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TIPSHEET: Earth Day 1997 (Released: 4/21/97)

(Story ideas for journalists)

by Renu Sehgal, Office of University Communications.

For more information, Renu Sehgal at (860) 486-3530 (office).

STORRS, Conn. -- The 27th anniversary of Earth Day leads us all to question what the future holds for the environment. Here are several tips on how the University of Connecticut is answering that question.

The Wildlife Conservation Research Center:

Habitat destruction is the most serious threat to our wildlife. The University of Connecticut is stepping up its efforts to protect the natural environment through the creation of the Wildlife Conservation Research Center. This new center will conduct scientific research to address the ecological needs of wildlife populations and their habitats. The first project focuses on the decline of Greater Scaup. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has signed an agreement with the center to conduct a two-year examination of national refuges and a national park service area in the tri-state area for possible contaminants harming the ducks in their winter habitat. The center also is studying the rare Eastern mud turtle. The director is John S. Barclay, an associate professor of wildlife ecology in the College of Agriculture & Natural Resources' department of Natural Resources Management and Engineering.

Jerry Brown Speaks:

The University is commemorating Earth Week with former California governor and presidential candidate Jerry Brown on April 24. Brown will deliver the Geib Distinguished Environmental Lecture for 1997, speaking on an "Environmental Agenda for a New Millennium" at noon in von der Mehden Recital Hall, 875 Coventry Road, Storrs. Attendance is free and open to the public. Brown will be available to speak to reporters at 11:45 a.m. Brown will speak about the future direction of and the government's role in environmental issues, especially as society evolves with new industrial processes and environmental pollutants. Domenic Grasso is director of environmental engineering.

The Environmental Research Institute:

The Environmental Research Institute (ERI) was started in 1987 to conduct research to advance environmental technologies and the understanding of natural systems that would help businesses and state agencies more effectively manage environmental concerns. Among its projects, ERI has tested and improved a lead-based paint sealant and devised a way to provide the steel industry with an abundant source of raw material by recycling tin cans. Currently, ERI is helping Battiston's, a family-owned dry cleaning company with more than 20 stores in the state, to create a kit that would recycle dry cleaning solvents. George Hoag is executive director of ERI and can be reached at (860) 486-2798. John Dresty is executive director of the Pollution Prevention Research and Development Center.

Forest Industries:

After more than 370 years of settlement, Connecticut remains nearly 60 percent forested. The 1.8 million acres of forested land provide a pivotal role in the state's economy, according to a recent study done by the University and the state Department of Environmental. The study reveals that Connecticut forests produce 70 million board feet of timber annually for more than 350 Connecticut firms that convert it into a wide range of products. The forests also produce some 400,000 cords of firewood a year, displacing 112 million gallons of fuel oil at a consumer savings of $100 million annually. Other important annual harvests include 400,000 Christmas trees, over two million gallons of witch hazel astringent and 15,000 gallons of maple syrup. CES teaches owners of forest lands the latest techniques for growing and harvesting such products, enabling them to earn an income while protecting the environment. Stephen Broderick is the Cooperative Extension System's forestry educator.