Published June 19, 2014
The collaborative workshop is the third that UB is hosting with the EPA this year to improve the region’s sustainability.
Leading environmental citizens from Western New York will meet
at the University at Buffalo on May 8 for an Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) workshop devoted to leveraging community
participation as a tool for monitoring the environment.
The forum will focus on scientific methods, providing citizen scientists with information on how to design and execute high-quality studies that grab the attention of regulators and industry.
“Leveraging Environmental Monitoring — Key Steps in Producing Credible Data” will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 8 in 509 O’Brian Hall on UB’s North Campus.
During the training, citizen scientists will have the opportunity to learn about quality assurance and effective methods for collecting environmental data. Participants will also meet officials from the EPA and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
About 40 to 50 environmental advocates from the community are expected to attend, including many who have already worked on projects that aim to monitor toxic waste or protect the region’s air and water quality.
The forum is the third that EPA Region 2, which serves New York State and other areas, has held at UB this year to help the Buffalo Niagara community find innovative solutions for improving the area’s sustainability. The previous events, in March and April, focused on green infrastructure and environmental justice.
“I am very happy that the EPA has chosen UB for a third collaborative workshop this year for the Western New York community,” said Joseph Gardella, PhD, UB John and Frances Larkin Professor of Chemistry, who has partnered with the UB Office of Sustainability and the UB 2020 Civic Engagement and Public Policy Strategic Strength to plan the workshop.
“I had the chance to participate in Citizen Science workshops in New York and New Jersey last year, and bringing this opportunity to Buffalo allows local residents to communicate directly with EPA experts,” Gardella said. “So much has resulted from citizen data collection in Western New York.”
Gardella has partnered with the community on environmental projects for nearly two decades, with one recent collaboration providing an overview of hazardous waste sites in Erie, Cattaraugus and Niagara counties.
Other examples of local environmental monitoring by citizen scientists and community organizations include monitoring of waterways by Buffalo Niagara RIVERKEEPER and community efforts to hold Tonawanda Coke accountable for pollution.
One of the biggest issues citizen scientists face today is getting their voices heard. The EPA workshop at UB will give them the tools they need to complete studies that will be taken seriously by state and federal regulators.