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Eckerd College professors join American Geosciences Institute Earth Day Webinar on plastic pollution

By Robbyn Hopewell
Published April 10, 2024
Categories: Community Engagement, Public Events, Research, Sustainability

A member of the Reduce Single-Use Project team engages her peers at Triton’s Pub. Photos by Penh Alicandro ’22

The faculty behind the Reduce Single-Use Project at Eckerd College will be taking their expertise across the nation on April 19 as a part of the American Geosciences Institute Earth Day Webinar: Breaking Down Microplastics.

Professor of Marine Science and Biology Shannon Gowans, Ph.D., and Associate Professor of Marine Science Amy Siuda, Ph.D., will present “Moving from monitoring to advocacy: Reducing single use promotes prevention,” focused on how they complement their microplastics research in Tampa Bay with an expansive project to reduce single-use plastic pollution production. The duo also will share a citizen-science tool, the Remora app, that fosters individual accountability while generating a database to inform government policy and transform business practices.

“We are honored to take part in this webinar and panel discussion, covering multiple dimensions of the topic, from current understanding to future research directions and achievable solutions,” Siuda says. “It truly captures the wide array of expertise needed to tackle the plastic pollution problem.”

Students engage the public at a tabling event at a local brewery.

Professors Siuda (left) and Gowans will present their citizen-science tool.

Four other experts also will lend their knowledge to the event laser focused on the plastic pollution problem. The webinar is free and open to the public and is one piece of AGI’s 75th Anniversary celebration. According to AGI’s website, the organization “was founded in 1948, under a directive of the National Academy of Sciences, as a network of associations representing geoscientists with a diverse array of skills and knowledge of our planet. The Institute provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in our profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in society’s use of resources, resilience to natural hazards, and the health of the environment.”

The 90-minute webinar event will feature presentations, the 2023 Earth Science Week Video Contest’s winning student entry and a prerecorded panel discussion—offering valuable insights into the challenges and solutions surrounding plastic pollution. During the premiere, presenters will be available online to engage with the audience, answering questions and participating in discussions in the chat.

“This webinar is a chance to hear from experts across the country on plastic pollution and explore a tool that allows everyone to become a part of the solution,” Gowans says.

The webinar will begin at 1 p.m. EDT on Friday, April 19. Participants must preregister to attend the premiere.