Approximately four indoor spaces serving children will get air purifiers and air quality monitors thanks to a $40,000 grant from Oregon State University ASP3IRE Center. OSU’s new program has a mission for adoption of evidence-informed policies, programs, and practices that can reduce harmful environmental exposures where children live, play and learn.
Funding will support convening organizations serving the needs of children and will connect the Smokewise Ashland program partners with researchers in the field of children’s environmental health at the National Institute of Health(NIH) and OSU. The project will help in planning health interventions for children when smoke threatens air quality.
“Children under the age of 18 have developing lungs which makes them more at risk from harmful smoke particles. We can meet the needs of our smoke vulnerable young people with this funding. The lessons learned through applying health interventions researched by the NIH and OSU ASP3IRE Center will also improve our strategies for our program with Smokewise Ashland as a whole,” said Sara Jones, Community Engagement Coordinator for the Ashland Forest Resiliency.
History of Smokewise Ashland
Seeing the need to provide community smoke awareness to accomplish critical controlled burns in Ashland’s forests, the Ashland Forest Resiliency Project (AFR) partners have reached out to the community for help and found willing partners to help in planning for smoke at the Ashland Chamber of Commerce and Asante Ashland Community Hospital and several other community organizations. After the program launched, the smoke-filled summer of 2017 hit and Smokewiseashland.org became an invaluable one-stop online resource for citizens, businesses, schools, and organizations looking to find out air quality readings, health information, and the status of dozens of regional wildfires. Recently, organizing partners updated a health brochure with Asante in both Spanish and English which provides health actions community members can take to reduce exposure to smoke.
Smokewise Ashland has operated on a small budget through a combination of grants from Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, the Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network, the USDA Forest Service, and Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board. Smokewise Ashland now includes Jackson County Health and Human Services, Southern Oregon University, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, in addition to the Ashland Chamber of Commerce and core AFR partners The Nature Conservancy, Lomakatsi Restoration Project, Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, and the City of Ashland.
news release and photo from City of Ashland