2007 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (28–31 October 2007)

Paper No. 16
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM


GROGGER, Paul K., Geology, Univ of Colorado at Colorado Springs, 1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway, Colorado Springs, CO 80933-7150, pgrogger@uccs.edu

During the break between the Fall and Spring and the Spring and Summer semesters the Geology course ‘Water in the Pikes Peak Region is offered. The primary aspect of the course is the 80 percent course contact that is in the field. The students range from sophomore to seniors and are dominated by students from geography, anthropology, biology, engineering, and geology. The class size is limited to 25 students. During the last 10 years, the course has been modified to include more computer and Internet use but the field time has remained the same.

The course extends over five-days from 0800 to 1700. Students not only complete homework, field, and reading/writing assignments but complete a project as well. The students have timelines they must adhere to which allows them the next semester to complete their work. The curriculum starts with the water cycle, moves on to an understanding of the relationships between water and life, climate, landforms, and energy to investigations of ecosystems/habitats, climatic change, and drainage basin complexities. The final field assignment, an engineering geology analysis of a major drainage basin, use both field measurements and computer software to analyze the basin as to flood and erosion problems and use the interrelationships with the topics learned during the course.

During the course, eight locations in the Pikes Peak region are investigated. These locations are in the mountains (Waldo and Cheyenne Canyons), city (Garden of the Gods, University of Colorado campus, Pine Creek drainage, and the Templeton Gap floodway), and on the prairie (Paint Mines Regional Park and Fountain Creek Regional Park).

Previous individual projects have varied from the development of water conservation techniques for the Pikes Peak region, analysis of flood and erosion problems of specific locations, sculptures of water hazards, short stories about local water events, poetry of some water aspect, and paintings of water relationships using various artistic techniques.

Student critiques of the course indicate the importance of actually experiencing the processes and topics of water in the field rather than learning inside the classroom. The course has consistently had the highest student evaluations of any geology course offered during the past 15 years at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.