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Collaboration through Appalachian Watershed Studies (CAWS): A curricular project among seven regional colleges.
Monteleone, Susan*,1, Thomas, Carolyn2, Pohlad, Bob3, 1 Math and Science Division, Columbia, KY2 Divisions of Environmental Science and Biology, Ferrum, VA3 Division of Biology, Ferrum, VA
ABSTRACT- In 2000, with financial support from the Appalachian College Association (ACA), seven teaching colleges distributed throughout the Appalachian region began collaboration on local watershed systems. The goals of the collaboration were 1) to incorporate ecological principals in classroom curricula using local watershed(s) as field study sites, 2) to make available individual site data for cross-regional comparisons in classroom situations, and 3) to model the study sites after the long-term ecological research methods to insure continued study of the established regional sites. Different study sites were uniformly monitored for precipitation, and stream parameters; temperature, pH, conductivity, and dissolved oxygen. Additionally, some sites monitored stream flow and other climatic parameters (i.e., solar radiation). Data and methods of collection were contributed, compiled, and made available to collaborators via the CAWS project web page at http://www.ferrum.edu/caws. Collaborators share this resource with other regional colleges through the ACA web page. A variety of courses were enhanced using the watershed sites and study data. Examples of course activities will be presented to demonstrate the effectiveness of this collaboration. Use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) techniques augmented the study's ecological activities. Watersheds were delineated using Arc View software (ESRI GIS, 1996, version 3.2a). Spatial data, such as stream parameters or tree surveys, were examined using GIS. A demonstration of the techniques of GIS data analysis in watershed study sites will be presented.
KEY WORDS: watershed studies, geographic information systems applications, intercollegiate collaborations, inquiry-based curricula