Friday, July 27, 2012

Close Looks at Birds

I mentioned a few weeks ago a great project going on behind the scenes at CES: we've slowly been cataloging all the pictures ever taken at Chino Farm and trying to get as many of them online as possible.

Well, we've made it through the first stages, and now many of the amazing pictures taken of birds during banding at Foreman's Branch Bird Observatory (FBBO) are available online here.  The species are organized by family to the extent possible, though of course some categories have multiple families, and some birds are just hard to categorize.  But we've done our best!  It was exciting to go through all the pictures that have been taken, and realize first hand the history of the research done at FBBO.

While all of the pictures are impressive, I of course have some favorites, especially the owl and raptor pages.  The raptor page is a good example of what we hope to accomplish with these albums.  In addition to having a photo of each species, we'd like to show differences between males and females, adults and juveniles, and other variation you might see within the species.  At some point we'll also include pictures of the things banders look for when collecting information about these birds.  In addition, over time, more information about each species, including information about when certain individuals were caught, data that has been collected on those species, and possibly even sounds will be added to the pages.  But all of that, of course, takes time!  Not to mention that some of the pictures are, gasp!, on film!  All of those will have to await an intern who can scan them in.

Finally, you can also access the albums from our tables of banding data.  Now, if you are curious about a species that has been recently banded, you can click on the species name and view photos of that bird.

So as a special bonus for blog readers, here are some photos that didn't make it onto the site (yet!):

Check out these Kingfisher feet!

Most people have never seen this bird- the Common Nighthawk
Here's its relative, the Whip-poor-will
I just can't get enough of this bird, the Pileated Woodpecker
Here's some little screech owls
And a little fluffy one
Sharp-shinned hawk
And finally, a young Northern Bobwhite
There are so many great pictures yet to share- hope you check out the albums!  You can also see the latest in bird glamor shots by following CRFRS on facebook.

Tara Holste is the Web Content Manager for the Center for Environment & Society, as well as a recent convert to the world of birding.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Chino Farm: A Week in Pictures

This week at the banding station Amanda Spears caught one of the first migrants of the season: a Black and White Warbler!
Bobolinks are officially here to stay. least to molt. The grasslands are getting filled up with Bobolinks as they feast on foxtail grass and begin their molt before continuing south on migration.
This past week banding on the grasslands jumped in numbers. Among the birds being captured were Orchard Orioles, like this one.
The nesting continues! Grasshopper Sparrows are trying to get one more clutch in before they have to start worrying about migration.
We've been happy to see plenty of young Northern Bobwhite around the grasslands this summer. It seems like they've had a productive breeding season. To check out the latest from the grasslands take a look at our Facebook page.
Next week marks the start of fall banding at FBBO, don't forget to check out our website for the latest updates from the banding station!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What's inside that birdhouse?

Eastern Bluebird nest.  The chick is only a few hours old.

One of the many fun things I get to do as a Field Ecologist with CES is checking the nestboxes on Chino Farms/CRFRS.  There are about 100 boxes spread out over several miles of roads and trails.  More or less once a week from mid-March through August someone checks each box and records what is inside.  Usually, that someone is me.  Most of the time it’s an adventure to make the circuit-  I run into Bluestem Farms staff, I watch an Osprey catch a fish, I hear the wheezy call notes of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, I admire the flowers in bloom. Did I mention this is my job? 
Carolina Chickadess back in the nest after having been banded.

I keep a record of what is in each box all season. I band the chicks when they are old enough and when they have fledged the nest, I remove it so the box is ready for it's next residents.  Each box is a surprise- I never know what will be inside!  A box that was empty last week could have a full nest this week.  A nest that last week had chicks could be all torn up with no birds to be found.  Most of the boxes are used by Tree Swallows and Eastern Bluebirds.  Less frequent residents include Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, House Wrens and Great-crested Flycatchers.  Sometimes the birds banded as chicks stay on the property to breed as adults.  There are several old titmice and bluebirds still around that hatched in one of our boxes.

Of course, a sturdy, water tight cavity is prime real estate to many animals and not all visitors are birds.  Several boxes host Flying Squirrels which we allow to stay.  Mice are frequent squatters and we try to discourage them.  Sometimes, a birdhouse with eggs inside is a boxed lunch for a raccoon or opossum or a snake.  Everything needs to eat.
Young Black Rat Snake inside what had been a bluebird nest.
Mice like our birdhouses quite a bit.

The Tree Swallows have finished nesting for the season, but there are still 3 boxes with House Wren nests and 7 with bluebird nests.  Bluebirds can nest quite late into the summer.  The latest we’ve had a bluebird fledge on Chino was September 6th!  Looks like I have weeks of nest checks still ahead of me.  I don’t mind.

Maren Gimpel is a field ecologist at the Chester River Field Research Station.  Photos and stories about the goings on of CRFRS can be found at or at

Monday, July 23, 2012

Summer Fun at Bombay Hook

This past week the crew at CRFRS took a trip to Bombay Hook in Delaware as a reward for all of their hard work this summer. As we got our things together to start the trip I remembered how exciting it is to go out with a big group and learn together. For many in the crew this was a brand new experience. All the scopes were loaded into the car, binoculars were cleaned up and placed around necks, and Sibley (bird guide) was featured prominently on the dash. Then off we went! On the way into the reserve we were already hearing and seeing plenty of birds, so we knew that it was going to be a good day.
Shorebirds covered the mudflats at Bombay Hook
We arrived at the first pond and set up our scopes. “Rachel can you count the Dowitchers? I’ve got the Semi’s,” Banding intern Amanda Spears said to me as we scanned the pond. Every August Bombay Hook fills up with thousands of shorebirds that are experiencing migration. Many of these birds are among the farthest travelers of any animal. Some of them will have flown up to Alaska to breed and are on their way to South America to winter, and for that one day we were able to witness a part of their journey. “I’ve got a Western (Western Sandpiper) over here,” field ecologist Dan Small said as he looked through his spotting scope. As the interns were learning (and I was beginning to remember) one of the great joys of shore birding is looking through huge groups of birds to try and pick out that one that might be different. Unless you know what you’re looking for Semipalmated and Western Sandpipers look practically identical. We were interested in looking through the flocks to test our identification skills and learn new tricks. As I continued counting Short-Billed Dowitchers, I could hear Dan giving birding tips to the interns and showing them examples of what he looks for when identifying shorebirds.
The interns were learning some new birding techniques!
“Anybody counted those Snowy Egrets yet?” Maren Gimpel, field ecologist, asked. We were taking time to note each species and count each individual so that we could submit the data to an online database called “eBird.”  eBird provides birders an opportunity to keep their own records while simultaneously contributing to a record of bird sightings for the entire country. After our trip, Amanda carefully entered all of the birds we saw and submitted them to the eBird database. These data are then reviewed by the people at eBird and uploaded to the web. By putting the information on the web other birders can also access the information and see where/what time of year other birders have had exciting finds. By the time we left we’d seen a good variety of birds and some pretty exciting ones too! The interns got a fun introduction to birding and we’re so grateful for all their hard work this summer.
Maren Gimpel consults a bird book
To take a look at some of the birds we saw at Bombay Hook take a look at our eBird checklist

Friday, July 20, 2012

Part 2: How do People Make Oysters?

UMD HornPoint Laboratories (HPL):  What an operation!  What a facility!  What a weird group of people!  (teasing…)  They started producing baby oysters in 1997.  Last year they produced 650 million spat-on-shell.  In a perfect world with a gentle mother nature, they hope to produce up to 1 billion.  Regardless, HPL is charged with jump-starting the oyster resurgence in Maryland’s Chesapeake.  Currently, our oyster population is at an all time low of 0.03% of historic levels.  The spat-on-shell that comes out of HPL is the seed oyster for our sanctuaries, harvest reserves and burgeoning aquaculture industry.   The Chester has been recipient for decades and most recently received seeded shell for a 2-acre oyster reef spear-headed by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

Alright, alright, but how does man make oysters and why is there such a variation in our Marylanders Grow Oyster  (MGO) cages!?  Well, people make oysters by first understanding the science of how oysters reproduce and then they must figure out how they eat.   By inducing female oysters to release eggs and male oysters to release sperm by methodically raising water temperatures, HPL can develop superior gametes from the fittest brood stock—hopefully enhancing the genetic fitness of our native Crassostrea virginica against disease pressure.  Once the gametes meet and form larvae, staff at HPL feed and monitor the microscopic swimmers through various stages of development. So here is how to make oysters:  you have to know how to make algae!  Oyster larvae eat algae, but not just any algae.  Their diet is a well-balanced buffet of different kinds of algae--highly regulated, highly supervised, and highly scientific!

Close monitoring of oyster larvae will reveal the formation of an “eye” or dark speck, that indicates the larvae are ready to set.   Ideally, we want the oysters to “set” on other oyster shells to form a reef, but they will set on anything.    So staff must drain massive tanks filled with millions of larvae before the larvae start attaching themselves to the walls and then……put them in the fridge!  Yup, millions and millions of oyster larvae can be stored right next to last night’s left-overs.    I don’t think there is a shucking knife small enough….

While the larvae are chillin’ out, the staff at HPL readies the setting tanks—located on a state-of-the-art pier that has recently been brought on line.   (Following the logic:  bring the larvae to the water, not the water to the larvae.  Much more cost effective!)  The setting tanks are where the larvae find their new home!   Each tank is filled with aged oyster shell that has been dried and cleaned by the Oyster RecoveryPartnership.  The vast majority of the shell comes from the Chesapeake’s shucking houses but a growing portion is coming from restaurants participating in the Shell Recycling Alliance. (Shameless plug: eat oysters at these restaurants; the shells will go back to the Bay with 10 more oysters attached!)

 Alright, so now we’ve got old oyster shell in water pumped straight from the Choptank River.  When we add eyed larvae looking to set, one precocious little oyster larvae will yell out, “follow me, I know where the prime real estate is!”  And that is when it happens.  Predictably unpredictably, oyster larvae will set in “clusters” on the shell, exhibiting what scientist call a “gregarious setting pattern.”  In other words, they like to grow next to other larvae.  The result is that the spat on shell coming out of the hatchery has a variation in density.  Some shell will have 15 spat attached to it and some shell will have 0 spat set to it.  

When our growers pick up their cages with spat-on-shell randomly distributed, each grower starts off with a different amount of spat to care for.  And then it happens.  Each member has different conditions for caring for our oysters!  It is one of the benefits of the MGO program; oysters come to our member’s home and become a real life aquarium at the end of their piers.  It is also one of the factors influencing the amount of spat on shell that survive the growing season and are planted on a sanctuary.  Each member will have to provide the right amount of care based on his or her water conditions.  That includes suspending the cages at the right depth to avoid lethal blow-out tides in the winter and dunking them periodically to avoid suspended sediments from settling on them to the point of suffocation.  And on top of all of that, we throw in the capriciousness of mother nature!  This past year, we experienced heavy spring rains that came down the mighty Susquehanna and essentially dropped the salinity to 0 at the Bay Bridge for a month or more.  Incredible.  Our spat-on-shell are equally susceptible to the harmful effects of low salinity, but there is little that we can do about that.   Some members that were exposed to the “freshet” coming down the bay experienced very high mortality.  Other growers in Langford Bay didn’t experience much of a difference from last year’s conditions--although there is some discussion that our oysters are a little smaller this year.

The best way to care for our oysters coming out of the hatchery is to follow the recommendations on the MGO website: hang the cages thoughtfully so they are not in the mud, but still underwater during low tides; then dunk them periodically to remove suspended silt--this can be as little as once a month depending on where you are and what time of year its.  But to get the full benefit of the program, don’t be shy about pulling up a cage with a friend or family member to see how the oysters are growing and what critters they have attracted into their mini ecosystem!

Mike Hardesty is Assistant Director of the Chesapeake Semester at Washington College and the MGO-Chester River Coordinator.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

How do People Make Oysters?

Well before we answer that question, let’s talk about how people grow oysters.  In 2008 the MD Department of Natural Resources along with Oyster Recovery Partnership and University of Maryland’s Horn Point Laboratories launched “Marylanders Grow Oysters” (MGO).   In a nut-shell, this is a state funded program that puts oyster restoration into the hands of the thousands of citizens living along the Bay’s shoreline.  It’s local.  It’s community-based, and it's fun!

Our local Chester River-MGO program has been in operation for two seasons now, with great success.  Coordinated by CES and assisted with the help of partner organizations like the Chester River Association, it is 100% dependent upon the sweat equity of thoughtful and energetic community members who want to improve the water quality of the Chester—and learn a little something about oysters as they go.

With 60 members and their family and friends, Chester River-MGO is responsible for 260 cages of baby oysters (spat-on-shell).  Each cage can grow anywhere from 0-300 oysters through our September to June season.   If we get a conservative average of 50 oysters per cage that is still 26,000 oysters a year planted on a local sanctuary in Langford Bay.  Not to mention that we also conspire with MGO programs on the Corsica River and Swan Creek to put oysters back in the Chester. 

This past spring CES organized a survey dive of our sanctuary site.  It was murky, and it was hard to find oysters, but find them we did!  There were at least two distinct “age classes” of oysters: our oysters from 2011 and hatchery oysters from probably around 2009. 

Despite the heavy spring rains from 2011, our oysters were alive and well; we didn’t find any “boxes” or empty oysters that had died.  This came as a great relief to our growers in the Chester as other MGO groups around the Chesapeake had experienced high and unavoidable mortality due to the fresh water coming down from the Susquehanna. (Just in case you are wondering, oysters will grow from around 7ppt salinity to full salt water at 35 ppt.  While many of us like them salty for eating, the high salinity water of our Bay also attracts high disease pressure.  With an average salinity of around 12 ppt towards its mouth, the Chester is a low disease area that lends itself for oyster plantings.)

But let’s back track a little.  “Each cage can grow anywhere from 0-300 oysters….”  That is a huge variation!   Somebody should ask the guy who coordinates this effort what the deal is!  Well, a lot of members did ask me what the deal is, so I punted and said, “we should ask the guy who grows these things what the deal is!”  (Actually, it is a team of people at University of Maryland’s Horn Point Labs and they are dedicated, hard working, and smart.  But are they smarter than mother nature...?)

So instead of watching re-runs of “Freddy vs. Jason” last Friday the 13th,  about fifteen members of Chester River-MGO piled into a Washington College bus and took a field trip to one of the east coast’s largest oyster hatcheries.  (Find out more in Part 2, tomorrow!)

Mike Hardesty is Assistant Director of the Chesapeake Semester at Washington College and the MGO-Chester River Coordinator.

Friday, July 13, 2012

From My Perch

As I drove down High Street to the Custom House this morning, I looked straight ahead to the river.  It was calm.  Flat.  The air was cool, the skies were overcast, and that pretty, cyan green ketch that visits Chestertown every summer from New England was poised on the water as though waiting for its close-up, Mr. DeMille.  Close to the High Street dock was a raft of mallards soaking up the warmth of the pavement.

A day at the Custom House always begins with a view of the river.  Lucky I am.  I try to wrangle all of CES from my desk in the house ... all seven who work in the Custom House and the many others who make vital contributions to our good work from farther afield.  You've heard from most of the others.  I'm here to make their jobs easier.

All in a day's work.

Jenifer is the Coordinator and Office Manager for the Center for Environment & Society and can be contacted here.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Summer Scenery at Chino Farm

Even in the heat, it's a lot of fun being outside all day surrounded by animals and plants. Here are some highlights from the Chester River Field Research Station this past week!
Blue Grosbeak Nest

Breeding Ovenbirds at FBBO

Interns and Guests around the  banding truck
Field Ecologist Dan Small extracts a bird during banding
The long-awaited return of the Bobolinks has finally arrived! 
Don't forget to check out the latest from CRFRS and FBBO on the website and facebook pages!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Solar Power Lights Up Kent County

   There was a ribbon cutting ceremony in Worton yesterday to celebrate the dawn of a new era in Kent County.
From the left, Kent County Commissioner William Short, President of Standard Solar Scott Wiater, Vice President of Washington Gas Energy Services Sanjiv Mahan, President of Kent County Commissioners Ron Fithian, Superintendent of Kent County Schools Dr. Barbara Wheeler, House Delegate Jay Jacobs, and President of Kent County Board of Education Brian Kirby.  Behind them is the 1.26 megawatt solar power system.

 You see, the County Government and the Board of Education have done something unique in the state: they have collaborated on a renewable energy project.  Along with partners Standard Solar and Washington Gas Energy Services, the county and the board of ed have installed a 1.25 megawatt solar power system on eight acres between the Kent County Community Center and the Kent County High School.  The system will provide 1,600 megawatt hours of clean energy per year to the high school, the elementary school, the community center, the radio tower facility, and the department of public works.

There are 5,380 panels in this solar power system located between the Kent County Community Center and the Kent County High School.
All of this will be accomplished under the the new net metering law in Maryland that allows for municipalities, non-profits, and agricultural concerns to aggregate their meters when offsetting the power provided to them by a single source of renewable energy, such as solar.  Rather than having to install a solar power system at each facility, the aggregate metering program allowed for a single installation at one site which provided an overall project savings in equipment and efficiencies of more than $500,000.  This project will help the county government and the board of ed reduce electricity costs by roughly $65,000 the first year, and by more than $2 million during the course of the next 20 years or so.  In addition, the system will offset the county's carbon footprint equivalent to removing 215 passenger vehicles per year from the roads, or more than 2,500 barrels of oil consumed, or the burning of six rail cars worth of coal.

And, last but not least, the system will fit into the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curriculum at the public schools.  A real-time monitor has been installed at the high school that allows students to watch the system in operation.  The project will provide teachers with a variety of tools, across multiple disciplines, for teaching students about clean renewable energy.

Here is Rob Busler, of Standard Solar, giving an introductory lesson on solar power to a group of Kent County students.

Check out the article about the project at the Chestertown Spy.

Briggs Cunningham is Climate Action Coordinator at the Center for Environment & Society, and can be reached here.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Monardas of Maryland

Each time I walk by some Monarda in the restored grasslands at Chino Farms I’m reminded how beautiful nature can be.  Others working in the fields this summer have also commented on the beauty of these plants and asked if I knew what they were. Inspired by these questions, here is an overview of the species of Monarda found in Maryland.

Bee Balm, Monarda didyma. Has brilliant crimson flowers with oval, narrowly pointed and toothed leaves. Found in moist woods, thickets and bottomlands.

Monarda is a genus made up of 16 species, five of which occur in Maryland and all of which are endemic to North America. Monardas belong in the family Lamiaceae (the mint family) and share several characteristics common in the mint family such as having square stems and leaves that are fragrant when crushed.
Four out of the five species occurring in Maryland can be found on Chino Farms. Dotted Monarda and Wild Bergamot are found growing in the restored grasslands while Bee Balm and Purple Bergamot were planted in the native plant garden at Foreman’s Branch Bird Observatory. 

Purple Bergamot, Monarda media. Purple Flowers with leaves that are oval or broadly triangular. Found in moist woods and thickets.
Wild Bergamot, Monarda fitulosa. Pink flowers with narrowly triangular or oval leaves that are pointed and toothed. Upland woods, thickets and prairies.

Several Native American tribes used plants in the genus Monarda for medicinal purposes. They were used as antiseptics, made into a tea to treat mouth and throat infections and also used to stop headaches.  Monards were also used to season game meat. 

Dotted Monarda, Monarda punctata. Whitish to pink flowers with narrow oval or oblong leaves. Found in dry fields and roadsides.

Bee Balm, White Bergamot and Purple Bergamot are found in the mountainous regions of Maryland, while Wild Bergamot and Dotted Monarda are widespread and can be found throughout the state. White Bergamot is ranked as a S1 plant (highly state rare) by the Maryland Natural Heritage Program, and Purple Bergamot is ranked as a SU meaning possibly rare but status uncertain. 

White Bergamot, Monarda clinopodia.  White flowers with narrow triangular or oval leaves that are rounded at the base. Found in moist woods, thickets, ravines and banks. Photo by Homer Price.

 Thanks to Homer Edward Price for his use of his photo, Information for this post was gathered from Wikipedia, the MD Natural Heritage Programs, Rare, Threatened and Endangered Plants of MD report, An excellent wildflower guide, Wildflowers in the Field and Forest by Steven Clemants and Carol Gracie was also very useful.

Dan Small is a field ecologist at the Chester River Field Research Station

Friday, July 6, 2012

Time Travel

I’ve been sitting at this desk, off and on, for the past week, pulling all nighters and writing what seems to be an endless procession of archaeological reports. But half the time I’m not really here. I’m actually on a hillside in New Jersey, in the winter of 1778-1779. It’s the middle of the American Revolution, and General Henry Knox and his artillery have stripped the hillside above the little village of Pluckemin and created a small city. They’ve cut down the trees to build barracks, an academy, warehouses, a laboratory for munitions, and workshops for gunsmiths, blacksmiths, carpenters, tinsmiths, and other craftsmen.

What blows my mind is that they built all of this in only two months! How did they do it? What were they thinking? What was life like for these people, men, women, and children?

A South West Perspective View of the Artillery Barracks, Pluckemin N. Jersey 1779 – by Capt. John Lillie
(Courtesy of Morristown National Historical Park)

In my schizoid, time traveling world, I’m also flitting back to the 1980s, when I led a team of archaeologists and historians in uncovering the archaeological remains of Knox’s military city. We mapped stone mounds that held the remnants of fireplaces and chimneys, as well as lines of stone where walls once stood. We plotted artifacts, such as nails, refuse, and gun parts that showed us what went on inside the buildings. Initially, we were simply trying to save this forested slope and its historical remains from residential development. But the project quickly grew into a major mystery story.

• Why was so little known about this winter, which was overshadowed by the previous winter at Valley Forge? Crack open any history of the war, and you’ll find no more than a passing mention of the winter of 1778-1779.

• Why did the soldiers seem so well-supplied and well-fed? The perpetual image is of shivering starving soldiers, huddled in make-shift cabins. But in the Pluckemin barracks we found plenty of bone, shell, and the latest ceramics from England, so they weren’t eating their shoes.

• How is that officers were drinking tea from Chinese export porcelain and inviting the local ladies to visit, a dozen or more at a time? Hundreds of pieces of porcelain were found in a dump behind their barracks, along with broken wine bottles. It sure looks like they were having a good time! They also held a ball, with dancing and fireworks…a real disconnect with our images of bloody footprints in the snow.

• How is it that these men built timber-framed barracks, one of them more than 450 feet long, rather than the crude log cabins that we usually hear about? A guy named John Lillie, a captain there, drew a picture of the barracks; it matched perfectly with what we saw in the field, and we found nails, pane glass and plenty of other evidence of sophisticated construction.

Pluckemin refuse dump with oyster shell, bone, and porcelain
Chinese porcelain – tea cup fragment
Nails – framing, flooring, finishing
Valley Forge
Something wasn’t right…this wasn’t what we expected.

During a decade of excavations at the site, the picture that emerged was of an army that got its act together, an army doing a great job of emulating its British cousin, the most potent military force in the world. At Pluckemin, Knox and Washington built an academy (the nation’s first – sorry, West Point!) and trained officers. The workshops repaired arms, and the Continental Army was resupplied out of the Pluckemin warehouses. It’s a great story, a success story that we don’t often hear. But it certainly explains our eventual victory more convincingly than resorting to “divine providence” (and of course the French had a small hand in it, too!).

Uniform button

In 1989, I left the area and took a job at the University of Maryland (tenure track positions for archaeologists were hard to find then, too). Unfortunately, the amazing collection of artifacts we amassed over the 1980s sat in limbo. Nobody wanted them to leave New Jersey, but there was no-one there to pursue the work.

Fast forward to 2008. Knowing that the archaeological collection still has much to tell us, we formed a partnership to rejuvenate the project. Working on the analysis of this amazing collection are Washington College, Monmouth University, and a Trenton-based cultural resource management company, Hunter Research. Coordinating the effort is the Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House, in Bedminster, New Jersey. That’s the house that Knox lived in for the winter, with his family. The first phase of the work was funded by the Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission. We’ve been chipping away at the artifact collection, building a database, creating a modern GIS, and Washington College students have created a first-generation, three-dimensional model of the camp based on the archaeology.

I’m tasked with writing up what we’ve learned so far. And time traveling.

Stay tuned as we continue this project and post our reports on line. You can learn more, and fly over the reconstructed sites, via the following web sites:

J. Vanderveer House
A short history of the site
A teaser for the 3-D project
A fly-over of the camp as we've reconstructed it
A short demo on how the barracks were built in the computer
WC Archaeology Lab

Dr. John L. Seidel is the Director of the Center for Environment & Society. When he’s not time traveling, he teaches at Washington College and works with Center staff, students, faculty and the community on the sustainability issues of the present.