April 18, 2018
ENV seniors Allie Cook and Heath Hidlay won first place in the U-Imagine Center’s 2018 Bear Innovation Competiton for their work on developing a “food forest” at the Whittaker Environmental Research Station (WERS). The food forest represents an effort to balance the production of distinctive foods and other natural resources from perennial plants, including trees and shrubs, that also support key ecological functions. The food forest will produce distinct foods, such as paw paws and pecans, as well as wildlife habitats, healthy and complex soils, and clean water. The creation of a food forest at WERS will provide new learning opportunities for Ursinus students in ENV, Biology, and other departments as well as an alternative model of surrounding community members considering sustainable land management strategies. Allie and Heath’s work grew out of the Fall 2018 ENV-454w Urban Sustainabilty capstone course taught by Dr. Patrick Hurley. Their $3,500 prize, which they have donated to WERS, will be used to realize the implementation of the project beginning in Fall 2018, when students in Dr. Hurley’s ENV-338 Forest & People course will begin planting the first phase of the project.