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On Air: CCE The Coop-Cast Spotlights NYSG's Environmental Justice Mapping Project
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) - News

Kingston, NY, November 5, 2020 - Jessica Kuonen, New York Sea Grant's Hudson River Estuary Resilience Specialist, returned to "The Coop-Cast!," Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County's podcast, to discuss the program's new environmental justice mapping project. 

The new guide includes 22 online mapping tools covering a range of topics that help build context around race, class, and the environment. 

For more information visit

This episode from season 2 of The Coop-Cast also features headlines and program announcements from the week of November 2-6, 2020.

If you don't see the player above, it's because you're using a non-Flash device (eg, iPhone or iPad). You can download the mp3 file by clicking here (mp3). It may take a few minutes to download, so please be patient.

Stream the conversation above or listen to the podcast on Sound Cloud - Jessica's discussion begins around 1 minutes and 50 seconds into the podcast. Her segment runs until about 8 minutes and 20 seconds into the 9 minute podcast.

Partial Transcript:

[00:00:09] Good morning and welcome to Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County's Coop-Cast. I'm your host, Catherine Best. On this week's episode of Coop-Cast, I will be giving a few updates on events happening at CCE Ulster. Later on in the show I will be sitting down with our very special guest for the [00:00:30] week, Jessica Kuonen, to discuss the Environmental Justice Mapping Project that she has been working on ...

[00:01:51] This week, I am very excited to have Jessica Kuonen on the show to discuss the environmental justice mapping project that she has been working on. Jessica [00:02:00] is a Hudson Estuary Resilience specialist with New York Sea Grant. Thank you so much for being on the show with me today, Jessica. Thanks for having me. So can you tell us a little bit about the environmental justice mapping project that you've been working on?

[00:02:19] Sure. So so this is an environmental justice mapping tools guide.

[00:02:25] And the goal for creating this guide was to make online [00:02:30] mapping tools that already exist more accessible to people in community-based organizations, students, educators, and also environmental and health practitioners. So we felt like a lot of people could benefit from this information. But it's spread very far and wide. And so we wanted to bring it together in a way that would be useful for people. We also wanted to provide these tools in [00:03:00] the context of environmental justice and equity as a framework. And the reason for that is that environmental justice needs to be contextualized at the local level. And so what we mean by that is understanding all the different factors that are at play in a community. And so all these mapping tools, they cover a range of data from environmental data to demographics to housing health. And [00:03:30] we're hoping that by bringing all this together, it can help people think in a more interdisciplinary way to solve these really complex problems.

[00:03:38] How did the idea for the project start?

[00:03:43] Yeah, so it's very much was born of COVID-19. This spring, we all had to start working from home at New York Sea Grant, and, we were [00:04:00] seeing that there were all these disparities happening with COVID-19. They were impacting low income and minority communities much more. And so a colleague of mine, we had both started about the same time. We were both relatively new to our organization. We kind of got together and realized that we were kind of both justice-oriented in our focus. And my colleagues name is Dr. Monica Miles. She's the Great Lakes [00:04:30] Coastal Literacy specialist in Buffalo. So she works with educators and students and she started using mapping tools to teach environmental justice. And I have a background in mapping. So we started talking. She was asking questions. And I was like, yeah, this tool is good for this, but not that. And then she basically was like, you should really put this together so that a lot of people can use it, which [00:05:00] is really cool because I would have never to do that on my own. So I think it kind of just shows the power of collaboration and kind of like leaning on your skill set. So who are the partners involved with the project?

[00:05:14] Currently, there are no partners, it's just me and Monica that have been working on this pretty diligently since around June, but we're looking to expand. We have our first webinar coming up. And we've kind [00:05:30] of advertised it far and wide. And so depending on how that goes, we think there's a lot of potential to grow this work, maybe making some specific trainings for certain types of people and we're looking to the first training to be a very big overview.

[00:05:49] But if people have more specific questions that we can take a deeper dive in, I think that'd be really cool. So I think there's a lot of potential. What are your plans for the future?

[00:06:02] In [00:06:00] general, yeah, just like the mapping project, where would you like to see it in a few months?

[00:06:10] In a few months? I think we want to take this in a direction that's going to work for people. So we really look forward to hearing feedback and reading our evaluations, because right now it's very unknown, but it's very exciting.

[00:06:27] So to close, could you give a brief explanation [00:06:30] of what New York Sea Grant is and what your goals are?

[00:06:35] Sure, New York Sea Grant is an academic and federal partnership between Cornell University and NOAA, which is the agency that brings us the weather and fisheries and stuff like that. And our goal, kind of our little tagline is "Bringing Science to the Shore" so we help coastal communities in [00:07:00] our certain focus areas that includes things like climate resilience, which is what I do a lot of, from coastal literacy to tourism and recreation, fisheries, coastal processes, all types of stuff. And we're just there to help local communities cope with change and so we can have healthy, thriving coastal ecosystems and businesses. And to be [00:07:30] that connection with the university, with research so that people can make informed decisions.

[00:07:36] Awesome, the mapping project, I'm super excited to see the future of it, and it sounds super impactful, especially during COVID. I am really excited for you guys and thank you so much for being on the show.

[00:07:52] Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it. Of course.

[00:08:01] To [00:08:00] learn more about the New York Sea Grant, head over to their website, You can also follow them on Instagram @newyorkseagrant or Twitter at @nyseagrant. That's all for today, folks. To keep up with the latest news from CCE Ulster, [00:08:30] follow us on social media. Visit us at our Web site and subscribe to our newsletter at This is Katherine Best signing off.

More Info: New York Sea Grant

New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York (SUNY), is one of 34 university-based programs under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program.

Since 1971, NYSG has represented a statewide network of integrated research, education and extension services promoting coastal community economic vitality, environmental sustainability and citizen awareness and understanding about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources.

Through NYSG’s efforts, the combined talents of university scientists and extension specialists help develop and transfer science-based information to many coastal user groups—businesses and industries, federal, state and local government decision-makers and agency managers, educators, the media and the interested public.

The program maintains Great Lakes offices at Cornell University, University at Buffalo, SUNY Oswego and the Wayne County Cooperative Extension office in Newark. In the State's marine waters, NYSG has offices at Stony Brook University in Long Island, Brooklyn College and Cornell Cooperative Extension in NYC and Kingston in the Hudson Valley.

For updates on Sea Grant activities: has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube links. NYSG offers a free e-list sign up via for its flagship publication, NY Coastlines/Currents, which is published quarterly. Our program also produces an occasional e-newsletter,"NOAA Sea Grant's Social Media Review," via its blog,

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