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UNH Environmental Education Program Gets $25,000 Gift from Chevron
DURHAM, N.H. -- The University of New Hampshire has received a $25,000 gift from Chevron to support its environmental education program, Forest Watch.

Forest Watch uses a combination of traditional biology and space-based methods to study human impacts on vegetation health, most notably white pine trees, in New England. It monitors the impact of ground-level ozone or smog on white pine, and is being used by K-12 teachers in more than 150 schools throughout the region.

"Environmental education of young people is the way we can protect our earth for the future," says Chevron spokesperson Lucinda Jackson. "Forest Watch not only tells young people about environmental impact, but actually shows it to them and lets them learn hands-on. It is our hope that this active awareness will lead to all of us taking better care of our planet now and in the generations to come."

The Forest Watch program, developed by Barry Rock, professor of natural resources at the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space at UNH, has been funded by the National Science Foundation and NASA's Space Grant program.

"Not only are the students learning about environmental issues and the impacts of poor air quality on living systems such as white pine, they are also using space-age technology and current environmental monitoring techniques to do so," says Rock.

According to Rock, Chevron was particularly interested in supporting Forest Watch because of its focus on forest health monitoring using remote sensing, a tool that helps scientists do a better job with "big picture" environmental management.

"With this tool we can get regional, detailed data to make people aware of the impact on the environment, assess that impact, and then take the next steps to do something about it," says Jackson. "Forest Watch is a wonderful example of putting this concept into action."

Chevron is an international company providing energy and chemical products and services throughout the world. Its core values include "a commitment to protecting the safety and health of people and the environment."

By Sharon Keeler
UNH News Bureau