Jun. 4, 2008 Location: UMM campus

  • "The University of Minnesota, Morris' leadership and commitment to renewable energy inspired the theme of the Sixth Annual Symposium on Small Towns: "The Power of Small: Building Solutions for Energy Self-Reliance." The Symposium will be held June 3–4 on the Morris campus and will offer energy solutions for P-12 schools, higher education and government agencies."
  • UMM in D.C.: Life on Morris campus is ‘both renewable and sustainable’ Morris Sun Tribune Published Friday, April 04, 2008

  • "University of Minnesota, Morris Chancellor Jacqueline Johnson was among three leading educators who described the way American colleges and their students are leading the fight against global climate change.
    Klobuchar called the hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to highlight the importance of college and university research on clean energy and to spotlight the leadership of college students in fighting greenhouse gas pollution.
    "Our work in reducing greenhouse gas emissions speaks directly to the characteristics and qualities of our students, faculty and staff,' Johnson said. "At the University of Minnesota, Morris we provide a liberal arts living and learning environment that is—literally—both renewable and sustainable.' From left are Dr. Robert Birgeneau, Chancellor of the University of California Berkeley; Amy Klobuchar, U.S. Senator of Minnesota; Dr. Richard C. Levin, President of Yale University and; Dr. Jacqueline Johnson, Chancellor of the University of Minnesota, Morris. The campus leaders discussed the important role of colleges and universities in battling climate change. From left are Dr. Robert Birgeneau, Chancellor of the University of California Berkeley; Amy Klobuchar, U.S. Senator of Minnesota; Dr. Richard C. Levin, President of Yale University and; Dr. Jacqueline Johnson, Chancellor of the University of Minnesota, Morris. The campus leaders discussed the important role of colleges and universities in battling climate change.
    Testifying, in addition to Chancellor Johnson, were Dr. Richard C. Levin, president of Yale University, and Dr. Robert Birgeneau, chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley.
    "Colleges and universities are given a unique role in society,' Klobuchar said. "They are conducting vital research on energy technology and educating the next generation of engineers, architects, business leaders and scientists to compete in a low-carbon economy.'
    In addition, Klobuchar noted that colleges and universities are often pioneers in energy conservation because of the passion that students bring to environmental issues. Yale, for example, plans to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 10 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2020, even though construction plans call for expanding its campus by nearly 20 percent during the same period. The University of Minnesota, Morris is building a state-of-the-art biomass gasification plant that, together with a wind turbine, will meet all the campus' heating, cooling and electricity needs within two years.
    "I've visited the Morris campus and seen first-hand the university's innovative work on clean energy,' Klobuchar said. "By eliminating their own greenhouse gases and conducting vital climate research, colleges and universities across the country are leading the fight against global warming.'
    Klobuchar is author of the American Renewable Energy Act, which would extend and expand federal tax incentives for investments in renewable energy sources such as wind power, solar energy and cellulosic alcohol. It would also establish a strong national renewable-energy standard requiring utilities to obtain 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by the year 2025. The bill was introduced in February with Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA)."

  • UMM’s clean energy bonds valued at $5.6 million Morris Sun Tribune Published Wednesday, March 05, 2008 By Judy Riley UMM News Service (Morris Suntribune)

  • University of Minnesota, Morris has received three Clean Renewable Energy Bonds that will continue to move the Morris campus forward as a national leader in renewable energy systems and to meet the campus goal of becoming energy self-sufficient by 2010.
    UMM received authorization from the Internal Revenue Service to issue CREBs for three purposes: to construct a second wind turbine to be located near the West Central Research and Outreach Center, to add a steam turbine that will convert to electricity the “green” steam from the biomass facility that is under construction and to purchase a third wind turbine that will be located in western Minnesota, to be shared with the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe.
    A fourth bond was applied for by the WCROC through the University of Minnesota College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resources Sciences to provide renewable energy to a new green building addition planned for the WCROC site in Morris.
    The total value of the CREB authorized by the IRS is approximately $5.6 million. The U of M Board of Regents will decide whether the bonds will be issued before December 2008.
    This is the first time the University of Minnesota has received a CREB allocation.
    “We were delighted to learn of these allocations, since they promote Morris’ strategic goals of using renewable energy sources to achieve self sufficiency and to reduce our carbon footprint,” said University of Minnesota, Morris Chancellor Jacqueline Johnson. “The addition of two more wind turbines and one steam turbine combined with the biomass plant/gasification system currently under construction on our campus enhances UMM’s stewardship of the environment, something that is part of our legacy. And these new resources provide even more opportunities for our undergraduate students to engage directly in real world, high impact research and internships.”
    "The University of Minnesota Morris continues to lead the University system—and higher education nationally—on issues of sustainability and renewable energy use,” said University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks. “Achieving energy independence by 2010 is a phenomenal goal, but more importantly, the data and information gathered along the way will help to inform other hybrid renewable energy initiatives across the state and nation."
    The wind turbine, to be located at the WCROC, will bring the campus to nearly 100 percent power by wind; the steam turbine will further reduce the campus’ reliance on non-renewable energy sources. This financing tool will also help in reducing the carbon footprint of the campus by over 80 percent. Research will play a key role in both of these projects and, in keeping with UMM’s undergraduate mission, undergraduate research opportunities will be expanded.
    “These systems will continue to strengthen the campus’ environmental living and learning initiatives,” said Lowell Rasmussen, UMM vice chancellor for finance and facilities.
    The purchase and operation of a third wind turbine will represent a partnership between UMM and the Mille Lacs Band. The long-term possibility after the loan is repaid is to look at how the revenue stream can support UMM students in their educational and research pursuits.
    "We are pleased to collaborate with the University of Minnesota, Morris on this project that will benefit the Mille Lacs Band, the Morris campus and the environment," said Sarah Oquist, Corporate Commissioner of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. "The University of Minnesota, Morris is a great partner for us as they are a strong leader in renewable and sustainable initiatives."
    “The Mille Lacs Band approached UMM regarding this partnership due to UMM’s long history of partnerships in the area of sustainability and renewable projects,” said Rasmussen, “in addition to the fact that UMM is a national leader in renewable energy.”
    The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-58) provides electric cooperatives and public power systems with Clean Renewable Energy Bonds. A "CREB" is “a special type of tax credit bond providing rural electric cooperatives and municipal electric utilities the equivalent of an interest-free loan for financing qualified energy projects.
    CREBs are largely modeled on the Qualified Zone Academy Bond program that provides tax credit bonds for school renovation and upgrades in certain qualified school districts. They deliver an incentive comparable to the production tax credit that is available to private renewable energy project developers and investor-owned utilities.”
    “The University is using federal energy programs to benefit the region, the state, the institution and the academic experience of students at UMM,” said Rasmussen. “We expect that these projects will be constructed and operational by summer 2009.”

  • Clean Renewable Energy Bonds fuel UMM's energy goals Posted by Judy Riley on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2008

  • "..A fourth bond was applied for by the WCROC through the University of Minnesota College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resources Sciences (CFANS) to provide renewable energy to a new green building addition planned for the WCROC site in Morris. This is the first time the University of Minnesota has received a CREB allocation.
    “We were delighted to learn of these allocations, since they promote Morris’ strategic goals of using renewable energy sources to achieve self sufficiency and to reduce our carbon footprint,” said University of Minnesota, Morris Chancellor Jacqueline Johnson. “The addition of two more wind turbines and one steam turbine combined with the biomass plant/gasification system currently under construction on our campus enhances UMM’s stewardship of the environment, something that is part of our legacy. And these new resources provide even more opportunities for our undergraduate students to engage directly in real world, high impact research and internships.”..."

  • UMM officials in Washington D.C. Morris Sun Tribune Published Wednesday, January 23, 2008

  • "Three administrators from the University of Minnesota, Morris are in Washington D.C. today through Saturday to make a presentation during the Association of American Colleges and Universities annual meeting.
    Focus of the conference is “Intentional Learning, Unscripted Challenges: Knowledge and Imagination for an Interdependent World.”
    UMM Chancellor Jacqueline Johnson; Lowell Rasmussen, associate vice chancellor for physical plant and master planning; and Sandy Olson-Loy, vice chancellor for student affairs, will talk on the topic, “Back to the Future: Re-inventing a Green Learning Environment,” between 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 25.
    AAC&U is the leading national association concerned with the quality, vitality and public standing of undergraduate liberal education.
    Founded in 1915 by college presidents, AAC&U now represents the entire spectrum of American colleges and universities—large and small, public and private, two-year and four-year.
    AAC&U comprises more than 1,100 accredited colleges and universities that collectively educate more than five million students every year.
    For more information about the Green Campus initiatives at the University of Minnesota, Morris, visit www.morris.umn.edu/greencampus/."

  • Living ‘green’ will soon be reality on UMM campus Morris Sun Tribune Published Saturday, December 08, 2007

  • Planning is underway to build a new residential life facility at the University of Minnesota, Morris.
    Designed for sustainable living, the Green Prairie Community will provide contemporary undergraduate student housing for 80 students in suite-style dwellings.
    The facility, which expands UMM’s list of “green” campus initiatives from local foods to energy, will open in fall 2009.
    Planning and construction is expected to cost $6 million and will be funded through University of Minnesota bonding and Residential Life reserves.
    The new hall will replace Blakely Hall, which is in the campus historic district and was constructed in 1920. Blakely Hall will be rehabilitated to support UMM’s academic programs.
    “Construction of the new Green Prairie Community will enhance student life and learning at UMM,” said Sandy Olson-Loy, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. “We want our whole learning environment to prepare Morris graduates as active global citizens and effective stewards of the environment.”
    The first new residential life construction since the early 1970s, the new living community will replace student housing currently provided in Blakely Hall. Residents will experience an eco-friendly model design for sustainable living and community building.
    Planners are incorporating education, research and demonstration components into the building plans in areas from green building design, resource conservation and real-time energy monitoring systems to local foods and community. They envision an environment filled with art, light and a living connection to the outdoors.
    “As a department we feel the building of a new residence hall, especially one that meets the university’s commitment to green and sustainable initiatives, helps us reach our goal of providing an environment for our students that is conducive to academic success,” said Julie Phelps, associate director of residential life.
    The new building is expected to meet the needs of UMM students and provides an out-of-classroom learning component that is crucial in their collegiate development, Phelps said.
    “We are very excited about this new residence hall and the educational component it will bring, not only for our students, but also for staff, faculty, and guests to our community,” Phelps said. “The benefit that comes from living and learning with a core group of students is immeasurable.”
    The university has selected LHB, of Minneapolis, to provide design services for the Green Prairie Community. In its design work LHB’s interdisciplinary team focuses on ensuring life-cycle cost reductions, ecological responsibility, and an overall improved quality of life for occupants.
    “LHB is known for sustainable architecture and is an early founder of Minnesota’s green building movement,” said Richard Strong, adjunct professor and research fellow in the Center for Sustainable Building Research in the University of Minnesota College of Design.
    In summer months, the Green Prairie Community will house and provide learning spaces for researchers, visiting scholars, undergraduate and graduate students and engaged citizens--for research, workshops and programs linked to the community based renewable energy platforms and green initiatives in Morris.
    In addition, high school students and adults participating in UMM’s expanding summer programs in the arts, sciences, humanities and education will reside in the facility, gaining exposure to a sustainable living environment. The facility’s private bedrooms and air-conditioning will hold particular appeal for summer program participants.
    The University of Minnesota, Morris is on track to be energy self-sufficient through on-site renewable generation by 2010.
    A 1.65 MW wind turbine, a planned second turbine, biomass gasification plant under construction and energy conservation programs are expected to meet all of the campus’ electrical, heating and cooling needs within the next three years.
    In addition to supplying campus energy needs, the systems provide a research and demonstration platform for sustainable community-based energy solutions, advancing the University of Minnesota’s research and public outreach mission.
    The Green Prairie Alliance, a partnership with the University of Minnesota West Central Research and Outreach Center, the federal USDA Agricultural Research Service-North Central Soil Conservation Research Lab in Morris and a number of private and public community partners lead this work.
    The new Green Prairie Community will be fully accessible and complete the University of Minnesota’s work upgrading fire and life safety systems to include sprinklers for all residential space on UM campuses.
    For more information, see Green Prairie Community at blog.lib.umn.edu/sharpea/greenreshall; or Green campus initiatives at www.morris.umn.edu/greencampus.

    Related Sites:

  • Renewable Engergy Initiatives-Biomass Gasification Facility, from renewables.morris.umn.edu
  • Education

  • Environmental Studies at UMM , morris.umn.edu

  • " In February 2008, the University of Minnesota Board of Regents approved a new formal Environmental Studies major for UMM (click here(pdf) for the major curriculum).
    UMM is the National Leader for Campus Green Initiatives
    When you come to UMM for Environmental Studies, you don't just get great classes. You get a school that understands sustainability. We had hybrids in our campus fleet before hybrids were cool. Our commitment to local foods is several years old. We have a sustainability coordinator on staff (his name is Troy Goodnough). We are building a green residence hall. We were the first public campus in the nation to erect a commercial-scale wind turbine, and soon will have two more. When our wind power is combined with our new biomass heating/cooling plant, our campus greenhouse gas emissions from heating, cooling and electricity will have been reduced by 80%. That doesn't make us "a" leader. That makes us THE leader.
    What does that mean for academics at UMM? Research opportunities. Our wind and biomass facilities are real and functional, but they are also research tools. Already, bales of prairie grass are stacked at the edge of campus as we prepare for experiments to answer crucial, practical questions related to various potential sources of biomass energy. UMM undergraduates will be involved in this research.

    Events

  • Coal and climate policy expert Barbara Freese to speak at Morris Posted by Judy Korn on Thursday, Mar. 31, 2011 morris.umn.edu

  • "Barbara Freese, author, attorney, speaker, and policy advocate, will speak at the University of Minnesota, Morris on Monday, April 4, 2011, at 7:30 p.m. in the Cow Palace, Imholte Hall room 109. Freese has worked extensively on coal and climate policy at the state and federal levels. Her address, “Power Struggle: Slowing Global Warming and Building Clean Energy in a Shifting Political Landscape,” is free and open to the public. "

    -Celebrations

    " Please join us to celebrate and to strategize! UMM's green initiative is 10 years old, and just this past month we’ve gotten the second wind turbine and the first combined-heat-and-power turbine up and running for the first time.

    UMM's new Environmental Studies major is also celebrating a first: with the help of a grant from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, we’re bringing noted author (Coal: A Human History, Penguin Books, 2003) and Union of Concerned Scientists climate policy expert Barbara Freese to campus for a 2-day residency. We’d like to take advantage of her presence among us to convene a group of regional stakeholders (this means you!) in a strategy session on the evening of April 5th.

    The evening will run from 6:00-8:00 p.m., in the Cougar Room of the Student Center at the University of Minnesota Morris, with buffet-style nibblies and beverages provided. After taking on a little refreshment and doing a little bit of socializing, we’ll raise a glass to what Morris has accomplished in the realm of renewable energy during the last decade. A lot of folks inside and outside the U have been critical to our progress, and we hope to see you all turn out!

    Certainly there have been setbacks recently, at the level of national and international climate and renewable energy policy. For the last hour or so of the evening we'll strategize about what we as committed, knowledgeable stakeholders, can do now to promote renewable energy and to effect change -- whether that's at the local or regional level, or in a wider arc. UMM graduate (‘81) and organizer extraordinaire Patrick Moore (CURE, Montevideo, MN) will be joining us to lead a process where everyone gets their say, those present literally vote for ideas with their feet, and we ultimately try to figure out where as a group we can really push the ball down the field. We promise you, it's going to be fun!

    So please join us! Hear some live UMM jazz, help us toast our renewable energy accomplishments to date, meet our distinguished visitor Barbara Freese, network with other knowledgeable and motivated folks in the region, and help us conspire about the next round of positive changes! Looking forward to seeing you on April 5th!

    Sincerely (on behalf of the organizing committee),
    Troy Goodnough, UMM Sustainability Coordinator
    Arne Kildegaard, UMM Faculty (Economics & Environmental Studies)"

    We got into 2 different workshop group-dialogue sessions, which we could choose from a variety of topics. The first one I attended was on "Private-Public Policies"

    Denmark Wind Turbine Generators Powering Transition to EV Cars

    "Uploaded by btrplc on Nov 30, 2009
    http://www.betterplace.com/ GLOBE Tv correspondent Mike Cerre reports on how Denmark has pioneered sustainability initiatives from wind generators and bicycle commuting to using electric cars to reduce CO2 car emissions and as storage devices for renewable energy.
    Find out how the Danish island of Samsø has gone to 100% renewable energy over the past 10 years and reduced their carbon footprint by 147%!
    Better Place, a global electric vehicle services provider, and Dong Energy, Denmark's largest power company are teaming-up to build the first nationwide electric vehicle (EV) network of charge spots, powered by renewable energy, and battery switching stations for further reducing Denmark's auto and small truck emissions. They are also working with the national railway on EV car rentals at train stations to make the electric car experience more practical for driving between cities.
    Interviews include the former Minister of Climate and Energy Connie Hedegaard, who chaired the UN's COP-15 climate change summit; the Mayor of Copenhagen- Klaus Bondam; Dong Energy CEO Anders Eldrup; Better Place- Denmark CEO- Jens Moberg; plus Danish farmers, housewives and students who have switched to EV cars. "

    The 2nd one I attended was on "Plastic Bottles"..

    Plastic Bottle Bricks

    "The accumulation of harmful plastic in our environment calls for innovations in the re-use of waste."
    India's Plastic Roads a Success , from youtube.com
    "The Public Works Department of Himachal Pradesh in northern India has started constructing roads with plastic and polythene waste.
    Its an attempt to save the environment from the menace of plastic waste. The plastic will actually make roads stronger. This effort by the state government has been well appreciated by environmentalists in the area.
    [Rajinder Kumar, Road Inspector]:
    "Plastic is dangerous to the environment, so we are making proper use of plastic waste and garbage. This will not only save the environment but also save the government money, as it is very economical and saves expenses on charcoal.""

    *see more ideas that I started to collect just by "you tubing" the night after this evening's workshop (above)

    We at Stevens Forward would love your feedback on how we as a county-wide community can work-together...

    Livable Community- Carbon Neutral County (Destiny Driver #8)

    (Stevensforward's Blog Just another WordPress.com weblog )

    Housing

    GoodnewsUMM's New Energy Efficient Residential Hall Construction album on Photobucket

    *click the picture above for more pics
    {Photos by Salphoto.biz}
    Photobucket

    LOCAL

    Articles

  • Greenhouse Progress in Morris November 2 kmrskkok.com

  • " Morris Area School's Greenhouse project is making progress even if the weather hasn't been very cooperative this fall.
    Natasha Mortenson, Ag instructor at Morris Area Schools, says they have the frame work up. They were hoping to be farther in the process but the earlier rains delayed work. For now they department will focus on inside projects like getting the growing systems in order. She says they'll grow produce in 5 gallon buckets and big barrels, raised beds, hanging methods, plus 2 kinds of hydroponics systems.
    Mortenson says the greenhouse will be a stand alone structure located behind the agriculture department. The house should be ready next February and will produce strawberries, cucumbers, lettuce, potatoes and tomatoes for the cafeteria and perhaps the farmer's market.
    Mortenson has received grants both from the state and locally she said the greenhouse project will cost about $30,000.
    The structure will offer opportunities for lessons in agriculture, marketing, economics and sales.

  • Solar Panels at RFC July 1st 2010 kmrskkok.com

  • " 32 solar panels made in Starbuck will be getting a good work out at the Regional Fitness Center in Morris, and they'll do it more consistently than most members.
    Installation is about 80% finished for the grant funded project that is expected to produce about 271 million BTUs a year. Troy Goodnough (good-NO) is the sustainability coordinator at U.M.M. he says Minnesota's solar resources are as vast as its wind resources.
    The panels are located on the southwest corner of the building next to the football field. The solar thermal technology is expected to offset about 20% of the cost of heating the recreational pool to 86 degrees daily. They'll also reduce the RFC's contribution to carbon dioxide indirect carbon dioxide emissions by 740,225 pounds a year.
    Goodnough says they received several grants some of which came from the Clean Energy Resource Team and Minnesota Schools Cutting Carbon program. He said U.M.M. also received an anonymous donation for several thousands of dollars. Goodnough estimated when all said and done the project would cost about $200,000.
    The University is hoping to have the panels producing solar thermal energy by the end of the summer.

  • University of Minnesota Morris Building Wind to Fertilizer Plant , Updated at: 06/10/2010 11:57 AM | KSAX.com By: Megan Matthews ksax.com

  • "MORRIS, Minn. - University of Minnesota is finding new ways to use wind energy, and it will soon help farmers fertilize their crops.
    It's a renewable energy project that's been in the works since 2005. They just broke ground Monday, June 7, 2010, to start building a system that will use wind power to produce a popular nitrogen-based fertilizer for farmers.
    "More of a niche for our region is the production of nitrogen-based fertilizer, or anhydrous ammonia, so the process is somewhat elegant," Michael Reese, director of UofM renewable energy center, explained.
    The process involves using saved wind energy from the university's wind turbine, electrolyzing water, which in turn takes nitrogen out of the wind, and producing anhydrous ammonia.
    Reese said anhydrous ammonia is commonly used throughout the United States, and Morris is no different. This test plant will produce fertilizer to test on the university's soil.
    "Anhydrous ammonia is the most widely used nitrogen fertilizer across the Midwest for corn and small grain," Reese explained. "It is the core product for more synthetic fertilizers that ag producers use."
    Right now more than half of this type of fertilizer used in the U.S. is imported from overseas. That's why producing it here in Minnesota will create jobs and bring the industry to rural communities.
    "It will add economic development to our region and create energy intense industry and so we own the demand for it, for nitrogen fertilizer, here in the Midwest. Now we can also participate in the supply of it," Reese said.
    Another selling point is renewable energy. Reese hopes this test plant is just a starting point for a new way to produce nitrogen-based fertilizer.
    "We might see a time when producing anhydrous ammonia, nitrogen-based fertilizer, from electricity will be the preferred route," Reese said.
    Right now most nitrogen-based fertilizer is produced using gas.
    The plant is expected to be complete and producing the nitrogen-based fertilizer by December 2010. Reese predicts it will take a couple years to test the fertilizer on the university's farmland to see how it works and collect the data. "

  • Maker of UMM’s wind turbine may be lured to Minnesota Morris Sun Tribune Published Tuesday, January 22, 2008

  • "By Don Davis
    St. Paul Capitol Bureau
    Rep. Aaron Peterson of Appleton, left, and explorer Will Steger discuss the chance of luring a Danish wind-turbine maker to Minnesota. Photo by Don Davis, Forum Communications.
    ST. PAUL – Landing a wind-turbine research facility would be akin to the opening of iron mines in northeastern Minnesota, famed Arctic explorer Will Steger said last week in supporting the effort.
    Dressed in an outfit that included mukluks and a sweater – while surrounded by state leaders in suits -- Steger urged Minnesota policymakers to do what they can to lure Denmark-based Vestas Technology to build a research and development facility. Vestas is the world’s largest maker of wind turbine equipment.
    “They put up a wind turbine every five hours in the world,” Rep. Aaron Peterson, DFL-Appleton, said.
    Last November, Vestas announced it wanted to open an American research center near a major university. It would employ up to 80 people, but House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, DFL-Minneapolis, said the real reason to attract Vestas is that once a research center opens, a manufacturing plant could follow.
    Peterson said he hopes the research center could be located at the University of Minnesota Morris, which does wind-power research, but others hinted the Twin Cities would be the location.
    Gov. Tim Pawlenty apparently is negotiating with Vestas, but refused to give details.
    Pawlenty did say, however, that state leaders must be careful not to give Vestas an advantage over existing Minnesota companies.
    The governor last week also announce a series energy initiatives, including establishing a program of up to $20 million to provide low-interest loans to homeowners, farmers and business owners to use renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and geothermal.
    “Minnesotans want to play a greater role in the ownership and production of energy they use,” Pawlenty said.
    Individually, installing a small windmill, solar panels or other measures may not mean a lot, but the governor said when added together they can significantly cut Minnesota’s energy use.
    Ellen Anderson, a St. Paul senator who often deals with energy issues, said Pawlenty’s plan is a good start.
    “It is just a drop in the bucket for what we need to do, but it is a good drop,” the Democrat said.
    The loan program requires legislative approval.
    Pawlenty said he will announce more energy initiatives for legislators to consider. They convene their 2008 session Feb. 12.
    Among items expected to be discussed is what to do to attract Vestas. Tax breaks and other state incentives may be considered.
    State officials have no idea how much it would cost to convince Vestas to open a new research facility in Minnesota, but the company sent a letter saying it is interested, in part because Minnesota now has policies that favor wind farms.
    Steger did not say where he would like the center to locate. “This is a very important moment for Minnesota,” he said.
    The Minnesotan known for exploring the Arctic has worked with Pawlenty on climate-change and energy issues.
    Steger said recent laws encouraging the development of renewable energy such as wind power will lead more firms to look at the state.
    “This is a great opportunity for Minnesota,” Steger said. “It’s an opportunity like when the iron mines opened in northeast Minnesota.”

  • Coleman stresses renewable energy during brief stop Morris Sun Tribune Published Saturday, December 01, 2007 By Kim Ukura

  • "Minnesota�s U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman met with a diverse crowd of more than 30 people at DeToy�s restaurant in Morris on Thursday afternoon.
    The audience, ranging from college students to retirees and farmers, peppered Coleman with questions about U.S. energy policy, the Farm Bill, and the �rural renaissance� during the 45-minute visit.
    �I believe in the vitality of our rural areas,� Coleman said in his opening remarks. �I see a great spirit, a great potential, a place experiencing demographic changes and energy opportunities.
    �If you have a good job, good education, and good healthcare, you can live anywhere.�
    After his introduction, the question-and-answer session quickly turned to energy policy and dependence on foreign oil.
    �Renewables are a good thing,� Coleman said, adding he supports a broader-based approach to the problem that would also increase production, such as moving forward with nuclear energy.
    University of Minnesota, Morris Chancellor Jacquie Johnson told Coleman, �This is a place that has community-based renewables. I think we�re pleased as a community to hear about your interest.�
    When asked about what was happening in Washington to support rural areas, Coleman mentioned a $400 million provision in the Farm Bill to support rural infrastructure, such as waste water treatment and broadband technology.
    �You gotta have access to the Web,� he noted.
    However, Coleman returned the conversation to renewable energy saying that biofuel production is another important step.
    �The transformation is critical to rural areas,� he said.
    Ben Winchester, President of the Board of Directors of the Morris Area Chamber of Commerce, agreed with Coleman, adding that �social infrastructure� is also key.
    After leaving Morris, Coleman headed to Benson as part of his commitment to visit each of the 87 counties in the state. Morris and Benson were in the 86th and 87th counties on the list.
    �In a world of cell phones, cameras, and the Internet, it�s still really good to look people in the eye,� Coleman said."

    *note: I was present, which I want to add that he also addressed citzens' concerns on other issues (e.g. immigration and economy), which I had the opportunity to share (see trust in God)
  • Friends of the Morris Wetland Management District" Contact Kate Livingson 320.589.1970 kdliving@yahoo.com

  • *got info referal from Prairie Renassaince meeting on Thursday, October 7th of 2004
  • Minnesota Initiative for Renewable Energy

  • *Check out the groundbreaking on a hybrid wind energy research on Wednesday, Nov 10@4pm at the West Central Research and Outreach Center
  • UMM's Biology Site, includes professor contacts and related links
  • Restaurants

  • Greener Pizza in Morris, September 28,2009 from kmrskkok.com

  • "John Jones is a junior at the University of Minnesota, Morris, a Stevens Forward Steward, he works at the Center for Small Towns on Campus and up until recently held a job down at Pizza Ranch in Morris. Jones' busy junior year forced him to give up his pizza delivery job but before he left he worked with owner Ron Tappe to initiate cost and carbon saving changes. Jones says that people often write college students off as temporary residents who don't know what's going on, but he's managed to network in Morris and has some serious contacts with officials and business owners in town and on campus.
    Jones said being influenced by the carbon neutral goals of both U.M.M. and the Stevens Forward initiative is what got him thinking of ways for Pizza Ranch to save money and reduce waste. He and Tappe worked together to save money and better light the dining room, by switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs. To cut down on gas consumption and emissions, the restaurant now offers drivers a bicycle for closer deliveries. The business uses a cardboard dumpster to recycle it's trash and has invited neighboring businesses to use the receptacle. Tappe doesn't pay for use of the bin and says it's working so well that they had to get a second one.
    Jones said working with a franchise is challenging because vender arrangements can't be changed or even rearranged with out corporate approval but on the other hand the impact is amplified if the changes become institutional.
    Tappe said, thanks to the lighting change, his last electricity bill showed a 12% decrease."

    ......

    Goodnews Everybody: Science-Environmental

    State-GoodnewsMinnesota

  • Windfall for Pipestone, By DEE DEPASS, Star Tribune Last update: June 1, 2008 - 4:45 PM

  • "PIPESTONE, MINN. - As Corey Juhl rounded the corner past Buffalo Ridge, a grove of windmills bloomed from a cornfield and cartwheeled against the sky. They're the Juhl family's wind turbines -- machines that jump-started Pipestone's wind movement and brought Suzlon Rotor Corp. to town from India.
    Much has changed since locals first heard the name Suzlon four years ago.
    Down the road at the new Suzlon plant last week, hundreds of workers hopped off buses and got to work, cutting silky fiberglass cloth that would soon be resin-treated, heated and molded into gleaming 141-foot-long turbine blades, capable of producing 2.1 megawatts of energy from wind.
    Open just 19 months, Suzlon's first U.S. plant has taken off like a gale-force wind. Employment has swelled from 275 to 500. Production jumped from one blade a day to nearly three as businesses and farmers search for alternatives to coal power. Suzlon is now the fifth-largest turbine maker in the world, with about 8 percent of the U.S. market.
    For the Pipestone plant, success has brought its own problems.
    The plant that was lured here by a slew of local and state incentives is struggling to keep up with demand. Its blades and nose cones are back-ordered for two years.
    So Suzlon is turning its attention to working smarter. New equipment coming this fall will computerize Suzlon's manual fiberglass "skin" cutting process. A new crane will soon hoist and place blades onto trucks more quickly than crews.
    For now though, the company is trying to cope with the headaches that come with rapid growth.
    A shortage of rental housing and workers in Pipestone forced Suzlon to bus in employees from Worthington, Minn., and Sioux Falls, S.D., at a cost of nearly $50,000 a month. Turnover remains a big problem.
    And the company's image took a beating after several Suz- lon blades made overseas and sold to Edison Mission Energy in California in 2006 cracked last year.
    Local company officials are under orders from management in India not to discuss that issue. Suzlon officials in India issued a statement that they are addressing the problem.
    Suzlon's rise in Minnesota "has been slow-fast" success, said Dan Juhl, Corey's father and the man responsible for bringing Suzlon to Minnesota. "Suzlon is a pretty typical turbine manufacturer these days. All of them are having problems, especially now that they are going with these great big machines. They are putting something the size of a football field up into the wind. The load on these is just off the charts."
    The Juhl family installed Suz- lon's 1.25 MW wind turbines in 2004. Suzlon's Pipestone plant now makes 2.1 MW machines.
    The blade-cracking episode doesn't seem to have slowed sales. Suzlon Energy Limited, based in Mumbai, India, with operations in China, Russia, South Korea, Germany, Chicago and Pipestone, reported a 29 percent increase in annual sales to $1.8 billion. Each 2.1 MW turbine typically cost between $2.3 and $2.6 million, customers said.
    Officials will not disclose their U.S. sales, but Pipestone plant manager Pete Schmidt said sales are growing amid America's new love affair with noncarbon-based fuel.
    Minnesota is now the third- largest wind energy producer in the country, with more than 1,300 MW installed. The state has mandated Xcel, Great River and other power companies to produce 25 to 30 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2025. It's been a nice boost to wind-turbine and component makers such as General Electric, Gamesa, Vesta and LM Glass Fiber in Grand Forks, N.D.
    In Pipestone, orders are pouring in from John Deere, farms across the Midwest and a growing number of companies looking to get in on the wind-power market. Suzlon just won its first Great River Energy co-op member. It installed 2.1-megawatt turbines for Nobles Cooperative Electric and Federated Rural Association in March.
    Blaine Strampe, chief electrical engineer for Federated, said he heard about Suzlon's cracking problem but isn't bothered. "It wasn't a manufacturing problem. It was a design problem. They have redesigned the blades, and those redesigned blades are now being made in Pipestone," he said, adding that he is pleased to buy local. Still, "with all the demand for wind turbines, the best one you can buy is the one you can get."
    Finding workers
    The strong smell of resin and paint wafted through the bustling plant recently as Hector Santiago sanded down the coarse edge of a fiberglass wing and Angelica Kassa poured and smeared resin into the blade skin. Workers nearby painted the glassy smooth finish a stark white.
    Kassa took a $3-an-hour pay cut to leave a stressful nursing home job in Worthington for the Suzlon plant. Regardless, she loves it. She makes $10 an hour and could potentially make $13 or $14 an hour over time. Like many workers who arrived on buses that morning, Kassa is happy that the company doesn't charge her for transportation.
    With labor-hungry neighbors such as boatmaker Bayliner Marine Corp. and Ellison Meat Co., Suzlon wants every recruiting advantage it can get, said human resource manager Susie Rennich.
    That kind of problem astounds Juhl. Hearing that employment leapt from the promised 200 figure in 2006 to 500 workers, Juhl gasped: "Oh my gosh, what have I done? No wonder I can't find any workers."
    Juhl met Suzlon founders in 2002 when India's key windmill man, Tulsi Tanti, showed up at his door and suggested Suzlon bring its wind turbines to farmers and communities around Pipestone.
    Juhl and sons Corey and Tyler installed Suzlon machines in a nearby cornfield in 2004 and worked tirelessly to push energy-development tax breaks through the Legislature in 2005.
    The Pipestone plant opened in November 2006 with the energy tax breaks, land from the city of Pipestone and 12 years of property-tax breaks provided by Gov. Tim Pawlenty's rural JOBZ incentive.
    While the Minnesota JOBZ tax incentive that Suzlon received is "great," Schmidt said, "the challenge is that some businesses have opened or expanded like Bayliner. So for us, it's still a matter of 'How do I get the workforce that I need?'" With plenty of effort, payroll has grown from $9 million to about $15 million. But it hasn't been easy. Mary Mathias, a job service specialist for the Minnesota Workforce Center, said Suzlon faced two problems: the lack of rental housing and a shortage of available workers in Pipestone.
    Apartments in Pipestone are pretty much filled, Mathias said. "For someone looking to come to work there, they must look to the outside community to find housing," she said. "It's an interesting circle that we go around and around."
    Dee DePass • 612-673-7725

    Events

  • WCROC’s Summer Center Day scheduled for July 11 in Morris Morris Sun Tribune Published Wednesday, July 09, 2008

  • "Summer Center Day is July 11 at at the West Central Research and Outreach Center. There will be tours on Crops, Livestock Systems, and Renewable Energy. All tours leave from the farm shop. The public is welcome, and registration begins at 7:30 a.m. with tours running approximately one hour, beginning at 8 a. m. and ending about 11:30. The tours will begin at regularly scheduled times. WCROC is located one mile east of Morris on State Highway 329...
    Yuzhi will present a comparison of growth performance of piglets in group farrowing verses confinement farrowing. The Renewable Energy Tours begin at 8 a.m., 9:15 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
    The first Renewable Energy Tour will be presented by Mike Reese, Director of Renewable Energy at the WCROC, on "Hybrid Wind Energy and Biomass Feedstocks," and Cory Marquart, Engineer at the WCROC, on "Integrating Wind Energy Systems into Communities".
    The second Renewable Energy Tour will be presented by Joel Tallaksen, Biomass Project Coordinator, WCROC, and Lowell Rasmussen, University of Minnesota, Morris Associate Vice Chancellor Vice Chancellor for Facilities and Finance, on "Biomass Gasification Systems".
    Producers can bring in samples and questions on crop pests to the Crop Pest Clinic. Doug Holen, Regional Extension Educator in Fergus Falls, and Jodi DeJong-Hughes, Regional Extension Educator in Marshall, will be available to answer questions. Informational booths from various agricultural organizations will also be available."

    Building a Wind Turbine

    "A video record of the new Vestas v82 wind turbine erected on the St. Olaf campus in Northfield Minnesota"

    ...More....

    Nation-GoodnewsUSA.Info

    University of Minnesota Morris American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment Video

    "University of Minnesota, Morris one of five schools chosen nationwide by Apple, Inc. and the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) to produce green campus video. The video was produced by five Morris students. "

    GLOBAL-Multicultural

    See our photo gallery !

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