P2D2 and IISG to mentor Indiana teachers about medicine take-back programs

It started with a simple question asked by high school teacher Paul Ritter of his ecology class: What does one do with medicines when you no longer need them? This question has lead to a lot of research by students, a movie at the Sundance Festival, a new song, a new mascot--Pill Bottle Phil--but most importantly, it has led to a program that is now the model for collection programs across the country.

The Prescription Pill and Drug Disposal (P2D2) Program educates the public about the harm done to the environment due to the current prescription and non-prescription drug disposal practices and provides alternative disposal solutions that ensure the quality of our water for future generations.

Founders of this successful program, Ritter and Eric Bohm, are teaming up with IISG educators Robin Goettel and Terri Hallesy to mentor six science teachers who wish to incorporate the P2D2 curriculum in their schools and communities in Indiana. P2D2 is a collaborative effort between local pharmacies, officials, and high school teachers and students.

To learn more about P2D2, visit the web site. Above is one of two P2D2 billboards in Bloomington that publicize the P2D2 program and highlight where people can drop off their expired or unused medications. IISG helped sponsor this billboard.


In the News: EPA chief open to tougher policy on invasive species

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

The Obama administration's top environmental official indicated Tuesday that she will consider tougher rules to protect the Great Lakes from invasive species that hitch rides into the region aboard oceangoing vessels.

Newly appointed Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson said she will take a fresh look at her agency's new policy that requires oceangoing vessels to flush their ship-steadying ballast tanks in mid-ocean to expel any unwanted organisms. Read More.


In the News: UN Reaches Landmark Agreement to Reduce Global Mercury Pollution

From the Environmental News Network:
Representatives from more than 140 countries today committed to reduce global mercury pollution, which will help protect the world's citizens from the dangerous neurotoxin. This agreement was propelled by the United States' reversal in policy, which also influenced policy reversals of other countries, including China and India. The announcement is a historic step forward in the fight against mercury pollution, according to scientists and policy experts at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

"This is great news for reducing mercury pollution around the world, and shows a commitment from the Obama Administration to international environmental issues," said Susan Egan Keane, policy analyst for NRDC. "The United States has taken a leadership role that will chart a new course on mercury protections around the world. We have set a strong example that is already influencing others to do the same." Read More.


In the News: Mussels destroying link in Lake Michigan food web

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - A tiny, shrimplike creature that forms a crucial link in the Great Lakes food web has all but disappeared from Lake Michigan because of competition from invasive foreign mussels, scientists reported Wednesday.

Observations over a decade have documented a 96-percent drop-off of the amphipod species known as diporeia, according to scientists with NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor. Read More.


IISG Aquaculture Specialist Honored for Leadership, Innovation

IISG aquaculture marketing specialist Kwamena Quagrainie has been awarded the Distinguished Early Career Award by the U.S. Aquaculture Society (USAS). USAS recognizes individuals involved in aquaculture for less than 10 years exemplifying “outstanding leadership or innovation in research, education, extension, or industry development in the field of aquaculture.”

“Kwamena enthusiasm has sparked organizations, institutions, and agencies to work together with producers to expand aquaculture markets and opportunities necessary to grow the industry in our two states,” said IISG director Brian Miller.

Through funding from IISG, Illinois Extension, and Purdue University, Quagrainie has conducted aquaculture marketing workshops for producers, developed enterprise budgets, and oversaw extension publications designed to help producers market their products. He has also conducted applied research resulting in 21 refereed journal articles and co-authored the Aquaculture Marketing Handbook.

Since joining Purdue in 2005, Quagrainie has used his enthusiasm and leadership to energize the extension field staff. “During my years of working with extension educators as a state specialist and as a Sea Grant extension program leader, it has been rare to see a group of educators respond to a specialist the way they have responded to Kwamena,” said Miller.


IISG in the News: Conservation by Design

In Purdue University's Agriculture Magazine:
A big house on a few acres in the country sounds like the American dream—and it has been in recent decades, as urban sprawl became the norm. However, a new landscape is emerging as unintended environmental consequences of that dream become apparent.

More than 55,000 acres of agricultural land in Indiana are converted to development each year. As the land changes in use, new problems can crop up—erosion, flooding, storm run-off and contamination.

Bob McCormick, director of Purdue Extension’s Planning with POWER project, doesn’t hesitate when asked what he considers the biggest problem in land use today. “Lack of open space—that’s the No.-1 concern,” he says. “That means buffer areas along rivers and more green space in urban areas.” Read more


In the News: New Method To Eliminate Ibuprofen From Polluted Waters Using Ultrasound

From Science Daily:
An international team of scientists, including researchers from the University of Barcelona (UB), have developed an ultrasound treatment to remove ibuprofen from waters polluted with this drug. The new method could be used in water purification plants, which would avoid the emission of pharmaceutical pollutants into rivers, lakes, seas and other surface waters. Read more.

A 2008 Associated Press investigation found pharmaceuticals in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans. In the course of a five-month inquiry, the AP discovered that drugs have been detected in the drinking water supplies of 24 major metropolitan areas.

If you would like information about developing unwanted medicine collection programs in your community, see our toolkit, which includes everything you need to know to get started.


IISG Shares in Environmental Management Award

URBANA - Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG) sediment specialist Susan Boehme and her colleagues at the U.S. EPA Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO) have won the National Association of Environmental Professionals 2009 National Environmental Excellence Award for their remediation project on the Tannery Bay/Wetland in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.

In response to the 2002 Great Lakes Legacy Act, which authorized $270 million to remove contaminated sediments from local waterways, EPA identified 31 Areas of Concern in the U.S. portion of the Great Lakes. Boehme and GLNPO worked closely with communities that went through the restoration process.

“It is wonderful when our Great Lakes Legacy Act projects receive recognition,” said Boehme, who assisted with technical support and community outreach. “Although this is a relatively new program, we have made great progress in cleaning up contamination in the rivers and waterways of the Great Lakes.”

The community saw the removal of 44,000 cubic yards of impacted sediment, containing approximately one million pounds of chromium and 70 pounds of mercury from St. Mary’s River, a local waterway.

“There is still much to be done,” said Boehme. “But when these sites are recognized, I think it helps spread the word to other communities that there is hope for their waterways.”

Along with IISG and GLNPO, the award will be presented to Phelps-Dodge Mining Company, environmental consultants Conestoga-Rovers and Associates, and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, which helped fund the project.


In the News: Underwater stones puzzle archeologists

From the Chicago Tribune:
Forty feet below the surface of Lake Michigan in Grand Traverse Bay, a mysterious pattern of stones can be seen rising from an otherwise sandy half-mile of lake floor.

Likely the stones are a natural feature. But the possibility they are not has piqued the interest of archeologists, native tribes and state officials since underwater archeologist Mark Holley found the site in 2007 during a survey of the lake bottom. Read more.