In 1996, GASP received a grant from the Howard Heinz Foundation to purchase an educational monitoring system available for school and community use. The Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM) developed the guidebook that GASP uses. There are now several similar programs in several other states. Thanks to a generous grant from the Grable Foundation, GASP was able to purchase a new air monitor in 2007 to ensure that this valuable program could continue.
For many years, the GASPer Air Monitor Program gave middle and high school students as well as teachers the opportunity to learn about the components of a natural resource that surrounds all of us: the air. The monitor, aka “GASPer,” monitored for the following air components:
- Nitrogen dioxide
- Carbon monoxide
- Carbon dioxide
- Sulfur dioxide
- Extremely low frequency radiation
- Barometric pressure
- Wind speed and direction
The sensors captured, displayed, and stored accurate scientific data. The data logger, to which all the sensors are connected, collected data as often as every second. The GASPer is suitcase-sized, portable, easily set up by students, and can run on its own battery.
Users were able to generate reports and graphs based on the data collected. Maximum, minimum, and average values were calculated, as well as the standard deviation over the sampling period and the number of samples which exceeded a pre-set value, such as an EPA limit. Participants were provided with associated guidebooks and background information too.
Hand-held particulate monitor
In addition to the GASPer, we also own a hand-held particulate monitor for use by students, concerned homeowners, nonprofits, etc. The SidePak Personal Aerosol Monitor is lightweight and portable and counts particulate matter.
How Can I Become Involved?
Due to its age and difficulties in maintaining it, the GASPer monitor is not available for rent at this time, but the SidePak is still lent out. Typically teachers and their students can borrow the monitor, software, and texts for a one or two-week period of time. Training will be provided by trained GASP staff, and technical assistance is always available. Delivery and pick-up are also provided. Check out highlights of student experiments from past “Air Congresses” below.
Contact For More Information
For more information or to schedule use of the GASPer Air Monitor, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 412-924-0604.
In Southwestern PA, GASP asks for a $50/week donation from each participating school, to help cover the cost of transporting and maintaining equipment. Outside of the state could cost more; please contact Sue to discuss.
Past Air Congresses
In the News
Air quality monitoring in Braddock, PA where 1 in 4 children have asthma.
GASP and the GASPer Air Monitor were featured on Greenworks for Pennsylvania, a multimedia resource for communities at work to improve our environment.
“Quaker Valley teen wins top honors: Students keep tabs on quality of the air,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 17, 2002.