Environmental Science & Design Research Institute Sustainability Forum

2024 Sustainability Forum: Building Better Water Systems

Thanks to everyone who joined us for this inaugural Sustainability Forum!

ESDRI sustainability forum

Thursday, March 14th 2024
6 - 9 pm  
Cartwright Hall Auditorium

Poems from the from The Wick Poetry Center's "Dear Body of Water" poetry activity can be viewed here. And you can participate at any time!

Event sponsored by Cleveland Water Alliance

cleveland water alliance_ESDRI


Partnering with Kent State's Office of Sustainability and University Culinary Services this was a Green Event, part of our Campus Race to Zero Waste


Gebby Keny, Rice University 

Gebby Keny_ESDRI

Gebby is a PhD Candidate in the Anthropology Department at Rice University and Diluvial Houston Pre-Doctoral Fellow at Rice University’s Center for Environmental Studies, where he teaches courses on cultures and media of environmental health. His graduate work is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program. His dissertation research, which traces the politics of “data-driven” approaches to environmental governance and agricultural production in Lake Erie, has been supported by a Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant, also awarded by the NSF. In addition to his academic work, Gebby is a research curator for the Philadelphia-based non-profit Monument Lab and has served as a Multimodal Editor and Podcast Producer for the Anthropology of Science, Technology, and Computing’s Platypus Blog. He has also worked as a cinematographer and editor for various exhibitions and film projects involving the more-than-human legacies of war and environmental catastrophe, most recently for the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Marie Fechik-Kirk, Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District

Marie Fechik-Kirk_ESDRI

Marie is the manager of sustainability and special projects at the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) in Cleveland, Ohio. She has extensive experience helping organizations increase biodiversity, improve efficiency, reduce waste, and enhance their reputation through sustainability efforts. NEORSD provides various services to the area including wastewater treatment, combined sewer overflow control, regional stormwater management, environmental and laboratory services, infrastructure engineering and construction, among others. They have a mission to provide progressive regional management of sewage and stormwater that protects the environment and serves the community. The vision of NEORSD is to be the environmental leader in enhancing quality of life in the region and protecting its water resources. 

Dr. Merrin Macrae, University of Waterloo

Merrin Macrae_ESDRI

Merrin is a Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Management at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. Dr. Macrae received her B.E.S. and M.Sc. degrees from York University and her Ph.D. from Wilfrid Laurier University. Her research interests center around nutrient (nitrogen, phosphorus) dynamics and water quality in agricultural landscapes and wetlands. Dr. Macrae studies water quality at both watershed and field scales, with an emphasis on assisted drainage. A key aspect of her work involves understanding the winter and snowmelt periods, and the efficacy of beneficial management practices during these critical times. Her research largely field-based science, focused in Southern Ontario and Manitoba. 

Moderated by Dr. Lauren Kinsman-Costello, Kent State University 

Lauren Kinsman-Costello_ESDRI

Lauren is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Kent State University who also Co-Directs Kent State’s Center for Ecology and Natural Resource Sustainability and leads the H2Ohio Wetland Monitoring Program. She studies nutrient cycling in hydrologically variable aquatic ecosystems, including urban wetlands, restored agricultural wetlands, Great Lakes coastal wetlands, and arctic peatlands. She received her Ph.D. from Michigan State University where she studied wetland nutrient cycling in southeast Michigan at the Kellogg Biological Station. She completed postdoctoral research in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Department at the University of Michigan studying underwater groundwater seeps in Lake Huron. Her work has been funded by a broad range of local, regional, and federal funding sources including the Cleveland Metroparks, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Energy, and the National Science Foundation. Her work is published in journals including Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, Biogeochemistry, and Geobiology.