It All Starts with Science

Sensor Technology for the 21st Century

By Joel Creswell, Ph.D. 

Small businesses are engines of innovation. They have the flexibility to take risks and try new things. The federal government harnesses some of this ingenuity through the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) programs. EPA is one of eleven federal agencies that participate in SBIR. These grant and contract programs fund research and development on federal priorities by U.S.-owned businesses with 500 or fewer employees. Since their inception in 1982, they have awarded more than $26 billion.

Before joining EPA as a AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow in 2015, I worked for a small business in Seattle, WA, developing technology for analyzing trace metals in the environment. While I was there, we undertook a sensor development project made possible by an SBIR grant from the Department of Energy. One of my biggest challenges in applying for SBIR grants was finding the right funding opportunities for my area of expertise. At the time, there was no central location to browse through sensor funding opportunities – I had to read through hundreds of pages of solicitations from every SBIR-granting agency to find the right research topics. Because each agency has its own calendar for releasing solicitations and accepting proposals, staying on top of the relevant funding opportunities requires a significant time commitment.

Man holds up small sensor

EPA is supporting small businesses and the next generation of environmental sensors.

On March 1, 2016, finding SBIR funding opportunities for sensor-related research and development became easier. SBIR.gov posted Sensor Technology for the 21st Century to provide a central web location to help sensor developers locate SBIR and/or STTR funding opportunities across federal agencies. This site significantly reduces the effort required to browse sensor topics from a wide range of agencies. It also highlights the extent to which the U.S. Government is a significant driver of sensor innovation.

The new Sensor Technology for the 21st Century resource has several ambitious goals in addition to making it easier to find sensor funding opportunities. These include encouraging agencies to collaborate to fund different phases of the same research projects to increase their chances of commercial success; making each agency more aware of what sensor topics its peer agencies are funding; and avoiding duplicative investments across the government in sensor technology. This effort was developed in coordination with the federal working group on Exposure Science in the 21st Century and the National Nanotechnology Initiative under the White House National Science and Technology Council. So far ten federal agencies have contributed to this effort, including EPA.

If you are a sensor developer, whether for medicine, industrial automation, aerospace, water quality, or another field, take a look and explore the range of agencies that would consider funding your work. What you find may surprise you.

About the Author: Joel Creswell is an environmental chemist and a AAAS Fellow on the EPA Office of Research and Development’s Innovation Team. Prior to coming to EPA, he worked on developing environmental trace metals analyzers for a scientific instrument company.

 

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

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Simulating Wildland Fires in a Tube to Protect Public Health

By Dina Abdulhadi

After a long day of backpacking in the woods, I always look forward to watching the story arc of a campfire. The flames grow slowly, then leap up as the fire builds momentum. As the fire calms, the logs smolder and glow with heat.

Wildfires have similar phases. During an active fire, flames rapidly move over the landscape. The remaining embers can smolder on for days to weeks after the fire front passes, depending on what trees or other vegetation are there to fuel the fire. These two factors—what is burning and whether it’s flaming or smoldering—affect the smoke that people ultimately breathe.

To study the potential health risks of breathing wildfire smoke, a major form of air pollution, researchers at EPA are now using a technology that mimics these phases of a fire in a laboratory in Research Triangle Park, N.C. Originally developed to investigate tobacco’s health effects, this Biomass Furnace System allows researchers to study the chaotic nature of fire in a controlled setting and compare emissions from different trees during the fire and smoldering stages. Knowing these differences will provide more information to protect public health and enable air quality managers to prepare for the increased wildfires we expect in the future due to climate change and drought.

Tube used to conduct simulation

Biomass Fuel Combustion System

 

Particulate matter (PM) is one of the main pollutants created by fire. These tiny particles are produced when anything is burned—whether that’s the logs to your campfire or gasoline ignited to fuel your car’s engine. Many studies have linked it to effects on the heart and lungs.

During 2011, wildfires and controlled burns alone contributed up to 41 percent of emitted PM pollution in the U.S. This pollution can have drastic effects on the local community, but it can also affect the air breathed by those far away as the smoke drifts.

To understand the growing impact of wildfires on human health, researchers plan to look at effects on the heart, nervous system (such as headaches), and respiratory system from a variety of wood fuels by using models. They’ll also investigate if PM from wildfire smoke is more or less harmful than PM from other sources of air pollution, like car exhaust.

map of potential fires across US

Map showing distribution of potential wildfire fuels across the United States (Credit: Yongho Kim)

According to the National Fire Center, two fires are burning right now in my state of North Carolina alone. When you consider what could be happening in the other 49 states as well, this kind of research becomes that much more valuable for scientists working to protect public health.

Want to learn more about the research EPA conducts on wildfires to protect human health and the environment? Listen to our Science Bite Podcast Following the Smoke: Wildfires and Health.

About the author: Dina Abdulhadi is a student contractor working with the science communication team in EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

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Gamify the Grid! New EPA game Generate! Helps Students Understand the Relationship between Climate Change and Energy Production

By Rose Keane

When you’re teaching someone, sometimes you never know what’s going to stick. Some people need to hear the information, others might need to read it, but chances are the best way to get someone to remember is to have them try it themselves.

EPA researcher Rebecca Dodder is helping teachers provide middle school and high school students with these kinds of opportunities through her new Generate! game, a board game that requires the player to consider the costs and benefits of the type of energy we use and impacts on air quality and climate.

Hands-on learning! Kids play the Generate! game during Earth Day festivities at EPA’s campus in Research Triangle Park, N.C.

Hands-on learning! Kids play the Generate! game during Earth Day festivities at EPA’s campus in Research Triangle Park, N.C.

Having students actually grapple with the realities of financial limitations, carbon emissions, and limited natural resources makes the lesson much more tangible and long lasting. I had the chance to see these connections being made when students came to EPA’s campus in Research Triangle Park, N.C., to play the game during Earth Day festivities.

Here’s how it works.  In the first round, students select which sources of energy—for example, coal, natural gas, nuclear, solar or wind—that they would like to use given a finite amount of resources (in this case the number and types of energy pieces). Each energy source comes with its associated installation and maintenance costs, and the aim is to meet energy demands (filling up the full board space) while spending as little as possible.

The second round, however, made things a bit trickier. As with our energy sources in real life, there is a cost associated with the carbon emissions of each energy piece, with heavier costs for higher carbon-emitting sources like coal, and smaller or no carbon costs for the renewable energy sources. These costs refer to the idea that for each ton of carbon dioxide emitted, there are increased costs to communities from climate change. As students factored these numbers in, they realized their original plan was no longer sustainable and also way too expensive. You could practically hear the groans coming from each group’s table when the final tallies came in.

In the third round, students were offered pieces called “efficiencies,” which represent our behaviors, consumer choices, and energy efficient appliances. These pieces incur relatively small costs initially (for example, how much it would cost to replace your washer and dryer), but in the long run actually save the player money. “Think about it,” Dodder said to the students, “A lot of these big decisions are out of our control, like whether or not to build a nuclear power plant, for example. The thing about the smaller energy efficiency pieces is that’s all the stuff that we can change – it’s all in our control.”

Making climate change and its impacts tangible for younger generations can be extremely difficult, but games like Generate! make these kinds of activities fun, educational, and remind the students that their energy choices are in their hands. Educators can use this game to help their students recognize the relationships between energy usage and climate change, and encourage them to investigate their role in the carbon cycle further.

Dr. Dodder’s innovative approaches to educating the younger generation about science and her research contributions are being recognized today at a ceremony in Washington, DC where she will receive a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists.

Learn more about the Generate! game and download your copy here.

About the Author: Rose Keane is an Oak Ridge Associated Universities contractor with the science communications team in EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

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Particulate Matter in a Changing World: Grants to Combat the Impacts of Climate Change

By Christina Burchette

There are certain things that are always changing: the weather, fashion trends, and technology (which iPhone are we on again?) are a few that come to mind. I can always count on the fact that these things won’t stay the same for long. But there are other things that I typically expect to remain the same: I expect to get hungry around lunchtime, I expect the bus to come every morning, and I expect to be able to breathe clean air. I don’t even think about the possibility of these things not happening—until something changes.

I definitely don’t think about air quality often or expect it to change. As long as I’m breathing and well, why would I? But in reality, air quality changes every day, and over time it may change a lot depending on how we treat our environment—and we need to be ready for these changes. This is why EPA recently awarded research grants to 12 universities to protect air quality from current and future challenges associated with climate change impacts.

Climate change is affecting air quality by influencing the type and amount of pollutants in the air. One type of pollutant present in our air is particulate matter, or PM. Long-term exposure to PM is linked to various health effects, including heart disease and lung function, and it doesn’t take a high concentration to affect our bodies. The more PM there is in the air, the more likely we are to be affected by health conditions.

landscape of Death Valley National Park with dust storm

A dust storm in Death Valley National Park

With EPA Science to Achieve Results (STAR) grants, university researchers are approaching the future of air quality from multiple angles with a focus on learning more about the PM-climate change relationship. They will study the impacts of increased wildfire activity that generates PM, often called soot, in the Rocky Mountains. They will look at the impacts that climate change and land use change have on the development of dust storms in the West and Southwest; and they will evaluate the best means of energy production in California where air quality is among the worst in the nation to reduce health care costs and lower levels of PM and greenhouse gases.

Over the next few decades, climate change will be the catalyst for various environmental trends, so finding a way to manage the impacts of these trends is essential to protecting our health. The work these grantees do will help to inform air quality managers and others to make sustainable and cost-effective decisions that keep our air quality at healthy levels and protect public health and the environment. That way, future generations will think of good air quality as something we can expect.

To learn more about these grants and read the abstracts, visit the Particulate Matter and Related Pollutants in a Changing World results page.

About the Author: Christina Burchette is an Oak Ridge Associated Universities contractor and writer for the science communication team in EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

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Air Quality Awareness: A New Generation of Research

By Dan Costa, Sc.D.

Graphic of clouds and buildings in a silhouette cityscape. It’s Air Quality Awareness Week! This week, EPA is showing how we care about the air by announcing grants to three institutions to create air research centers. We now understand more than ever about the threats of air pollution to environmental and human health, but there is still more to learn. EPA has a history of supporting research and development that complements the work of our own staff scientists to bolster scientific knowledge about the effects of air pollution. EPA uses this knowledge to address many pressing questions and understand connections between our changing environment and human health.

Since 1999, EPA has funded three rounds of research centers through a competitive grant process. The scientific experts at these centers have contributed to a more complete understanding of the persistent air quality challenges that continue to face our nation. The first round of EPA funded air research centers focused on particulate matter and examined the link between particulate matter and cardiovascular disease. In 2005, the next round of centers focused on whether differing health effects could be linked to specific sources of air pollution. By 2010, it was clear that to get an accurate understanding of real life exposures, we needed to examine the health effects of exposure to multiple pollutants at once instead of just one or two at a time. The third round of centers took on this complex challenge. The next step is to delve into questions regarding how the health effects of air pollution may vary in different cities and regions across our country – each with its own unique characteristics and set of pollution sources.

This leads us to today and our exciting announcement–EPA is awarding $30 million through its Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program to fund the establishment of Air, Climate, and Energy (ACE) Research Centers at Yale University, Harvard University and Carnegie Mellon University. These Centers will consider changing energy production methods and local climate, while investigating the effects of global climate change, technology, and societal choices on local air quality and health.

I am eagerly anticipating the many new tools and ideas that will be produced by this next generation of EPA funded air research centers.

About the Author: Dan Costa is the national program director for EPA’s Air, Climate, and Energy Research Program.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

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This Week in EPA Science

By Kacey Fitzpatrick

research_recap_250Today is Arbor Day—a day to plant, care for, and celebrate trees! Don’t have a shovel handy? Well you can still read about the latest in EPA science to get your environmental fix.

Visualize Your Water Challenge
The winners of the Visualize Your Water challenge were announced last week! High school students were challenged to use open government data sources to create compelling, innovative, and comprehensible visualizations that inform individuals and communities about nutrient pollution. Read about it all straight from the teachers of the winning students in the blog Recognizing Winners of EPA’s Visualize Your Water Challenge.

Doing it for the Kids: Engaging Students on Energy and Climate Change
Got a minute to listen to EPA’s latest Science Bite podcast? EPA scientist Dr. Rebecca Dodder describes her research on climate change and why engaging students on energy issues is important to her. Listen to the Science Bite podcasts.

New Way to Track Everyday Exposure
EPA scientists are excited about the flurry of research under way using silicone wristbands for monitoring everyday exposures to chemicals. This research could complement EPA’s ongoing effort to develop computer models that generate high-throughput exposure predictions for thousands of chemicals. Read more about this wristband research in the article A Simple Way to Track Your Everyday Exposure to Chemicals.

Don’t Flush! Why Your Drug Disposal Method Matters
April 30th is National Drug Take-Back Day. What do you usually do with your unwanted or expired pharmaceuticals? If you flush them down the toilet or throw them in the trash, they can end up in our coastal ecosystems and negatively impact aquatic animals. Read more about what happens and how you can safely discard your pharmaceuticals in the blog Don’t Flush! Why Your Drug Disposal Method Matters.

Next Week is Air Quality Awareness Week!
EPA will be hosting a Twitter Chat with CDC on air quality issues on May 5th, from 1-2 p.m. ET. This chat will talk about topics like the impacts of air pollution on human health and how you can use air quality tools to reduce your exposure to pollution. Join the conversation at #AirQualityChat.

About the Author: Kacey Fitzpatrick is a student contractor and writer working with the science communication team in EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

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Don’t Flush! Why Your Drug Disposal Method Matters

4A-Digital Billboard-English-1400x400By Sara Ernst

Have you ever participated in a drug take-back program?  If not, what do you typically do with leftover medications after you defeat a bacterial infection or find an old bottle of Tylenol?  Many people may flush unwanted or expired pharmaceuticals down the toilet or throw them in the trash, but those methods can actually harm our environment.

When flushed or thrown-out, these drugs can end up in our coastal ecosystems; and all the chemicals in those little pills that were once working together to make us feel better, are now dissolving in our waterways where they can negatively impact aquatic animals.

Scientists throughout EPA continue to evaluate the potential toxicity of different drugs to determine what specific effects they have on aquatic wildlife, and to develop new ways to detect if an organism has been exposed to those drugs.

I recently spoke with EPA scientists Bushra Khan and Theresa Johnston to learn about some of the specific effects they have observed in their research.

Close-up of a person's hand holding a bottle of pillsBushra talked to me about the effects that beta blockers (medication prescribed to patients with high blood pressure or chest pain) have on shellfish such as oysters, clams, and mussels.  She explained that when shellfish become exposed to beta blockers, it can interfere with the organism’s physiological pathways, cellular integrity, and their growth and development.

Theresa explained that drugs that are designed to disrupt our endocrine system, like oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapies, also disrupt the endocrine system of fish and other aquatic organisms. EPA scientists have found that hormones called progestins, often used in oral contraceptives, affect the number of eggs that female cunner fish produce.  They also interfere with the way hormones function within females and males.

By improperly disposing of pharmaceuticals, we further contribute to the amount of chemical exposure aquatic animals are subjected to, and potentially threaten the population sustainability of shellfish, fish, and other aquatic animals.

The best thing you can do to help lessen the problem is to utilize Drug Take-Back Programs.  These programs allow you to drop off any unwanted medications at a designated facility where the drugs will then be disposed of in a safe and environmentally-conscious manner.

April 30th is the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Drug Take-Back Day.  All over the country there will be facilities accepting any unwanted or expired medications from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM – it is the perfect opportunity to clean out your medicine cabinet while simultaneously helping to protect aquatic animals and their environment from chemical exposure!

Visit the National Take Back Initiative website to learn more and to locate a participating collection site near you.

About the Author:  Sara Ernst is an Oak Ridge Associated Universities contractor and works as the Science Communications Specialist in the Atlantic Ecology Division of EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

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Recognizing Winners of EPA’s Visualize Your Water Challenge

Washington-Lee Students Meet the Challenge

By Ryan Miller

Winning students Nicholas Oliveira and Anna Lujan with their teacher, Ryan Miller

Winning students Nicholas Oliveira (left) and Anna Lujan (right) with their teacher Ryan Miller (center)

I teach a class at Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, Virginia called Geospatial Tools and Techniques. It is a course designed to introduce high school students to geographic information systems (GIS) and is part of the James Madison University Geospatial Semester Program. All of my students are “dual-enrolled” and will be earning both high school and college credit.

GIS can be done using a variety of tools and methods, and as one of the assignments of my course this year, I decided to make the EPA Visualize Your Water Challenge a class project.

The Challenge asked contestants “to use open government data sources to create compelling, innovative, and comprehensible visualizations that inform individuals and communities about nutrient pollution and inspire them to reduce nutrient levels that cause algal blooms and hypoxia in local watersheds.

Preparing my students to work on this class project and to take on the challenge took several steps and involved several weeks of work in the classroom. Each student was to use their newly acquired GIS skills to submit entries into this government sponsored contest.

I first prepped the students by reviewing the causes, processes and impacts of nutrient pollution in waterways, something some of them were already familiar with from my environmental science class. We then transitioned into an examination of potential data needs and data sources to complete their work. Finally, we worked together to review the software skills needed.

The students aptly dove into this assignment, were able to identify fantastic open sources of government data (primarily relying upon U. S. Census and U.S. Agricultural Census data), and through minimal issues, acquired the needed software skills and set to work. The students all used an online GIS platform to complete their entries, ultimately generating “storymaps,” interactive web-based mapping applications. We were all pleased with the outcomes of this assignment, final products and grades included.

The efforts and storymaps of two of my students, Nicholas Oliveira and Anna Lujan, were fortunate to be recognized and were awarded the grand prize (Nicholas) and National Geographic Award (Anna)! Both students created well-designed functional projects that delve into nutrient pollution/eutrophication issues. I’m very proud of their efforts!

On Thursday April 21, officials from EPA, the GIS software company Esri, and other various sponsors and supporters of the Visualize Your Water Challenge visited Washington-Lee High School to celebrate and award Nicholas and Anna, and the other contestants. It was a fantastic way to bring students and experts in the field together to discuss and highlight the problems and issues of nutrient pollution/eutrophication. I’m grateful for this experience and I can state that my students are too.

About the Author: Ryan Miller teachers environmental studies and geospatial tools and techniques at Washington-Lee High School.

 

Dreams of a Teacher

By Ted Gardiner

Winning students and their teacher (left to right):

Winning students and their teacher (left to right): Clara Benadon, Alex Jin, Sam Hull, and Ted Gardiner

As a teacher within the Global Ecology Magnet Program at Poolesville High School, I was excited when the head of our program emailed me EPA’s Visualize Your Water Challenge.  Here at Poolesville High School our goal is to raise the environmental awareness of our students, so the Challenge resonated with our philosophy. It’s turned out to have a tremendous positive impact on our students.

The students really liked how the Challenge utilized StoryMaps to tackle the topic of nutrient pollution in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, where we live.  The use of StoryMaps made the challenge fun and interactive.  This was the first time that our students used StoryMaps.  I was amazed at the interactivity and ease with which they were able to create meaningful artifacts.  Each day in our classroom students were able to have discussions with each other about how to present the information through StoryMaps, consistently pushing each other to go deeper into the issue.  As the days went on, they became more excited about how their work evolved.

All of the resources made available to the students were fantastic.  Students were able to use the websites provided through the EPA to learn more about nutrient pollution in the Chesapeake Bay and begin telling their interpretation of the story.  The Challenge engaged our students in critical thinking about the impact of nutrient pollution and how they could help in their own daily lives.

The Challenge gave students the opportunity to work with real data in an authentic process examining an issue within our own watershed.  As we neared the submission deadline, the class was so proud of what they had created that they did not discuss prizes, etc.  They were working as hard as they could to submit their StoryMaps and saw submission and the knowledge they had gained as the real prize for the project.  But they were in for a very pleasant surprise.

When we heard that we had two honorable mentions and the Chesapeake Bay winner, our students erupted into applause.  This was truly a moment that every teacher dreams of.

For the awards ceremony, EPA was very generous sending out a member of their science communication team to Poolesville High School as we remotely participated.  The students and their parents were so proud, another moment that every teacher dreams of.

Giving students this opportunity and recognition is priceless in our ever changing technological world.  Overall, this project gave our students an opportunity to be excited about learning and utilizing technology to tell a story that more people need to hear.  In the end, the Visualize Your Water Challenge delivered so many educational positives for our students. I want to thank the EPA and Challenge.gov for making this project so accessible and fantastic.

About the Author: Ted Gardiner is a teacher in the Global Ecology Magnet Program at Poolesville High School in Montgomery County, MD.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

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This Week in EPA Science

By Kacey Fitzpatrick

research_recap_250Happy Earth Day! What better day than today to read about environmental science? Here’s the latest from EPA.

This Earth Day, Learn About Food Recovery
Coming on the heels of the announcement of the first ever national food waste reduction goal—cutting food waste in half by 2030—EPA is celebrating Food Recovery for Earth Day. EPA is involved in numerous efforts to reduce food waste. One of these efforts is taking place in Columbia, South Carolina, through EPA’s Net Zero Initiative. Read about the initiative in the Science Matters story America’s Food Waste Problem.

National Coastal Condition Assessment
EPA recently published the Agency’s 5th National Coastal Condition Assessment which provides data on the condition of U.S. coastal waters. Our coastal waters are essential to all kinds of activities, such as industry, tourism, and recreation, and provide habitat to an incredible diversity of species. Those are the reasons why EPA researchers regularly collect and analyze a host of data and put together the periodic report. Read about that effort in the EPA Science Matters article, National Coastal Condition Assessment.

Pharmaceuticals in Wastewater
Research by EPA Research Biologist Mitch Kostich was featured in the Burlington Free Press. The article Pharmaceuticals present in Burlington wastewater discussed a study that found that water released from Burlington’s wastewater treatment plant contained concentrations of pharmaceuticals that reflected some trends in Burlington at the time. The article cited EPA research on Pharmaceutical Residues in Municipal Wastewater.

Reducing Risk by Acting on Climate
Dr. Tom Burke, the Deputy Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development as well as the Agency’s Science Advisor, co-authored a commentary in a special edition of the journal Health Security. Read Reducing Risk by Acting on Climate.

EPA Researcher Highlighted in her Hometown Paper
EPA’s Dr. Rebecca Dodder is a recent winner of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. Dr. Dodder grew up in Colorado and was recently featured in her hometown paper the Parker Chronical. Read the story Ponderosa grad wins presidential award for water work.

National Sustainable Design Expo
Did you miss us at the USA Science & Engineering Festival last weekend? Well you can check out these photos from our National Sustainable Design Expo and see what you missed.

Upcoming Events at EPA
Interested in attending some of EPA’s public meetings or webinars? Read about a few that we are hosting at the end of April here.

Group of hikers with a National Park Service Ranger looked out over a mountain range

Happy Earth Day and National Park Week! Image courtesy of NPS

That’s all for this week. Enjoy Earth Day and now that you’re done catching up on the latest EPA research, get outside—it’s also National Park Week, so every national park will give you free admission!

About the Author: Kacey Fitzpatrick is a student contractor and writer working with the science communication team in EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

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This Earth Day, Learn About Food Recovery

By Michaela Burns

Coming on the heels of the announcement of the first ever national food waste reduction goal—cutting food waste in half by 2030—EPA is celebrating Food Recovery for Earth Day. Let’s look at the history. Every year, 113 billion pounds of food is wasted, which adds up to 161 billion dollars of wasted food!  And if we were to reduce food waste by just 15 % then we could feed more than 25 million Americans.

EPA is involved in numerous efforts to reduce food waste. One of these efforts is taking place in Columbia, South Carolina, through EPA’s Net Zero Initiative, which I wrote about for Science Matters! Click through to read my Science Matters story about how EPA is helping Columbia, South Carolina reduce food waste.

You can also visit EPA’s Sustainable Management of Food website to learn more about food recovery and what you can do to reduce food waste.

About the Author: Michaela Burns is an Oak Ridge Associated Universities contractor and writer for the science communication team in EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.