EDUCATION AND OUTREACH: DISCUSSING THE CAUSE AND EFFECT RELATIONSHIP OF NATURAL GAS FRACTURING WITH NORTHWESTERN GEORGIA COMMUNITIES
The purpose of my presentation was to present non-biased information in an understandable format citing peer-reviewed, scientific data. My goal was to start conversations about fracking and to educate these communities on the geology of the area so they could make informed decisions about the issue.
In the fall of 2016, I spoke at nine venues, including seven Northwest Georgia libraries within the shale units and two organizations. For the venue I held in Rome, I invited a panel that answered questions from the audience, consisting of the Georgia state geologist, the owner of the Buckeye Exploration Company, a Rome city planner, the advocacy and communications director of the Coosa River Basin Initiative, and a local lawyer well versed in drilling and well litigation. Attendance at my presentations averaged around 10 people, with the exception of 90 people at the Rome event and 45 people at the Calhoun Rotary Club.
During my project, I found many community members knew little to nothing about fracking and had many misconceptions and questions about the process. I received positive feedback from attendants, praising me for the neutral, informative nature of my presentation and easily understandable explanation of the fracking process. I hope my presentations in Northwest Georgia will inspire communities and its citizens to continue the conversation about fracking and its implications for landowners and the local environment, and I plan to stay informed on such a critical issue so I can continue my education and outreach project.