This year the EPA Partners in Technical Assistance Program (PTAP) Pilot has launched the first project with a school located near the Black Butte Mine Superfund Site in rural Cottage Grove, Oregon.
“The overall objective of PTAP is to expand opportunities for cooperation between EPA and colleges, universities or nonprofits with the shared goal of assessing and addressing the unmet technical assistance needs of impacted communities. Through PTAP, colleges, universities, and nonprofit organizations cooperate with EPA and voluntarily commit to assist communities with their unaddressed technical assistance needs. At this time, PTAP is in the pilot phase, working with NIEHS Superfund Research Program grantees as PTAP pilot partners. Following this pilot phase, the intention is to expand this project so that any interested colleges, universities or nonprofits may also join the PTAP.”
OSU Superfund Research Program has begun a partnership with EPA through this Pilot to help them expand upon their community outreach capabilities surrounding the Black Butte site.
On December 18, 2013, we met with Laurie Briggs, the Principal of the London School, because she had a strong desire to give her students and their families’ science and environmental health knowledge. About 100 rural K – 8th grade students go to London school.
Our visit included getting to know one another, listening to the needs of the school, and a school tour. We were impressed with the beauty and organization. The school built and maintains a 1/4-acre organic garden, and has a trail to a river flowing behind the property. 72% of the students qualify for free/reduced lunch, and delicious healthy meals are cooked on site.
For this project, we plan to:
1) Maintain communication through monthly meetings, and share notes and project milestones on our web site. [Our next meeting is January 30th, 2014 at OSU.]
2) Address community and educational needs.
- Create a hands-on, project-based integrated curriculum related to the science of the Superfund site and mercury contamination that can serve as a model for other rural, small schools.
- Discuss ways to educate the students and community and expand and build a sustainable partnership.
3) Provide training opportunities for SRP Trainees wanting outreach experience.
4) Help students understand career opportunities in environmental and life sciences.