Air quality continues to be a public-health concern. Some of the nation’s worst ozone pollution occurs in suburbs and even in parks that are downwind from sources of pollution. Ozone amounts can vary widely from one neighborhood to the next, and government ozone-monitoring stations cannot cover all of them. Experts are finding that gardeners can play an important role in monitoring ozone-related air quality.
Anne Douglass and Jeannie Allen from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center will present a program at the Library of Congress titled “Gardening for Ozone Air Quality (Citizen Science)” at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 8
, in the Mary Pickford Theater on the third floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C.
The lecture is part of a series of programs about cutting-edge science presented through a partnership between the Library’s Science, Technology and Business Division and the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. The event is free and open to the public; tickets are not required.
Gardeners or others who are curious about ozone levels where they live or work, and are willing to make careful observations over time, can become involved in ozone monitoring. Some common and easily-grown plants show overexposure to ozone by characteristic tiny, evenly-spaced spots (stippling) on the upper sides of their leaves. Scientists and educators at NASA Langley Research Center collaborated with plant pathologists and the U.S. National Park Service to develop a protocol for citizen scientists and students to monitor ozone air quality by using a hand-held instrument called the ZikuaTM and observing ozone-sensitive plants.
Douglass and Allen will explain what NASA’s Aura satellite is showing us about air quality on global and regional scales; how the ozone forms and how it affects people and plants; how certain species of common plants can show when ozone levels are high; how to use a ZikuaTM; and what’s involved in making an ozone monitoring garden. They will also show how gardeners can link to other citizen scientists and students engaged in ozone monitoring, and how people can learn more about the Aura satellite.
Douglass is an atmospheric scientist who specializes in stratospheric chemistry and transport. Her research emphasizes the development and analysis of predictive models and the quantitative use of satellite, aircraft and ground-based observations. Douglass has worked for NASA since the early 1980s and has been the deputy project scientist for both the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite and the Earth Observing System Aura. In 2002, she shared the William T. Pecora Award for understanding the earth through remote sensing.
Allen is a senior education specialist for Earth-observing satellite missions with Science Systems and Applications, Inc., at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. She has a master’s degree in bio-geography, and brings cutting-edge Earth-system science research to the public, classroom teachers, students and visitors at informal learning centers such as parks and museums. She often works in partnership with other federal agencies and national education and research institutions. Allen’s current focus is on land-cover change over time, climate change, stratospheric ozone and air quality.
The Library of Congress maintains one of the largest and most diverse collections of scientific and technical information in the world. The Science, Technology and Business Division provides reference and bibliographic services and develops the general collections of the Library in all areas of science, technology, business and economics. For more information, visit www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/