We are so thrilled to have worked with and served communities in Western New York in 2017. As CSCR’s first year of operation draws to a close, we’d like to share some of our accomplishments with you, as well as what our plans are for next year.
We were awarded nonprofit status!
When CSCR started, it was the grassroots project of a small but tenacious group of concerned citizens standing up to a polluter in their community. In the last year, we have received our 501(c)(3) exemption status and are now fully operational as a not-for-profit organization committed to continuing and expanding the vision and work of that grassroots group.
Our new website is live!
In May, we launched our new website: csresources.org. This is a great resource for information on our vision, our history, and our ongoing and upcoming projects.
Environmental impact study is underway!
CSCR, in collaboration with University at Buffalo and SUNY Fredonia, launched the region’s largest-ever citizen science study. Jennifer Lynn Shirk, interim director for National Citizen Science Association, stated:” It is from that field-wide perspective that I can call out the significance of this moment. By my best accounting, this is by far the largest amount of money - $711,000 - awarded directly to a community-based organization for the purposes of ongoing research and monitoring of environmental quality. Let this moment catch the attention of industries across the country: communities not only have a right to safeguard their health; with citizen science, they have the tools to make a powerful and supported stand for that right."
Earlier this year, CSCR along with University at Buffalo and SUNY Fredonia held training sessions to teach community members and students how to extract soil samples. In August, the collaborators announced the study’s "kick off" . Also, in August and September, "citizen science" teams extracted nearly 200 soil samples from neighborhood yards.
As part of this project, CSCR held several community meetings and told our story to residents, and students at local colleges and high schools. We built our community capacity from a couple hundred to nearly one-thousand members!
The EPA recognized our work!
Our Citizen Scientists were highlighted as a case study and success story in the Environmental Protection Agency's National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology article, "Environmental Protection Belongs to the Public":
We’re learning from other regions!
We ended our first year on a high note when we welcomed Dr Shaun Crawford from Birmingham, Alabama, to give a talk on December 16th. Dr. Crawford is an environmental and health consultant who has spent his career conducting studies on the effects of environmental contamination, with a focus on coke oven emissions from the steel-making industry in affected communities. He shared stories of how residents’ health has been impacted by coke oven emissions and is collaborating with CSCR in building a bridge between our communities. Read about Dr. Crawford's experience.
Where we’re headed in 2018:
Tonawanda Coke environmental study:
We will continue our Tonawanda Coke environmental study with local universities, residents, and students to determine the extent of TCC's pollution, and in what ways it has potentially impacted our community.
Collaboration with Other Communities:
We have established working relationships with communities members in Birmingham, Alabama, and Erie, Pennsylvania, who are beginning their fight against coke foundries that have polluted their neighborhoods and endangered their health. We will share our successes here in Tonawanda along with our strategies and networks in order to help them stay strong and succeed in their fights.
Tool Kits (New Project!)
We will develop a Citizen Science toolkit for soil and air testing that can be distributed to and used by anybody who has a concern about what is in their backyard.
Citizen Science Meeting (New Project!)
In collaboration with the National Citizen Science Association, we will hold a regional Citizen Science meeting. This will be an opportunity for community members throughout Western New York to learn more about citizen science projects, share their stories and build connections with one another.
All that we’ve done in 2017 couldn’t have been accomplished without your support. To help us continue what we’ve started and begin these new projects, please contribute today! Your tax-deductable gift in 2017 will go a long way toward a productive 2018!