Ever wonder what happens after you dispose of your empty body wash or facial scrub containers? Those same products are landing in the Great Lakes and polluting our environment. Dr. Sherri Mason, a professor at SUNY Fredonia and our previous IWA expert, has now lead the charge on the study of higher levels of microplastics in Lake Erie.
Microplastics are small particles that are added to personal care items to give them an abrasive property. They can be found in your toothpaste, deodorants, body washes, hand cleansers and facial scrubs. In summer 2012, in collaboration with the 5 Gyres Institute, Mason recorded the plastic content of Lake Huron, Lake Erie and Lake Superior and discovered that Lake Erie had higher concentrations of microplastics than any other body of water on Earth, with concentrations exceeding data collected in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Alarming levels were also present in Lakes Huron and Superior.
Nineteen students and two instructors from Alfred State’s electrical construction and maintenance electrician program headed to Washington, D.C. this October to complete the largest phase of what has been a five-year project to help the U.S. National Arboretum meet its sustainability goals. Their mission: to install a 15 kilowatt photo voltaic system.
The new solar energy system is just one part of a long-term plan to update and improve the arboretum grounds while educating the public about renewable energy technology. The 446-acre facility operated by the Agriculture Research Service in Washington, D.C., is the principal intramural scientific research agency of the USDA. This particular phase will supply power to the arboretum to offset electricity costs associated with the facility’s bonsai displays.
Interview With A is a video series where we talk with real SUNY students and faculty on their experience, achievements, and research at any of SUNY’s 64 campuses in New York State.
We chat here with SUNY Fredonia‘s Dr. Sherri Mason, Associate Professor of Chemistry, who has conducted extensive and ongoing research into pollution in the Great Lakes. In collaboration with the 5 Gyres Institute, SUNY Fredonia, with Dr. Mason, conducted the first-ever analysis of plastics pollution in the bodies of water. The team found alarmingly high plastic particles within the Great Lakes and Dr. Mason addresses why that matters in this IWA.
Watch the interview below and join the conversation on Twitter with @SUNY using #IWA!
If you are an outdoors person, or you are not, you’ve probably seen signs and awareness advertisements telling you “Don’t Move Firewood”. This campaign is state law — enforced by the Department of Environmental Conservation, among other organizations — and for a reason: to protect unaffected forestry from the ulta-destructive Emerald Ash Borer. Scientists say that it’s destroyed millions of trees and transformed ecosystems across the Northeast. But why?
Name: Melissa Fierke, MS, Ph. D
Capacity: Assistant Professor of Forest Entomology
Campus: SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Research: Focuses on invasive species, especially the Emerald Ash Borer. Dr. Fierke’s studies bring attention to the insect inside affected areas, like Western New York and the Southern Tier, and how to avoid further penetration into the delicate Adirondack Mountain region.
Read Dr. Fierke’s complete professional profile.
Q: Why is the threat of the Emerald Ash Borer so important in New York State?
This year’s Brewers Association Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) & Brew Expo America featured a presentation about an anaerobic digester system coordinated by the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF).
Jim Kuhr, brewmaster and director of brewery operations at the at the F.X. Matt Brewing Company, outlined the process and benefits of the system that removes 80 percent of the organics from the Utica brewery’s wastewater and generates up to 40 percent of the facility’s electricity.