Auburn Sustainability Initiative

News and Events


Battle to Save Rare Wildlife

Study Abroad in Costa Rica

Auburn's First Annual Sustain-A-Bowl

National Teach-In on Global Warming

Green Lunch Series

GRA in Sustainable Agriculture

Water Watch and Water Conservation

Sustainability Scholarships and Fellowships




February, 2009


Battle to Save Some of the Earth's Rarest Wildlife

What: Butterflies and Climate Change in the Cloud Forests of Costa Rica
Who: James W. Porter, Meigs Professor of Ecology, UGA
When: Tues, Feb 17, 12-1pm
Where: Auburn Student Center, Room 2222

Everyone welcome!

On Tuesday, February 17, renowned ecologist James Porter will talk at Auburn about the work he does with student researchers on butterflies and the effects of climate change in Costa Rica. Porter, who received his PhD from Yale, has spent his career studying the ecologies of the Floridian and Caribbean coral reefs, as well as the cloud forests of Monteverde, near UGA's Costa Rica campus. An expert on the effects of climate change on wildlife, he has testified before Congress five times, most recently on the effects of global warming on coral reefs.

In addition to their study of butterflies in Costa Rica, his group also discovered one of the rarest swallowtails in the world in a newly reforested area. The discovery, he said, "is giving Costa Rican conservationists hope that their ambitious carbon sequestration program will protect some of the rarest wildlife on the planet as well as the earth's atmosphere."

On display at the talk will be an extensive collection of unique and exquisite tropical Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies) from high elevation cloud forests.



Opportunity to Study Abroad in Costa Rica

On Wednesday, February 11, Quint Newcomer, Director of UGA Costa Rica spoke in Haley Center about opportunities for Auburn's student to study abroad at the UGA Costa Rica campus. Since 2001, UGA has been sending students to its farm in the San Luis Valley in Monteverde, Costa Rica, to study and gain unique field experience. Since 2005, this opportunity has also been open to Auburn students. The studies are inter-disciplinary, and not only do students learn about the tropical cloud forest environment, they also learn about another culture through immersion.

Read more about UGA Costa Rica



Auburn's First Annual Sustain-A-Bowl

This February the Office of Sustainability launched Auburn's first annual Sustain-A-Bowl, a resource competition and campaign that aims to encourage everyone on campus and in the community to reduce their water and electricity usage and the amount of trash they produce over the course of a month. Residence Halls in the Quad and Hill are competing against one another to reduce their resource use the most (against a three year average) and those who don't live in the Hill or Quad can play by presenting their utility bills (water and electricity) from February 2008 and February 2009 to the Office of Sustainability.

The campaign aims to encourage sustainable habits, and during this economic challenging time, to reduce the university's utility bills.

The winning residence hall will be invited to a party in their honor in President Gogue's Sky Box in the Jordan Hare Stadium, the play at home winner will receive a green prize.

For more information visit Sustain-A-Bowl website or join the Sustain-A-BowlFacebook Group



National Teach-In on Global Warming

On February 5, Auburn participated in the National Teach-In on Global Warming, one of more than 700 schools, college, universities, faith and civic groups to do so. The aim of the teach-in was to focus discussion on solutions to global warming during this first 100 days of the new administration. Auburn's teach-in included webinars and guest speakers in the afternoon and practical workshops in the evening.

Guest speakers were James McClintock and Adam Snyder. McClintock, an Endowed Professor of Polar and Marine Biology at UAB, spoke about "The ecological impacts of rapid climate warming on the Antarctic Peninsula. "Adam Snyder, executive director of Conservation Alabama, Alabama's only environmental lobby group, spoke about “Conservation Politics in Alabama.”

Daryl Bergquist, Tia Gonzales, Adam Snyde and Matt Williams gave workshops on solar energy in the home, rain barrels, conservation politics and home energy auditing.

Throughout the day Declan Yearwood, an Auburn graduate and sustainable building professional, demonstrated a working solar water heater on the student center concourse.

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Green Lunch Series

When: Fourth Wednesday of every month
Where: Student Center, 12:00-1:00pm

This semester's Green Lunch Series got off to a great start when professor emeritus Norbert Lechner spoke to a packed audience about sustainable architecture.

Correction: In the February email newsletter, Kirk Iversen was listed as working with the USDA. Iversen works in Auburn University, Department of Agronomy and Soils.

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GRA in Sustainable Agriculture

Auburn's Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology (DAERS) is currently looking for a Graduate Research Assistant to conduct research in agrifood systems governance. The successful candidate can apply for two years funding and a tuition waiver. Consideration for applications will begin on March 15.

Click here to read about Auburn Agricultural Economic and Rural Socioogy graduate program

Download a copy of the announcement here [PDF]

For more details, contact Dr. Michelle Worosz


Ph: 334-844-5682

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Alabama Water Watch Workshops and Water Conservation Toolkits


Alabama Water Watch is offering a series of workshops starting February. The workshops will be conducted in Upchurch Hall, Auburn University and participants can receive a certificate which carries Continuing Education Unit (CEU) credit with the university.

For more details on the workshops visit:
Alabama Water Watch

To pre-register go to:
Workshop registration

Or contact Rita Grubb at Ph: 334-844-4785

Water Conservation Tools

Alabama Clean Water Partnership is offering free water conservation tool kits for residents of Alabama. Just visit the website below and receive the following:

  • Leak Detection Tablets

  • Toilet Displacement Bag

  • 5-minute Shower Timer

  • Lawn Watering Gauge
  • “Drops and Watts” information booklet from Legacy, Partners in Environmental Education

  • Rain Gauge

(Auburn sits at the intersection of the Chattahoochee and Tallapoosa River watersheds. Information required for application form.)

Clean Water Partnership free toolkit



Sustainability Scholarships and Fellowships

Auburn Environmental Institute Excellence in Environmental Sciences Scholarships

Scholarships worth $2000 are available to Auburn students of sophomore standing or higher. Recipients will be selected by the Environmental Institute's Scholarship Selection Committee, whose members include Auburn staff and faculty. According to the Institute, “Scholarships are awarded based on academic excellence, relevance of applicant's coursework to the mission of the Institute, extracurricular environmental activities, and environmental career interests.”

Submit applications to:

Or contact the Institute at 1090 South Donahue Drive
Ph: 334-844-4132.
Completed applications must be electronically submitted by 11:00 pm, Sunday, March 15, 2009. Recipients will be notified by April 13, 2009.

Clean Air-Cool Planet Fellowship Program

Clean Air-Cool Planet (CA-CP), an organization dedicated to finding and promoting solutions to global warming, has partnered with the Roy A. Hunt Foundation and created a Climate Fellowship. They are now seeking applicants for the 2009 programs.

For project descriptions and application information visit:

Clean Air - Cool Planet Fellowship application