The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is providing nearly $125,000 in "citizen science" grants to five New York City community groups. These grants will be used to help these organizations collect information on air and water pollution in their communities and seek solutions to environmental and public health problems. People care deeply about clean air and clean water in their own communities," said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. "This funding will help inform local residents about the environmental conditions in their own backyards." Citizen science enlists the public in collecting a wide range of environmental data and is an important tool for expanding scientific knowledge and literacy. The citizen science grant recipients are:
Bronx River Alliance
The Bronx River Alliance will use a $25,000 EPA grant to strengthen the organization's River Stewards Volunteer Monitoring Program. The grant will enable 70 adults, students and educators to use scientifically-valid procedures for monitoring water quality along the Bronx River at 5 locations and will enable citizen scientists to analyze data that have been collected over the past 5-10 years. By engaging the community and expanding the knowledge base of educators, the Bronx River Alliance will raise public awareness about how pollution affects the Bronx River.
Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation
The EPA has granted the Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation $25,000 to train local students as citizen scientists. Program participants will spend 24 weeks working with air quality sensors to monitor indoor air pollutants in Cypress Hills and East New York. The students will catalog and analyze the environmental air pollutant hazards that affect neighborhood homes and will share their findings with other community members.
El Puente de Williamsburg, Inc.
The EPA will provide a $25,000 grant to El Puente to train young people in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to collect water quality data. The data will be shared with the local community in public presentations, workshops, and print materials demonstrating the environmental and health impacts of the pollution identified.
New York Harbor Foundation
The New York Harbor Foundation has been granted $25,000 to educate New York City high school youth as volunteer citizen scientists to monitor air and water quality throughout New York Harbor. Data collected by the student scientists will be made available online and participants in this program will inform the public about their work and the importance of environmental monitoring at a series of outreach events.
Sustainable South Bronx
Sustainable South Bronx will use a $24,000 EPA grant to engage South Bronx high school students and local residents in monitoring air quality in their community via "AirCasting," a smart phone technology. AirCasting sessions enable citizen scientists to capture real-time air quality information such as carbon monoxide levels, annotate the data with personal observations, and share the information with a wider community via a "wiki" map.
More information at EPA Region 2 grants can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/region2/grants/ .