PROGRAM / PARTNERSHIP CATEGORY
A University Engaged
Protecting Our Environment
Arlington Campus Partnership with the Department of Environmental Services
Mason's Arlington Campus has partnered with the Department of Environmental Services to promote public transportation options throughout Arlington County. Informational materials regarding transit options are provided at Founder's Hall. The goal is to reduce traffic congestion, help the environment, and improve public health through increased public transportation use. Contact Toni Andrews, 703-993-9817.
Clean Water Partnership
George Mason's Environmental Science and Policy Department has been helping Fairfax County monitor water quality in Gunston Cove since 1984. The project currently resides in the Potomac Environmental Research and Education Center. In 2003, Fairfax County received a "Clean Water Partner for the 21st Century" Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for this effort. Contact Chris Jones, 703-993-1127.
EastFIRE Laboratory is an advanced research Lab focused on providing timely, accurate, cost-effective and appropriate fire-related information to the broad and diverse fire communities of the eastern United States. EastFIRE recognizes the dynamic nature of challenges facing fire intervention in the east, including demographic and land use alterations, and the importance of having managers at the federal, state, and local levels. The knowledge-engineered outputs provide useful, timely and geographically-specific information to federal, state, and local fire managers. EastFIRE uses continuous satellite measurements to generate near real-time fire related products, deliver these products appropriately to specific areas, provide-fire related information to the interested public, and support decision makers of all levels. EastFIRE also conducts ongoing training for today's wildland fire professionals. Contact John Qu, 703-993-3958.
Ecological Monitoring of Created Mitigation Wettlands
The Wetland Ecosystem Laboratory with the Department of Environmental Science and Policy, in conjunction with Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc., is currently investigating the ecological evolution of a created wetland to see if created wetlands successfully replace the ecological functions of natural wetlands over a certain period of time. Results will be used to improve wetland design and performance. Contact Changwoo Ahn, 703-993-3978.
Fairfax County Community Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory
Mason's School of Environmental science and Policy created this partnership between Fairfax County and George Mason University. Together, they are generating the first ever community energy and greenhouse gas emissions inventory for Fairfax County. For details, please contact Dann Sklarew at 703-993-2012
From the Mountains to the Estuary: From the Schoolyards to the Bay
This K-12/University partnership provides Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences [MWEEs] for 18,700 middle school and high school students across 27 schools in Prince William County, Virginia. Training and technical assistance enhances capacity of at least 50 teachers of 6th grade, high school earth science and environmental science to deliver MWEEs that include schoolyard stewardship, inquiry-driven field study, and computer-based analysis, project sharing and outreach. The project also integrates MWEEs permanently into the county's curriculum for realizing Virginia Standards of Learning objectives at these grade levels. For details, please contact Dann Sklarew at 703-993-2012.
The GeoPlatform Project is devoted to the development of a geospatial platform for the effective delivery and management of location-based products and services to the American public. The geospatial platform is a managed portfolio of common geospatial data, services, and applications contributed and administered by authoritative sources and hosted on a shared infrastructure for use by government agencies and partners, as well as the broader needs of the nation. The platform is an effort to make government data more accessible and transparent to citizens so they may use the information for their own purposes. This project represents a partnership with FGDC. Contact Chaowei (Phil) Yang, 703-993-4742.
George Mason University Organic Vegetable Garden
Mason's Office of Sustainability created the George Mason University Potomac Heights Organic Vegetable Garden in spring 2009. The garden provides formal and informal educational opportunities for Mason students, staff and community members while paving the way for a sustainable food system within the university. Mason's Organic Garden Association, a newly formed student club, has helped the garden flourish and it currently produces an abundance of fruits, vegetables and herbs. More than half of the garden's produce is donated to local food bank Food for Others, another percentage is given to regular volunteers, some is sold to Mason Dining, and a portion is sold on campus to raise funds for the garden. Contact Danielle Wyman, Garden Manager, 703-993-7725.
Helping Public Health Professionals Explain the Relevance of Climate Change to American Health
Based on research funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a communication primer to teach public health professionals was written to explain how they can effectively communicate the relevance of climate change to public health. The primer, as well as a companion "Lunch & Learn" powerpoint presentation, are being distributed through the website. Additional workshops and webinars with public health professionals train them how to use the primer. Contact Ed Maibach, 703-993-1587.
Lichen Biomonitoring in the National Capital Region
Lichens are sensitive to the effects of air pollution and bioaccumulate various air pollutants. Monitoring lichens in urban/suburban areas can provide an early warning of environmental deterioration. In conjunction with the National Park Service, Dr. Jim Lawrey in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy is conducting long-term monitoring of lichens in nine park units in the National Capital Region. Historical data is being summarized and placed on a web site to be donated to the Park Service. Contact Jim Lawrey, 703-993-1059.
Meadowlark Botanical Gardens Turnage Trust Internship
Every year, one Mason undergraduate student completes a year-long, service-learning project either at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, Virginia or the Ted R. Bradley Herbarium of George Mason University through the Turnage Trust Internship, an educational fund overseen by Meadowlark. The service-learning projects conducted by Mason students are focused on improving our understanding of the local, native Virginia flora and are advised by Environmental Science and Policy professor Andrea Weeks or Meadowlark Botanical Gardens Manager Keith Tomlinson. Contact Andrea Weeks, 703-993-3488.
Potomac Environmental Research and Education Center
George Mason University's Potomac Environmental Research and Education Center created a major outreach and education center on the tidal Occoquan River near Belmont Bay in July 2007. PEREC has initiated research, teaching, and sevice programs including interacting with K-12 classes and locating ecology faculty and students for the facility. Some of these classes are conducted on-site, while others are offered on-campus. K-12 programs feature field trips on the Potomac River and are offered to local schools. Contact Chris Jones at 703-993-1127.
Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) to Enhance Outdoor Education
The increasing challenges of getting youth to care about the outdoors are associated with the challenge of getting them to be active outdoors. Multiple programs have been initiated within the past several years using ROVs to educate youth and adults on the importance of protecting underwater natural resources, as well as enhance their connection with their outdoor environment. Since 2004, we have implemented and systematically assessed more than 30 ROV public education programs from the Great Lakes to the Chesapeake Bay. Participants operate ROVs in underwater parks and protected areas like the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and the Chesapeake Bay. Observed underwater exploration is also available through national broadcasts from dive sites. As a result of participation, individuals become connected to, express pro-environmental attitudes toward, and indicate a propensity to engage in protective behaviors towards these locations. We are most recently using the ROV to enhance a three-year Chesapeake Bay Watershed program with Fairfax County Public Schools. Contact Laurie Harmon, 703-993-4565.
The Center for Intelligent Spatial Computing for Water and Energy Science has partnered with the USGS to develop a web portal for theSilvaCarbon Program. The SilvaCarbon Program is the U.S.-based contribution to the Forest Carbon Tracking task of the intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations (GEO), which enhances worldwide capacity for forest and terrestrial carbon monitoring and managing. The portal supports agency collaborators and shares data and technology, and makes an effort to communicate with local communities. The portal plays an important role as the educational outreach for communities regarding knowledge about forest, trees, and carbon cycles. The portal serves as the one-stop gateway for the community in terms of news, data, and projects involved with the SilvaCarbon program. Contact Chaowei (Phil) Yang, 703-993-4742.
Through the Smithsonian-Mason Global Conservation Education Studies, established in 2008, George Mason University students live and study at the institute near Front Royal, VA, where the zoo cares for and conducts research on more than 30 critically endangered species. From learning about panda artificial insemination to debating conservation policy, Mason students have the opportunity to learn from and work alongside the world's leading conservation scientists. Combining traditional classroom learning with field works makes this program a truly innovative partnership. Contact Alonso Aguirre, Executive Director of the Conservation Studies Program, 703-993-7733.
Spatially Connecting Kids to the Bay
Fairfax County Public Schools, in partnership with George Mason University, will develop and conduct geospatially-framed meaningful watershed education experiences for approximately 4500 middle school Life Science students each year for three years. Students will use GPS units in combination with probeware and traditional field equipment to collect real-time field data. Geospatial data analysis tools will be used to develop spatial thinking skills related to watershed characteristics, and students will have the opportunity to manipulate an underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) or they will see a podcast of the underwater video captured by the ROV as it explores one of the watershed's aquatic ecosystems. Students' field experiences will culminate with the creation of and participation in stewardship opportunities within their local area. For details, please contact Dann Sklarew at 703-993-2012.
The Climate at Home Project
The Climate at Home project represents a partnership with the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Scientists and citizens collaborate together using several platforms to advance general knowledge about climate issues. Citizens donate their idle computing cycles to help compute a climate model; by connecting massive amounts of personal computers, a virtual super-computer is formed. Investments on new supercomputers, energy consumed by new supercomputers, and carbon release information from supercomputers is saved and this information is released publicly. As part of the project, the Center for Intelligent Spatial Computing for Water and Energy Science has developed a portal, and through this portal scientists can disseminate scientific discoveries to the citizens and citizens can contribute their local knowledge to help scientists improve their research. Contact Chaowei (Phil) Yang, 703-993-4742.