Rod Walton

For Fermilab employees who work in or visit Wilson Hall, an invisible but highly sophisticated system provides clean, safe drinking water. This system provides filtered, sterilized and chilled water to drinking fountains throughout the building.

This peregrine falcon is identified by the bands on his leg (see inset) as an adult male named Joe, hatched May 13, 2005, in Chicago. Photo: Marek Proga Last week, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources announced that the peregrine falcon was no longer in need of listing as a threatened species in Illinois. Although it is still protected by the federal Endangered Species Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty, these birds are now present in sufficient numbers to “go…

A very uncommon resident at Fermilab, this smooth green snake was observed at Fermilab this spring. Photograph and left arm are courtesy of Tristan Schramer, former Fermilab Natural Areas wildlife monitor currently working as a summer student at Roads and Grounds. There are almost a half million species of vertebrates and flowering plants in the world. Add to that almost a million insect species, and one begins to wonder just where they all are. In fact, the vast majority of…

The 1969 Cuyahoga River fire helped spur a nationwide environmental movement to clean up our land. Once among the most polluted rivers in the United States, the Cuyahoga River is now a Cleveland attraction. Photo: wyliepoon As I write this, it is April 22, Earth Day. Each year at Fermilab, we celebrate this day with nature programs, tree plantings and, more recently, the Earth Day Fair in Wilson Hall. But what is it we are celebrating? The original Earth Day,…

Prairie burns, such as this one conducted earlier this month at the Main Ring, help restore and maintain prairie ecosystems in numerous ways. Photo: Jacques Hooymans, FESS If you have had a chance to check out the burned-over prairie inside the Main Ring over the last week or so, you’ve noticed that the charred remains are slowly being overtaken by a green carpet of new growth. This is entirely expected, of course — it happens just this way every year…

Even routine actions like cleaning out ditches on site could have subtle impacts on the site’s ecology. Proper planning and review by knowledgeable experts can prevent unnecessary damage. Photo: Fermilab Roads and Grounds We are justifiably proud of our environmental stewardship at Fermilab. We take great pride in our conservation efforts, including prairie reconstruction and care of other plant and animal communities on the site. We enjoy our role as a natural area asset for our neighbors. We have institutionalized…

The Robert F. Betz Prairie in the middle of the Main Ring provides not only a great view but also services such as carbon sequestration and stormwater retention. Photo: Reidar Hahn There are many ways to think about how valuable nature is to us. Most of us like to go out and appreciate the natural surroundings, looking at trees, spring flowers and birds. The aesthetic and spiritual value of nature is something we take for granted most of the time….

Thunderstorms with the potential to affect Fermilab operations may increase in frequency and severity in the future. Photo: Steve Krave, TD Once again, it is time for Fermilab, along with all other DOE facilities, to prepare a report on our sustainability efforts over the past fiscal year. We are also asked to look ahead to a plan for this fiscal year to help DOE and the federal government at large to fulfill national sustainability goals. The goals include efforts to…

This high-quality wetland area south of Giese Road lies in the path of proposed LBNF construction, but it would be spared by diligent planning to avoid its destruction. Photo: Scott Kuykendahl, Planning Resources Inc. Fermilab is known as a protector and friend of the environment. We have preserved and reconstructed more than 1,000 acres of tallgrass prairie over the last 40 years. But other communities must be protected as well to preserve the overall ecosystem. Another ecosystem that is just…