ROAR 4 Climate

Clearinghouse for Climate Change Action in Central Ohio

Planting the seeds

The Regional Ohio Action for Resilience brings together community groups, concerned citizens, religious leaders, social justice leaders, non-profits, businesses, educational institutions and governmental entities to collaboratively create a more resilient region. We like to get...


ROAR has its roots in an idea that emerged in the summer of 2017. Terry Hermsen, professor of English at Otterbein University, contacted a number of faculty at small colleges around central Ohio: Otterbein, Denison,...


ROAR envisions a de-carbonized upper-Scioto watershed that is ecologically, economically, socially, and bio-regionally just and healthy. ROAR fosters collaboration between organizations, agencies, and individuals, catalyzes action through existing and new programming, develops innovative funding mechanisms...

Planting the seeds

The Regional Ohio Action for Resilience brings together community groups, concerned citizens, religious leaders, social justice leaders, non-profits, businesses, educational institutions and governmental entities to collaboratively create a more resilient region.

We like to get our hands dirty, planting the seeds of change and watching them grow. ‘Seeds’ can be ideas or projects just waiting for the right people to guide them.

What is growing now

Proposed Intel Chip Plant near New Albany in Licking County – Intel announced plans in January 2022 for an initial investment of more than $20 billion in the construction of two new leading-edge chip factories in Ohio. The investment will help boost production to meet the surging demand for advanced semiconductors, powering a new generation of innovative products from Intel and serving the needs of foundry customers as part of the company’s IDM 2.0 strategy. To support the development of the new site, Intel pledged an additional $100 million toward partnerships with educational institutions to build a pipeline of talent and bolster research programs in the region. ROAR is opposed to this development in its current form as it will destroy numerous wetlands and other natural areas on the site.

ROAR Academy – In its second official year, the ROAR Academy is a collaboration between multiple universities to insert environmental activism, education and hands-on projects as part of the summer internship programs of Otterbein University, Denison University, Kenyon College, OSU Marion and Ohio Wesleyan University. Photos from the 2021 Academy can be found here.

Westerville Conservation Corridor – Several parks departments, universities, individual contributors are in the planning stages of creating a conservation corridor to connect habitat blocks together in the area that includes Alum Creek South Park, Walter Cherrington Park, Westerville Senior Center property, the riparian zone that surrounds Alum Creek, Otterbein Cemetery, Hannah Maye Park, Otterbein Lake, Otterbein Campus Grounds, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Spring Hollow Wildlife Education Area, Alum Creek Park North, Heritage Park, the Westerville Community Center and Sports Park property and some smaller parcels. This initiative is dependent on the results of the visioning process of the RAPID5. The vision plans were released in July and commenting is underway. Read more about RAPID5 here.


EPN Summer Field Trip Series: If you listen carefully…It Sounds Like Love

In the beginning was the seed, and the seed made sound, and if you were to listen carefully you might say that it sounds like love…” Cadine Navarro.

In collaboration with The Frank Museum of Art at Otterbein University, this EPN program is a celebration of beauty in the sounds of nine Ohio prairie seeds: Wild Bergamot, Big Blue Stem, Echinacea, Little Blue Stem, Dogbane, Switch Grass, Milkweed, and Black-eyed Susan, and the steps we can take as a bioregional community to help them thrive again1.

For centuries these grasses were foundational to the glaciated prairie ecosystems of north central Ohio and scattered throughout the present-day United States Midwest. Requiring a unique combination climate conditions, soils, and Native American land management.

In recent decades, these seeds were ploughed under, shuffled aside, and silenced through land use conversion in agriculture and infrastructural development, and increasingly through competition with nonnative species. Southern Delaware County and northern Franklin County sit at the center of one of the fastest growing human communities in the United States. While these prairie seeds have remained resilient in the regional soils, stabilizing on the edges of farm fields and the remaining forest systems when able, the opportunities that humans create for these seeds to regenerate themselves is increasingly limited. In the past thirty years Delaware County’s population alone has grown by more over 220%2 and with it a growing conversion of green fields into permanent impervious surface cover – cementing a fixed ceiling over the native prairie seeds below.

In our human-centric lives it can be easy to miss or ignore the vibrational voices of Wild Bergamot, Big Blue Stem, Echinacea, Little Blue Stem, Dogbane, Switch Grass, Milkweed, and Black-eyed Susan seeds in our environment, but they are there. Artist Cadine Navarro will show participants that the seeds still speak. This morning event will guide and immerse participants through series of indoor and outdoor spaces and places showcasing the beauty of native, Ohio prairie ecosystems. Navarro’s artistic feature It Sounds like Love will evoke meaning, place-making and action for greenspace storytelling and conversation on these nine native grasses inside Otterbein University’s Frank Museum of Art, Westerville, OH. Through experiential learning locations such as the Alum Creek Multi-Use Trail, The Point at Otterbein, and Sharon Woods Metro Park, regional environmental scientists, and naturalists, including Jenny Adkins, will address the potential for restoring these grasses to the ecosystems and natural areas, including prairie habitats, that were once native to the northern Franklin County, southern Delaware County, and the broader Alum Creek Watershed area. Terry Hermsen and other local leaders will draw connections between the arts, the sciences, and highlight the many regional partnerships and strategies underway to restore native prairie and other habitats in the north central Ohio. This includes a focus on the Regional Ohio Action for Resilience, which brings together community groups, concerned citizens, religious leaders, social justice leaders, non-profits, businesses, educational institutions, and governmental entities to collaboratively create a more resilient region…planting the seeds of change and watching them grow.

1FLOW, “Prairies, Naturalized Areas, and Pollinator Patches.” Read here.

2Columbus Business First, “Delaware County ranks among America’s fastest-growing exurbs.” Tristan Navera. Columbus Business First. Jan 14, 2021. Read here.


7:45 a.m. Doors open at The Point at Otterbein.

8:00 a.m. Catered coffee and breakfast is served.

8:20 a.m. Jeff Sharp, Ph.D., director, Ohio State’s School of Environment and Natural Resources, provides welcome remarks and logistical overview.

8:30 a.m. Group-based immersive tour of It Sounds like Love with Cadine Navarro and Dr. Terry Hermsen.

9:30 a.m. Group-based walking tour of Otterbein Lake and the Alum Creek Multi-Use Trail with Jenny Adkins, and other regional environmental scientists and naturalists.

10:30 a.m. Snacks served, and professional presentation on native grass and ecosystem restoration and preservation strategies in the northern Franklin County, southern Delaware County, and the broader Alum Creek Watershed area.

11:00 a.m. Extended, optional networking session on ecosystem restoration within the community and tour of a local urban wetland system at Highlands Park in Westerville. This wetland was enhanced and expanded in 2012 using EPA grant funding and municipal funds.

Register for this program here:


Headshot of artist and program speaker, Cadine NavarroCadine Navarro, MFA, MLA Harvard Graduate School of DesignWhile life experiences in seven countries, three continents and fifty-five homes is a resource for Cadine, her first home in Japan and her involvement in Japanese culture, provides the through-line to all of her projects. The core of her work questions the ways we continually adapt and re-define ourselves within the perpetual present. Exploring the language and form that embody modern boundary practices, Navarro often uses her own story as a platform for collaborative work. Recently, ecological transformations have become a driving force in her artistic practice. Cadine was born in Kobe, Japan, is French-American and based in Paris, France. Cadine is currently enrolled in the Harvard Graduate School of Design and was a 2015-17 HISK Laureate (Belgium). Cadine earned her MFA at Goldsmiths University, London (UK) and BFA at Rietveld Akademie (Netherlands). She earned a GradCert at the New York Academy of Art, and earned a BA in Art History, French, Japanese, Sussex University (UK).
Headshot of EPN June program speaker, Jenny AdkinsJenny Adkins, Professional Wetland Scientist and Lead Botanist, MAD Scientist AssociatesJenny Adkins is a Professional Wetland Scientist and Lead Botanist at MAD Scientist Associates, an ecological and wetland consulting firm in Westerville. She comes from Miami County, where she got her start in natural resources at the Miami County Park District and Five Rivers MetroParks. She has a BS in Biology and a Masters of Education from Wright State University.
Headshot of EPN June program speaker, Terry HermsenTerry Hermsen, PhD. Professor of English Emeritus, Otterbein University  Dr. Terry Hermsen, teaches English, Creative Writing and Environmental Literature at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio. Dr. Hermsen was recognized as the Ohio Poet of the Year (2009), and taught in the Writers in the Schools program for the Ohio Arts Council from 1979 – 2003. He has published four books of poems, including The River’s Daughter, which was co-recipient of the Ohio Poet of the Year Award in 2009. In 2011 and 2012, he was co-director for a teacher workshop in Cuyahoga Valley National Park called “Reading the Earth: The Language of Nature”. He holds an MFA in Poetry from Goddard College and a PhD from Ohio State in Art Education. 
Headshot of EPN June program speaker, Marci LiningerMarci Lininger, Environmental Coordinator, Ohio Department of Transportation, and Director, Ohio Pollinator Habitat InitiativeMarci Lininger is a graduate of the Masters of Environment and Natural Resources program at the Ohio State University. Marci serves as the Director for the Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative, which is a statewide network of partners who work to increase pollinator awareness and hands-on habitat creation throughout the State of Ohio. Marci also sits on the board for the Ohio Wildlife Management Association. She currently works full time for the Ohio Department of Transportation as the District 6 Environmental Coordinator. Marci has worked in the field of wildlife for several years having experience in research, endangered species, transportation ecology and landscape habitat restoration. In addition, she has studied the use and implementation of wildlife crossings in the State of Ohio including the use of strategic roadside habitats that enhance use and crossing capabilities. In addition to her regular duties, Marci is also a college instructor educating students in the fields of environmental science, ecology and transportation ecology research. 


Bipartisan infrastructure bill could expand federal support for urban tree placement gaps

The bipartisan infrastructure bill (H.R. 3684) moving in the Senate this week would expand federal support for urban tree placement gaps through a mapping program. The Healthy Streets initiative would put more efforts towards increasing tree canopy cover in marginalized neighborhoods nationwide. The bill authorizes $100 million a year for five years under a federal grant program to achieve better tree equity.

Multiple studies have shown that poorer neighborhoods have less tree canopy than richer areas.

Up to this point nonprofit groups and corporations have driven drive tree-planting efforts and boosting urban canopies in cities of all sizes both rural and urban.

The funding could cover the purchasing and planting of trees and the development of tree canopy plans. It also would encourage cities to use porous pavement—more permeable types of concrete, asphalt, and pavers—to absorb stormwater and reduce urban hot spots.

Preserving mature trees and strategically planting younger trees slow stormwater runoff, alleviate the urban heat island effect and provide increased mental well-being among other benefits like biodiversity net gain, erosion control etc.

Language of the bill can be found here.


It’s Plastic Free July: What you can do to go plastic free?

ROAR challenges everyone to go plastic free this month to demonstrate that yes, it can be done in small baby steps to completely cold turkey…we know some people are better positioned to go plastic free than others…to just minimizing the plastic you use in your daily life. It can be as simple as going from a single use coffee cup to a reusable mug, to bringing your own utensils to a picnic or switching from plastic straws to reusable ones.

July is a month to challenge yourself to go plastic free by taking the Plastic Free July® challenge.

Plastic Free July® is a key initiative of the Plastic Free Foundation that challenges people globally to go plastic free throughout the month of July with the hope that some of those individuals going completely plastic free from now on.

We know it is hard to go completely plastic free, but ROAR encourages the community to try this challenge out for a month and see if you can weave most of the principles of it into your daily life.

Take the challenge to go plastic free this month or for longer at


The Next World

A Call for Shaping the Next World

So much has happened in the last two months! How can any of us digest it? With so many people deeply suffering, and the loss of so much life and so many livelihoods, it’s hard to know how to conscientiously and productively respond.

Many of us have been asking–individually and collectively: What will the Next World be like? How can we use our full energies to shape that world? How can we do two things at once: First, help those who are most impacted by the COVID-19 crisis restore stability to their lives, while secondly shaping a new world that is more equitable, and more true to the realities of the earth we live on?

As a clearinghouse for such ideas and information, ROAR is providing a list of local activities that address climate change directly and indirectly in our section called Local Resources. In addition, ROAR surveyed an array of key theorists and activists–both local and national–who are striving to answer those fundamental questions. Below is our list of the Top Ten Articles for restructuring the economy, fostering strong climate change action, and addressing inequities as we shape that next world.

Please have a look at these articles and resources and keep your eyes out for the next activity: ROAR will host a series of Next World Conversations in late May and June which will lead to deliberate action for the Central Ohio region.

More to come… In the meantime, stay in touch. You can post comments with YOUR ideas for building the NEXT WORLD on this article on our website or on Facebook.

Terry Hermsen, ROAR

Global Warming’s Six Americas in 2020

Today, the Alarmed (26%) outnumber the Dismissive (7%) nearly 4 to 1. More than half (54%) of Americans are either Alarmed or Concerned, while the Doubtful and Dismissive are only 18% of the population. However, because conservative media organizations prominently feature Dismissive politicians, pundits and industry officials, most Americans overestimate the prevalence of Dismissive beliefs among other Americans.