Residents will Breathe When Plant is Gone

I can't believe I am still writing about this. It's been nearly 15 years since I unexpectedly became an environmental activist wanting to figure out why so of my neighbors and I were sick. We retrofitted a Home Depot® bucket into an air sampler and ended up discovering the deadly chemical benzene. Working with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), we discovered that a significant amount of our toxic air was coming from a local factory called Tonawanda Coke.

Because of our collaboration with the DEC and running a successful community organizing campaign using citizen science, we are breathing cleaner air (92% reduction in benzene) in our communities. Thats old news, right?

The latest results and news from NYS DEC air monitors continue to show we are not in harms way (benzene-wise) due to their latest shenanigans. However, a series of violations raised red flags again last week! Now, we are still awaiting the results of the 24/7 particulate air monitor that was installed after the company was issued a cease and desist notice by the DEC. The reason? For violating their air permit (by over100 times, I might add).

Long story short, Tonawanda Coke has long overstayed their welcome and we want them gone! Whether the latest air pollution results detect an elevation in air toxins or not, we don't care. We gave them a second chance after the new management took over a few years. But since this time,  our community continues to be on guard and we have a constant "on the edge of our seat" feeling whether or not there will be another upset or violation at the plant that we must endure.

Bottom line: Enough is enough and I think I can say this with confidence on behalf of all of us that have endured your mess for decades, "Get lost and good riddance!"

Jackie James Creedon

Ken-Ton Resident 

WNY Community & Environmental Science Education Center

In 2018, we are developing an Education Center and want to hear from you what programs and resources should be included as we grow.

Here’s what we are and will be doing in 2018:

  • Hold strategic planning event/workshop with the community to develop ideas and a vision for the Education Center
  • Create a schedule of workshops/meetings and information to market the Center
  • Create education media materials (brochures, flyers, video, etc.)
  • Educate the community on adverse health impacts pertaining to environmental toxins. 
  • Create a soil toolkit and hold a workshop with the community. (Workshop was held on April 12th)

We want your input on how our Community Science Education Center can best serve you. Click here to participate in our survey.

Volunteers Sought for Tonawanda Coke Soil Study: One of Nation’s Largest Citizen Science Projects

The University at Buffalo is leading the study with CSCR and SUNY Fredonia as collaborators. UB’s Chemistry Professor Dr. Joe Gardella, the Principal Investigator adds, “UB staff and students will be leading sampling teams for the largest part of the Phase 1 sampling from August through September. Over 270 samples will be collected from homes, public spaces and corporate sites from the Town and City of Tonawanda, Kenmore, Buffalo and Grand Island. This will be complemented by results from 30 initial samples we have completed. Volunteers will help with documentation of the sampling process.”

The Tonawanda Coke Soil Study leadership is hoping to gain the help of committed volunteers, who can join CSCR in the field. The volunteer opportunity requires attendance at a 90-minute training session either on Aug. 5th from 11-12:30 or Aug. 9th from 5:30-7pm at 465 Natural Science Complex at University at Buffalo. Additionally, CSCR is asking the volunteer to commit to at least one-half day four-hour time slot in August. For more information or to sign up (deadline is August 1st), contact CSCR office at 716- 873-6191, email at katie@csresources.org, or website: csresources.org Citizen science is the practice of public participation and collaboration in scientific research to increase scientific knowledge.

Citizen Science Mentoring Program for Local High School Students

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A unique summer opportunity is being offered to local high school students in Citizen Science Community Resources (CSCR) 2017 "Students Become Citizen Scientists" program. 

Students will gain community service hours, firsthand experience collaborating with research scientists, and the opportunity to participate in data collection.

The program begins this week and runs until the end of August. It's not too late to apply! Participants must be at least 15 and not older than 18 years of age. 

Interested students are encouraged to sign up by calling CSCR office at 716-873-6191 or email at info@csresources.org.

This year's opportunity will focus on a Soil Study in neighborhoods potentially impacted by pollution coming from Tonawanda Coke Corp. located in Tonawanda, NY.   CSCR is collaborating with the University at Buffalo and SUNY Fredonia, on the project which was funded by the courts in the Tonawanda Coke Corp. v United States of America guilty verdict against the company. Students living in the Tonawanda's, Kenmore, Riverside, and Eastern Grand Island are especially encouraged to participate.

Director Jackie James Creedon explains, "This is a unique opportunity for high school students to learn about citizen science and community activism. We are introducing students to a real environmental issue in our community and engaging them in building solutions. We currently have five college students, three of them graduates from our first High School Citizen Science class (2013) to mentor the high school students." 

Citizen science is the practice of public participation and collaboration in scientific research to increase scientific knowledge.