Erie Times-NIE “Reconnect with your environment pages”

The Erie community is more involved in protecting coastal resources because they know more about their environment thanks to the partnership between PA Sea Grant and Erie Times-News in Education. 1 15 13 Demand supply drop in bucket needs protectionThe Erie Times-NIE pages offer the venue and PA Sea Grant provides readers with up-to-date local, state, national and worldwide scientific information about coastal issues. A Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Coastal Resource Management grant pays for weekly newspapers for 6,000 area students for 34 weeks. (They are on a first come, first served basis. To order copies for your students go to the Erie Times-NIE homepage.) Access past NIE pages and lessons plans here.

Educators and students in 12 districts benefit because they have access to free resources and support for local “place-based” science to meet their Environment and Ecology standards. Students and citizens benefit by gaining a better understanding of how their own actions can lead to problems like pollution, climate change, invasive species and other issues and what they can do to help solve them. They are taking action by: planting rain gardens to help control stormwater and erosion, recycling instead of tossing, purchasing fewer harmful products and replacing them with safer ones, and participating in pharmaceutical collection events to dispose of unused medicines. But most important, the Lake Erie and French Creek watersheds benefit from this additional pool of educated citizens of all ages who become stewards that protect our precious resources.

The weekly pages have helped to increase:

  • the number of volunteers participating in the yearly Pennsylvania Lake Erie International Coastal Cleanup. In 2009, 1,257 volunteers removed 19,395 pounds of trash at 15 sites along the PA Lake Erie shoreline and at schools in the Lake Erie Watershed. In 2010, 1,330 volunteers removed 9,980 pounds of trash at 15 sites and schools. In 2011, 1,518 volunteers removed 7,577 pounds of trash and separated 1,715 pounds of recyclable materials at these locations and schools. That adds up to 12,315 hours of volunteer time spent to improve the Lake Erie watershed.
  • attendance and participation for programs sponsored by PA Sea Grant and its partners (Environment Erie, the Regional Science Consortium, and DCNR and others report improved attendance at workshops, pharmaceutical collection events, TREC movies, student and family programs at the Tom Ridge Center and Presque Isle State Park.
  • the number of young and old energetic conservationists who are participating in the Weed Warrior program to remove invasive species at Presque Isle and the Erie Bluffs State Park.

Partners:            Erie Times-News in Education, PA DEP Coastal Resource Management Program

Anna McCartney