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Storied Images: Marcellus Shale


Steven Rubin,

About the Project

Storied Images: Marcellus Shale was funded by Penn State's Sustainability Institute's Reinvention Fund at the University Park campus in the amount of $18,880.

The primary goal of this student-based project is to foster critical reflection of, and generate discourse on, the impact of Marcellus Shale extraction in Pennsylvania. The project team hopes to move students from being passive recipients of critical news and developments toward becoming well-informed stakeholders, active and innovative participants invested in examining, understanding and shaping environmental decisions and collective futures through creative means. Photography, employed as a means of personal and documentary expression, represents an optimal and yet underutilized tool to help arrive at this transformation, as well as promote critical discourse on sustainability and the extraction of Marcellus Shale. 

The rapid expansion of drilling and natural gas extraction from the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania stands in stark contrast to the lack of growth in understanding by the majority of the state’s population who consistently self-describe as having “little to no” knowledge of the industry’s economic, social, political, and environmental impacts.* To many, Marcellus Shale is somewhere out there – removed, a nebulous entity that is underground, impossible to see and difficult to understand. This disconnect is prevalent among youth and likely experienced by Penn State students, who can easily remain strikingly unaware of specifics related to the industry’s growth and impact in nearby counties and across the state. Importantly, this student population, given their age cohort, stand to be among the most impacted by these developments.