Rowan Team Reaches Out to Communities on Watershed Work

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Rowan University professors and students are bringing their research into the classroom ? the elementary school classroom.

The researchers -- a multidisciplinary team including civil and environmen

Rowan University professors and students are bringing their research into the classroom ? the elementary school classroom.

The researchers -- a multidisciplinary team including civil and environmental engineers and social science professionals with experience in environmental science, geospatial technologies and community outreach activities -- have been conducting an analysis of the Chestnut Branch of Mantua Creek. In addition to unveiling their findings to municipal officials in Glassboro, Pitman and Mantua, they also will be educating local youngsters in six elementary schools about their environment by presenting their work in the classrooms of the three communities from November 9 to December 9 (see partial schedule that follows).

The United States Environmental Protection Agency in 2003 awarded the team a one-year, $250,000 grant for The Rowan University Community Partnership: Bridging Environmental Information to the Local Community. The project entailed faculty and students conducting field assessments and outreach related to the Chestnut Branch watershed in Gloucester County and the Newton Creek watershed in Camden County.

Since then, the Rowan team -- led by sociology professor Dr. DeMond Miller, principal investigator and including civil engineering professors Drs. Joseph Orlins, Kauser Jahan and Jess Everett and geography professor Dr. John Hasse ? has been evaluating the major waterways.

Their work has centered on identifying potential pollution sources and developing a community outreach program to educate local officials and residents. The outreach activities include faculty and student presentations on sources of pollution, their impact on human health and the environment and prevention options.

?The overall goal of project was to help people make good decisions regarding watersheds,? Everett said.

As part of the effort, Rowan faculty and students constructed hands-on physical models and developed a multi-media Geographic Information Systems CD that can be used as a resource for general community education as well as local planning. The packaging of the environmental information in an easy-to-understand and visually engaging medium will serve to equip the local residents with an interactive means to access information after the project and serve as a bridge between environmental professionals and the local community.

The team noted that the project is an important effort in facilitating the protection of the environment in South Jersey, lessening the gap between the growing base of environmental knowledge and the incorporation of that knowledge at the local level to guide environmental decisions and land management policy.

The presentation schedule includes:

Thomas E. Bowe School,
Ruth Mancuso Lane,
Glassboro,
November 9 and 11, 1:30-2:30 p.m.

Walls School,
320 Grant Avenue,
Pitman,
December 7, 1:30-2:15 p.m.

Memorial School,
420 Hudson Avenue,
Pitman,
December 9, 1:30-2:30 p.m.

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