Members of the Gannon and Erie communities gathered on campus on Aug. 7 for the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Erie Climate Communities Convening.
Members of the Gannon and Erie communities gathered on campus on Aug. 7 for the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Erie Climate Communities Convening. HUD representatives including Michael Horvath, Pittsburgh Field Office director, and Matthew Heckles, regional administrator (Region 3), kicked off a day of presentations alongside Gannon University President Walter Iwanenko, Ph.D., before attendees experienced a slate of research presentations moderated by Gannon’s Eric Dart, Ph.D.
“Today will be the start of conversations and discovery of opportunities for Erie and the entire region,” Iwanenko said in his welcoming address. “Gannon University has embarked on this topic of climate change as well, specifically through our initiative Project NePTWNE (Nano & Polymer Technology for Water and Neural-networks). Project NePTWNE takes a holistic approach to address water quality, climate change, economic development and quality of life. It focuses on the impact that microplastics have on our water quality and ecological health. In a six-phase approach, we are working to measure this pollutant and manufacture new technology to mitigate and eliminate microplastics from entering our waterways.”
Research presentations included:
- Small is the New Big: Microbial Surveillance in a Changing Climate by Dr. Gary Vanderlaan, assistant professor of biology at Gannon.
- Plastics Roles in Climate Change from Penn State Behrend’s Director of Sustainability Sherri “Sam” Mason.
- Toward a Climate of Resilient Justice: Values, Connectedness, and Priorities by Gannon Associate Provost for Mission Immersion Shane Mathew.
- Per- and Polyfluorinated Alkyl Substances: Local Findings in a Statewide Context by Joe Duris, water-quality specialist, U.S. Geological Survey-PAWSC.
- Harmful Algal Blooms in the Pennsylvania Waters of Lake Erie by Dr. Jeanette Schnars, executive director of the Regional Science Consortium.
Throughout the afternoon, presentations and roundtable discussions surrounding state and federal programs and funding opportunities engaged attendees and guests from the state Energy Development Authority, state Department of Environmental Protection, state Department of Conservation and National Resources, HUD, Federal Emergency Management Agency, NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Health and Human Services, and U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Build for the Future - HUD Exchange
This tool is designed to “empower local communities to undertake initiatives focused on climate resiliency, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and environmental justice. It achieves this by providing critical access to funding opportunities, offering guidance materials, and fostering peer-to-peer knowledge sharing.”
Erie Climate Convening Slides
Microbial Surveillance in a Changing Climate Slides