May 04, 2011


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LEWISBURG, Pa. — The Nature and Human Communities Initiative at the Bucknell University Environmental Center has launched a new website called Stories from the Marcellus Shale.

The website showcases the work of five Bucknell students who, during the summer of 2010, participated in the Susquehanna Valley Summer Writers Institute, conducting qualitative research on the community impacts of Marcellus Shale gas drilling.

"The students spread out around the Marcellus Shale region to listen and tell stories of how the latest resource-extraction boom in the northern Appalachians is transforming communities and cultural landscapes," said Molly Clay, program coordinator for the Nature and Human Communities Initiative. "Their work took them from country roads in northeastern Pennsylvania to forest paths in the north-central part of the state, from the Haudenosaunee/Iroquois headquarters at Lake Onondaga to government offices in Harrisburg."

Student participants
The students — Emily Anderson MA '11, Rob Duffy '11, David Manthos '11, Lexie Orr '10, and Stephanie Quinn '10 — were guided in their work by Chris Camuto, a nature writer and associate professor of English at Bucknell, Pulitzer Prize-winning University of Maryland Journalism Professor Deborah Nelson, and David Minderhout, a Bloomsburg University oral historian and professor emeritus of anthropology.

Katherine Faull, professor of German and humanities, and Carl Kirby, professor of geology, both at Bucknell, worked with the students on historical-cultural and scientific aspects of their projects.

Alf Siewers, associate professor of English, Amanda Wooden, assistant professor of environmental studies, and Clay served as co-directors of the Susquehanna Valley Summer Writers Institute. In announcing the website, Clay thanked Skip Wieder of Susquehanna River Heartland Coalition for Environmental Studies for helping to provide funding through the Forum for Pennsylvania's Heartland and the Degenstein Foundation.

Environmental humanities
"This pioneering environmental humanities project melds techniques of oral history, environmental journalism, policy analysis, and creative non-fiction writing," said Clay. "The students sought to answer the Haudenosaunee charge that humans, as ecological beings, need to consider land-use decisions based on the 'seventh generation' of life to come, rather than just the 'discovery' principle that has guided resource extraction in North America for centuries."

In the process, she said, the students found complex stories of the costs and benefits of Marcellus Shale drilling.

The five stories and the related mapping were the first result of a project that organizers hope to continue in future years with expanded connections of interviewing, writing, photography and GIS (geographic information system) data.

Contact: Division of Communications

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