The two-year-old Marcellus Institute at Mansfield University has been replaced by a new program designed to expand its mission.
The Institute of Science and the Environment will absorb the prior mission of meeting educational needs of gas industry employees and preparing students for careers in the field. It will broaden its focus to include all aspects of land use and natural resources and will be part of the university’s Department of Geosciences.
The university is located in the rich Marcellus Shale gas region of Pennsylvania. Bradford County has the most gas wells in the state (1,071) while Tioga County ranked sixth (640) through the first half of this year, according to the website, stateimpact.npr.org.
The institute will support degree programs in safety management and natural gas production and services and help coordinate internships and trainings for the watershed management, environmental science, environmental biology, fisheries and outdoor recreation leadership programs.
“Through research programs in the sciences and humanities, internships, workforce training, and private/public partnerships, the institute will provide resources for students, alumni, and neighboring communities, with a focus on Tioga and Bradford counties,” Mansfield University President Fran Hendricks said.
Lilace Guignard, director of education and outreach, will co-direct the new institute with Chris Kopf, associate professor of geosciences and director of grants and research.
“We have many strong science programs with an environmental focus, and the institute now will help connect those students and their research with our community and businesses,” said Guignard. “The university will soon have a one-stop resource online for area residents who want information on a variety of issues, from where can I recycle e-waste to what should I know about pipeline safety?”
The institute will host a free public speakers series, “Speakers for Tomorrow,” on the third Thursday of most months school is in session. At 7 p.m. Oct. 16 in Room 104 of Allen Hall, Emily Krafjack, president of Connection for Oil, Gas, & Environment in the Northern Tier (cogentpa.org), will speak. Her topic is the organization’s efforts to address regulatory and other gaps as the unconventional shale gas development moves forward locally.
Follow Bob Jamieson on Twitter: @SGBob.