Environmental Sociology class completes spring tasks

IPFW’s Dr. Sherrie Steiner and her Environmental Sociology students completed their initial investigation into industrial sites and environmental hazards in Blackford County, 50 miles south of Fort Wayne. They generated maps and made videos documenting their efforts. Here is a link to one of their videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8M8wW6-_Qc&feature=youtu.be

The ERC worked with the class to help them collect and depict spatial information using GIS. Here is an example of one of thier products!

Cumulative_Industrial_Zoom

“The mapping expertise that the university brings to this project are a tremendous benefit for the community,” said Dr. Indra Frank, the Hoosier Environmental Council’s environmental health project director.  “This will help us have a clearer picture of possible environmental hazards.” As professor Steiner noted, “This project has been collaboratively designed and implemented with our community partners,” said Sherrie Steiner, Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology at IPFW.  “I am hoping that this experience will strengthen a sense of civic responsibility and personal efficacy within students and among members of the community as pertains to environmental engagement.”

Earth Day at Eagle Marsh April 26 1-5

Our city’s largest Earth Day event. Celebrate Earth Day and Little river Wetland Project’s 25th anniversary. Booths showcasing the conservation work of local businesses and environmental groups, birds of prey from Soarin’ Hawk Raptor Rehab, presentations on nature topics, interactive nature education stations, children’s activities, and more. Come by the ERC display and say “Hi” or listen to my talk on the reptiles and amphibians of the area at 1:15. Lots of talks and activities all afternoon.

More info here.

Earth Day at Eagle Marsh
Kid-centric fun at Earth Day last year.

Water Quality Information Service Goes Live

WQISThe Water Quality Information Service is a resource for researchers, agency officials, and the general public for organizing and presenting historic water quality data from the St. Joseph River and its tributaries. The WQIS is maintained by the St. Joseph River Watershed Initiative in collaboration with the ERC hosting it at IPFW.

The URL is wqis.ipfw.edu.

Pick your location, pollutant and time frame and see what you get as a graph or as a table. The service is limited by the data available for it. We hope in the future to add: sites, data sets and new features!!

The WQIS is free, but registration is required so that we can learn who is using it.

Have fun.

River Summit II – April 8, 9 and 11

RiverSummit_2015River Summit II will be “part conference, part celebration” of the rivers and surrounding watershed of the Maumee River and its principle tributaries, the St. Mary’s and St. Joseph Rivers.  The conference will bring professionals, politicians and the public together to explore water quality issues,  riverfront revitalization efforts, and recreational opportunities on our rivers.

April 8th

Kick-Off Social | Grand Wayne Center
 The evening of April 8th will be an opportunity for leaders in the region to hear about successes and new issues for water resources in our communities.

April 9th
River Summit Conference | Grand Wayne Center

A full day of information and education for residents and professionals alike. The focus for this day will be to better understand the current state of our river systems and the opportunities rivers offer for economic growth and community building.

April 11th
Family Day | Various Locations in Downtown Fort Wayne
The last day of the 2015 River Summit will be a family-focused day on and along the rivers. Families can gain first-hand experiences associated with numerous features our rivers have to offer.

The principal organizer of the event is Tri-State Watershed Alliance. Get more details and get registered!

ERC Partnership Facilitates Experiential Study of Environmental Sociology in Blackford County

The ERC is assisting professor Sherrie Steiner and her

Dr. Sherrie Steiner, Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology at IPFW
Dr. Sherrie Steiner, Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology at IPFW

Environmental Sociology students to produce maps of industrial sites and environmental hazards in Blackford County, 50 miles south of Fort Wayne. According to the 2013 County Health Rankings, Blackford County ranks 89 out of 92 for Health Outcomes.  In particular, residents suffer from elevated rates of certain cancers and neurologic diseases.  Residents formed Blackford County Concerned Citizens in 1999 over concerns about the county’s rates of cancer and neurological illnesses with a desire to improve the quality of life through citizen action to investigate the diseases that are prevalent and by advocating to have these diseases investigated.  They recently partnered with Hoosier Environmental Council to assess the environmental health risks in the area.

There is a substantial industrial history in Blackford County beginning with the 1880s oil and gas boom.  This has raised questions of whether there might be links between health and environmental conditions.  With the assistance of the ERC, Steiner’s environmental sociology students will begin the process of mapping the industrial legacy of Blackford County.  Using ArcGIS software, students will create a series of maps that depict the location of various industries over time, their industrial legacy, and the current buildings on those industrial sites.

“The mapping expertise that the university brings to this project are a tremendous benefit for the community,” said Dr. Indra Frank, the Hoosier Environmental Council’s environmental health project director.  “This will help us have a clearer picture of possible environmental hazards.”

“This project has been collaboratively designed and implemented with our community partners,” said Sherrie Steiner, Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology at IPFW.  “I am hoping that this experience will strengthen a sense of civic responsibility and personal efficacy within students and among members of the community as pertains to environmental engagement.”

Steiner’s unique class is made possible through the collaborative community efforts of Blackford County Concerned Citizens, Blackford County Historical Society, and Hoosier Environmental Council.  This service learning course is made possible by the generous support from Indiana Campus Compact with matching funds from the IPFW Sociology Department.  Opinions or points of view expressed here do not necessarily reflect the official position of Indiana Campus Compact.

HistoricalSociety
Blackford County Historical Society, where students are researching local industrial history. Source: Sherrie Steiner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

conservation through research and education

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