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FSU Students & Savage River Watershed to Launch Marcellus Shale Listening Project
10/17/2014

Frostburg State University students are partnering with the Savage River Watershed Association to participate in “Marcellus Shale in Mountain Maryland: A Listening Project” to document local hopes and concerns regarding proposed unconventional natural gas extraction in Western Maryland. While there has been much debate about drilling in the area, little has been done to assess public opinion to assist state and local government officials and county planners.

Modeling their work after similar successful projects in Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania, students are scheduling community listening days in Frostburg, Mount Savage, Finzel, Lonaconing, Westernport and Grantsville and encourage area residents to stop by and share their opinions. Working in teams, students will also conduct a limited number of door-to-door interviews in some areas.

A full listing of community listening events and selected neighborhoods will be available on the project’s blog at http://fsumslp.blogspot.com and updated regularly. Research results will be shared on the blog, along with a full report of the findings made available in May 2015. Plans are also under way to host a public event sharing the findings in late spring.

Two FSU classes will work on this project throughout the academic year – “Folklore in Appalachia” in fall 2014 and “Sociology of the Environment” in spring 2015. Both courses are taught by Dr. Kara Rogers Thomas, an associate professor in the Department of Sociology at FSU. Students are being trained to listen, record and respect a full range of opinions and attitudes, while avoiding imposing an agenda or opinion-based approach to the topic.

The project is one of a number of experiential learning projects in the Appalachian region supported by the Appalachian Regional Commission’s Teaching Project administered through East Tennessee State University. In December, FSU students will join participants from more than 15 regional institutions to share their work with ARC representatives. In March, students will travel to Johnson City, Tenn., to present a summary of their findings at the annual meeting of the Appalachian Studies Association.

For more information, contact Rogers Thomas at krogersthomas@frostburg.edu or Ann Bristow of the Savage River Watershed Association at piperannie@gmail.com.

FSU is committed to making all of its programs, services and activities accessible to persons with disabilities. To request accommodations through the ADA Compliance Office, call 301-687-4102 or use a Voice Relay Operator at 1-800-735-2258.

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For further information on this release, contact:

Office of News and Media Services
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-3171
Fax: 301-687-7589
E-mail: news@frostburg.edu