Environmental Group Launches Air Quality Education Program for Adolescents

The Pittsburgh GASP, or Smog and Pollution Group, is launching a new program to pair high school students in Allegheny County with peers in Birmingham, Ala., To carry out projects related to the quality of the ‘air. The program, Fresh Voices for Clean Air, begins in March and ends in December.

Students will develop an environmental project to research and carry out in their community. GASP air quality educator Laura Kuster said the program is new, so they don’t know what to expect yet. But she said several applicants have expressed interest and have experience in media, such as “zines” or ezines.

“We want it to be really driven by student interest, whatever kind of interest gets the most interest in the first fundamental sessions,” Kuster said.

Videos and social media campaigns would be easier to produce virtually for students, she said. She also said the Birmingham group, also coincidentally named GASP, specialize in documentaries, which can help provide training opportunities for students.

Credit Sydney Roach / 90.5 WESA

The Birmingham and Pittsburgh GASP groups are unrelated, except that the air quality in both cities is historically poor.

“Ideally, we have like a mix of students who are really new to this field and students who already have skills that they can bring to the project,” Kuster said.

Students and educators in the program will meet virtually every month, but will communicate primarily using the professional Slack app.

Pittsburgh and Birmingham have historically experienced some of the worst air quality in the country. Allegheny County only recently met federal air quality standards for the first time.

Students who complete the program will receive $ 250. Interested students can apply on the GASP website before February 19.

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