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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 partnered with state and federal agencies to complement their outreach efforts around hazardous waste sites. The core researchers also worked with teachers, students and nonprofit organizations to enhance their understanding of hazardous waste issues. As part of the core’s role in the Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS) Working Group—convened by the US Army Corps of Engineers, the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and the US Environmental Protection Agency—they facilitated educational sessions on munitions response and stakeholder participation in cleanup decisions for the Restoration Advisory Board of Former Camp Butner, NC. These sessions enhanced understanding of the relevant environmental health issues (including ordnance and heavy metal contamination of soils/ground water) and should improve decision-making at this site. Additionally, core researchers assisted NC DENR in educating emergency responders on the Outer Banks about the potential health and safety hazards of unexploded ordnance at coastal FUDS.

In other efforts, the core is partnering with educators at Lake Crabtree County Park to develop a workshop highlighting how PCB contamination from the Ward Transformer site (Raleigh) has mobilized into the lake. The researchers also staffed a booth at the Park’s Waterfest this fall. Finally, they are assisting the Agricultural Resources Center—a nonprofit organization that advocates for alternatives to toxic pesticides in NC—in training citizens, including Latino farm workers, to monitor pesticide drift in rural Hyde and Beaufort Counties and in researching the potential impacts of alternative chemicals.

Through science seminars at NC DENR, the core researchers shared the results of innovative SBRP research with field staff and answered site-specific questions about cleanup challenges.

Dr. Rappaport and graduate student Denise Kukich presented their research findings, and approximately 20 regulators attended each session. The chief of NC DENR’s Superfund Section noted that these sessions represented critical professional development for his staff, giving them a rare opportunity to learn about cutting edge cleanup technologies and discuss challenging remediation issues with scientists.

In K-12 outreach, the core conducted teacher professional development for 110 NC teachers, and by extension, almost 10,000 students. These activities focused on water quality and groundwater contamination and included information on the following sites: Koppers (Morrisville), Barber Orchard (Waynesville), and Ward Transformer. Specifically, the core:

  • Conducted a workshop for 10 teachers at Hertford Middle School in Murfreesboro, NC.
  • Conducted a workshop for 10 middle school teachers from northeastern NC at Elizabeth City State University.
  • Participated in NC State’s The Science House environmental science series in Raleigh, Fayetteville, and Greensboro with 30 teachers at each session.
  • Presented SBRP information to 25 Girls in Science Club members at Lufkin Road Elementary School in Apex, NC.
  • Conducted educational activities focused on water quality with nine students participating in MODELS (Mentors Opening Doors: Experiential Links to Science), a program of the NC Museum of Life and Science targeting minority high school students.
  • Assisted a chemistry teacher in researching questions about Superfund sites in Warren and Gaston Counties.

Core researchers were recently invited to serve on the advisory council of the NC DENR's Office of Environmental Education, and they have also published the Superfund Scoop and CISE News and updated the program website.

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