Ashland University Sets Environmental Lecture

4/2/12 ASHLAND, OH -- Ashland University’s Environmental Lecture Series will continue its 20th year of the series on April 12 when it plays host to Dr. David Walters, ecologist at the U.S. Geological Survey in Fort Collins, Colo.

Dr. Walters will present a talk on “The Ghost of Economics Past: Legacy contamination and restoration at Great Lakes Areas of Concern.” This lecture will be at 7:30 p.m. in the Ronk Lecture Hall in the Schar College of Education building. It is free and open to the public. The theme of this year’s series is “Chemical Pollution in a Global Economy.”

The upper Midwest was a major hub of the U.S. industrial and economic productivity for much of the 20th century. New chemicals were created to vastly improve the human condition but they came with hidden expensive costs. In a massive, unplanned experiment many of these chemicals were released to the environment. These chemicals were not only harmful to wildlife and humans; they also persist for decades to centuries in the environment.

In the presentation, Walters will overview the history of economic-industrial development around the Great Lakes and profile the main contaminants of concern. Next, he will illustrate the complex political, legal, social and economic aspects of remediating environmental damages that were incurred decades in the past. Finally, he will provide examples of active restoration efforts and the engineering and scientific hurdles to their success.   

Walters’ area of expertise is aquatic ecology. He received his Ph.D. in ecology from the University of Georgia in 2002. Before accepting his current position with the USGS in Fort Collins, Colo., Walters was with the National Exposure Research Laboratory, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Cincinnati, OH.

Current support for the lecture series is provided by a grant from the Lubrizol Foundation and additional support from Ashland University.  Recent lectures are archived for viewing at www.ashland.edu/departments/environmental-science/lecture-series.  

Ashland University, ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report's National Universities category for 2012, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.