Research

I’m interested in many aspects of sustainability, but have specialized in water policy for the last 15 years. Currently, I’m engaged in research on marine debris (locally and globally), youth civic engagement, and how we learn from images.

You can find my work on on Google Scholar and Research Gate

Marine Debris Research in India

How is marine debris like an overflowing bucket of water?

Check out this video to learn more– it was created by the talented filmmaker Morup Namgail.

In 2019 I spent six months in Thiruvananthapuram, India working with the University of Kerala’s Department of Environmental Science under a Fulbright Nehru grant to teach and conduct research on the issue of marine litter.

In collaboration with Dr. Jaya D.S. of the University (here we are in the top center photo below) I applied to a National Geographic Society grant to train educators and representatives from NGOs on simple scientific methods for collecting debris. This project became The National workshop on Experiential learning with Indian Educators on Marine debris and its management (NEIEM).

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Students and faculty from the University of Kerala Department of Environmental Sciences in Thiruvananthapuram and the Environmentalist Foundation of India in Chennai

This video explains the methods we use and why they are important.

Materials available from the NEIEM workshop can be found below or on our ResearchGate page.

If you’d like to conduct your own beach or river cleanup, please use these materials freely-

COLLECTING THE DATA

How To Conduct A Beach Cleanup

How To Conduct A River Cleanup

BLANK Data Sheet_Debris Collection

BLANK Spreadsheet

How to complete data sheets and spreadsheets

Printable labels for sorting debris

How to use the marine debris tracker app

CREATING A POLICY BRIEF AND SHARING THE RESULTS WITH LOCAL LEADERS

How to Engage with local leaders

How to Write a Policy Brief

Policy Brief Template

Example Policy Brief_Connecticut

Example Report_NEIEM_Karamana River

All of this work was done in collaboration with Dr. Jaya D.S. of the University of Kerala Department of Environmental Science. The workshop was funded through the National Geographic Society and supported by the Fulbright Nehru program.

The work would not have been possible without the support of students and researchers in the Department of Environmental Science at the University of Kerala including Niyathi Vijay, Manikandan S., Alwyn Biju, Navami Rohini, Sonu Ulloor, and Lekshmi!

Find an article about this methodology as applied to river sites here: Adapting Coastal Collection Methods for River Assessment to Increase Data on Global Plastic Pollution: Examples From India and Indonesia (co-authored with Puspita I. Kamil)

Marine Debris Research in Connecticut

In the spring of 2016, with support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, I worked with college students to collect debris on Connecticut’s shoreline. In just a few hours at the beach we collected over 1600 individual pieces of debris, most of it plastic. To learn all about the University of Hartford Marine Debris project, check out the site devoted to that work.

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Some of what we found on CT shores
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University of Hartford students

There you can learn about the issue of marine debris, find open source materials to teach a class on marine debris, and learn about the results of our work collecting debris.

This project involved not just collecting debris on Connecticut’s shoreline, but also sharing the results with state lawmakers.

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Sharing the results with policymakers at the Hammonnasset State Park