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Penn State to hold Marcellus Shale classes for adults in Lancaster County


Marie Cusick/ StateImpact Pennsylvania

A gas drilling rig in Tioga County.

Researchers from Penn State University are gearing up for a series of informal educational classes for adults who want to learn about natural gas development.

“We use the context of Marcellus Shale to teach about science and energy,” says project coordinator Terry Noll. “We are neither pro nor against gas development, but because that’s creating huge change, we use that to teach about resource extraction.”

The set of 10 free classes begins February 3rd at the Farm and Home Center in Lancaster. Registration is required, and Noll says it’s already nearly full. Participants will receive a $100 stipend at the end.

This will mark the sixth set of workshops the Penn State team has conducted around the state. They’re focusing on rural areas and have already been in Clearfield, Dubois, Sullivan, Clinton, and Indiana counties. The project is part of a $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

The research team chose Lancaster County after a proposed interstate gas pipeline created a community backlash.

Noll says the goals are to educate adults about energy and study their perceptions.

“We want to educate them on what we know, what we don’t know, what are the real risks,” she says. “One of the other goals is to look at how you have civil dialogue around a polarizing topic, like the Marcellus Shale. But we want them to give the tools to discuss any contentious topic.”

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