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Sugar Bush Projects & Programs

Appalachia Ohio Zero Waste Initiative

The Appalachia Ohio Zero Waste Initiative collaborates with communities to build local wealth and environmental health by increasing waste diversion and supporting the development of a zero waste economy.  

Organizations Involved:Rural Action and the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University

Zero Waste Thrift Store

The Zero Waste Thrift Store Project works with ReUse Industries and saves reusables from the landfill to support a sustainable economy, protect the environment, and create jobs. Items donated to ReUse Industries are cleaned, stored, repaired, and sold to businesses, agencies, and the public for reuse. The 2013–14 grant helped ReUse pilot initiatives focused on generating zero waste in its thrift stores.

Organizations Involved:ReUse Industries and Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University

The Sunflower Project

The Sunflower Project attempts to develop a transportable oil-seed processing system to encourage the use of biodiesel within the southeastern Ohio community. Ohio University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering works with the students and faculty of a local alternative high school to develop the technology for distilling biofuels from locally grown sunflowers. This project is simultaneously a problem-solving vocational education initiative for students and a green experiment in sustainable energy production within the local community.

Organizations Involved: Ohio University Russ College of Engineering and Athens County Alternative School

The Regional Nonprofit Alliance

The Regional Nonprofit Alliance combines existing community and university resources to address previously unmet needs within the nonprofit sector. Its mission is to strengthen nonprofit organizations in rural Appalachia by providing online resources, workshops, and hands-on help. Public administration students get hands-on training, and local nonprofits receive valuable support to help enhance the capacity of their organizations.

Organizations Involved: Regional nonprofits and the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University

Live Healthy Appalachia

Live Healthy Appalachia seeks to improve the health and wellbeing of residents of the Appalachian region through education, outreach, and advocacy emphasizing nutrition and other lifestyle choices. Funding in 2010–11 supported the First Annual Summit to Reverse and Prevent Chronic Diseases in the Appalachian Region; the 2011–12 grant supported a full-time paid coordinator for the program.

Organizations Involved: Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, City of Athens, Athens County, the Athens City-County Health Department, and Athens County schools

The Service Living Initiative

The Service Living Initiative connects students from Ohio University with residents of southeastern Ohio through immersive service opportunities. The project enables students to build healthy relationships with the surrounding community and fosters mutual understanding through interaction with others in different life situations.

Organizations Involved: Good Works Inc., Ohio University Division of Student Affairs (Residential Housing) and regional communities

Southern Equine Therapy: Horses Help

The Ohio Horse Park Therapeutic Horsemanship Program at Ohio University Southern Campus provides goal-directed lessons to children and teens facing environmental, physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral challenges. All lessons involve interactions with horses to improve quality of life through equine therapy.

Organizations Involved: Appalachian Family and Children First Council and Ohio University Southern Campus

The Community-Appropriate Technology for Staple Seeds Project

The Community-Appropriate Technology for Staple Seeds Project endeavors to develop and build a thresher for small farms to grow staple crops—grains, beans, and oilseed—in the Athens area. It seeks to address the loss of farmland, farmer unemployment, and food insecurity in southeast Ohio by developing energy efficient, appropriate scale technology for small-plot farmers to put fallow land back into production.

Organizations Involved: Ohio University Russ College of Engineering, Community Food Initiatives and regional farmers

The Green House Project

The Green House Project provides an energy audit for student rentals in order to reduce energy waste in off-campus residences and thereby reduce the carbon footprint of Athens, Ohio. The audit encourages landlords to correct energy waste and educates tenants in energy conservation. The project promotes the use of energy-efficient practices and raises awareness about the relationship between energy use, utility costs, and climate change.

Organizations Involved: Ohio University Office of Sustainability and the Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development

The Appalachian Ohio Environmental Literacy Project

The Appalachian Ohio Environmental Literacy Project helps secondary school teachers incorporate environmental literacy and sustainability into existing science curricula as they further their own educations. Through workshops, college courses, and involvement with regional environmental organizations, participating teachers gain a deeper understanding of environmental issues while working toward a graduate-level Certificate in Environmental Sustainability from Ohio University’s Environmental Studies Program. 

Organizations Involved:Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University, regional secondary schools, and regional environmental organizations

The Renewable Energy Co-Op project

The Renewable Energy Co-Op project is exploring the feasibility of using small-scale microgrid and smart grid technologies to generate energy and distribute it locally via a renewable energy consumer cooperative. Small-scale microgrids bridge the gap between individual homes and businesses and commercial power systems to allow better system-level efficiency and utilization through improved load balancing. 

Organizations: Center for the Creation of Cooperation and the Ohio University Russ College of Engineering and Technology

Local Foods in Schools

The Local Foods in Schools project focused on a one-year study of all the ways Federal Hocking Local Schools use food in classrooms and cafeterias to improve food choices for students in the district. Among other initiatives, the project offered professional development for school cooks at Ohio University’s test and commercial kitchens and enabled the purchase of food from local producers. 

Organizations Involved: Federal Hocking Local School District and Ohio University College of Health Sciences and Professions

High-Tunnel Project

With funding from the Sugarbush Foundation, this university–community partnership constructed two high tunnels at the West State Street Research Gardens to extend food and seed production at the facility, a learning laboratory and demonstration site for undergraduate and graduate students. Food grown in the tunnels is distributed to needy families by CFI. 

Organizations Involved:Community Food Initiatives and Ohio University Department of Environmental and Plant Biology 

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