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

Paper No. 52
Presentation Time: 6:30 PM-8:30 PM


DOWLING, Carolyn B., Byrd Polar Research Center, The Ohio State Univ, Columbus, OH 43210-1002, POREDA, Robert J., Earth and Env. Sci, Univ Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627-9000 and HUNT, Andrew G., United States Geol Survey, Denver Federal Center, Bld 21, MS 963, Denver, CO 80225, dowling.37@osu.edu

EES 360: Environmental Geology in the Field and Lab is a challenging upper-level class for seniors and juniors at the University of Rochester (Rochester, NY). The purpose of this course is to give environmental science students an opportunity to learn about and participate in environmental research. A local area is selected and an in-depth investigation is carried out to determine regional influences (e.g., geology, groundwater discharge, dams) on stream flow and chemistry. For the past ten years, the project centered around Oatka Creek, a small tributary of the Genesee River that flows through Genesee, Wyoming, and Monroe Counties in Western New York.

The goals of the field sampling and laboratory experiments are for students to learn sampling techniques and laboratory methods, to generate and comprehend the data, and to write and present a team report that discusses their findings. The sampling fieldtrips provide students with opportunities for “real world” experiences such as collecting stream and sediment samples, using field equipment, and working as a team. Some of the laboratory methods that are taught include proper scale and pipette use, clean-room techniques, and preparation of standards and samples for the IC, UV-Vis, and ICP-MS. This class is popular among environmental science students even though it is demanding. Over the years, students have reported on the aqueous and sediment chemistry and groundwater/surface water interactions of Oakta Creek.

This approach to hands-on research in the classroom can be used at a variety of sites, from urban settings to rural surroundings. We plan to use these methods in a new class at Arkansas State University (Jonesboro, AR) and will focus our studies on Spring River whose headwaters are located at Mammoth Spring in north central Arkansas. Students taking this applied class at Arkansas State University will explore the environmental chemistry of Spring River and Mammoth Spring while learning how to collect water and sediments samples and analyze them using IC, UV-Vis, and ICP-MS techniques.