2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 7–10, 2004)

Paper No. 10
Presentation Time: 10:45 AM


FOOS, Annabelle, Geology Department, Univ. of Akron, Akron, OH 44325-4101, SHULTZ, Kelly, Geology Department, Univ of Akron, Akron, OH 44325-4101 and OWENS, Katharine, Curricular and Instructional Studies, Univ of Akron, Akron, OH 44235-4205, afoos@uakron.edu

University of Akron offers an Environmental Studies/Geology Service Learning course that focuses on resource management issues of the local parks, including the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The course objective is to provide students with a research experience where they collect, analyze, and interpret real world data. The course is modeled after a consulting firm where students work in teams. In addition to technical skills, students were taught management skills so they could work as effective teams and complete the project. Projects are developed through collaboration between the instructor and resource management staff of the parks. They are designed to meet both the educational goals of the course and a specific need of the park service. The following two projects, completed during the summer 2004, illustrate how both these objectives can be met. One team made a detailed map and studied the subsurface geology and hydrology of a wetland at O’Neil Woods where previous owners had installed a network of drainage tiles. The students measured soil profiles, installed a monitor well, measured water quality and located the drainage tiles with GPS. The park service will use their data to determine if mitigation (removal of drainage tiles) will lead to an improvement of the wetland. Pond Brook, the main tributary of Liberty Park, was channelized and straightened resulting in degradation of the local wetlands. The park service plans to return Pond Brook to its natural flow. A second team determined the baseline hydrologic conditions of Pond Brook so the park service will be able to evaluate the effectiveness of their remediation efforts. The students surveyed the channel morphology, determined the discharge and measured water quality. Students in this course benefit by gaining a research experience, while working on a problem that is relevant to their community. The Parks benefit by having research conducted that normally would not be done due to limited funding.