Archive for the ‘research’ Category

Research-Spring Clean Up

April 19, 2009

For my research post this week I read an article about the citywide spring clean up  in the Baltimore Sun. The article focused on clean ups taking place in Reservoir Hill and Park Heights, but neighborhoods throughout the city participated in the clean up.

In one section of the story the author mentions that residents of Park Heights are replacing a former heavily littered area with a community garden. At the Towson University Environmental Conference last week, one presenter spoke about the various community gardens that Baltimoreans are creating all over the city. If I had more time in the class, or possibly wanted to create and additional text module I think the community gardens would be interesting. If I can find out the location of some of them I may include them on a google map.

The residents interviewed in the story all seem to believe that Baltimore is getting cleaner.  They compare the current year’s clean up to clean ups that have happened in the past years and all seem to agree that while the neighborhoods definitely still have trash and litter, there does seem to be some progress being made. I think the theme of my project is similar. While its is harder and often slower to go green in the city, it can be done.

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Research-Tree Plantings

April 12, 2009

This week, I read a story about a large scale tree planting in Harford County that appeared in the Baltimore Sun. Volunteers in Harford County planted 900 trees to recognize Arbor Day in Maryland in Harford County Park. This story seemed very typical of any story about tree planting other than the fact that it was tied to Arbor Day, which I knew nothing about. The story was also made more interesting by the facts that it included about the benefit that planting one tree offers to the environment.

I also found this story interesting because while at the environmental conference I learned more about the process of tree plantings. I learned that a certain number of the trees planted during projects such as this die after they are planted. Some of this would happen naturally, regardless of the circumstances. However, I also learned that the very young trees that are planted also need a lot of care to be able to mature and grow, and often the resources and staff are not there to maintain the trees after they are planted. It made me question why the trees are being planted if there is no one that is going to work to ensure their success. It is just interesting to me because it goes along with what I seem to be finding more and more throughout the course of this project. Green initiatives often seem to have good intentions, but have to rely on the right resources to back them up or they will fail.

Research

March 8, 2009

After this week’s interview I have decided that I will probably switch gears from what I initially planned to do for my second module. I interviewed Sandy Marenberg, developer for a group of brand new green townhomes for low income homebuyers in Baltimore. Although the homes themselves seem very interesting, there is no one living in them yet and no real interesting story as to why they were built. I’m having a hard time coming up with a real story for this one beyond just describing the houses.

I have thought of another idea in place if that one but have not quite figured out where I would begin looking for people to interview. Instead of profiling the brand new green homes, I could possibly write a story about people who have decided to “go green” at home in Baltimore City. This would feature people who have found creative ways to go green in an urban environment in their homes. I would want to find people who have gone beyond the typical ways that people help protect the environment such as buying reusable bags and turning off their water. I would hope to find people who have done some type of innovative green renovation.

Reading Post-Recycling contest

March 8, 2009

This week I read “St. Ursula recycling contest proves to be a big winner” in the Northeast Reporter. This was the story of a contest held annually at a Parkville school designed to promote recycling among students. The writer focused on the fact that the contest had been far more successful than predicted and brings in an estimated five tons of paper to be recycled each year.

Although this contest takes place at a Baltimore County school and my project focuses on Baltimore City, it does have interesting information about recycling as it relates to Baltimore City. It would be interesting to see what organizations in Baltimore City have a similar program and whether those programs work for the city as well as they do in the county. I had a hard time understanding the specifics of the recycling bins that the writer introduced, and didn’t understand what the number of bins had to do with the amount of paper that St. Ursula was recycling. The fact that there are about 1,000 bins throughout the Baltimore area must mean that there are a large number of organizations that are at least trying to recycle in Baltimore.

I also wonder whether there are schools in  Baltimore City that have similar programs and how those schools compare to schools like St. Ursula.

Baltimore’s sustainability plan

February 15, 2009

This week I found a blog entitled Bay and Environment. This is The Baltimore Sun’s blog and it focuses on environmental issues in Maryland. The February 4th post, Baltimore’s Green Blueprint on the Move is a brief critique of Baltimore’s sustainability plan that was set to be presented before the city’s planning commission on February 5th.

            The post itself was brief but it provided links to an informative piece in the Urbanite as well as a link to the plan itself. The Urbanite piece highlights some of the major points of the plan including plans to clean area bodies of water, create mandates to increase energy efficiency in homes, and to promote urban farming.

            Some have been critical of the plan, but seem to support the fact that there is even a plan in existence. For various reasons I was surprised to see that Baltimore was ranked one of the top ten most sustainable cities in the United States. I am so used to seeing Baltimore ranked at the top of everything negative that it is interesting to see the city ranked high on a positive list. The list also seems timely in terms of my project because some of the points, such as urban farming, seem like possible avenues for stories.

Reading Post-Green Roof Movement

February 8, 2009

This week I read an article entitled Harford County Farmer Sings the Praises of the Green Roof Movement which appeared in the Baltimore Sun. The article is mainly an interview with Ed Snodgrass, a Harford County farmer who supplies the plants that are used to create green roofs. He has supplied the plants for many of the green roofs used for companies in Baltimore, like the National Aquarium.

I was interested to read his views on the need to “re-establish vegetation in Urban areas”. Because I intend to focus on urban greening through my project, his information on why this is important caught my attention. In addition, the article mentioned a few other locations in Baltimore that have installed green roofs such as Morgan State University and the Mikulski Workforce Development Center. I could possibly follow up with some of these places and see whether the green roofs are part of a larger project that could be a possible story idea.

For the most part I found the article interesting. I thought that the fact that the farm had been in existence since the 19th century and thought that part could have been explored a little more. I am curious to know more about why he made the switch from crop farming to growing roof plants. I think if the article focused a little less on the specifics of the green roofs it would make the appeal more universal.

3 Ideas for Multimedia Project

February 3, 2009

My first idea for a multimedia project would be to examine how “Going Green” is being carried out in Baltimore City. The Mayor initiated the “Cleaner, Greener Baltimore” campaign last year. My project would focus on the various groups that are working toward that goal and how “Going Green” is different in urban areas than in other areas. Possible stories could be to focus on the city’s single stream recycling program and whether that has been successful in getting City residents to recycle. Another possible story would be the Masonville Cove project, which is a former shipwrecking site that is being rehabilitated and will be the site of an Urban Nature Educational Center.

 

Another idea would be to focus on Maryland Motorcycle Clubs. Bikers have traditionally had a “tough guy” tattooed image, but there are several different types of bike clubs in Maryland that range from older cruiser riders, young sport bike riders, all female clubs, and more. Many of the clubs hold fundraisers and rides for various causes take place in the Spring. As motorcycle season approaches this seems like it could possibly be a good topic.

 

A last idea would be to feature college students as they figure out what to do after college in a difficult economy. Ideas for stories could include interviewing students to see if their goals have changed, career centers to see how they are dealing with the issues, and maybe graduate schools to see if more students are deciding to continue their education as opposed to entering the job market right now.