Category Archives: Our History

ERC Housewarming Party!

“Snacks, Swag, & s-Prizes!”

As many of you know, the ERC has begun to move into our own building on campus. This is very exciting!  The new facility will enhance our ability to hold events, host projects and promote sustainability efforts more than ever before. A lot of hard work has gone into making this dream become a reality, and we invite you to join us in celebrating this milestone at our ERC Housewarming Party.

  • What: ERC Housewarming Party
  • Where: The ERC (of course!) – the former Printing Services/Warehouse building
  • Date: Sunday October 13th
  • Time: 2:00pm-5:00pm
  • Cost: FREE!

We invite all of our friends, family, collaborators and the general community to stop by Sunday afternoon to tour the facility, see the progress we’ve made, meet our new Sustainability Coordinator, and if nothing else, enjoy some delicious snacks on us! We’ll also have some activities planned like a guided native tree walk along the river with Dr. Jordan Marshall, short ERC updates by Director Bruce Kingsbury, raffles for ERC swag, and munchies provided by some of our favorite local businesses. Come for the whole time or just stop by for a quick hello to show your support. Either way, we’d like to use this time to thank you for your encouragement and discuss how we can utilize your support for the future.

  • Event Schedule Thus Far:
  • 2:00 pm: Soarin’ Hawk Raptor Rehab Meet and Greet
  • 3:00 pm: Trees of Indiana guided walk with Dr. Jordan Marshall
  • 4:00 pm: Introduction and tour with Dr. Bruce Kingsbury
  • 4:30 pm: Prize winners announced
  • Snacks and refreshments served entire time

We hope to see you there!

Meet Our NEW Sustainability Coordinator

Samantha Theisen is the Sustainability Coordinator for the Environmental Resources Center at Purdue University Fort Wayne. She came to Purdue Fort Wayne after obtaining her Bachelor of Science from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP) with a focus in Natural Resources Planning and Sustainable Energy. Her degree concentrated largely in Land Use Planning and Social and Policy Sciences.

Samantha Theisen

“My heart is in higher education and I’m excited to be in a position that combines both my education and what I do in my free time. When I’m not in the office you can find me cooking, hiking, basking in the sun, binging reality TV shows, hammocking, or tending to my houseplants.”

Samantha has held several university setting positions during her time at UWSP and also has a wide array of experience in local government settings working on projects surrounding aquatic invasive species, brownfield redevelopment, bicycle and pedestrian route planning, agrotourism, nature-based recreation, and water quality monitoring, just to name a few. She is passionate about all things outdoors and preserving public open space so much that she lived a leave-no-trace lifestyle solely in U.S. National Parks for the first 5 months following graduation. She used this experience as a time to visit the backcountry of 22 national parks all while being an advocate of public lands and natural resource conservation. When you see her on campus or around the community, give her a warm welcome!

ERC Partnership Facilitates Experiential Study of Environmental Sociology in Blackford County

Dr. Sherrie Steiner, Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology at IPFW
Dr. Sherrie Steiner, Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology at IPFW

The ERC is assisting professor Sherrie Steiner and her Environmental Sociology students to produce maps of industrial sites and environmental hazards in Blackford County, 50 miles south of Fort Wayne. According to the 2013 County Health Rankings, Blackford County ranks 89 out of 92 for Health Outcomes.  In particular, residents suffer from elevated rates of certain cancers and neurologic diseases.  Residents formed Blackford County Concerned Citizens in 1999 over concerns about the county’s rates of cancer and neurological illnesses with a desire to improve the quality of life through citizen action to investigate the diseases that are prevalent and by advocating to have these diseases investigated.  They recently partnered with Hoosier Environmental Council to assess the environmental health risks in the area.

There is a substantial industrial history in Blackford County beginning with the 1880s oil and gas boom.  This has raised questions of whether there might be links between health and environmental conditions.  With the assistance of the ERC, Steiner’s environmental sociology students will begin the process of mapping the industrial legacy of Blackford County.  Using ArcGIS software, students will create a series of maps that depict the location of various industries over time, their industrial legacy, and the current buildings on those industrial sites.

“The mapping expertise that the university brings to this project are a tremendous benefit for the community,” said Dr. Indra Frank, the Hoosier Environmental Council’s environmental health project director.  “This will help us have a clearer picture of possible environmental hazards.”

“This project has been collaboratively designed and implemented with our community partners,” said Sherrie Steiner, Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology at IPFW.  “I am hoping that this experience will strengthen a sense of civic responsibility and personal efficacy within students and among members of the community as pertains to environmental engagement.”

Steiner’s unique class is made possible through the collaborative community efforts of Blackford County Concerned Citizens, Blackford County Historical Society, and Hoosier Environmental Council.  This service learning course is made possible by the generous support from Indiana Campus Compact with matching funds from the IPFW Sociology Department.  Opinions or points of view expressed here do not necessarily reflect the official position of Indiana Campus Compact.

Blackford County Historical Society, where students are researching local industrial history. Source: Sherrie Steiner.