How Cemeteries Get Creative to Survive in Their Role of Caring for the Dead

“As a teenager, I frequently walked to St. Stephen Cemetery after school to sit by my mom’s headstone. She died in a car accident when I was seven and I didn’t confront what that meant for me until adolescence.

“A local cemetery frequently hosts events and entertainment in their space, and it didn’t sit with me well at first. It seemed flip. Disrespectful at the least. An exploitation of death at worst. It bothered me and I had questions. Luckily, I knew just who to ask.

Cole Imperi is not only a friend but a leader in the death community. She’s a thanatologist, an expert on death and dying, and she is the president of the Board of Overseers for Historic Linden Grove Cemetery & Arboretum in Covington, Kentucky. Imperi helped me understand what I was missing. When a historic cemetery can no longer perform burials because they are full, how does the cemetery afford the maintenance and management of an expansive graveyard that’s over 175 years old?”

Read the whole column at the link below:

Read more from Bonnie Jean HERE and HERE.

How being a lazy gardener makes life a little sweeter for pollinators. Let industrious squirrels pick up the slack in the fall

These three columns focus on nature in the fall. How squirrels play an important roll in planting oak trees, how lazy gardeners are good for mother nature and why goldenrod doesn’t deserve its bad rap. Help pollinators overwinter by putting down your rakes and letting your garden look like a bit of a mess.

Fall nature series:

Read more from Bonnie Jean HERE and HERE.

Grass Isn’t Green, It’s Wasteful

In this article for Subaru Drive magazine I take the reader through our backyard conservation projects to remove grass, establish pollinator gardens, install rain gardens, and turn our turf lawn into a clover lawn.

I like a lush, inviting yard. Grass? Not so much. Grass isn’t “green” – it’s wasteful, costing homeowners time, money and energy in an endless cycle of planting, watering and cutting. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that landscape irrigation accounts for nearly one-third of all residential water use, totaling almost 9 billion gallons per day. Grass is actually considered America’s largest irrigated “crop,” beating out even corn.

Read the full article below.

For a simple step-by-step guide to install your own pollinator garden click the link below!

Read more articles by Bonnie on the environment HERE

Paying for Roads in an Electric World

“Both driving and public transportation are heavily subsidized, but drivers are either unaware of that or OK with government support of personal transport. People get upset when states start talking about toll roads and bridges. Ironically, these tend to be the same people who think public transit should be self-sustaining. It’s not, and it never has been.”

Click Below to Read the Full Column

Read More From Bonnie HERE and HERE

The Wandering…Dude?

For more columns from Bonnie click HERE

Foster Mental Health with Gardening

Whether we’re quarantined or not, spring is here. We could all use a little more wellness in our lives, and gardening may just be the answer for you and your teen. As an adult, my garden is my happy place.The seeds of this love were planted as a child. I call it “dirt church” now and, it turns out, there’s some science to it. When gardening, you can foster mental health with gardening.

My love of gardening led me to a pediatric psychiatrist Dr. Rameshwari V. Tumuluru, in Pittsburgh who developed a wellness garden for her hospitalized patients. I know gardening helps me cope. She helped me apply mindfulness concepts to gardening in quarantine with teens.

I also interviewed Scott Beuerlein, the Manager of Botanical Garden Outreach, and Shasta Bray, the Manager of Interpretive Exhibits, Visitor Research, Conservation Communications & Fun both with the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. They provide practical advice for starting small and emphasized that every litte bit helps our environment.

Green space and flowers for pollinators have become scarce in some urban and suburban areas, the value of grass and roadside weeds to the birds and bees is minimal. Even a potted flower on the balcony provides an option that wasn’t there before and the pollinators will find you.

Think of the bird who finds a boat and stops to rest on its trip across an ocean. That’s what your garden provides for pollinators. Your garden, or the pot of flowers on your front porch, provides refuge for both you and the butterfly that finds you.

Read the article in the link below to see how you and your teen can Foster Mental Health with Gardening.

You might find these articles on helping teens through this pandemic helpful:
CDC Guidelines: 10 Quarantine Do’s and Don’ts for Teenagers
Asymptomatic Teens and Mental Health Concerns
Grow Flowers and Foster Mental Health: The Benefits of Gardening

For a complete list of articles by me, visit my Articles and Clips page.

Foster Mental Health with Gardening

A Better Evil Chemical?

The WCPO I-Team in Cincinnati has been investigating the risk of a “better evil” chemical or GenX contamination in our region by reviewing medical research and water-quality reports that show how much of the compound finds its way into our drinking water. While GenX concentrations here are lower than other cities, it’s difficult to say whether those concentrations are safe because research is evolving on these unregulated chemicals.

I was happy to be interviewed for this story to talk about my family’s history with lead poisoning, my water quality research for the Good River: Stories of the Ohio series and why that prompted us to buy a Big Berkey Water Filter for our house.

Along with this three-minute news segment, journalist Dan Monks wrote a more comprehensive article to go with it as well. You can read that here:

For more reading about chemicals in our water here in the tri-state check our my article We mapped out the toxic wastewater discharges along the Ohio River. Here’s what we learned. For more of my work on water quality and the environment check out my clips page.

The History of the W. K. Kellogg Biological Station – Book

Some things take a little longer to come to fruition. This book is one of them. In 2012, Michigan State University’s Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) contracted me to join the history team to help them write the history of KBS. I worked on the project until 2015, researching and writing the early drafts of the first four chapters of the book as well as helping Dr. George Lauff draft the prologue. Dr. Lauff, A former director of KBS wanted to see this project through. He did. Dr. Lauff died in August, 2019 at the age of 92 knowing the book was finished. In The Founders Footprints: A History of Michigan State University’s W. K. Kellogg Biological Station was released in November of 2019.

Bonnie Feldkamp worked with the committee to draft initial chapters of this book.”

In the Founders Footprints – introduction

I am extremely grateful to Danielle Zoellner and Katherine Gross for including me on this project and seeing it through to competition. Their dedication is why this book is a meaningful reality for the station. I look on my time with the history team fondly and thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to learn how KBS all began with W.K. Kellogg – the cereal king.

Also, as part of my role in the project I fleshed out interesting stories that would not make it into the book so they could be published on the KBS History Website. The story of the Van Duesen family was one such story. Roswell Van Deusen was the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary director and his family lived on site. What an upbringing that was! Read the full story HERE.

The History Team

From Left to Right: Dr. Michael Klug, John Gorentz, Bonnie Jean Feldkamp, Barb Baker, and Dr. George Lauff during a KBS History Team meeting in March of 2013.

The Book

Read the announcement and download the pdf of the book in the link below.