Seriously Tracking Litter in Beargrass Creek

When Apr 16, 2024
from 07:00 PM to 08:30 PM
Where United Crescent Hill Ministries (150 State Street), or online
Contact Name
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IN-PERSON at United Crescent Hill Ministries (150 State Street); or join virtually (register here)
Litter impairs Beargrass Creek

The Greater Louisville Sierra Club, invites you to join them as we hear from UofL Sustainability graduate student, Ella Swigler, and learn about her research around local streams using the National Geographic Marine Debris Tracker app. Ella’s work examined the anthropogenic litter trends in Beargrass Creek. This research began as a part of the CEEEM Program (Community-engaged Educational Ecosystem Model) through the Aqlan Lab at UofL. It is an 8-week project founded by the National Science Foundation. The team explored the land use/land cover surrounding each of the three forks, as well as the habitat health and human awareness at various sites along the creek. Each of these variables were analyzed in relationship to the amount of litter observed within the selected sites using the National Geographic Marine Debris Tracker app.

To expand the work, Ella explored how this data could be integrated into a hydrologic model to study the litter patterns further. She also examined how the Marine Debris Tracker could support more citizen science projects and sought to find the trends behind anthropogenic litter accumulation that would inform meaningful action steps to reduce the pollution, not only in Beargrass Creek, but for all the critical urban waterways that can be easily overlooked in cities. The importance of connecting citizens to local tributaries and advocating for the conservation of these urban waterways cannot be emphasized enough as crucial components for ultimately healthy rivers and clean oceans.

Ella Swigler is pursuing her masters in the Sustainability program at U of L. She completed her undergraduate work at Florida State, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science. Ella had the opportunity to work at the Coastal Plains Institute during her undergraduate studies where she studied the biotic diversity of the coastal plain of the southeastern United States and the water quality of ephemeral wetlands. It was there that she was introduced to citizen science through the institute’s amazing community outreach and environmental education programs. In Louisville, she has continued to gain experience in the field of water quality and watershed conservation, working at the U of L Stream Institute and conducting her thesis research in Beargrass Creek.

She enjoys being a part of the clean water efforts through organizations like the Kentucky Watershed Watch and the Ohio River Way. Studying Earth and its beauty is one of her greatest passions. Ella loves learning how communities can restore the environment and improve the quality of life for those who have been impacted by its degradation. In these times of climate change and growing uncertainty for what the future will bring, it is important to hold onto hope and that’s the driving goal of her research. She hopes to always be able to give the data back to the citizens so that, as a community, we can all make informed decisions and work together to create a solution. There is always hope to be found in a group of committed individuals working towards change!

Free warm pizza will be served for all attendees, starting at 6:30pm.

Learn more and register to attend virtually here.

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