Testing the Waters: Can You Involove Community Action in Your College Curriculum?

By Knapp, Elizabeth P.; Harbor, David J. et al. | Journal of Geoscience Education, May 2003 | Go to article overview

Testing the Waters: Can You Involove Community Action in Your College Curriculum?


Knapp, Elizabeth P., Harbor, David J., Ginwalla, Zenobia F., Journal of Geoscience Education


ABSTRACT

The Maury River Alliance (MRA) was developed at Washington and Lee University (W&L) as a cooperative program involving local colleges, high schools, government agencies, and conservation groups. The MRA is a mostly volunteer organization (42 volunteers currently) that samples the Maury River and its tributaries, including the urban stream flowing through campus. Its purpose is both to serve the community and to provide students and faculty with research opportunities. We are addressing the connection between land use and water quality with a creative merging of technical, social and educational aspects of local watershed management.

During the first year and a half of the program we have developed a baseline water quality for low flow conditions. We have observed that water quality degrades as the river passes through the county, especially with the addition of urban and agricultural tributaries. Nutrients and bacteria are of greatest concern, with storm water high in heavy metal concentrations.

In addition to exposing students to a community effort, the ultimate interest for the faculty is to focus on the scientific results. The proximity of the study site to the school and the large numbers of volunteers involved in the project contribute to the success of the project. These numbers facilitate the collection of large data sets and a plethora of research possibilities yet also present a challenge of organization and management. While professors focus on data analysis, students (and now a recent graduate as director) have acted as managers of the program, thus furthering the educational opportunities.

Keywords: Education - undergraduate; geochemistry; hydrogeology and hydrology.

INTRODUCTION

Balancing and integrating research and education is an ongoing challenge for university faculty. For us at Washington and Lee University (in Lexington, Virginia), the nexus among students, society, and science in learning about the state of the local Maury River watershed has developed some fascinating and certainly unprecedented synergisms. Perhaps this was foreshadowed in the way in which the project was first conceptualized. The Maury River Alliance (MRA) was the brainchild of a member of the Lexington community, who brought it to Washington and Lee (W&L) and the Virginia Military Institute (VMI). The project then seemed to take on a life of its own, developing into its current structure as a coalition between not only these two educational institutions, but also the Rockbridge County Planning Department, the Rockbridge Area Conservation Council, the Virginia Izaak Walton League Save Our Streams Program, the Virginia Canals and Navigation Society, the City of Lexington, and the County of Rockbridge. It is the diverse nature of its participants that is perhaps the most unique component of this water-quality monitoring organization, demanding collaboration, communication, and camaraderie among all, inspiring a respect for differing approaches, and stimulating student initiatives and interest in scientific endeavors in conjunction with societal needs.

The Maury River is a scenic James River headwater stream and is therefore also a part of the threatened and intensely managed Chesapeake Bay watershed. The James River "tributary strategy" developed in response to the Chesapeake Bay Agreement of 1985 seeks to reduce sediment and nutrient loads from this major bay tributary (Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, 2000). The Maury River Basin spans most of Rockbridge County, and extends into Bath and Augusta Counties of southwestern Virginia. The drainage area above the city of Buena Vista is 646 square miles, and land use in the county is a melange of agriculture and light industry or urban areas against a rugged, forested topography (Figure 1A).

Woods Creek, a major tributary ot the Maury Kiver, is one of the more intensively agricultural and developed sub-basins in the watershed. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Testing the Waters: Can You Involove Community Action in Your College Curriculum?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.