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Chasing the “Blue Whale of Freshwater”

by Alicia Jacobs 

The Eco Youth Reporters pose during their tour of Notre Dame. Photo by Kari Lydersen.

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in our Eco Youth Reporters program, conducted in conjunction with award-winning journalist Kari Lydersen and Michigan State University’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism. The Eco Youth Reporters program is generously funded by the McCormick Foundation:

“The blue whale of freshwater” – that’s how Chris Jerde, research assistant professor at the University of Notre Dame, describes Asian carp. Among the 185 invasive species in the Great Lakes, Asian carp has been the biggest problem. The various species of Asian carp open their mouths and eat “anything” in their path, as Jerde said, growing up to 100 pounds and leaving everything else behind to starve or just barely survive.

But no one can seem to find Asian carp.

That’s where Jerde’s eDNA test comes in. As Jerde showed us atthe Notre Dame Linked Experimental Ecosystem Facility on a bright, hot, empty yet peaceful spot at St. Patrick’s Park, the eDNA test begins by filtering water through something that looks like a coffee filter. It sorts out the rocks and other things in the water, giving him a pure sample of organic particles. The eDNA test looks for DNA from fish and other organisms that he can trace. You can trace the DNA if an Asian carp has been in the water, even if you can’t physically find the fish.

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A Protest Success Story

by Alicia Jacobs 

Alicia Jacobs and a fellow resident of the Altgeld Gardens public housing development on the South Side pose during a successful protest of a local food store. Photo by Alicia Jacobs.

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in our Urban Youth International Journalism Program, which is generously funded by the McCormick Foundation.

This is a story of a protest that helped a community. Could you imagine being outside for more than nine hours a day in dangerously cold temperatures, standing up and fighting for a change? Could you be a part of a boycott, just like your older relatives have done in the civil rights days?

Occupy Altgeld is a group of concerned residents who live in the Altgeld Gardens public housing development on the far South Side who decided to address problems that many residents saw but couldn’t seem to change on their own. These residents felt the food prices of Rosebud Farm were too high. Rosebud Farm is the only grocery store in the area surrounding Altgeld where residents can purchase food.

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Recycling on the South Side

by Alicia Jacobs 

Editor’s Note: The following article was written by a youth reporter who is a graduate of the Urban Youth International Journalism Program.

What is recycling? According to Pennsylvania Recycling Guide, pay someone to write my paper recycling is “taking an item and the separation and collection of material(s) for processing and re-manufacturing into new products to complete.”
Just about everything is recyclable such as aluminum and cardboard, glass, newspaper, batteries and certain plastics.

Alisha Jacobs interviewing youth workers from the People for Community Recovery in CHA Altgeld Gardens community in August 2010, about recycling trash. Photo by Quintana Woodridge

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