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GLIN==> Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant News: ?Fish School? Informs Families of Health Risks and Benefits
- Subject: GLIN==> Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant News: ?Fish School? Informs Families of Health Risks and Benefits
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- Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2005 09:57:41 -0600
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For Immediate Release
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant News
Diana Dummitt (217) 333-5198; firstname.lastname@example.org
Leslie Dorworth (219) 989-2726; email@example.com
Robin Goettel (217) 333-9448; firstname.lastname@example.org
February 14, 2005
?Fish School? Informs Families of Health Risks and
URBANA--Fish are chock full of nutrients, but they are often
contaminated with pollutants that can have serious health effects,
particularly on growing babies and children. It can be difficult to know
what to do with this good and bad news--if you are already aware of it.
Due to language, cultural or other barriers, many who depend on ?catching
their dinners? may not be in the information loop.
A new education program, Fish School: Taking Stock of Risks and
Benefits, will involve scientists, nutritional experts, extension
educators, teachers and students who will reach out to southern Lake
Michigan communities at school fairs and local festivals to raise
awareness about the risks, as well as the benefits of eating fish in
those who need it the most--women in their child-bearing years and
families who fish for their food.
?The Calumet River is one of the most polluted rivers in the country, yet
many immigrants regularly fish along its banks as they did in their
countries of origin,? said Diana Dummit, Illinois Science Teachers
Association?s former executive director who now is the associate director
of development in the University of Illinois, College of Medicine.
?Even those who don?t fish can be at risk,? said Leslie Dorworth,
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant water quality specialist. ?Due to limited
resources, some people rely on canned tuna to provide a significant
portion of their diet. On the other hand, others believe that lakes and
rivers are unclean and simply stop eating fish. But fish are an important
part of a healthy diet.?
To help strike a balance, the Illinois Science Teachers Association and
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG) are working together with other
agencies and universities to foster creative ways for people to learn
from each other. ?Brochures can have all the right information, but the
reality may not sink in,? said Dummitt.
With funding from U.S. EPA Great Lakes National Program Office, Fish
School begins on May 21 with a one-day workshop for 20 middle and
high school science, health, and food and nutrition teachers in the
region to learn the latest research data about fish consumption concerns
directly from scientists and to work with University of Illinois
Extension educators to develop teaching programs and plan health expos.
Teachers interested in participating in this workshop can find more
information on the IISG Web site at
These teachers will return to their classrooms to inspire students to
inform their families, their schools, and their communities about the
risks and benefits of eating fish. ?Students will design posters,
exhibits or other creative projects that will be on display at Fiesta Del
Sol, the Wolf Lake Wetlands, Wind, and Water Festival and other community
events,? said Robin Goettel, IISG education specialist.
?Students are our future consumers and decision-makers. It?s important
that they know how to eat fish wisely,? added Goettel. ?They also provide
a unique way to connect with their communities by providing new
information on benefits and risks.?
IISG and Extension will also use more traditional means to reach out to
underserved populations with this critical information. They are
developing workshops to explain the latest fish consumption advisory
information directly to local families. The workshops will also be
available in Spanish, Polish and Chinese.
Much of the information presented in this outreach program as well as in
the Fish School effort is derived from the brochure,
Contaminants in Fish and Seafood: A Guide to Safe Consumption,
available in two versions, with guidelines specific to Illinois and
Indiana. For a copy, contact Susan White at (217) 333-9441 or email
The Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program is one of more than 30
National Sea Grant College Programs. Created by Congress in 1966, Sea
Grant combines university, government, business and industry expertise to
address coastal and Great Lakes needs. Funding is provided by the
National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U. S. Department of
Commerce, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Purdue
University at West Lafayette, Indiana.
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant
1101 W. Peabody Dr.
Urbana, Il 61801
FAX (217) 333-8046