Getting to Know Onondaga Earth Corps Director Greg Michel

Greg Michel (at left) went with a team of Onondaga Earth Corps staff and advanced crew members–Nick, Amanda, Taveon, and Tyrell–to the 2018 Partners in Urban Forestry Conference in Irvine, California.

Over the years, Onondaga Earth Corps (OEC) and the Council have partnered in various fruitful ways. OEC Director Greg Michel (pron. “Michael”) recently joined the Council Board; we wanted to get to know him and OEC better. A Council Blog post about the work of OEC can be seen here.

Greg Michel was born in Boston, then raised in Houston for a decade before his family moved to upstate NY when he was 12. He spent a gap year between high school and college in Japan as a Rotary Exchange Student, establishing an abiding interest in Japanese culture. After high school he attended Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio where he majored in International Studies with a regional focus on Japan and wrote his undergraduate thesis on “The Role of Japanese Identity in Cross-Cultural Communication.”

Michel then went to Tokyo Gakugei University to study International and Environmental Education at the graduate level, writing his thesis on “Impact of Global Connections on Place-Based Environmental Education,” and earning his master’s degree in 2001. 

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Another Successful Save the Rain Tree Planting Event

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Volunteers gathering for the fall, 2016 Save the Rain tree planting event. Photos Courtesy Save the Rain

Save the Rain is Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney’s comprehensive program to improve the environment and clean Onondaga Lake by reducing the stormwater runoff that enters the sewer system. There is a combined sewer system in Syracuse, and during heavy rainfalls the system overflows into the tributaries of Onondaga Lake. Save the Rain utilizes innovative green and gray infrastructure to capture stormwater, preventing combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and improving water quality. The Save the Rain Tree Planting Program has planted over 6,300 trees that, among other ecological services, can soak up stormwater runoff.

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Getting to Know Onondaga Earth Corps

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2016 Onondaga Earth Corps crew members get to know each other at orientation. Photos & videos Courtesy OEC

You may have noticed that every summer the ReLeaf conference gets an infusion of youthful energy when members of the Onondaga Earth Corps attend. Here, we learn more about this Syracuse-based organization from OEC Program Coordinator and SUNY ESF grad Adrienne Canino. “OEC is a community organization dedicated to creating jobs for youth here in Syracuse and bringing people together to understand the value of trees in our city,” she says.

Here’s a terrific video about the range of activities OEC is involved with:

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