GSA Connects 2021 in Portland, Oregon

Paper No. 19-6
Presentation Time: 9:35 AM


PRITCHARD, Chad1, DAVIES, Nigel1, KEATTCH, Sharen1 and CALLENDER, Derry2, (1)Department of Geosciences, Eastern Washington University, 140 Science Building, Cheney, WA 99004-2439, (2)Budinger and Associates, Inc, 1101 N Fancher Rd, Spokane Valley, WA 99212

Necessity is the mother of invention, or maybe renovation, when it comes to the Eastern Washington University (EWU) Geology Field Camp and the 2020-21 pandemic. Restricted travel, social distancing, and being advised to not change groups/pods forced the EWU field camp to re-structure it’s classic style of bedrock mapping in SW Montana. Being confined to Spokane County, WA our 8-quarter-credit Field Camp used 6-day weeks from June 21 to July 16, 2021 to conduct a wide array of community-based mapping projects. Planning and safety protocols allowed EWU to absorb another school’s geology class, as well as, other visiting students from across the US. The first week focused on mapping soils, calculating infiltration rates, and building simple flow nets from existing water-wells around Cheney, WA to construct a basic fate and transport model for a hypothetical release of “Administranium” from the EWU Campus. The second week focused on public-geology by studying Miocene Columbia River Basalt, structural geology, and Pleistocene megaflood features to produce a brochure and professional land assessment report for the City of Cheney. The last half of the course focused on mapping portions of the Priest River Core Complex, including geochemical and U-Pb interpretation from magmatic and detrital zircon analyses, as well as economic assessment of a historic tin and tungsten mine. The final oral-presentations allowed groups to present the regional geologic history using the various sites from all four weeks of the EWU Field Camp and literature reviews. Overall, student survey responses show that they applied (and learned more about) a wide variety of professional-level skills and a diversity of geoscience applications. From a faculty perspective, regularly switching groups/pods is vital for promoting inclusion and peer-to-peer learning between students of different backgrounds, which was deeply missed while teaching during COVID-19. However, the overall pandemic-related change to more community-based research will continue to be part of EWU Field Camp as we make strides to prepare students for the ever-changing Geosciences profession.