Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 2:05 PM


BLAIR Jr, Robert, Mountain Studies Institute, Fort Lewis College, Durango, CO 81301,

EarthView is a dual-track program designed to address K-12 environmental STEM literacy. First, it is an extra-curricular research activity focused on documenting and understanding environmental change using digital photography and measurements repeated sequentially over time. Participants are self-selected middle and high school students doing relevant research. Secondly at a teacher’s invitation, trained volunteers can present environmental STEM concepts tailored to appropriate grade levels.

The research goals focus on decadal observations utilizing digital cameras, smart phones, tablets and field instruments to measure environmental parameters such as temp, pH, tree girth, stream widths, and discharge over time. Operational and research protocols follow prescribed standards, but the individual projects will be determined by the students themselves with the guidance of STEM professionals (volunteers). Each monitoring site requires a research question(s), hypotheses and the metrics required to test the hypotheses. The digital imagery and data collected will be organized, edited and uploaded to an internet platform (i.e. or for storage and access. After years of monitoring the data can be analyzed for trends and magnitudes that can facilitate better informed decisions locally and regionally.

The EarthView volunteers that guide student teams are scientists and engineers from local corporations, industries and universities. Workshops are provided to train the volunteers. EarthView is operated by the Mountain Studies Institute (501c3) and funded by a collective of industry, business, academic, federal, state and community entities. The program will collaborate with the dozens of existing organizations that already conduct periodic environmental monitoring such as River Watch, NEON, Audubon, and federal agencies. The goal is to increase the likelihood of participants to follow a STEM career, but it also gets participants out of doors, do meaningful science, and understand how earth systems work. The EarthView program is being tested this summer and fall (2013) in Durango and Silverton, Colorado with the recovery and analysis of historic photos of the 1911 Animas River Flood – the largest recorded flood in the southern San Juan Mountains.