Northeastern Section (45th Annual) and Southeastern Section (59th Annual) Joint Meeting (13-16 March 2010)

Paper No. 2
Presentation Time: 1:55 PM


HYATT, James A.1, DRZEWIECKI, Peter2, JONES, Andy3, NAUMEC, Craig4 and CURTISS, Lisa4, (1)Environmental Earth Science Department, Eastern Connecticut State University, 83 Windham Street, Willimantic, CT 06226, (2)Department of Environmental Earth Science, Eastern Connecticut State University, 83 Windham Street, Willimantic, CT 06226, (3)Visual Arts Department, Eastern Connecticut State University, Willimantic, CT 06226, (4)Media Services, Eastern Connecticut State University, Willimantic, CT 06226,

Providence Canyon State Park in southwest Georgia encompasses several 50 m deep canyons that were initiated by erosion following forest clearing and land mismanagement in the early 1800’s. The park provides an impressive venue for embedding undergraduate research (UR) within multidisciplinary work that examines the art, science, and educational value of the park. In June 2009, 6 undergraduate students (freshmen to seniors) joined an interdisciplinary team of geologists, videographers, and an award-winning landscape artist to conduct field work at the park. This included collecting vibracore samples from the canyon floor, using ground penetrating radar (GPR) to image coring sites, mapping landscapes using terrestrial laser scanning (TLS), assisting with plein air landscape painting, collecting 180° fisheye and canyon-view images for building interactive media, and assisting in capturing high-definition video of these activities. Work continues on these projects with several students presenting UR findings in this session. Here, we illustrate aspects of new digital learning tools that build on UR to explore the intersection between scientific explanation of the landscape and efforts to capture the artistic aesthetics of the site. For example, we are merging TLS point cloud survey data of canyon headlands, collected on a 30 cm grid spacing, with plein air paintings and 3D GPR data for the same site. Resulting animations and associated video links enable users to realize the value of UR, and to appreciate the landscape for both geologic and artistic reasons. High definition video vignettes of students conducting field work and reflecting on the experience afterward provide a powerful tool for recruiting new UR students. Moreover, because we utilize some of these resources within first-year program interdisciplinary class clusters (called “Art Rocks”) this project exemplifies Eastern’s liberal arts mission, and positions UR as a means for meeting new experiential learning graduation requirements.