Online tutorials for youth address water's role in shale gas drilling

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Two new, youth-oriented online presentations from Penn State Extension explore the role of water in shale-gas drilling and production in the mid-Atlantic region.

These self-running presentations were designed for use by educators in both formal and informal educational settings. Although geared towards youths in grades six through 10, they also are appropriate for adults who may want to learn more about this topic.

The first presentation, "A Water Drop on a Journey -- Shale Gas Drilling in the Mid-Atlantic," is aimed at the sixth- through ninth-grade levels. It is based on the recent Penn State Extension publication, "Water's Journey through the Shale Gas Drilling and Production Processes in the Mid-Atlantic Region."

The second presentation, "True or False -- Common Concerns About Water and Shale Gas Drilling in the Mid-Atlantic Region," addresses current environmental issues and misconceptions surrounding shale-gas drilling and production, and is targeted to eighth- through 10th-grade viewers.

Water is a critical ingredient for extracting gas from the Marcellus Shale, which lies as deep as 9,000 feet beneath southern New York, northern and western Pennsylvania, the eastern half of Ohio and most of West Virginia.

Youth, as much as adults, need reliable information about shale-gas drilling and production and potential effects on water so they can make wise decisions about their own water and energy use now and in the future, according to Charles Abdalla, a water-policy expert in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

"Youth and adults need to know the facts about shale-gas drilling and how it affects water-resource issues and policies," Abdalla said. "Public policies for water management and protection will be improved if the affected parties, which include almost everyone, are well-informed about likely impacts and take advantage of opportunities to participate in decisions."

These new presentations fill a void in youth-oriented, research-based introductory material available for the mid-Atlantic region on this topic, he noted.

Each presentation includes a narrated script and accompanying photos and illustrations, with limited text. They are simple to use and run automatically on the Internet.

The presentations are based upon work supported in part by the Mid-Atlantic Water Program, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The two presentations, "A Water Drop on a Journey -- Shale Gas Drilling in the Mid-Atlantic" and "True or False -- Common Concerns About Water and Shale Gas Drilling in the Mid-Atlantic Region," are available on the Penn State Extension "Youth Water Education" Web page.

They also are available on a CD for those who lack an Internet connection. To order a CD, contact Sanford Smith, The Pennsylvania State University, 335 Forest Resources Building, University Park, PA 16802-2602; or by email at sss5@psu.edu.

"Water's Journey through the Shale Gas Drilling and Production Processes in the Mid-Atlantic Region," the recent publication on which the first presentation is based, is available online for free download.

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Last Updated June 03, 2013