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Spotlight Stories in Outreach

A common mistake people make when canning is not following proper processing times. Image: Christie Clancy
Extension specialist: Carefully follow instructions to preserve foods safely
Whether you picked a basket of tomatoes from your own garden or purchased a peck of cucumbers from your favorite farm stand, you can continue to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the year by properly preserving them.
Student Farm to host ‘Art on the Acre’ event July 16
The Student Farm invites families and community members to their free “Art on the Acre” event from 4 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, July 16, located on the farm's one-acre site near the intersection of Big Hollow and Fox Hollow roads.
Student Farm and Lemont Barn to host home gardening workshop June 25
The Student Farm at Penn State and the Barn at Lemont are hosting a free “Tools and Techniques” home gardening workshop on Sunday, June 25 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Student Farm, located at the intersection of Big Hollow and Fox Hollow roads.
Creating a greener future – one PawPrint at a time
The PawPrint, a student-centered sustainability metric, helps students at Penn State’s University Park campus understand how they can behave more sustainably by making better day-to-day choices.
Solar power to the people
Tonight, try this: Turn the main fuse in the house off and see how it feels to live without electricity for 24 hours. No lights for reading, no TV for information, no air conditioning to keep you cool, and no stove to heat a meal.
Faculty Conference to focus on advancing sustainability pedagogy and leadership
The first Sustainability Curriculum Consortium (SCC) Faculty Conference is scheduled for June 26-27, 2017 at the Penn State Center in Philadelphia. The organizers seek to elevate awareness and practices in higher education to advance pedagogy, content and leadership for sustainability. The two-day event mixes presentations, workshops and peer-to-peer exchanges on topics including curricular development models, course design practices for sustainability, solar energy development, environmental justice and community-engaged scholarship practices.
Free screening of documentary ‘The Age of Consequences’ set for April 11
A free screening of the documentary "The Age of Consequences" followed by a panel discussion will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 11 at the State Theatre in downtown State College. The event is free and open to the public.
Campus and Community Sustainability Expo scheduled for April 24
Penn State students will showcase their semester-long projects at the Campus and Community Sustainability Expo from 5 to 7 p.m. on Monday, April 24 at the State College Municipal Building. During the spring semester, these students partnered with local government and community organizations to research and propose sustainable solutions addressing various needs in the surrounding communities. This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided.
Image Credit: SeamusMcGraw.com
Acclaimed author Seamus McGraw to give talk on conversation in the age of climate change Nov. 29
On Tuesday Nov. 29th at 1:30 p.m., author Seamus McGraw will be giving a public talk at the Foster Auditorium located in Pattee Library on Penn State’s University Park campus. McGraw is a freelance writer and acclaimed author whose work examines the lives of everyday people dealing with the impacts of big energy and climate change. At a time when the divide between the haves and have-nots, urban and rural people, and liberals and conservatives appear to be at an all-time high, McGraw’s writing is more important than ever.
Free screening of documentary ‘After Coal’ on Nov. 29
A screening of the documentary "After Coal" will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 29 at the State Theatre. Co-sponsors of the event include Penn State's Sustainability Institute, Center for Global Studies, Sierra Club Moshannon and Rock Ethics Institute. The screening is free and open to the public.
Screening, discussion of climate change film ‘Before the Flood’ set for Nov. 2
"Before the Flood," a new National Geographic documentary film about climate change featuring Leonardo DiCaprio, will be shown in a special screening at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 2, in 22 Deike Building on the Penn State University Park campus. The event is free and open to the public.
New York Times reporter Ian Urbina on oceans, fracking and worker safety
From ocean outlaws and glue workers to fracking and clean coal: Perspectives on communicating science from NY Times investigative reporting and narrative story telling
Foliage display may suffer in parts of Pa. due to drought conditions
Drought conditions in parts of Pennsylvania, particularly in the northcentral region, are likely to dampen the fall foliage display, according to a forest ecologist in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
Bug appétit: Great Insect Fair highlights insects as food
Chocolate chirpies. Cricket cookies. Super-insect trail mix. Tune up your taste buds for these treats and more at Penn State's 2016 Great Insect Fair, set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10, at the Snider Agricultural Arena at University Park.
Penn Staters reminded to reduce water use during drought watch
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has declared a drought watch for 34 Pennsylvania counties, including Centre County. Penn State is asking all members of the University community to follow the voluntary practices outlined below:
Learn to eat and live healthier at the 'Family Room' at Ag Progress Days
Children and family members can play mini games, watch food demonstrations, taste healthy food and drink, participate in a scavenger hunt, and learn first aid and firearm safety tips in the Family Room
Ag research, gardening, therapeutic animals among highlights at Ag Progress Days
The College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State conducts nearly $100 million worth of research each year at research stations and in labs scattered across the commonwealth. Penn State's Ag Progress Days exposition, which takes place Aug.
Climate Scientist Richard Alley inspires Green Teams at annual luncheon
Penn State Green Teams celebrated their success over the last year at their annual June luncheon, hosted by the Sustainability Institute, in the HUB-Robeson Heritage Hall.
Brazil's rainforest rebounds as a long-view investment in research and local talent pays off
“Take a gas mask.” That was the brusque advice I got as I boarded the bus for Paragominas. The year was 1996, and Penn State ecologist Chris Uhl had invited me to Brazil to visit Imazon, the small research institute he had founded near the mouth of the Amazon.
Student Farm Club holding Local Foods Night, movie screening April 18
The Student Farm Club invites students, faculty and community members to dinner and a movie — Local Foods Night and a free screening of the documentary film “Just Eat It” — on April 18 as part of Penn State’s Earth Week activities. 
Free screening of film “Glacial Balance” to be held during Earth Week
There will be a free screening of the award-winning film Glacial Balance Tuesday, April 19, from 7-9:30 p.m. in the HUB-Robeson Center’s Freeman Auditorium. A panel discussion, moderated by Penn State’s Sustainability Institute director Denice Wardrop, will follow the screening.
American Indian powwow to return April 2-3
After a one-year hiatus, Penn State’s signature diversity event, featuring American Indian dancers and drum groups from communities and reservations across North America, is returning to central Pennsylvania.
At the Maple Harvest Festival, the cultural history station is one of five interactive areas directed by Penn State students. Image: Penn State
Shaver’s Creek Maple Harvest Festival to be held March 19 and 20
During the Maple Harvest Festival and Pancake Breakfast at Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center, visitors can enjoy an all-you-can-eat breakfast while learning about the maple sugaring process from tree to table. The 33rd annual Maple Harvest Festival will be held at Shaver’s Creek on March 19 and 20 from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The festival, which began in 1984 and also features live music, storytelling and live birds of prey and reptile shows, welcomes approximately 2,000 visitors each year.
Art education professor educates high school students about global water crisis
A group of Virginia Beach high school students visited Penn State's University Park campus in early September to learn how to respond to the global water crisis by making point-of-use ceramic water filters. The visit was part of a curriculum research project led by B.
Global Programs Green Team connects with colleagues in Burkina Faso
The University Office of Global Programs is known for providing faculty and students with global perspectives through study abroad experiences and other programs. Recently, the Global Programs Green Team was also able to broaden its perspective, on sustainability efforts.
Penn State helps blaze trails on Pittsburgh’s North Side
Students explore ways to link communities, historical sites Penn State students are collaborating with students from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and Chatham University to map trails that will connect community assets in 18 neighborhoods on the North Side of Pittsburgh.
PA manufacturing to showcase best practice in sustainability through NASCAR Challenge
E3 (Economy - Energy - Environment): The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U. S. Department of Commerce's NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and NASCAR Green are working together to encourage businesses to operate in a green and sustainable fashion by launching the third NASCAR Green/E3 Challenge. The Pennsylvania E3 initiative assists manufacturers in operating in a more efficient, competitive, and sustainable manner resulting in a more profitable business. E3 manufacturers begin by participating in assessments and training provided by technical centers such as PennTAP, NWIRC and DVIRC.
Shaver's Creek offers opportunity, discovery to students and community
In 1990, a Golden Eagle was released into Pennsylvania from the Hershey Zoo after being hatched and raised by its resident adult pair.
Sustainable farming keeps the farmer alive
Originally published in the May 2015 issue of Voices of Central PA Bill Callahan’s alarm sounds at 5:30 every morning. He takes time for reading and reflection, and then goes out to feed his animals.
vamos lion chariot
Vamos! Lion Chariot offers Happy Valley sustainable 'transportainment'
If you live near the University Park campus, or have visited within the last few years, there’s a decent chance you’ve seen Miner or another lion chariot driver maneuvering a rickshaw around town or through campus. Often, one of the chariots is decorated for the holidays.
Penn State joins universities worldwide in historic fight against global hunger
Penn State is one of nearly 50 universities worldwide that have banded together to address the global issue of hunger. Leaders from these universities will sign The Presidents’ Commitment to Food and Nutrition Security – a declaration acknowledging their commitment to make food insecurity a priority.
Penn State, ClearWater Conservancy collaboration results in Musser Gap Greenway
The Musser Gap Greenway, the result of years of collaboration by Penn State and ClearWater Conservancy, officially opened to the public on Friday, Oct. 17. The Greenway links the Centre Region bikeway system to the Musser Gap trail allowing for travel between the State College area and Rothrock State Forest.
Slide with four photos in a collage showing different areas of engaged scholarship
International conference on engaged scholarship to feature many Penn Staters
Penn State will be well-represented by faculty, staff and students attending and presenting at the Engagement Scholarship Consortium Conference, being held Oct. 7-8 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Faculty and staff from multiple campuses, Outreach and Online Education, Student Affairs, the Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence and other areas all will be present.
PollenNation graphic
Penn State's Great Insect Fair celebrates pollinators
Why are pollinators so important to our daily lives? Find out at Penn State's Great Insect Fair, taking place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 13, at the Bryce Jordan Center on the University Park campus. The theme of this year's fair is "PollenNation," according to fair coordinator Steve Jacobs, senior extension associate in entomology.
Led Lights on the marsh
'Shine a Light:' Millbrook Marsh Illuminated
On Friday and Saturday evenings from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Sept. 12 and 13, at Millbrook Marsh Nature Center (548 Puddintown Rd., State College, Pennsylvania), artist Ann Tarantino’s installation "Shine a Light" will be visible in the waters of the marsh. This event is free and open to the public. There is a suggested donation amount of $10 per family. "Shine a Light" is sponsored by the Hamer Center for Community Design.
SCC wordmark
Fall kick-off to celebrate town-gown sustainability projects
The Sustainable Communities Collaborative (SCC), a collection of Penn State classes, is partnering with the State College Borough this year to promote local sustainability efforts and the relationship between Penn State and the local government. The SCC is hosting an event on Thursday, Sept. 11th from 4-6 p.m., at the lobby of the State College Borough Building located at 243 S. Allen St., to celebrate past SCC collaborations and introduce fall projects.
Recycling bins at Arts Fest
Alumnus drives Arts Fest's effort toward a zero-waste event
Brad Fey, Class of 1994, looked at the situation and realized he couldn’t do everything himself. Instead of getting discouraged, he galvanized town-gown relations to help Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts reduce its annual carbon footprint on Happy Valley. Fey, a local resident who volunteered for the trash crew the last few years, noticed something as he looked inside trash bags that were placed around State College during Arts Fest: they didn’t always contain only trash. Plenty of recyclable items were also visible, so Fey turned into a rogue environmentalist.
Dralion
Cirque du Soleil performance shows quest for harmony between humans and nature
Fusing the 3000 year-old tradition of Chinese acrobatic arts with the multidisciplinary approach of Cirque du Soleil, Dralion draws its inspiration from Eastern philosophy and its never-ending quest for harmony between humans and nature. From October 8-12, State College will have its final opportunity to experience this unique and colorful Cirque du Soleil signature production that has performed in more than 150 cities.
Graduate Advait Kumar believes the world is ready to tackle the water issues of families in rural India. He's already gotten started.
Bringing Clean Water Home
Nestled on the banks of the Ganges, Kanpur, India, is particularly beautiful during monsoon season. That’s when the river swells and ancient, turquoise temples are lush with vegetation. But when the rains stop, temperatures soar as high as 120 degrees. Dust storms are not uncommon.Advait Kumar, who grew up in Kanpur and recently graduated from Penn State with a degree in electrical engineering, remembers the punishing weather. And there’s something else he’ll never forget—watching domestic workers line up behind his family’s house in Kanpur, waiting to get clean water.
Dump the Pump
Ride free and "Dump the Pump" on June 19
CATA will join other public transportation systems nationwide to encourage area residents to participate in the ninth annual Dump the Pump Day on Thursday, June 19. Free rides on all CATABUS routes the entire day.
Dr. Hogan and student
State College Borough hosts Sustainable Communities Collaborative event
State College Borough hosted a celebration Tuesday, April 29, in the borough office, 243 Allen St., to mark the end of the semester with the Sustainable Communities Collaborative (SCC). Penn State faculty, staff and students, connected to the courses, were at the event to present their work and discuss the projects they were a part of in connection to the SCC partnership with the State College Borough. "The impact of your efforts will extend far beyond the project or a semester. You are contributing to a new approach for sustainable communities, and that will endure for generations," said President Rodney Erickson.
'The 9 Billion People Question' symposium set for Feb. 7
The United Nations estimates that by 2050 the planet’s human population will be 9.6 billion -- stretching the resources of an already resource-stretched world. “The 9 Billion People Question: The Challenge of Global Resource Scarcity,” the 2014 symposium of the Penn State Journal of Law & International Affairs, will examine the impact of global resource scarcity on the world’s legal, agricultural, and security environments. The symposium will be held at 9 a.m. Feb. 7, in the Apfelbaum Family Auditorium of Lewis Katz Hall at Penn State Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle, Pa., with simulcast to the Lewis Katz Building at the University Park campus of Penn State.
Dr. Tom Hogan and a student at the SCC kick-off celebration.
Sustainable Communities Collaborative celebrates kick off of spring projects
The State College Borough and the Sustainable Communities Collaborative had a kick-off celebration at the municipal building, Wednesday, January 22. Speakers at the event included Tom Fountaine, borough manager; Denice Wardrop, director of Penn State's Sustainability Institute; and vice president and provost, Nick Jones. "This is a true town gown partnership which works to elevate and expand the opportunities for faculty, staff and students to be involved in the community and connects residents to the work being done on campus," Fountaine said.
"Water Blues, Green Solutions" is an interactive film project telling the stories of communities creating green solutions for our water blues – flooding, pollution and scarcity.  Image: Penn State Public Media
Penn State documentary addresses nation’s 'water blues'
The nation’s potable water sources are chronically threatened by an out-of-date water infrastructure, stormwater runoff and record-breaking droughts. Filmmakers at Penn State Public Media recognized this environmental dilemma and produced an interactive documentary project exploring how cities across the country are adopting innovative green solutions for their water blues. “Water Blues, Green Solutions” takes the viewer on a journey to Philadelphia, Portland, Ore., San Antonio and the Bronx showcasing communities that are using green infrastructure – land conservation, green roofs, rain gardens, porous surfaces and other methods – to remedy the challenges of flooding, pollution and scarcity.
Two Penn State students work together to remove the overgrown weeds from a rain garden that can help manage storm water in Philadelphia.
Going Green in Philadelphia
Penn State Cooperative Extension, Penn State’s College of Arts and Architecture, and Penn State Public Media come together to revamp green infrastructure sites as part of the Water Blues, Green Solutions Stormwater Management Project. Wilson Lee, a junior in Penn State’s landscape architecture program, wiped the sweat and dirt from his brow under a hot October sun. Along a busy street in the heart of central Philadelphia, Lee joined a group of other Penn State students, staff, and community volunteers to revamp two green infrastructure sites in the city he calls home.
Musser Gap Greenway to connect State College with Rothrock in Spring 2014
Musser Gap Greenway to connect State College with Rothrock in Spring 2014
Construction is underway on the first phase of the new Musser Gap Greenway, a recreational connection between Rothrock State Forest and the proposed Whitehall Road Regional Park. The trail will be completed and open in spring 2014.The effort is an exciting collaboration between ClearWater Conservancy and Penn State.
Town-gown relations a high priority for Penn State
The line between town and gown is growing thinner as Penn State University Park and State College Borough continue to partner on efforts to better community engagement.
Professor leads project to breed beans resistant to climate stresses
Professor leads project to breed beans resistant to climate stresses
With support from a $5 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development, an international team led by Jonathan Lynch, professor of plant nutrition in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, will establish the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Climate-Resilient Beans.
Forty Ugandan farmers and farming educators learned how to properly cook soybeans during a four-day workshop lead by Dorothy Blair, a former assistant professor of nutrition. Image: Penn State
Former nutrition professor uses soybeans to expand traditional Ugandan cuisine
In June, Dorothy Blair, former assistant professor of nutrition, spent a month in Masindi, Uganda, as a nutritionist, helping soy farmers and farm educators realize the cooking possibilities for soybeans. Blair went at the request of the Masindi Seed and Grain Growers Ltd., a friendly, small-scale cooperative that stores and grinds the region’s major crop — maize — mostly for the U.N. Food Program.
Faculty sought for town-gown initiative
Faculty sought for town-gown initiative
The Sustainable Communities Collaborative announced a partnership with the State College Borough that will engage students at University Park with the community in a pilot program that links community-based sustainability projects with existing courses across the University. Six projects will be addressed through five Collaboration Teams in this fall’s pilot; connecting a variety of government services with academic disciplines campus wide.
Red-throated Caracaras spotted in mountains of Honduras. Image: David Medina
International community conservation efforts to help rare raptor
Late last spring, using community ties and lots of patience, a team of Honduran and U.S. researchers found the nest of a rare Central American bird-of-prey.The discovery of breeding Red-throated Caracaras in northeastern Honduras may give conservationists just enough time to explore the reasons for the raptor's demise in the region and help rescue it, according to Mark Bonta, assistant professor of earth science, Penn State Altoona, who led the discovery team.
Momix will take fanciful dance through the natural world in 'Botanica'
Momix will take fanciful dance through the natural world in 'Botanica'
Nature, like the weather, is ever changing. In its dance-theater production "Botanica," Momix revels in the animated world of nature and its evolving beauty. The internationally famous company of dancer-illusionists, last seen at Penn State in a 2009 performance of "Lunar Sea," opens the Center for the Performing Arts 2013–2014 season with its production of "Botanica" at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12, in Eisenhower Auditorium.
A camper attending Penn State's SCIENCE-U Ecology Camp displayed a portion of a rats skull she had found while dissecting an owl pellet during an activity held at the Arboretum at Penn State on the morning of July 16. The pellets are regurgitated from an owl's digestive track and a variety of undigested treasures can be found including bones and fur. Image: Patrick Mansell
The wild wonders of your own backyard
Catching fireflies and looking for lizards are standard summer activities for kids. Ecology Camp: The Wild Wonders of your own Backyard, hosted by Science-U, gave students in grades four-seven a chance to learn more about those wonders.
PennTAP provided high-impact services to businesses in 2012
When managers at Colteryahn Dairy in Pittsburgh started to discuss equipment upgrades for the family-owned and -operated business, they realized they needed an expert to help them decide how to replace old and inefficient technology – some of which dated back to the 1960s.
Penn State key partner in new breeding bird atlas
Pennsylvania birders twitch from arrival of second atlas
With the dedication of more than 2,000 volunteers, 52 authors, and a number of trained ornithologists, geographic information specialists, and other professionals, the Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in Pennsylvania was published in November 2012 by the Penn State University Press.
A Penn State student showed residents of Arusha, Tanzania, how to operate the Mashavu telemedicine system as part of the Humanitarian Engineering Social Entrepreneurship (HESE) program in Penn State’s College of Engineering.
Humanitarian engineering students create solutions for Kenyan farmers
East Africa’s harsh climate and short growing season leave many small farmers in Kenya without a stable source of food or income for much of the year. Traditional greenhouses are unaffordable for most Kenyans.
A little brown bat hangs onto a gloved finger at Shaver's Creek Environmental Center.
Shaver’s Creek witnessing collapse of Pennsylvania bat population
Doug Wentzel can count the number of little brown bats at Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center on one hand. Wentzel, a naturalist and program director at Penn State’s nature center, has been observing the flying creatures for years and in the past, he’s seen thousands make their summer homes in central Pennsylvania.
How can kids explore the role of water in shale gas drilling?
Two new, youth-oriented online presentations from Penn State Extension explore the role of water in shale-gas drilling and production in the mid-Atlantic region.
Penn State hosted 21st Century Automotive Challenge May 16-19
Car wars: Alternative vehicle public expo hosted by Penn State
The 21st Century Automotive Challenge hosted drivers and enthusiasts of vehicles representing a broad range of automotive power choices, including electric, hybrid, pluggable hybrid, compressed natural gas, and biodiesel.
The Hurricanes, team winner of the geared division, explain their project to judges Eli Blumenthal (left) and Susan Stewart (back left), while their teacher Heather Spotts (right) watches.
Middle school students compete in 2nd Annual PA KidWind Challenge
Students from around the state participated in the 2nd Annual PA KidWind challenge held at Londonderry School in Harrisburg, Pa. on Mar. 23. Local area middle school students took home cash prizes for their turbine designs and presentations.
Farmers who commit totally to sell locally can make a profit
Farmers can make a profit selling their produce directly to local businesses, but they must not let possible new costs weaken their commitment to the new venture, according to an international team of researchers.
Director Frank Christopher and Jon Cradit rest after climbing down into a cave inside the Edwards Aquifer in San Marcos, Texas.
Water Blues, Green Solutions
The Sustainability Institute is collaborating with Penn State Public Media on their upcoming production of a national video documentary. “Water Blues, Green Solutions” shows how cities from Philadelphia to San Antonio to the Bronx are using natural systems to clean, absorb, and help manage water.