Today: Jun 19, 2024

Environmental studies receives grant

Photo courtesy southernct.eduRYAN MORGANManaging Editor
Not every college student can say they’ve studied the sediments from local harbors to identify pollutants and encourage change. Thanks to the Werth Family Foundation, Southern’s Center for Coastal and Marine Studies can continue their efforts in ongoing environmental research after receiving a $250,000 gift from the foundation.
“There is no way we could be as productive as we’ve been as a center without the backing of the Werth Foundation,” said James Tait, one of the Center’s coordinators and associate professor of science education and environmental studies.
Peter and wife Pam Werth established the Woodbridge-based foundation in 2000 to support various philanthropic causes. In 2006, the foundation gave the center a grant of $170,000 which has been used toward student research. Recently, the foundation pledged an additional five years of support and the generous new gift.
Since 2001, faculty and students from the Center have been collecting sediment samples from Norwalk, Bridgeport, New Haven, Branford and New London harbors. As water from storm drains and highways runs off into the rivers and eventually the Sound, metals and pollutants are leached into the water. The Center is measuring the metal in the sediments. The Werth Foundation has funded much of the work. Vincent Breslin, professor of science education and envi¬ronmental studies, and Dwight Smith, professor of biology, serve as Center coordinators with Tait.
Photo courtesy southernct.eduBreslin said the foundation has made it possible for the Center to pay a stipend to students over the summer as research is continued. Additionally, the Werth gift funds boats, chemicals and other neces¬sary supplies for the study.
Members of the Werth family were recently taken on a boat excursion in New Haven Harbor with Breslin, Tait and three students to demonstrate some of the ongoing work being done by the Center.
“We are excited about this research in the harbor because it is more far reaching than we might think,” said Pam Werth. “These professors and students are able to do this research on our home turf. This research benefits not only the students and the university but the entire community.”

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