Ecosphere March 2017

Welcome to the Swarthmore College Sustainability Newsletter! Read on to learn more about sustainable happenings in the Swarthmore Campus community.

This issue features some of the Presidential Sustainability Research Fellows (PSRFs) and Green Advisors (GAs), as well as upcoming events in Ecosphere groups.

On college campuses, misinformation about the environment is considered especially heinous. At Swarthmore College, the dedicated students who work to improve on-campus sustainability are members of an elite squad known as the PSRF's and GA's. These are their stories.

PSRF (n).

Pronounced (Peeeee SURF).

Definition: The Navy Seals of the Ecosphere, this highly-skilled group of students grapples with the administration, sifts through trash, takes walks in the woods, and does a ridiculous amount of reading, all in the name of improving sustainability at Swarthmore.

Brittni Teresi & Kyra Harvey

Crum Woods Engagement and Citizen Science Team

Brittni attending a citizen science event for project benchmarking, banding a bird.


We are hosting a Crum Woods Earth Day Extravaganza as a way of engaging people in the Crum Woods while also launching what we hope to be a more lasting use of the iNaturalist app. The iNaturalist app helps track biodiversity on campus by documenting the different plants and animals that exist in the Crum. The extravaganza will be the first major use of the app while also a way of showcasing the woods as an outdoor classroom that exists right on Swarthmore's campus to both the college and borough community. We are working to foster a love of the woods while establishing a greater connection between the college and outside community. We also want to demonstrate and document the value of biodiversity on campus to serve as a measure of how Swarthmore's woods compare to other outdoor spaces throughout Pennsylvania.

Why this project matters to us:

The Crum Woods are SO important and are often not seen as a valuable or useful space on campus. We want to ensure that the Crum is seen as the tool that it is on campus, which is a place that serves as a connection between communities and also a place to better appreciate the natural environment.

How to get involved:

Download iNaturalist now and start taking pictures of interesting plants and animals you see around campus. This will be added to a database of the biodiversity on Swarthmore's campus, which is pretty awesome! Also attend the Crum Woods Earth Day Extravaganza on April 22nd to join in an iNaturalist challenge. The event will include nature walks where you can learn about the flora and fauna of the woods, art and field journal workshops, and activities like species facepainting and performances! If you would like to volunteer for the event, we would love to have you so please e-mail Kyra or Brittni!

Gavi Mallory

Crum Woods Stewardship


I've been working with the Crum Woods Stewardship Committee and Grounds crew to give the Crum a stronger standing within our community.

Why it's important to me:

The Crum has been a huge part of my life and education at Swarthmore.

How to get involved:

Get yourself into the woods. Ask your professors to take advantage of the space, and utilize it to explore and have fun! Advocate for more institutional support. You can reach out to me for ideas on how.

GA (n).

Pronounced Gee Ayyyyyy.

Definition: The Green Mafia. The Garbage Assessors. Tree Huggers Inc. Presenters of Cinematic Magic (eg. Before the Flood). Itsy bitsy greenie greenie yellow polka-dot bagreenies. GArdians of the GAlaxy. Composting and hosting awesome study-breaks are only a few of the things we do.

Hazlett Henderson, Nikhil Chopra, and Liam Fitzstevens

Waste Bin Standardization

This semester, we've been working with the waste PSRFs Adina and Vanessa on their standardized bin project and we've been following through with standardized stickers for small trash bins across campus. Liam has been working on bin counts for each building and cleaning up the data that Vanessa and Adina already collected; Hazlett has been working with Adina on the trash2treasure revamp "WorthMore" the free store; and Nikhil has been in contact with facilities and office administrators about buying and applying "Incinerator Waste" stickers.

By the end of the semester, we hope to have:

  1. Assisted Vanessa, Adina and other stakeholders in choosing an adequate standardized bin system.
  2. Laid a workable framework for WorthMore, providing for its official opening fall 2017
  3. Applied "Incinerator waste" stickers to office trash bins and communicated effectively with the campus about the rationale behind the stickers.

Chloe Klaus


EnvironMentors connects sustainability leaders at Swarthmore College with students in community school districts. Swarthmore students serve as mentors to high school and middle school students, who work with the faculty at their schools on an environmental project related to energy and climate change. The goal: have the school certified as an "Eco-School," an initiative started by the National Wildlife Refuge that rewards schools on their student-led environmental projects. Swarthmore students help these eco-teams brainstorm, gain access to resources, set goals, and organize their project in partnership with the nonprofit organization GreenAllies.

Eriko Shrestha & Ben Schmidt

Solo Cup Terracycle

About 1,000 Solo cups are discarded on campus every week! As Solo cups are plastic #6, the recycler that Swarthmore uses does not accept them, so we set up receptacles solos for Solo cups at Pub Nite and other on-campus parties to divert as many as we can from the Chester incinerator. After draining and sorting through these, we send batches of hundreds of Solo cups to TerraCycle, a company which provides free waste collection programs for hard-to-recycle-materials.

In the future, we hope to help the campus move away from unsustainable Solo cups entirely!

Natalie LaScala & Rebecca Zhou

Swat Species Showcase

Swat Species Showcase creates bimonthly pamphlets with information about species that can be found around campus or in the Crum woods and includes prizes for participants who submit a picture they take of the featured species!

Swat Species #1

Michelle McEwen & Emily Kibby

Ecosphere Newsletter

You're reading it right now. This is our GA project. Surprise!

Ecosphere Announcements

Mountain Justice - Recap

Before Spring Break, Mountain Justice worked hard to get out the vote for a student referendum on fossil fuel divestment, in which 80.5% of voters agreed that the College should divest, with 55% voter turnout. Only hours after the referendum results were announced, President Smith and Board Chair Spock sent an email to the campus in which they refused to engage with the student body on this important issue on which they had spoken. In response, Mountain Justice staged a sit-in in Chief Investment Officer Mark Amstutz' office on Friday and held an emergency rally and lie-in outside of the Scheurer Room, where the Board was beginning to meet for the evening, later that afternoon.

- Abby Saul

Worthmore - Ongoing/ Upcoming Events

WorthMore, the student free store replacing Trash2Treasure, is collecting written reflections on Swarthmore students' relationship with "stuff" on poster boards in the coffee bars and in boxes located in Shane Lounge, McCabe, Essie's, and Sharples. Some responses will be incorporated into a "stuff" zine in April that aims to jolt prospective and current students into reconsidering what they bring to campus and what they buy once they're here. These collection sites will be open until the middle of March. We look forward to reading about you and your stuff!

Winter clothing drive the week after spring break: WorthMore the free store is hosting a winter clothing drive the week following spring break. Are you graduating and moving somewhere warm? Donate your winter coat! Maybe your boots didn't fit well this winter and you know you'll need something new. Donate your boots! We are also looking for gloves, mittens, and hats. All collected items will stock WorthMore in the fall and provide protection from the cold to next year's coat-less students.

Good Food Garden - Announcements

  • Spring Garden Hours: Saturdays from 3-5 and Sundays from 1-3.
  • Group Cooking Sessions: Sundays 2-3 during garden hours.

Also, we are receiving a new shed for our garden!

Movie Screenings

Years of Living Dangerously, Episode 6: Priceless. Tuesday, March 21st. 7:15-9pm. Sci 199.

An Inconvenient Truth. Time, date, and location TBA.

Sponsored by the Green Advisors Program

If you have any comments or suggestions, or would like your group to be featured in the next publication of Ecosphere, please contact Emily Kibby ( or Michelle McEwen ( Thanks for reading!

Even Obi-Wan is confused.
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