Hamline News

Hamline staff member & daughter see Gulf Coast oil spill, environmental effects first hand

Tracy and Taylor Fredin


The director of Hamline’s Center for Global Environmental Education just had to see the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico for himself.

“It’s been called the largest natural disaster in U.S. history,” Tracy Fredin said “It’s critical that we begin educating students about its significance, because the long-term effects will be with us for decades.” 

The Hamline School of Education's Center for Global Environmental Education works in collaboration with the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program in Alabama to educate people about the importance of protecting the fragile coastline.

Recently, Fredin joined members of the Estuary program in inspecting the spill on the edges of Alabama, on Dauphin Island where the oil has reached the shoreline and by boat in the open water. He was joined by his daughter, who will be a first-year student at Hamline in the fall. She plans to major in environmental studies.

The duo is not only concerned about the effects of this disaster, but the multitude of other contaminants that have been accumulating for decades and have already damaged life in the Gulf.

“As bad as this spill is, oil spills only account for a portion of the chemicals that pollute our waters,” Fredin said. “Another part of the education is getting people to realize that the fertilizers, gas, and chemicals they use in cities along the Mississippi River contribute to the widening ‘dead zone’ in the Gulf of Mexico.”

Fredin hopes to use what he's seen to help educate others about the disaster in the Gulf and its environmental effects.