2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM


HERRERA, Hazel1, MAZARIEGOS, Ruben A.1, PAZDERA, Donna2 and CORTEZ, Jose Luis1, (1)Department of Physics and Geology, Univeristy of Texas-Pan American, 1201 West University Drive, Edinburg, TX 78539, (2)Communication Deparment, University of Texas-Pan American, 1201 W. University Drive, Edinburg, TX 78539-2999, hazel_herrera@yahoo.com

Promoting public awareness of potential environmental hazards is of great concern to scientists and policy-makers as well as the general public. As a communicator it is highly necessary for the public to make decisions and communicate their concerns to the local and national government. Community concern prompted us to propose a method whereby data is presented to the average public through the visual manner of photojournalism and the spatial distribution of a geographical information system (GIS). Our pilot study area is in the town of Mission, located in Hidalgo County, South Texas where the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality (TCEQ) recently released the results of soil tests which indicate dangerous levels of pesticides such as Arsenic, DDT, Chlordane, Toxaphene, Dieldrin and others. By generating maps of the affected environments and possible further contamination an ecological and humane approach may be taken to find adequate forms of remediation. The spatial visuals will focus in the soil, groundwater, surface water, air, and biota of the environmental buffered zones covered. By forming a coalition between research knowledge of a scientist and the communicating skills of a journalist a greater environmental alert society may be established.