Keeping Delaware County Beautiful
Ohio Wesleyan Professor, Student, Entrepreneurial Center Businessman Earn 2019 Awards
By Cole Hatcher
At the recent Keep Delaware County Beautiful Awards, Ohio Wesleyan professor Sean Kay, student Brianna Graber ’20, and entrepreneur-on-campus Steve Flaherty all were honored for their efforts to improve the environment.
The awards were handed out Dec. 4 by the Keep Delaware County Beautiful Coalition, which provides recycling and litter prevention programs and environmental education activities to county residents and businesses. The coalition is led by the Delaware General Health District.
Sean Kay, Ph.D., a politics and government professor, earned the group’s Garrison-Brown Award for his volunteer work at the 2019 Northern Olentangy Watershed Festival, Olentangy River Cleanup, and Scioto River Clean Sweep, where he used his kayaking expertise to keep volunteers safe and moving forward as they pulled debris from the water. According to the coalition, the Garrison-Brown Award “is given to recognize initiative and significant environmental contribution to the community.”
Although Kay is widely known as an expert in global security, he also is interested in environmental issues and currently is researching grassroots campaigns for river conservation in the United States and abroad.
In May and June, he will be traveling to Utah and Colorado with OWU students who completed his Travel-Learning Course, “Environmental Politics and Policy.” After a semester in class, the group will spend 10 days in the two western states, including a four-day river-rafting trip through Dinosaur National Monument. To prepare for the trip, Kay spent two weeks over the summer working as an assistant guide rafting down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.
As part of his hands-on research, Kay also has been working on the River Shannon, Ireland’s largest river, and exploring the Dublin Bay biosphere, a region recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for its environmental, economic, cultural, and tourism significance.
Student Brianna Graber, a zoology major and Spanish minor from Noblesville, Indiana, was honored with the Keep Delaware County Beautiful’s 2019 Litter Prevention Award. She earned the award for spearheading a project to install a trash-collecting storm drain net in the Delaware Run, which flows through campus. The device collects trash and organic debris, which Graber and future OWU students will analyze to determine the net’s impact on the quality of the water.
Entrepreneur Steve Flaherty earned the coalition’s 2019 Recycling Award for his work to develop technology that turns non-recyclable plastics into asphalt paving. His business, necoPlastics LLC, is headquartered at the Delaware Entrepreneurial Center at Ohio Wesleyan University.
The 6,000-square-foot entrepreneurial center is a collaboration of Ohio Wesleyan, Delaware County, and the City of Delaware. It is the first-of-its-kind liberal arts business accelerator and the first-of-its-kind city, county, and educational institute partnership.
The Keep Delaware County Beautiful coalition, led by the Delaware General Health District, provides recycling and litter prevention programs and environmental education activities to the residents and businesses of Delaware County. For a complete list of 2019 award winners, visit the health district news and events page.