About the E-Forum


A Marcellus Shale natural gas well (Pennsylvania).
Photo Credit: GoMarcellusShale.com

Welcome to the Marcellus Shale E-forum! The goal of this environmental forum is to provide a student-driven investigation of the Marcellus Shale natural gas formation and the environmental and political issues that surround its development. Participation from classrooms across the watershed, or even across the geographic range of the Marcellus Shale formation, can help raise awareness and foster a community approach to problem solving and policy decisions about this challenging environmental issue.

In this E-forum, students can learn and debate about the costs and benefits of Marcellus Shale development. Students will be able to see that natural gas development can benefit local economies and provide a cleaner source of energy, but it can also have potential impacts on the aquatic resources and biodiversity within the Susquehanna watershed and beyond. These different viewpoints will be shown through the following resources:

  • Background readings
  • Videos
  • 3-D Images
  • Graphs
  • Essays from industry, agencies, and special
    interest groups
  • Statements from landowners and
    environmental groups
  • A moderated online discussion
  • And more!
                               What is an E-forum?

An E-forum is an online community for students to discuss environmental issues and debate solutions to real-world problems, in this case, aquatic impacts of natural gas extraction in the Marcellus Shale.
       How do I get my students involved?

  • Register for the E-forum by January 1st, 2013.
    Contact Ann Faulds: afaulds@psu.edu to register.
  • January 28: Pre-test. Classes begin reading
    and discuss the background materials on the Marcellus Shale E-Forum Website.
  • Feb 4-8: Students post user group POV papers to ShaleTalk.
  • Feb 11-22: POV paper comment period. Students and moderators read and share user group reactions with
    other classes participating in the E-forum.
  • Feb 25-March 1: Post Test. Students have an opportunity to vote on the drilling permit question and post their personal opinions.

Created by Pennsylvania Sea Grant especially for high school environmental science and biology students, this program is modeled after a very successful E-forum at the Cacapon Institute's Potomac Highlands Watershed School. The Marcellus Shale E-forum was funded in part by a grant from NOAA's Bay Watershed Education Training Program (B-WET). We are also grateful to Chief Oil and Gas , the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, the Mid-Atlantic Highlands Action Program, and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy for their contributions to the E-forum.

Teachers, to enroll your class in the E-forum, please e-mail Ann Faulds at afaulds@psu.edu by January 1st, 2013. You are also welcome to use the materials independently throughout the year. Note: Moderated discussion runs from Feb 11 to Feb 22. Student groups submit POV papers between Feb 6th and Feb 8th. Video Contest entries due March 3rd