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Estimated 2,000 people March for Science in Buffalo

While the champions and defenders of science marched on Washington to deliver their message, they made their presence known in Buffalo, too.

A couple thousand people joined the local March for Science on Saturday afternoon, when they gathered at Soldier Circle. They paraded up Lincoln Parkway to Delaware Park, where they rallied behind the Rose Garden against what they called an attack on science.

Some voiced concerns about cuts in federal funding to clean up the Great Lakes.

"I feel we've taken a step backward in regards to protecting the Earth," said Renee Mroz, 44, of Derby. "I'm worried about Buffalo."

Some were frustrated by budget cuts to agencies that fund scientific research.

"We're funded by all the things getting cut," said Megan Hutto, 25, a doctoral student in the Department of Linguistics at the University at Buffalo.

"Everything we're working toward is going to be nonexistent basically," said fellow graduate student Michelle Tulloch, 25.

[PHOTO GALLERY: Buffalo's March for Science]

And others showed up to push back against the rhetoric and skepticism about climate change.

"I feel like a lot of people," said Jim Roetzer of Amherst. "We need to speak out against a lot of things that we're hearing – that science is the enemy of the truth.

"If people don't stand up to lies, lies prevail," said Roetzer, 68. "That's why a lot of people are here."

The crowd at Saturday's event was for young and old, from babies in strollers to those like Roetzer, who has been fighting this fight for years. The retired environmental engineer recalled marching on Earth Day 20 years ago, and said it was hard to believe some of these same issues are still being debated.

"I think 80 to 90 percent of people would speak out in favor of clean air, clean water, safe food," Roetzer said. "Yet, we elected a number of politicians who don't share those same values. That has to stop."

Among the signs: Science Made America Great," and "Save the Earth: There is no Planet B" and "Make Earth Cool Again."

[PHOTO GALLERY: Smiles at the March for Science]

Standing on a hill near the Rose Garden, listening to the speakers at the rally, were Barbara McCabe and Eileen Sylves. The two are lab supervisors in UB's Department of Biological Sciences and came to Saturday's march decked out in their white lab coats.

"So much science goes on in Buffalo," said Sylves, 58, from the Town of Tonawanda. "We're worried about the money for research going away."

"And in general," chimed in McCabe, 58, of Kenmore, "we're worried science is being shoved to the back burner."

Buffalo police estimated 2,000 people showed up for the march.

And while frustrated that science is taking its hits, marchers Alan Rinard and Jessica O'Neill of Buffalo were emboldened by the turnout.

"It's really heartening to see," said O'Neill, 30, a graduate student in UB's School of Public Health and Health Professions. "To see all these people out here celebrating science brings hope."

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