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Your Environment. Your Health.

Progress Reports: University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill: Outreach Core

Superfund Research Program

Outreach Core

Project Leader: Kathleen Gray
Grant Number: P42ES005948
Funding Period: 2000 - 2006

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Progress Reports

Year:   2005  2004 

This year, the Outreach Core worked with state and federal agencies to share information and to complement their outreach efforts around hazardous waste sites. They also worked with public school teachers to enhance their understanding of hazardous waste issues.

In a new initiative, staff participated in the Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS) Working Group, convened by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. For the Former Camp Butner site, Outreach Core staff recruited participants for the local Restoration Advisory Board (RAB), which will help prioritize cleanup activities at the site. Ultimately, they recruited 14 members, with eight from the community at large, and participants represented major employers, government agencies, environmental organizations and impacted citizens. The Core's efforts resulted in a larger and more diverse RAB, which should enhance local understanding of the relevant environmental health issues (including ordnance and heavy metal contamination of soils and ground water) and improve decision-making at this site. In conjunction with USACE, NC DENR and Granville County Emergency Management, the Core staff also identified opportunities for educational activities in local schools. Additionally, they developed educational materials identifying sites in northeastern NC and explaining the potential health and safety hazards of unexploded ordnance.

Through science seminars at state environmental agencies, the Core staff shared the results of SBRP research with field staff, answered site-specific questions about cleanup challenges, and also provided their scientists an opportunity to learn about the field-based questions that their research might answer. Drs. Pfaender and Serre presented their research findings, and approximately 20 regulators attended each session.

In K-12 outreach, using the What's in the Water? curriculum, the Core staff conducted professional development for over 58 teachers (and by extension, over 5,300 students) across North Carolina. Through their online course, they continued to reach educators in rural/remote areas who would not otherwise be able to participate in the workshops. Specifically, they:

  • Conducted a workshop in Washington County with activities focused on the Weyerhaeuser site in Plymouth, NC.
  • Co-sponsored, with North Carolina State University's The Science House and the NCMSEN-PreCollege Program, a three-day institute for teachers in eastern North Carolina and a one-day follow-up.
  • Conducted a seven-week online course with teachers from seven North Carolina counties. The course can be accessed on the LEARN NC web site when it is in session.
  • With a local science teacher, conducted a workshop at the NC Science Teachers Association meeting.
  • Pilot-tested activities, including information about the Koppers and Barber Orchard sites, with the Girls in Science program at a local middle school.
  • Demonstrated for several teachers the integration of Superfund issues into middle school water quality curricula.
  • Shared educational activities and Superfund site information with an environmental educator at Lake Crabtree County Park, which is close to the Ward Transformer site.

Core staff also published the fifth edition of Superfund Scoop (in press), published CISE News (in press), updated and maintained the website, and presented outreach poster and program highlights at the 2004 SBRP annual meeting.

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