In assisting communities recovering from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, UF researchers have brought an award home.
The UF-led team of researchers received a W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Engagement Scholarship Award on Nov. 11, said Andrew Kane, one of the lead investigators of the project. The group helped coastal residents after the 2010 oil spill that became the largest in U.S. history, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“It’s always nice to have some recognition, but the pride in accepting these opportunities and making a difference in these communities has been one of the most rewarding parts of my career,” said Kane, an associate professor in the UF department of environmental and global health.
The research project, called Healthy Gulf, Healthy Communities, was divided into three parts: the psychological impact of the spill on locals; the resilience of each community and why some bounced back faster than others; and the impact of fishing and coastal sea life, said Kane, the lead investigator of the inshore seafood safety team.
This is the first time UF has been honored with the award, said Tom Nordlie, a 56-year-old special project writer at the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
The project ran from July 2011 to April 2017 and was funded by a $6.5 million grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
The team was notified in May that it was selected as one of four regional winners, Nordlie said. UF won the award for the southern region of the U.S.
The award included $7,500 to cover travel expenses and entrance to another round of competition. Remaining funds will be used for academic activities, he said.
“Getting together with a community and partnering with them from the very first step is a key aspect to the Kellogg award program,” Nordlie said.