Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 10:00 AM
USE OF THE UPPER GREEN RIVER BIOLOGICAL PRESERVE AS AN OUTDOOR TEACHING AND RESEARCH CENTER NEAR MAMMOTH CAVE NATIONAL PARK, KENTUCKY
Use of large tracts of relatively undeveloped university properties can prove to be quite beneficial to geoscience educators and students as such parcels of land can provide readily available proving grounds for geophysical testing, drilling, and obtaining surface and subsurface sediments for analysis. Geoscience students in an undergraduate field methods course and in a graduate-level field research methods course in the Department of Geography & Geology at Western Kentucky University (WKU) have recently been introduced to basic geophysical data acquisition via resistivity profiling at the Upper Green River Biological Preserve (UGRBP) owned by WKU. The preserve, purchased through the efforts of WKU Biology faculty and the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation fund is functioning as a multi-disciplinary setting for biology, geology, and physical geography students and faculty to conduct both short-term and long-term studies. Some studies include plant growth and soil moisture, biodiversity, ecological assessments, geophysical and subsurface geologic and soil (pedologic) characterization, suspended load sediment analysis in the Green River and fluvial landscape analysis two miles upstream from Mammoth Cave National Park. The preserve has also been used by graduate students for more extensive studies such as theses. Such longer-term studies as theses greatly aid in placing short-term studies in various geoscience field methods courses into environmental context. Geoscience studies thus far have focused on subsurface characterization but each student also has recognized the value of subsurface characterization exercises as being a foundation for linking their geologic studies to studies of the biosphere and atmosphere at the 671-acre preserve.