Students Recognized At Westminster College Symposium On The Environment

Winners of the 2020 Student Symposium on the Environment, an annual event hosted by Westminster College in Lawrence County and co-organized with the Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition, were announced during a virtual presentation and award ceremony on Thursday, Dec. 3.

The annual symposium—which highlights environmental study, research, artistic expression and service work being done by students in the region—is typically held in person with student poster presentations, displays and oral presentations, but due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the event moved to a virtual format this year.

To portray their work, students created short videos which were showcased on the Symposium’s YouTube Channel from November 30 to December 2.

Forty-seven students representing Westminster College, University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, Saint Vincent College, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Chatham University, Duquesne University and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center participated in the video showcase.

Environmental and other professionals judged the videos in three different categories: Ecosystem Investigations; Environmental Education; and Business, Policy and Society of the Environment.

Viewers’ choice awards were also granted for videos with the most engagement.

This year’s winners and honorable mentions are:

-- Ecosystem Investigations Best Video:Stream Health Assessment of the Buffalo Creek Watershed through Macroinvertebrate Sampling" by Nicholas Leo and Gena Carter, Chatham University. Adviser: Dr. Ryan Utz

-- Ecosystem Investigations Honorable Mention: “The Effects of Heavy Metals on Soil Macroinvertebrates at an Abandoned Pittsburgh Steel Mill" by Erin Ward, Blaine Sorrick, Taylor Williams, Grace Snyder, Victoria Lisbon and John Cybak, Westminster College. Advisers: Dr. Patrick Krantz and Dr. Diana Ortiz 

-- Environmental Education Best Video: “Lawrence County Community Action Partnership Ag Lab Internship" by Taylor Williams, Westminster College. Adviser: Dr. Kerri Duerr

-- Environmental Education Honorable Mention:Little Sewickley Creek Methods to Measure Sediment Instructional Video" by Zoe Husnick, Duquesne University. Advisers: Dr. Brady Porter and Dr. Elizabeth Dakin

-- Business, Policy, Society of the Environment Best Video: “BEE Westminster" (bee and butterfly garden) by Nicole Mackenstein, Dan Ritter, Zach Ramfos and Michaela Hays, Westminster College. Advisers: Dr. Helen Boylan, Brian Petrus and Dr. Alison DuBois

-- Business, Policy, Society of the Environment Honorable Mention: “College Woods Maple Syrup" by Gabbey Cionni, Hannah Pursel, Sean Davis and Brock Barrett, Westminster College. Advisers: Dr. Helen Boylan, Brian Petrus and Dr. Alison DuBois

-- Viewers’ Choice Award Best Video: “Diatom Diversity, Abundance, and Richness Variation among Four Different Habitat Types" by Sierra Earle, Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Adviser: Dr. Holly Travis

-- Viewers’ Choice Award Honorable Mention: “Effects and Recovery of Sewickley Creek Watershed from Acid Mine Drainage" by Erika Caldro, University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg. Adviser: Dr. Timothy Savisky

Top awardees in all categories earned cash prizes thanks to the generosity of the environmental consulting company BioMost, Inc.

Also featured on the Symposium’s YouTube channel is a fireside chat with renowned environmentalist and Westminster College alumnus Dr. David W. Orr ’65.

Orr, the Oberlin College Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics Emeritus, is the author of eight books, including “Dangerous Years: Climate Change and the Long Emergency” and “Down to the Wire: Confronting Climate Collapse.”

The Westminster College Symposium’s YouTube Channel which now features the award winners.

(Reprinted from The HOLCAD, Westminster College student newspaper.)

Profiles In Leadership This Week:

-- Bart & Vivian Bartolacci Make Woods & Water Conservation Gift To The Future In Monroe County

-- The Miller Family's Farm, Stream Restoration Adventure - 4 Years Later In Berks County

-- The Tenacity Of Tree Planters Like Ann Wain Of Paxton Creek Watershed Assn. And PA Student Leader Lenka Platt Work To Improve Environment

-- Greg Wilson, Donegal Trout Unlimited - Another DCNR Good Natured Pennsylvanian Improving Water Quality, Fish Habitat

-- The Witmer Family & Manada Conservancy Permanently Protect 89 Acres Of Woodland Along Kittatinny Ridge In Dauphin County

-- Farm Families & PA Farmland Preservation Program Permanently Protect 14,727 Acres Of Farmland In 2020

-- Farmers, Scientists In 15 Organizations Partner In New PA Soil Health Coalition To Achieve Water Quality, Farm Production Goals

-- 2 Chester County Townships Join Brandywine-Christina Watershed Pay-For-Success Water Quality Cleanup Initiative By i2 Capital, The Nature Conservancy

-- Volunteers, Landowners & Staff Of Lebanon Valley Conservancy Highlight 2020 Accomplishments & Goals

-- Volunteers In Darby Creek Valley Assn., Partners Cleanup Darby Creek Watershed In 4 Southeast Counties

-- Students, Adults Recognized By PA Resources Council As Winners Of 2020 Gene Capaldi Lens On Litter Photo Contest

-- Grateful For Our Volunteers - The Department Of Conservation & Natural Resources

-- Custodians Of Our Ecosystems - Women, Raptors And Unsettling Words Virtual Program Dec. 17, Lehigh Gap Nature Center

-- PA Architects Recognized In First Awards For Commitment To The Environment, Fighting Climate Change By PA Chapter American Institute Of Architects

[Posted: December 8, 2020]


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