July 30, 2013
For CIA prof, it's easy being green
CIA Associate Professor Douglas Paige ’82 was honored by the Cleveland-based Alliance for Water Future for his work on a CIA student-led project to improve the water quality of the Cuyahoga River. The Alliance presented Paige, who teaches in the Industrial Design Department, with a Water Quality Innovation Award at the Burning River Fest, an annual environmental education event that commemorates the 1969 burning of the Cuyahoga River.
Paige, shown here with Ebie Holst, founder of Clean WaterNet, had presented a “PitcH2O” talk about the student project to Alliance members in early July. At the June 26-27 festival held outside the historic U.S. Coast Guard station on Cleveland's Whiskey Island, the Alliance honored “breakthrough innovations that have demonstrated dramatic impact on our water quality through either a new and innovative technology or best practice.”
Paige and a group of CIA students are applying principles of biomimicry to an unusual design problem: the need to stabilize river banks for industrial shipping and at the same time improve habitat for aquatic life. Dubbed “Fish and Ships,” their ongoing project was underwritten by a $50,000 College Community Challenge grant from the Ford Motor Company Fund.
The Ford C3 initiative is designed to empower student-led projects at higher education organizations that address pressing local needs, according to Michael Schmidt, director of Education and Community Development. The overarching theme of the Ford College Community Challenge is “Building Sustainable Communities.” CIA students presented their findings at a Ford-sponsored national conference in May.
Biomimicry, or imitating designs found in nature, is a growing field in which Paige has emerged as a key player. Earlier this year he completed a biomimicry certification program equivalent to a master’s degree in this nascent field of study through the Biomimicry 3.8 Institute. In its July 22 issue, Crain’s Cleveland Business featured Paige in an article about another Northeast Ohio environmental group, Great Lakes Biomimicry.
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