First Friday Lunch Bunch: “Great Lakes Plastic Pollution Survey”

Date(s) - Friday, Mar 07, 2014
11:00 am

Audubon Center & Sanctuary


Dr. Sherri “Sam” Mason, pioneer in freshwater plastic pollutions research, will present a report on the “Great Lakes Plastic Pollution Survey” at 11 a.m. Friday, March 7 at the Audubon Center & Sanctuary’s First Friday Lunch Bunch at the center,  1600 Riverside Road, Jamestown.

Following the program, coffee and tea will be provided for a BYO brown bag lunch.

The fee for attending is $8 for the public or $6 for Friends of the Nature Center. Reservations are not required.

Her research has gained national attention.

Since the discovery of an accumulation of plastics in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre in 1999 and recent events such as the 2011 Japanese Tsunami, marine debris has received increased attention and public awareness. To date, however, research and even public media campaigns have focused upon oceanic systems.

Despite the expectation that oceanic debris was likely transported through a freshwater system, very little research with regard to marine debris has focused upon these freshwater systems. During the summers of 2012 and 2013, Mason and her research group of 20 undergraduate students conducted the first ever survey for plastic pollution within the open waters of the Great Lakes. Two of the samples they collected contained nearly twice as much plastic as the highest count ever recorded in the infamous Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Results on the concentrations and distributions of plastic pollution for all five of the Great Lakes will be presented and discussed.

Mason graduated cum laude from the University of Texas at Austin before completing her doctorate in Chemistry at the University of Montana as a NASA Earth System Science scholar. An Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at SUNY Fredonia, she also serves as the coordinator of the Environmental Sciences program and as a pro bono air pollution expert for a number of citizen action groups.

For more information, call (716) 569-2345 or visit