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Supporting Communities using EPA Science Tools

Many communities are faced with exposure to environmental stressors, associated health risks and limited understanding of environmental language to articulate their concerns. Through the Regional Sustainable Environmental Science (RESES) research program, EPA Region 10 is partnering with communities across the Pacific Northwest to address this reality. This project introduces academic institutions, community based organizations and state and local government to the EPA’s Community Focused Exposure and Risk Screening Tool. C-FERST is a web based, environmental information and GIS mapping tool that acts as a resource for communities to identify, understand and assess potential risk and exposure at the local level. By beta testing C-FERST in community based participatory research projects, community members take on the role of scientists; conducting community assessments, developing data collection mechanisms for field research and ground truthing to link remote data with local knowledge. Community and agency data are incorporated through simple, user generated GIS layers, photographs and ‘map notes’ on C-FERST. The project is modeled using academic institutions as a hub to engage underserved communities including youth of color, houseless populations and school-age children. Their environmental concerns range from brownfields and community livability and children’s health and asthma along the I-5 corridor in Portland, OR to urban environmental education and just and healthy food systems in Tacoma, WA. This research is supported by the EPA Office of Research and Development (ORD) Sustainable and Healthy Communities (SHC) program.

Project URL: http://www2.epa.gov/healthresearch/community-focused-exposure-and-risk-screening-tool-c-ferst

Geographic Scope: Portland, OR; Seattle, WA; Tacoma, WA

Project Status: Active

Participation Tasks: Audio or video recording, Data analysis, Data entry, Geolocation, Identification, Learning, Measurement, Observation, Photography, Site selection and/or description,

Start Date: 2014-01-06

Project Contact: Stohs.sheryl@epa.gov

Federal Government Sponsor:

EPA logo

Other Federal Government Sponsor:

Name of Nonfederal Sponsors: Groundwork Portland, Right 2 Survive, Solutions HCE, Tacoma Pierce County Health Department, Oregon Health Authority, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Multnomah County, Concordia University, Portland Community College, Evergreen State College Tacoma Campus, Antioch University

Fields of Science: Computers and technology, Ecology and environment, Science policy,

Intended Outcomes: Research development, Civic and community, Individual learning, Conservation,