Meeting events organized for 2019 in collaboration with our local partners

Pollinators, Buzzways, Private Gardens and Creative Education:  An activated grassroots effort to save Pollinators in the Rogue Valley through political advocacy and touching hearts.   In August 2014, Talent Oregon became the second designated ‘Bee City USA’ in the United States. Very quickly, Talent was joined by Ashland, Phoenix, and Gold Hill, and just this year, Medford become one too. At the same time, Southern Oregon University became the first ‘Bee Campus USA’ in the country! Starting with a few private gardens, expanding to public spaces, pollinator gardens in the Rogue Valley are now being mapped by Pollinator Project Rogue Valley and SOU, to identify locations of ‘Buzzways” for pollinators. How did this happen, and how has this project resulted in growing public awareness and public commitment to pollinators?  Going forward, what are the stresses and challenges to pollinators in the Rogue Valley and elsewhere, especially with respect to the complexities of human behavior on pollinators, as well as its consequences.
A Glimpse into the Possible Climate Future of Oregon Wineries. Vigneron’s and Vintners must manage the grapes they grow on relatively long-time scales. After planting, it typically takes 3 years before a new grape vine produces grapes, and grape vines have been known to produce grapes in vineyards for up to 120 years. This means that managing vineyards, in principle, takes place on long time scales. Grapes are also well known to be highly sensitive to soil and climactic conditions, even on a year to year basis. Accordingly, the additional variation now related to climate change, itself unpredictable has added an additional uncertainty to the management of wineries. How could and might Vigneron’s and Vintners benefit from working with climate experts to understand the possible implications of climate change for the Pacific Northwest's multi-billion dollar wine industry?
The Opioid Epidemic: Up close and Personal. According to the National Institutes of Drug Abuse, at present, more than 130 people die in the United States every day as a result of overdosing on Opioids. As most Americans are now aware, the misuse and addiction of opioids, including prescription pain relievers, heroin and synthetic opioids such as Fentanyl is a serious national crisis that affects public health as well as social and economic welfare.  How have local communities been affected and reacted to this crisis, and how might the tools of science, including for example,  mathematical modeling tools help to understand and mitigate this local impact. 
FIRES!!  Climate models have been predicting for many years that expected changes in climate will be manifest not only through climate measures (temperature, rain fall, sea water rise, etc.), but also through associated changes in the dynamics of the environment, including the incidence and severity of forest fires. While one can argue that forest fires have always been a component of life especially in the Western United States, the combination of climate change with forest management practices over the last 100 years has now put the west at considerable economic and environmental risk. Going forward, what does science say about the  likely impact of forest fires on the economy and quality of life in the Western United States in general and in the Rogue Valley in particular?  How might local municipalities and businesses accommodate or mitigate the threat from forest fires going forward?

 

Reduce, Reuse, recycle: SUSTAIN!!!  While many attribute the movement to recycle to the start of the modern environmental movement in the 1970’s, in fact, it can be argued that creative reuse of materials by humans almost certainly dates back thousands of years, especially for scarce commodities. However, in the 1960s and 70’s, the focus shifted from getting the most out of materials to an effort to deal with the massive amounts of waste produced during the second half of the 20th Century. 50 years later, the focus appears to be shifting again towards the larger and more complex task of resources sustainability, with its many interrelated components and parts. How has this change been applied to several different types of local institutions both public and private and what are the challenges and opportunities represented in these local efforts to promote long term resource sustainability. 
Environmental and agricultural measuring and monitoring in the Rogue Valley.  The geology and geography of Southern Oregon is highly diverse with significant variations in soil composition, hydrology, and climate. In addition, the Rogue Valley has been a major agricultural producer for more than 100 years, providing, for example, a significant percentage of the pears consumed in the United States. In recent years, the rich soils, relative abundance of water and agriculturally friendly climate has resulted in a considerable increase in the diversity of local agricultural products, with a growing emphasis on organic production and regenerative agriculture. In addition, Southern Oregon is a significant producer of cannabis as well as hemp. What challenges and opportunities are provided by ever more  sophisticated measurement and monitoring techniques for understanding  the chemical composition of the Rogue Valley’s soil, water, and air, as well as the chemical composition of the foods and agricultural products it produces?  In particular, what is the likely significant of such measurements to an environment long subjected to the use of agricultural chemicals (pesticides for example), especially given the growing economic importance of food products being marketed for their health benefits. 
Transforming agriculture in the Rogue Valley:Moving from Mono-culture to “Agra-diversity”  For many years and continuing to this day, the agriculturally rich Rogue River Valley of Southern Oregon has produced a significant proportion of the pears consumed throughout the United States. In recent years, however, the Rogue valley has seen a dramatic increase in the diversity of agricultural products produced as well as a growing interest and public concern regarding the local consequences of GMO and pesticide laden conventional agricultural processes. Several years ago, for example, Jackson County banned the growing of GMO crops. The valley is also seen as a national leader in farm to table initiatives and local sourcing of agricultural product including organic seed crops, vineyards and wines, and hemp. Such products commonly derive from organic, agroecological and regenerative farming practices. What are teh features and challenges of this ongoing transformation in local agriculture?  In particular, what initiatives are being taken in the Rogue Valley, to support the growing consumer emphasis on organic and regenerative farming methods, as well as farming practices that have the potential to mitigate climate change?