Microplastics: Why we should care

Melanie StatenAnderson, Our Town Outdoors

Join the University of Tennessee Arboretum Society when we return to in-person programming Thursday, September 29, 7 p.m. EDT as we learn from Dr. Martin Knoll about the dangers of microplastics in our rivers. This program is at the UT Arboretum Auditorium, 901 S. Illinois Avenue, Oak Ridge, Tennessee. No registration is necessary, but seating is limited. The program is sponsored by the UT Arboretum Society and Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness planning.

Microplastic particles have been discovered in almost all environments on planet Earth. Recent research has identified several negative health impacts of these plastics on aquatic life. Microplastics have also been found in the lungs and bloodstream of humans.

Dr. Knoll is professor of geology and hydrology and chair of the Department of Earth and Environmental Systems at the University of the South. His presentation will focus on his research investigating the concentration and types of microplastics found in the Tennessee, Cumberland and Rhine rivers. Special emphasis will be placed on his recent findings about the major sources of these microplastics and what might be done to reduce their numbers.

Knoll earned bachelor’s degrees in German and natural resources at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. After studying at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, he earned a master’s degree in geology at Vanderbilt University and a doctorate in geology at the University of Texas at El Paso.

His research interests include the geology of the Mojave Desert, groundwater and stormwater dynamics on the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee, insects in Baltic amber, landscape evolution of southwest Germany and microplastics in the Tennessee, Cumberland, Rhine and Danube rivers. In 2017, he was project director for Tenneswim, the most ambitious analysis of water quality ever conducted in the Tennessee River. He lives with his wife, three sons and an English Bulldog in Sewanee.

A bus to Jonesborough

The Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival is sponsoring a bus trip to the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee. A Knoxville Tours motor coach will take participants to the festival on Saturday, October 8, leaving Oak Ridge at 7 a.m. and returning around 8 p.m. The $125 fee covers transportation, admission to the festival, a site map and program.

Sue Byrne at [email protected] is the contact for more information and reservations. The deadline is Sept. 20 or until the trip is sold out.

Melanie Staten is a public relations consultant with her husband, Vince.


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