I received my undergraduate degree from James Cook University, BSc Honours from the University of Tasmania in Australia, and completed my doctoral studies and post-doctoral research at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography. This research was focused on the explosive eruptions of Cerro Hudson in southern Chile. Geology has taken me to many places around the world including Argentina, Australia, the Canary Islands (Spain), Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Italy, New Zealand, and throughout the USA.
I am very interested in sustainability and local food networks having worked on CSA farms, taught a resource sustainability course, and, most recently, worked with students to build and maintain a 250-gallon aquaponics system (symbiotic fish and plant production). I am working with other dedicated faculty and staff on sustainability issues on the Petaluma campus including planting fruit trees on campus as part of an edible landscape, permaculture gardens to replace lawns, a student run garden and greenhouse, and rain water harvesting projects.
In May 2015 student, faculty, staff and community volunteers worked in collaboration with Daily Acts to transform a 2700 sq ft section of lawn through sheet-mulching. In September, once the sheet mulch had killed the lawn and created a layer of organic material, we planted the new permaculture garden with a combination of fruit tress and drought tolerant species, and a steel lattice for our "green" outdoor classroom. Am very excited to see the garden "grow out" during the spring and summer months this year. This is a long-term project and will take years to fully establish. It's an edible landscape so feel free to pick the fruit when in season. Many thanks Friedman's Hardware, Team Ghilotti, and the City of Petaluma for support.
I have also created a 'rock garden' on the Petaluma campus. Strategically located samples of sedimentary rocks (1 to 1 1/2 tonnes in size) form part of an interactive laboratory for students enrolled in GEOL1-LAB. Thanks to funding from the Friends of the Petaluma Campus we purchased the rock samples and, with much help from Art and Raph, have them installed. The first group of geology students used the samples in a major mapping project in the Fall of 2015.
With the fantastic help of the SRJC Foundation we have secured funding and have started to build the student-run garden and greenhouse on campus. Students will work in the garden during the course of the year and what produce is grown will be given to the students. A work-for-share CSA model. We had great help from Dr. Sellu's Intro to Plant Biology students in the Fall (2015) who built a temporary hoop-house, more raised beds, and planted winter crops. With the help of students from ENVS12 we have added another 10 raised beds to the garden in Spring 2016. We also installed full drip irrigation systems in 20 out of 30 beds with solar-powered timers. Many thanks to Friedman's Hardware, The Water's Edge Landscape Design, Berry's Sawmill, Cunningham Handyman Services, and SRJC Facilities for support.
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Most recently, a collaboration between Geology, Chemistry, Anthropology, and Biology received funding from the SRJC Foundation to purchase a 3D scanner and two 3D printers for the Petaluma Campus. Both are up and running and we're beginning to experiment with models.