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Extension's Marcellus Shale Team receives award for 'innovative solutions'

The Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) Marcellus Shale Team has been selected for the 2011 David J. Allee and Paul R. Eberts Community and Economic Vitality Award from Cornell's Community and Rural Development Institute (CaRDI).

The award recognizes colleagues working on Cornell programs who develop innovative solutions to community issues, said Rod Howe, executive director of CaRDI.

The award will be presented Oct. 18 in 226 Weill Hall in conjunction with a 3 p.m. seminar titled "How Will Rural Areas Contribute to America's Energy Transitions?" by Thomas Johnson, director of Academic and Analytic Programs, Rural Policy Research Institute.

The team provides multidisciplinary and research-based education and information to a broad audience, as the issue has become one that is of vital interest and concern to a wide variety of stakeholders. Their work has been funded in part by CEE and the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station.

The team includes: Sharon Anderson, extension educator, CCE Tompkins County; Brett Chedzoy, extension educator, CCE Schuyler County; Kelly Cronin, Robert Ross and Trisha Smrecak of the Paleontological Research Institution; Susan Riha, the Charles L. Pack Professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and director of the New York State Water Resources Institute; Rich Stedman, associate professor of natural resources; Jeffrey Jacquet, doctoral candidate in the field of natural resources; and Ken Smith, executive director, CCE Chenango County.

The team's educational approach takes into account the protection of environmental health, creating and maintaining vital communities and promoting economic opportunities, said Howe. The team has responded to a variety of stakeholders who seek a scientific, economic, social and environmental understanding of the issues associated with Marcellus Shale natural gas exploration and drilling.

"This has been a tremendous example of a land-grant university at work," said Howe.

As part of an effort to disseminate accurate information, the team's work has included the development of the Natural Gas Resource Center website. In addition, they have compiled and disseminated a variety of materials that support informed dialogue and decision making on the natural gas development process and associated impacts. They have advocated for academic research at Cornell that examines development impacts and mitigation strategies. They have fostered cross-collaboration of outreach and education activities among many of the educational and research institutions throughout the Marcellus Shale region.

The team's activities overlap with other multidisciplinary team initiatives that resulted in the development of a paper titled, "Energy Transitions: A Systems Approach Including Marcellus Shale Gas Development," and a framework focused on the impact of green energy development on rural community sustainability. Both of these additional initiatives received support from the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future.


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