Ohio Environmental Leaders Institute - All Sessions

Thursday, September 06, 2012
Ohio Environmental Leaders Institute - All Sessions
Thursday, September 06, 2012 - Thursday, January 24, 2013


Building a Network of Effective Environmental Decision Makers

Today's environmental professionals must face and manage complex issues on a daily basis, from energy resources to interactions between people and the environment. Yet few resources exist to help environmental managers not only gather information, but also network with other professionals facing the same problems.

The Ohio Environmental Leaders Institute is a new set of workshops that helps enable environmental professionals to address complex environmental issues and incorporate a broader range of solution strategies into their skill set through forums and hands-on learning.

Click a session title for more information.

September 6-7, 2012
Managing Complex Systems
Stone Laboratory, Ohio State University's Island Campus on Lake Erie, Put-in-Bay, Ohio

October 18-19, 2012
Assessing the Sustainability of Shale Gas Exploration in Ohio
Mohican State Park Lodge, Perrysville, Ohio

December 3-7, 2012
Exploring Renewable Energy in Ohio
Online session

January 23-24, 2013
Planning the Urban Environment
Blackwell Inn, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio


September 6-7, 2012
Managing Complex Systems
Stone Laboratory, Ohio State University's Island Campus on Lake Erie, Put-in-Bay, Ohio

An effective environmental leader requires skills and knowledge in managing complex systems.  This workshop will focus on the problem of harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie and the complex human and ecological systems involved in creating and resolving this problem. Session includes two days of learning activities, field trip, lodging, and all meals. Speakers include Jeff Reuter, Director of Ohio Sea Grant and Joseph Fiksel, Executive Director of the OSU Center for Resilience.

Educational outcomes

  • Awareness of core competencies for sustainable environmental management
  • Understanding of systems-thinking as a core competency
  • Knowledge of concepts and skills associated with collaboration

Presentations: Joseph Fiksel, Executive Director, Center for Resilience at The Ohio State University will share his experiences working with government and business to analyze and manage complex ecological systems. Jeff Reuter, Director of Ohio Sea Grant will present on the historical and current trends in harmful algal blooms (HABs) in Lake Erie and the complexities involved in addressing the causes of HABs in the context of a changing climate.

Leadership Panel: Representatives of key stakeholder groups in the Lake Erie basin will share their perspectives on creating and implementing effective strategies for addressing the causes and impacts of harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie.

  • Carrie Vollmer-Sanders – Director of the Western Lake Erie Basin Project with The Nature Conservancy
  • Robert England, Director of Environmental Health, Erie County General Health District

Skill building exercises: Participants will work in small groups to practice basic interpersonal negotiation skills and methods for facilitating multi-stakeholder collaboration.

Site visit: Participants will have the opportunity to sail on one of Stone Laboratory’s research vessels and see first-hand how researchers assess the impact of HABs on the Lake Erie ecosystem.

Networking: Enjoy an evening out at Put-In-Bay.

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October 18-19, 2012
Assessing the Sustainability of Shale Gas Exploration in Ohio
Mohican State Park Lodge, Perrysville, Ohio

Effective environmental leaders need to be able to understand, explain, and negotiate the sustainability of current and future interactions between human and ecological systems. In this workshop, participants will explore the issue of shale gas exploration in Ohio, while exploring the question of how social-ecological systems should be developed in the future. Session includes two days of learning activities, field trip, single occupancy lodging, and all meals.

Educational outcomes

  • Understanding the role of values in sustainable environmental management
  • Awareness of methodologies for identifying and creating shared values in the collaborative process
  • Methodologies for reaching agreement and overcoming obstacles to agreement

Presentations: Presenters will discuss the potential pitfalls of extractive industries and how communities can prepare for and benefit from the anticipated boom economy resulting from the Marcellus and Utica shale plays. Speakers include Jeff Daniels, Director of the Subsurface Energy Resource Center at OSU.

Leadership Panel: Representatives of private industry, non-governmental organizations, and local government will discuss current and future impacts and their institutions’ responses to coal and shale gas development in eastern Ohio. 

  • Matthew Hammond - Sr. Director, Government Affairs at Chesapeake Energy
  • Bill Stanley - Assistant State Director,  The Nature Conservancy in Ohio
  • Terry Bell - Salem Township Trustee, Jefferson County
  • Joe "Mac" Crawford - Associate Professor of Clinical Public Health, The Ohio State University.

Skill building exercises:

  • Techniques for improving decision making and conflict management for complex and controversial issues.
  • Group activity exploring potential social and environmental impacts of shale gas extraction led by an OSU Rural Sociologist.

Site visit: Participants will visit a hydraulic fracturing drilling site.

Networking: Enjoy a variety of outdoor activities on Thursday evening at Mohican State Park.

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December 3-7, 2012
Exploring Renewable Energy in Ohio
Online session

In this one-week online session, led by Professor Brent L. Sohngen with the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics at The Ohio State University, participants will interact with local and national experts who will share their experiences with renewable energy, including obstacles, policies, and managing the transition from non-renewable sources. This session includes web-based seminars, assignments, interactions with renewable energy experts, and discussion forums.

Educational Outcomes

  • Awareness of national, state, and local trends in renewable energy
  • Knowledge of strategies for addressing barriers and leading transition to renewable sources of energy
  • Awareness of techniques for evaluating the costs and benefits of various renewable energy sources

Presentations: Phil Sharp, President, Resources For the Future and former eleven-term congressman from Indiana will discuss how renewable energy fits into US energy policy. 

Skill Building Exercises: Through a series of presentations and hands on exercises, participants will assess their community's readiness for renewable energy. 

Case Studies: Leading adoption of renewable energy. Leaders from the public and private sector will discuss barriers, incentives, and strategies, including addressing issues of energy demand at different scales and sectors. 

Case Study 1: Solar Energy. Eric Romich, OSU Extension Energy Specialist will provide insights into the development of the PSEG Wyandot Solar Farm the first large-scale solar farm in Ohio.  Eric will outline the development from initial start-up involving discussions with skeptical county commissioners all the way through to meeting local site requirements. 

Case Study 2: Wind Energy.  Nancy Bowen, OSU Extension Community Economics Field Specialist will provide insights into development of the Iberdrola Blue Creek Wind Farm, the first major wind project in Ohio.  Joining Nancy will be representatives from local government and private industry to help you understand what it takes to bring wind energy to your community.

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January 23-24, 2013
Planning the Urban Environment
Blackwell Inn, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio

Most Ohioans live in urban and suburban environments. This session will focus on the strategies involved in transforming Columbus and surrounding suburbs into sustainable communities. Participants will explore opportunities and obstacles associated with changing how we think about and manage urban environmental issues, including waste management, climate change adaptation, mass transit, and water management. Session includes two days of learning activities, field trip, single occupancy lodging, and all meals.

Educational outcomes

  • Skills and methods for leading collective design and implementation of sustainability policies and programs
  • Methods for supporting organizational learning
  • Awareness of strategies for climate change adaptation and mitigation at the local and regional scale

Presentations: Maria Manta Conroy, Professor, City and Regional Planning, The Ohio State University will lead this session as we examine sustainable approaches for managing air, land, and water in urban environments. Group activity exploring linkages between transportation, water, energy, and the environment led by Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission.

Skill Building: Facilitating long-term thinking in a short sighted world: Facilitating visioning processes for local planning using simulations and scenario analyses in sustainability planning.

Leadership Panel: Recognized leaders in urban areas discuss leading future thinking (e.g., identifying connections between social, economic, and environmental sectors and working across multiple scales).

  • John Carter, Watershed Manager, City of Columbus
  • Representatives of private industry, non-profits, and local government working on solid waste, transportation, and energy.

Networking: Dinner and site visit to downtown Columbus (e.g., Audubon Reception and tour)

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