SUDBURY, May 2, 2003 – Sudbury Soils Study partners are gearing up their efforts to communicate with Sudburians. This week marks the opening of a study office at Laurentian University, the distribution of the study’s first newsletter in local newspapers, invitations for a series of “Have Your Say” workshops in mid-May, and a public open house at Science North on June 11th, 2003.
The communication efforts are an important part of the two-year long study that is evaluating the potential for human health and ecological effects of metals found in Sudbury area soils. The Sudbury Soils Study builds on the tradition of Sudbury’s award-winning regreening program, as residents of Sudbury work together to improve their community and environment. “This is probably one of the largest programs of its kind in the world, and because it is so comprehensive we have to have good communication tools in place,” said Chris Wren, director of the SARA Group which is conducting the study. “The partners in the study, and the researchers, need on-going input from the people of Sudbury, and Sudburians want to keep tabs on the progress of the study.”
Quarterly Sudbury Soils Study newsletters will provide background information on the project, updates on on-going and up-coming activities, and remind people about other ways to learn more about the study. “Along with the newsletters, we have a very detailed project website at www.sudburysoilsstudy.com to keep people informed. For questions and answers we have a toll-free project information number, 1-866-315-0228, and an email address, firstname.lastname@example.org,” said Wren. “We’re also producing a detailed Sudbury Soils Study brochure and we’ll be making that available at our on-going display at Science North, at the offices of all our partners, at local libraries, and at all of our public events.”
The first newsletter provides details on “Have Your Say” workshops scheduled for May 13th to May 15th, 2003 in Copper Cliff, Falconbridge and Coniston. The workshops will enable community members to have input into the design and implementation of the study, and will focus on the identification of the valued social, economic and natural components of the environment such as key animal species, recreational areas, game, berries, and local foods. The newsletter includes a “Contact Us – Have Your Say” section that readers can cut out and send to the Sudbury Soils Study office at Laurentian University. Readers can use this form to send their comments to the study team. They can also use it to sign-up to receive Sudbury Soils Study newsletters, to indicate their interest in participating in the upcoming vegetable garden survey, and to sign-up to receive reports from the study’s process observer, Franco Mariotti. Mr. Mariotti regularly provides independent reports to the public on the study process and he represents the interests of both the general public and the environment.
“We’re also very pleased to open our project office at Laurentian University this week,” said Wren. “The SARA Group is a consortium of firms and experts from across Ontario, and it’s important for us to have a strong focal point for the work we are doing in Sudbury.” The office, will be located at the Willet Green Miller Centre, 933 Ramsey Lake Road, is staffed by researchers Jan Linquist, a biologist, and Monika Greenfield, an air monitoring specialist.
The Laurentian University office supplements a Sudbury Soils Study display and information access service made available at Science North. Science North is also the location for a public open house scheduled for June 11, 2003. The open house provides an opportunity for community members to meet Sudbury Soils Study partners and researchers, and learn more about study goals and objectives.
The Sudbury Soils Study is a community-wide undertaking to accurately measure the levels of various metals in the local environment. It is the most comprehensive and scientifically demanding study of its kind ever done in Canada. Thousands of soil samples have been taken from throughout the region and are being carefully analysed to assess their contents. From these soil assessments, and other research, the community will learn of any risks these elements may pose to human health and/or the health of the environment. Final results are expected early in 2005. Partners in the study include Inco Limited, Falconbridge Limited, The Ontario Ministry of Environment, The City of Greater Sudbury, The Sudbury & District Health Unit, Health Canada – First Nation and Inuit Health Branch.