Posts Tagged ‘public education’

Like most of us, many local Chinese and Vietnamese community members are foodies. They are passionate about what they eat and since fish is a regular part of the Chinese and Vietnamese diet, active partnerships with the Herald Community Center (HCC) and Boat People SOS (BPSOS) have been critical in connecting FCEC’s message with these affected community members.

Although many local Chinese and Vietnamese community members are avid fish lovers, many have never heard of FCEC or about the health risks concerning contaminated fish consumption before HCC and BPSOS provided outreach. In the past, language was a barrier to delivering the Do Not Consume (DNC) message to this audience. Now with the help of HCC and BPSOS, FCEC’s “How to Prepare Fish Safely” video has been viewed by various Chinese and Vietnamese communities to drive the message home. At first, there were mixed feelings regarding the video as community members expressed their acquired preference for preparing fish whole. The “fish won’t taste good…if we take away all the good parts!” voiced a concerned Vietnamese community member.

However, after learning that safe fish properly filleted and then grilled, baked or broiled is a healthier and safer alternative for their family, community members were much more receptive and appreciative of the DNC message. At the workshops, many community members were eager to ask questions and were impressed overall by the research and effort EPA has put forth to protect the public’s health. Many HCC workshop participants even said they were “excited to pass on the message and pass on FCEC’s tip cards to family and friends that go fishing!” Within the last year, HCC and BPSOS have helped FCEC reach over 800 Chinese and Vietnamese community members through informative workshops and distributing tip cards.  HCC even placed an ad highlighting the DNC message in the Herald Monthly, which reaches 40,000 Chinese subscribers monthly.

FCEC would like to thank our partners HCC and BPSOS for another successful year of outreach and helping protect the health of these local communities!

FCEC has been working hard to increase public outreach and education for anglers who are vulnerable to consuming contaminated fish species from the Palos Verdes Shelf Superfund Site: white croaker, black croaker, topsmelt, barred sand bass and barracuda. FCEC coordinated a recent training session with our outreach partners, the Marina Del Rey Anglers. Over the course of the meeting, members of the Marina Del Rey Anglers learned how to conduct a 2-minute survey to anglers who have and have-not received outreach from FCEC. The purpose of these short surveys is to provide FCEC support in better measuring the effectiveness of outreach on awareness of Do Not Consume (DNC) fish and intentions with DNC fish. Additionally, anglers who had received outreach in the past were asked to sign a commitment letter to only eat healthy fish.

 

Check out some of the photos from the meeting here:

Anglers can finally catch a break! At least from all the questions the EPA Consumption Study team has been grilling them on over the past year. The study, which started February 2012, recently ended this January 2013. The survey team surveyed Southern California anglers from Seal Beach to Santa Monica in order to understand their consumption habits of eating certain types of local contaminated fish, such as white croaker, barracuda, topsmelt, barred sand bass and black croaker.

During the yearlong study, the survey team learned quite a bit about the local anglers. For example, they found that the angler community in Southern California is comprised of a socially diverse group of men and women that speak a range of different languages. Despite coming from various backgrounds, their respect for one another and the sport is mightily admirable.

At first the survey team may have looked like they were a fish out of water, but they quickly got the hang of reeling in anglers and building a trusting relationship with them.

“Some anglers may appear to be rough around the edges, but they’re a friendly bunch once you get to know them. Before we knew it, we were sharing stories and cracking jokes with anglers about turd rollers [more commonly known as sand bass].” – Surveyor, Lucia Phan

“During the winter months, only the seasoned anglers were out and it was nice to see that we remembered each other.” – Surveyor, Thuy Nghiem

The study was a mutual learning experience for anglers and the survey team.

“By having conversations with anglers, we became aware of how fishing has changed over the years and why anglers are skeptical of us ‘outsiders.’ Many longtime anglers reported that catching fish now is not as easy as it used to be a decade ago, or even a few years ago. ” – Surveyor, Alben Phung

According to some anglers, the days of catching barracuda and buckets of corbina right off the pier are long gone. Dwindling fish populations, higher regulations, and an influx of outreach have made anglers more conscious of the situation. But all in all, anglers are still out there just to have a good time. As anglers shared their experiences and concerns about the future of fishing, a conclusion can be made: Make Protecting Fishin’ Our Mission!

Watch the EPA Consumption Study survey team in action and subscribe to our YouTube channel!

 

 

The Montrose Settlements Restoration Program (MSRP) consists of six Federal and State of California agencies that are restoring natural resources which were harmed by past releases of DDTs and PCBs into the Southern California ocean environment. MSRP has installed educational kiosks at the SEA Lab in Redondo Beach, the California Science Center in Los Angeles and the Channel Island Park Visitor Center in Ventura. FCEC chatted with MSRP’s Gabrielle Dorr about the kiosks.

FCEC: What is the MSRP kiosk exactly?

Gabrielle Dorr: The kiosks are educational tools that allow users to interact and learn about restoration of natural resources from DDT and PCB contamination. Essentially each kiosk contains software referred to as “Augmented Reality” which allows kids to experience nature in 3D. The kiosks stream short videos about our restoration projects as well. The interactive 3D imagery was developed by Total Immersion while the overall design and concept of the kiosk was created by Pavement.

The kiosks are designed to take viewers through several 3D animation scenarios allowing them to zoom into and out of an eagle’s nest for example. The videos go into more detail about specific restoration projects.

FCEC: What’s so darn cool about the MSRP kiosks?

Gabrielle Dorr: The kiosks contain cutting edge technology that has never been used in this type of setting before. It’s been used in commercial settings but never for educational purposes. First, it’s interactive, which means for the audience we are seeking to educate, kids, it’s a captivating tool.

Since the MSRP kiosks are located in aquariums and science centers it has a lot to compete with. So we worked hard to develop something that will keep the kids engaged.

The kiosks have reached over 200,000 people so far!

FCEC: So the MSRP kiosks are for kids? Why kids?

Gabrielle Dorr: Certainly the MSRP kiosks are geared toward kids, but adults can also enjoy them and learn about restoration.  Kids educate their families by acting as portals of information.  They help spread the word, especially if they get excited about it, which is our hope with the kiosk idea. Not only can they take a brochure home when they finish using the kiosk, they can also download the program on their home computer to continue the learning experience.

The bottom line is that youth are great multipliers of knowledge. Reaching them can have a great effect on the larger community in general. This is where our program overlaps directly with FCEC’s mission to educate the public about fish contamination. It is our hope that our program helps to achieve this same goal.

FCEC: Where can folks find the MSRP kiosks?

Gabrielle Dorr: One of the MSRP kiosks is located in SEA Lab at 1021 N. Harbor Drive, Redondo Beach, 90277. People can find it in the main exhibit area. Another MSRP kiosk is at the California Science Center, located at Exposition Park, 39th Street & Figueroa Street. And a third can be found at the Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center located at 1901 Spinnaker Drive, Ventura, 93001.

MSRP has other fun, interactive educational tools such as their Fish Webcam and Bald Eagle Webcam. Make sure to check them out on the MSRP website!

The holidays are right around the corner and that means it’s time to prepare for the season by giving back to the environment that sustains us — be it the fish we eat or the water we drink, there is plenty to be thankful for.

This month there are a lot of great green events, from sand dune tours, habitat restorations to a little turkey trotting. Here’s a snippet of what’s in store this November.

>> Fall is in full swing, so why not stop by a festival on November 5 at the Aquarium of the Pacific for an Autumn Festival. With an Asian theme this year, you can expect delicious cuisine, fine arts and cultural festivities the whole family can enjoy.

>> What’s a salt marsh? Find out on a cool tour hosted by Friends of Ballona Wetlands on November 13, where you can learn coastal ecosystems and explore the wonders of nature right in the middle of urban Los Angeles.

>> Celebrate Cambodian culture on November 19 at MacArthur Park, where the third annual Cambodian Arts & Culture Exhibition will take place. Stop by for hands-on art and cooking demonstrations, gardening tips and other sure-to-be good times.

>>Did you know that clean beaches are all the rave these days? FCEC agrees. On November 19 Heal the Bay will be at the famous Venice Beach for their Nothin’ But Sand Beach Cleanup.

>> Turkeys trot and so do humans on Thanksgiving in Long Beach on November 24! Come on out for an event that promotes health and exercise. It will also allow you the perfect excuse to indulge later in the day.

>> It is time to put your thinking cap on. On November 29, the will be holding a monthly lecture sponsored by the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Cetacean Society that is sure to inform and educate.

More information about these events and others are on our FCEC calendar. What events will you be attending this month? Share with us below!

*Photo courtesy of Beach.OrangeCounty.com