September 25, 2013

Rendleman to open environmental science series

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Julia Rendleman, photojournalist and reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, will open a new lecture series next week at Southern Illinois University Carbondale that focuses on sustainability and environmental science.

Rendleman, a native of Southern Illinois and an alumna of the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts graduate program, will discuss her reporting and give an update regarding public health dangers in the water supply in an area of western Pennsylvania known as The Woodlands.

Rendleman’s presentation will inaugurate the “Sustainability and Environmental Science Policy and Communication Series,” organized by the university’s “Imagining Geographies Initiative” and University College.

The program begins at noon, Oct. 3, in the John C. Guyon Auditorium in Morris Library.  The presentation is free and the public is welcome.

In September 2012, Rendleman and another Post-Gazette reporter earned the Sidney Award for “Fouled Waters,” a three-month investigation into a mysterious blight on the region’s water supply.  The monthly award from the Sidney Hillman Foundation is for an “outstanding piece of socially conscious journalism.”

Concern arose after rigs were erected in region to access Marcellus Shale gas. Both the owners of the gas rigs and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection claimed after testing there was no link to drilling operations and groundwater contamination.  Since then, local residents have filed a civil lawsuit and a researcher from nearby Duquesne University will soon publish findings from his own scientific analysis.

Rendleman earned a master’s degree in photojournalism from SIU Carbondale in December 2010.  Event organizers say the presentation is timely as discussions of gas and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in Southern Illinois continue. The process involves a high-pressure mix of water, sand or gravel, and chemicals to break rock formations to then release oil and natural gas.

More information about future Imagining Geographies events, including the “Sustainability and Environmental Science, Policy and Communication Series,” is available at, or at Facebook at Imagining Geographies.