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July 2014:  Pictures of the Bioscience Field Station, home of the future
Brenau University Garden Society (B.U.G.S.).

Click the thumbnail to go there.

Irma Mora (WC'2014) and grad. student Autumn Zhao tending to the plant beds.


Earth Sense is a weekly column written by Dr. Rudi Kiefer, published in the Gainesville Times.






Click the blue image to read the full article.

Click the blue image to read the full article.





Elache Nature Science Center has an E-House, which provides a model for energy efficiency and sustainability.  Click below to watch the video.

More at



If you take a trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway this season to watch the leaves turn color, you’ll be treated to nice views.  But much of the wooded countryside consists of second-growth forest, following long periods of attempts to farm the land.  In the Eastern U.S., reserves of old-growth forest have become small and are threatened by logging and development.  Some estimates indicate that our old-growth inventory has shrunk to 10% of what it was in the 1600’s.

Joan Maloof

Maloof is currently developing a network of forests across the US which will remain forever unlogged and open to the public, called the Old-Growth Forest Network. Please visit the webpage: for more information.

Old-growth forest is considered one of the most stable ecosystems around.  It consists of trees that have attained great age, and regenerates itself continuously.  Biodiversity is greater than in second-growth forests that have much smaller trees, and which lack the continuous cycle of growth and decay that’s found in ancient woods.

Joan Maloof, Professor Emeritus at Salisbury University, is the renowned author of  “Teaching the Trees: Lessons from the Forest” (University of Georgia Press, 2005), and an expert in old-growth forest issues. Her second book, “Among the Ancients: Adventures in the Eastern Old-Growth Forests,” was published in April 2011 by Ruka Press.

Maloof will be presenting a guest lecture in the “Sense & Sustainability” series offered monthly at Brenau University.  The current event,  free and open to the public, is offered on
Wednesday, October 9, 5-6 p.m.  in Brenau’s Thurmond McRae Auditorium.

For more information contact Dr. Rudi Kiefer, .




Mr. Bell has posted a complete video of the event on his music legacy website. Click the image to go there.


 “People have created different types of music for different purposes all over the world. As the world listens to music, common skills are shared such as: imagination, abstract thinking, and instinctive reactions. Through music we become more aware of our shared humanity and the wisdom of others.”

Quoted above, Jack Bell is a retired member of the Atlanta Symphony, percussion expert, and snare drummer par excellence.  His talk in the Sense & Sustainability series, entitled “Music In Your Environment:  Shaping Mind, Body and Mood” isn’t about the structure of the classical symphony, or the elements of a Bach fugue.  It focuses on the effect music has on humans.  Music can calm the mind, it can console, or it can energize and vitalize.  Not to forget the clock-radio that many of us prefer to the snarl of an alarm when we need to wake up in the morning.

Sustainability is much more than recycling aluminum cans.  It involves the entire spectrum of human life, including health and wellness, art appreciation, creativity, and logical thinking.  Music is a tool serving all of those purposes.

The presentation is of particular interest to students in the health sciences, health care, education, humanities, mass communication, psychology, and performing arts including music and musical theatre.  It involves audience participation by means of short check-list type questionnaires.  The audience will record their “before” and “after” moods surrounding a few musical samples.

The music samples are performed Live on the piano by Yuxi Liu, Brenau music student and piano virtuosa; and Rudi Kiefer, Brenau professor and piano hacker.  The last piece, played 4-handedly, is one that you normally wouldn’t expect in a collaboration between a Chinese and a German-American piano player.

 The presentation is free and open to the public.  Everyone is invited to enjoy and learn at this event in the monthly Sense & Sustainability series, Wednesday Nov. 6, in Thurmond McRae Auditorium from 5 to 6 p.m.

More information can be obtained from Dr. Rudi Kiefer, Director of Sustainability,


Have you ever considered getting an electric car, but  thought they’re too expensive?  According  to Hannah Solar Corporation, if you use the tax credit, a lease for a Nissan  Leaf can be had for as little as $75 per month.  This was just one bit of information among many gathered by a Brenau group  who attended the statewide conference of the Georgia College Sustainability  Network, held in Macon on Sept. 20.

This partial listing of sustainability activities, presented by Michael Chang of Ga. Tech, seemed intimidatingly large.

This partial listing of sustainability activities, presented by Michael Chang of Ga. Tech, seemed intimidatingly large.

“The round table session helped open my eyes on what needs to happen  before a campus can claim a ‘sustainability’ effort at any level of earnestness”,  said Robert Cuttino.  Together with Rudi Kiefer, who serves on the Steering Committee of GCSN, and Karen  Henman, he participated in the sessions that included topics as diverse as  curriculum-building, water conservation on campus,

promoting sustainability  efforts among students, and a round-table discussion about what’s happening at the various public and private colleges in Georgia.  The variety of themes was also apparent among  the presenters, ranging from students attending Georgia College & State  University and Emory University to faculty from UGA, Emory, GCSU, and Georgia  Southern, as well as industry representatives.

As is often the case, student-led presentations were among the most stimulating. Here, Emory College junior Rachel Cogbill is shown presenting her group’s findings about a sustainable food coalition.

As is often the case, student-led presentations were among the most stimulating. Here, Emory College junior Rachel Cogbill is shown presenting her group’s findings about a sustainable food coalition.

“The presentation about Zero Waste Events at Emory has got  me interested in investigating how to institute Zero Waste Events on our campus, and developing greater buy-in to sustainability”, said Henman. As the three members of Brenau’s  Sustainability Advisory &

Action Board (SAAB) attended different concurrent  session, a whole list of projects and priorities evolved, including more  recycling efforts, studying the tree canopy on campus, energy efficiency and  more, which Henman put to paper and summarized for the committee.  A busy agenda for the SAAB seems assured.

“It was great to meet the people in person that I’ve been teleconferencing with during the summer as we were building the conference agenda in the steering committee,” Kiefer said.  “Eriqah Foreman-Williams of the National Wildlife Federation, who oversees the GCSN activities, was already on my ‘old friends’ list because she did such a marvelous job with the Farm-to-Table Conference in Statesboro last spring.

Eriqah Foreman-Williams, who spearheads the Georgia College Sustainability Network and organized the conference, gave the concluding remarks.

Eriqah Foreman-Williams, who spearheads the Georgia College Sustainability Network and organized the conference, gave the concluding remarks.

And as a UGA graduate, I was delighted to exchange views with the people from Athens, and learn what they are doing on the state’s flagship campus over there.”

Henman’s suggestions about a tree inventory and the campus  canopy are certain to be followed up in the SAAB, together with other  vegetation-related projects that are on the burner this year.  A first step is a guest lecture by Joan  Maloof, author of “Teaching the Trees” and “Among the Ancients”, scheduled for  Wednesday, Oct.9 at 5 p.m. in Thurmond McRae Auditorium (still being  finalized).  More rounds of weeds removal  and clean-up are also slated in the Bamboo Forest area of the Bioscience Field  Station.  With a design being prepared by  Teri Nye, and plant selections by Jessi Shrout (both of the Science Dept.), a  new teaching and research venue is emerging in the back of the Brenau Campus.

“Jessi and Teri had class responsibilities, so unfortunately  they couldn’t come along to the Macon conference,” Kiefer said.   “But the three of us – Karen, Robert and  myself – brought back so many notes and ideas that we can stay busy for the  entire academic year.  The key to it all, agreed to by every participant, is student involvement in these projects.  Just like last year, it’ll be a priority at  Brenau.”





Cancer:  best not to think about it?

Think again !  You can help prevent cancer by participating in a lifetime Cancer Prevention Study organized by the American Cancer Society.

It won’t cost you any money – just some regular free(!) health checks periodically.  Ask Dr. Kiefer for more information ( and visit  the website of the study.   You too can help save lives !


 Sustainability Singers: the Video !






From left: Dana Cole and Esther Sindler inspect donations from the residence halls.

The residence halls have gone quiet, and hallways are  looking empty. But while leaving for the  summer, a great number of Women’s College students did a good deed in the  process.  Collection boxes placed in collaboration between Brenau’s Sustainability  Center and the Student Services Office filled up with women’s clothing, shoes,  household articles and school supplies.

“We’re thrilled that so many students participated in our ‘Don’t trash  it – donate it!’ campaign,” said Dr. Rudi Kiefer, director of  sustainability. “This is the first time  we’ve done this experiment, and the response has been excellent. It seemed a logical connection, too, to give  our Women’s College an avenue for helping an organization that’s largely  focused on aiding women from the community.”

The Gateway Domestic Violence Center, previously known as  Gateway House, has been serving the area since the 1980’s. A significant part of its revenue is provided  by sales through two thrift stores, which will receive the goods donated by  Brenau students.

“The thrift stores are  an important part of our operation,” said director Jessica Butler. “Everything  we have is donated from the community. We’re  very pleased that the Brenau students have been so responsible and  supportive.  Also, we encourage faculty  and staff to donate items that are no longer wanted or needed but in sell able  condition.”

Just recently, the Gateway Domestic Violence Center  generated friendly attention at the Brenau Sustainability Fair with the display  and sale of items hand-made by its residents.  Future events are likely to further strengthen collaborative efforts  between the Sustainability effort and Gateway.

“This is awesome!” said Dana Cole, president of Mu Sigma Chi, the science  society at Brenau. “I’m proud that there  has been such a positive response by our fellow Women’s College students.”

After a last look around the residence hall collection  sites, all donations are scheduled to be delivered to the Park Hill store, with  proceeds to benefit the women’s shelter.








Brenau saves water – ten thousand gallons at a time

How does that work?

The Maintenance Department is in the process of replaced older 3-gallon flush toilets. During any renovation or if a toilet has a problem, it gets replaced with a modern 1.6 gallon flush model.

What does that save?

Say you live in a household where 4 people share one bathroom.  They flush the toilet 5 times a day each.  The water savings is:  (5*4*3 gal.)- (5*4*1.6)=28 gal. per day.  In one calendar year, that comes to 10,227 gallons of water saved – by replacing one single toilet fixture !



“How many i’s in “sustainability?”  a student asked as she made notes during a lecture.
Figuratively, like the word “team,” there should not be any.  Sustainability isn’t about “you” or “me,” but those who come after us.

The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency provides the operative definition these days: Sustainability is meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Read the full article in Brenau Window magazine


Severe storms are likely from now until May.  Do you know where the campus shelters are?

 Click here to look them up by building.


  Contact us!  Dr. Rudi Kiefer is director of Brenau’s sustainability effort.  770-534-6166   –


Sense & Sustainability
Monthly lecture series at Brenau, free and open to the Public


Footloose for Fitness: Nov.13 Brenau Mile events supports charity, healthy lifestyle




———–   Retrospective:  2011 Events ————————-

Read the Gainesville Times article about the recent panel discussion – Earth Day Forum.

Television coverage of the same event


General inquiries:, (770) 534-6299 or (800) 252-5119 | Admissions:, (770) 534-6100 or (800) 252-5119 ext. 6100