GSA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA - 2018

Paper No. 30-20
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM


MAAS, Benjamin J., Environmental Science, Buena Vista University, 610 W 4th ST, Storm Lake, IA 50588

Teaching hydrology can be difficult due to research, or field, sites being located far away from campus, resulting in fewer opportunities for hands on experiences. However, utilizing the hydrology around campus is a way to increase the opportunities to teach hydrologic concepts by reducing time needed to get from classroom to the field site. Additionally, teaching in the local community gets students engaged and more aware of hydrologic issues that “their” city must manage. In this presentation examples of how to use multiple field sites in Storm Lake to teach hydrologic concepts will be presented. Sites investigated include streams, a lake, wetlands, bioreactors, and urban stormwater management, with each location offering different hydrologic situations for students to engage with.

The field sites are used differently in introductory environmental science than in upper level hydrology courses. In introductory courses, the locations are used to introduce field methods during labs to highlight different ways to assess water quality. Concepts are then referred to later in the major. For the upper level hydrology courses, hydrologic concepts are introduced, or re-introduced, during lecture activities and laboratory periods over multiple weeks. Concepts are then returned to in subsequent weeks to reinforce them. A final site investigation is competed to assess comprehension, which requires students to use all the concepts learned during the semester. These concepts include analysis of water quality using probes and colormetrics, collection of water samples, flow measurements, and sketching of field sites.

An additional, and unexpected, benefit of these field experiences is the students indicated a greater local hydrologic awareness. To better quantify this gained awareness, pre – and post – semester surveys on hydrologic awareness was initiated the fall 2018 semester. Surveys results will also be used to improve experiences that translate into greater knowledge gained.