ULM faculty member awarded grant from EPA for ecosystem study

Local News
Courtesy: University of Louisiana at Monroe

MONROE, La. (KTVE/KARD) — The University of Monroe says Professor of Biology Joydeep Bhattacharjee, Ph.D. was awarded a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency.

An EPA – Environmental Education Grant was awarded in the amount of $133,720. This money will be used to address local environmental issues through educational activities and stewardship using action-oriented research.  

It’s been more than 15 years since a ULM faculty member received an EPA-EE grant.

“Of the three awards out of 300 applicants this year in EPA Region 6, ULM was the only educational institution that received the grant, the other two being not-profit organizations. I am humbled by this award,” said Bhattacharjee, of the College of Arts, Education, and Sciences. 

EPA Region 6 consists of Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico.

The project will involve several locations, including ULM’s Environmental Education and Research Center, Restoration Park, Kiroli Park, and Conservation Learning Center at Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

“Up to 10 invited teachers will collaborate to directly train and facilitate experiential learning in environmental education for at least 250 students directly, and indirectly affecting up to 1,000 students in our local schools,” Bhattacharjee said. 

Students will get hands-on experience setting up experimental plots, collecting data, deploying water quality sensors, and carrying out water testing.

Students and teachers will work alongside ULM faculty to learn about environmental issues affecting wetlands in urban, suburban, and rural areas and work to find creative solutions to such issues. 

For high schools with a bayou or a wetland within the vicinity, teachers and students will design and develop a monitoring guideline for water quality and wetland vegetation with the help of ULM faculty.  Based on the water runoff patterns on-site, students will use native plants to reduce erosion, catch, and filter contaminants from running directly into the bayou or wetland.

School sites without access to a waterbody/wetland will develop a rain garden using native vegetation to clean surface runoff water from school premises, creating a functioning prototype. 

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