Posted by Kelsey Johnson at 4:35PM   |  Add a comment
J Frey in the woods

It’s been almost two years since my last blog post, and it is really staggering how much has happened since then. Most recently, I took on two major projects. One of these jobs (which I currently hold and started this past summer) is as a project manager for the Ithaca College Natural Lands (ICNL). As a project manager, I am leading an effort to reintroduce the nearly extinct American chestnut tree to the Ithaca area. Historically a major provider of food and timber for North Americans, the chestnut has become an integral part of our culture until it was almost completely extirpated by a fungal blight in the early twentieth century. Since the 1970s, however, efforts have been underway- particularly at the American Chestnut Foundation (ACF)- to breed chestnuts resistant to the blight. I have been working with the ACF in addition to the Finger Lakes Land Trust, Army Corp. of Engineers, and city officials to determine reintroduction plans in ICNL.

It has really been a wild ride to rejuvenate this project on campus, and could not be more pleased with the results so far. I have just ordered blight-resistant seeds from the ACF within the past few weeks and will begin planting at the end of April. It is my hope that I will see the fruits of my efforts in the future when I come back to visit! I also encourage anyone interested in learning more about my project or ICNL to contact me at

The other position that I took on was as a grant-writing intern for Finger Lakes ReUse, a community-oriented non-profit organization improves sustainable development by redirecting waste-stream material back into the local community. This internship, which was facilitated by my Proposal and Grant Writing class (WRTG-31700), was one of the most difficult and rewarding experiences of my life. After its completion, my project group and I presented the organization with a 65-page report detailing the framework, templates, and associated materials necessary to apply for grants.

This is just a sample of what I have engaged in on and off campus this past year. My intent in detailing what I have done in the short span of nine months is to really emphasize how easy it is to get involved in the Ithaca community. Working on these projects can really make a lasting, positive impact on the surrounding community in big ways. All you have to do is put yourself out there; put your heart and soul into a project. Make it your own and I promise that you will be rewarded.


-Jordan Frey

Posted by Jordan Frey at 1:41PM   |  Add a comment
Youth Power Summit

 Once again, students from across New York will converge in Ithaca for the Youth Power Summit, happening April 20th-21st.  The last event happened two years ago in 2011.  This will be happening at the same time as the Climate Smart & Climate Ready Conference, also in Ithaca, taking place April 18th-21st.

The mission of the summit is to create a place "where young people, students, community members, faculty, and community business leaders will converge to explore the intersectionality of economic, social, and climate justice issues" in order to develop strategies to achieve "a just, sustainable, and prosperous community".

Some of the different organizations being represented there include the New Economics Institute, the Green Umbrella, Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative, and many others.

I am very excited to be attending all the events happening during the coming week- nearly as excited as I was about the Keystone XL protest down in Washington, D.C. a few months ago!  I know I will meet a lot of highly motivated and intelligent people who will help lead our nation and the world to a more sustainable future.  One person I am extremely excited to hear is keynote speaker Mark Hertsgaard, renowned independent journalist and author, whose most recent book focused on living through the next fifty years of climate change.

This gathering is definitely something students cannot afford to miss!

Posted by Jordan Frey at 7:32PM   |  Add a comment
Mountain Biking

Well, it’s finally March!  The days are getting longer, and the weather starting to show hints of warming up.  While I am a big skier and love looking at animal tracks in the snow, springtime will offer a good respite from the aura of dreariness that often surrounds winter.  I have finally unlocked my bike from the rack it has been chained to for the past few months and filled my bike up with air in the Center for Natural Sciences.  There are some bike trails across the street from the campus that I’m hoping to ride after midterms week is done with- I haven’t been back there since October!  But in the meantime I’ll be hitting the books…. Springtime just can’t come fast enough, can it?


P.S. For those bicyclists out there, the club Bomber Bikes has just this past semester received space to store bikes during winter break, and is currently working on obtaining the funds needed to purchase tools, stands, and various other bicycle paraphernalia.

Posted by Jordan Frey at 1:07PM   |  Add a comment

This Sunday, over 20,000 people are expected to gather in Washington D.C. to rally against the further development of the Keystone XL Pipeline.  For those who are unaware, the pipeline in question is being built by the TransCanada Corporation from Alberta, Canada all the way down to Texas, and will be transporting tar sands oil.  Greenhouse gas emissions from tar sands production are 2 - 3 times that of conventional oil production, and emit many other pollutants hazardous to inhabitants near the area of production.   James Hansen, NASA climate scientist, has predicted that it will be “game over for the climate” if the tar sands are continued to be exploited.

What really bugs me most about the issue, strangely enough, is not even the environmental and human rights issues that would come of the pipeline, but the lies and assumptions put forth by proponents of the project.  For instance, most jobs created by KXL would be temporary, and the local communities surrounding the pipeline would not see much benefit.

Furthermore, KXL would not reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil, as it is an export pipeline, and it will actually increase gas prices in the U.S.  Don’t believe me?  TransCanada’s application for the pipeline stated,

Existing markets for Canadian heavy crude, principally PADD II [U.S. Midwest], are currently oversupplied, resulting in price discounting for Canadian heavy crude oil. Access to the USGC [U.S. Gulf Coast] via the Keystone XL Pipeline is expected to strengthen Canadian crude oil pricing in [the Midwest] by removing this oversupply. This is expected to increase the price of heavy crude to the equivalent cost of imported crude. The resultant increase in the price of heavy crude is estimated to provide an increase in annual revenue to the Canadian producing industry in 2013 of US $2 billion to US $3.9 billion.”

I have been working with the rest of the E-Board of the IC Environmental Society to organize a trip down to D.C. for the protest for the past month.  All told, IC, Cornell, and the town of Ithaca will be sending four full buses down to the protest!  This will be the biggest climate rally to date, and I am very excited to see what comes of it!

Posted by Jordan Frey at 11:56AM   |  Add a comment
Trees covered in snow

After experiencing a very disappointing winter last year, I am very happy to finally see Ithaca receive plenty of snow!  While the snow might dissuade people from going out to a party or visiting friends across campus, it did no such thing for this environmental studies major!  I saw it as a perfect opportunity to go exploring the Ithaca College Natural Lands through a different medium than what I am used to.  Taking out my cross-country skis for the first time in a year, I went to the campsite from my Winter Sentinels class and analyzed some fox tracks, stalked deer by the powerline cut, and took some great pictures that I will submit to the ICNL photo contest.  Ithaca College has so much to offer during the winter, that no environmental studies or science major should ever be bored!  And if you don't have the right equipment to go out trekking in the snow, everything can be rented at the Office of Recreational Sports.  I can't wait to get out there again!  I think next time I'll try snowshoeing...

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