Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) focuses on improving and maintaining the state’s natural resources for its residents’ benefit.
It’s been looking for ways to expand its outreach and engagement to underrepresented communities — so it’s partnering with three Delaware State University sociology professors to launch a two-year research project to find solutions.
DNREC has awarded the Dover-based school a $249,773 grant to conduct the research. Dr. Raymond Tutu, chair of the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, is the principal investigator of the grant. Dr. Anwar Ouassini and Dr. Laurin Parker, both associate professors of sociology, are co-PIs.
The stated goals of the research are:
- To improve DNREC’s ability to conduct effective outreach regarding regulatory actions and policy development
- To create awareness of DNREC’s processes and initiatives to underserved communities in Delaware
- To develop robust methods by which DNREC can provide efficient and informative community-oriented education and outreach
The researches have defined underrepresented communities as groups of individuals experiencing conditions such as poverty; racial, ethnic and minority residential segregation; linguistic isolation; distressed neighborhoods; and “disproportionate environmental stressor burden.”
Community members will have an opportunity to participate in the research at two virtual town halls to be held on Nov. 17 and Dec. 1, at 6:30 p.m. Additional town halls will be added through the winter.
Del State will also benefit from the research, per Dr. Tutu: “This project will provide research experience and opportunities to students in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice while enhancing Del State’s core values — outreach, scholarship, and community,” he said in a statement.-30-