Environmental Fridays


How does the water you drink, the air you breathe, the ground you walk and work and play in affect your health? Does your water have lead in it? Is where you live more environmental unsafe because you are poor or because you are black? What do environmental scientists do? Should citizens reasonably expect their government to ‘serve and protect’ them from negative unhealthy, even fatal, environmental effects?

Does your community have contaminated sites that can be redeveloped safely and economically? Are people, livestock and plants around a nuclear plants safe from radiation? How does pollution affect wildlife, plants, animals, birds, rivers and lakes? Do you know what is the quality of the water you drink? Where can you get air quality information from if you suffer from asthma? Is the air inside your home polluted? How do you safely dispose of batteries from laptops and other computers?

These are some of the questions that would be answered by experts every Friday this semester starting on September 25. Environmental Fridays is a series of lectures that can be viewed online by anyone via Zoom live or later. The series was put together by Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr. Desmond Hartwell Murray for his Berrien RESA Math Science Center Grade 10 Chemistry class held on the campus of Andrews University. This series is also co-sponsored by state of Michigan’s Office of the Clean Water Public Advocate.

The 8:00am lectures are designed to teach students how chemistry is involved, real and relevant in their own lives and in their environment. Chemistry is more than just memorizing the Periodic Table of elements, or learning formulas or balancing equations rather it is an essential part of our lived material experiences day in day out. Students are challenged to connect textbook chemistry to the real world and to think scientifically and critically about the world around them in terms of chemical content and principles. Environmental Fridays can viewed on Zoom at https://andrews.zoom.us/j/94940797468. The Zoom meeting ID is 949 4079 7468.

Indeed, each of the 15 guest speakers is a living role model for students that environmental jobs are a viable and rewarding career path. In fact, given all the problems we currently face now in the environment, such as the wildfires on the West coast, more powerful hurricanes, warmer winters and increased flooding, or the opportunities that exist to address lead pollution or PFAS contamination or turning trash into usable energy or in creating safe biodegradable chemicals for crop growth and protection, students may be able to find possible fields for study in college and for jobs after college. Our guest speakers range from university professors, to environmental consultants and entrepreneurs, to government experts, local, regional and from more distance parts of the United States.

The series is also designed to give students an opportunity to select a topic of interest that they can then create a public science announcement (PSA) as part of their class requirement. They will all then compete in the BEST Early Berrien RESA PSA competition held in April at the annual Michigan High School Math & Science Symposium on the campus of Andrews University. PSAs from previous years can be found at: http://www.bestearly.com/psa


2020 – 2021 Grade 10 Environmental Guest Lecture Series: Fridays, 8:00 am – 8:45 am

via Zoom - https://andrews.zoom.us/j/94940797468

9/25/20 Careers in Environmental Science, Ann St. Amand, PHYCOTECH

10/2/20 Government & the Environment, Matt Robbins, EPA

10/9/20 Environmental Justice – Soil Chemistry Case Study, Simone Charles, University of Michigan

10/23/20 Nuclear Energy & the Environment, Jack Giessner, Nuclear Regulatory Commission

10/30/20 Your Health & the Environment, Padma Uppala, Andrews University

11/6/20 Brownfields I, Laurel Berman, ATSDR - CDC

11/13/20 Ground Water Quality & the Environment, Nate Fuller, Sarett Nature Center

11/20/20 Pollution & Wildlife, Coleen Fruin, Michigan State U

12/4/20 Water Quality & Public Health, Ninah Sasy, EGLE  

12/11/20 Great Lakes Water Quality, Dale LeCaptain, CMU

1/15/21  Effects of Agriculture on Water Quality, Erin Fuller, Van Buren Conservation District

1/22/21  Air Pollution, Motria Caudill, ATSDR – CDC

1/29/21  Indoor Pollution, Mary Reynolds, Heidi LeSane, EPA

2/5/21 Climate Change, Motria Caudill, ATSDR – CDC

2/12/21 Brownfields II, Marc Florian, ECT, Inc

2/19/21 Environmental Stories, Denise Chow, NBCUniversal