Friends of the Earth Wyoming County East High School recognize their volunteers for participating in surveys of microplastics in area streams with a $ 400 mini grant to Volunteer West Virginia.

Microplastics surveys were conducted in Amigo, Allen Junction, Corinne, Mullens, New Richmond, Pineville, Mullensville, Kepler, Glover and Wyoming.

The volunteers collected data for the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by collecting samples along the riverbanks, according to a spokesperson.

Microplastics between 1 and 5 mm were then categorized by Brittany Bauer’s students during school. Bauer teaches AP biology at school and serves as a sponsor and coordinator of Friends of the Earth projects.

Films from plastic bags, man-made fibers and fragments of fishing lines were the most common types of microplastics.

The data collected, along with photographs of the microplastics, will be submitted to the Marine Data Tracker app that the EPA uses to inform policy makers.

Bauer uses data collection to provide his students with authentic biology field experiences.

She was inspired by participating in a survey of marine microplastics in Baja California, Mexico, with a group of young people aged 8 to 16, called the Aventureros, along with staff from the Vermilion Sea Institute.

Bauer traveled to Baja California, Mexico, while working on her Master of Arts in Biology as part of the Project Dragonfly global field program at the University of Miami.

Students who volunteered outside of school celebrated at Mountain State Mini Golf.

Students and community volunteers will be officially recognized at the Wyoming East County Friends of the Earth awards ceremony on November 29, and volunteers will also receive movie tickets for Marquee Cinemas in appreciation of their efforts. .

“The Friends of the Earth students and community volunteers are a dedicated group,” noted Mallory Green, principal.

“They work hard to clean up our community and our school and to provide our community with recycling opportunities.

“These volunteers worked last month to collect microplastics samples for this study, and it’s exciting that citizen science opportunities like this are provided by our high school.”

Volunteer West Virginia launched the Volunteer Recognition Mini-Grant program to recognize the citizens of West Virginia for their volunteerism during Covid-19. More than 3,500 volunteers from across the state will be recognized under the program.

Under Bauer’s leadership, Friends of the Earth have achieved national recognition for their recycling program, numerous national and national awards and honors, and thousands of dollars in cash and scholarship prizes while eliminating thousands of tons of plastic, aluminum and cardboard from the environment. .

Bauer was selected as the 2019 Teacher of the Year for the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. She also received the 2018-19 Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators, while the Friends of the Earth Club won the Presidential Youth Environmental Award. The plaques were presented by members of the United States Environmental Protection Agency cabinet in Washington DC