Report On Great Lakes Plastic?Pollution Set?For Friday At Audubon

On Friday, March 7, Dr. Sherri “Sam” Mason discuss her research that has gained national attention when she presents a report on the “Great Lakes Plastic Pollution Survey” at the Jamestown Audubon Center & Sanctuary’s First Friday Lunch Bunch.

Beginning at 11 a.m., Mason will report how, aboard the Flagship Niagara, “We went searching for plastic in the Great Lakes … and found it!”

As Mason explains, 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 Chemistry and Biochemistry Department at the State University at 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.

Following the program, coffee and tea will be provided for a bring-your-own brown bag lunch. The fee for attending is $8 or $6 for Friends of the Nature Center. Reservations are not required.

The Audubon Center & Sanctuary is at 1600 Riverside Road, a quarter-mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown and Warren.

For more information, call 569-2345 or visit