Teaching in the Nature Preserve by Lindsey Krecko
The Practicality of Nature
ENVI101, Man, Woman and the Environment
Enrollment is about 160. All discussion groups take guided hikes for about five weeks to learn about habitat management, wetland ecology, the soil profile, land use history, gardening, the species of plants and animals found locally, and to learn to appreciate nature in general. Students are also expected to complete several projects which require them to spend time in the Nature Preserve individually.
Biol 374/Envi 361, Wetland Ecology
Enrollment is around 30 students. Many of the three hour lab sessions are held in the nature preserve to study the wetland and learn plant species. In addition, students spend many hours outside of class mapping the wetland for a course project.
GEOL 453/553, Environmental Geophysics
This is a field intensive course. Each week we spend one afternoon in one portion of the Nature Preserve making geophysical measurements in order to determine subsurface structure (depth to the water table, depth to bedrock, any other structures of interest). We use seismic reflection and refraction, gravity, electrical resistivity and ground-penetrating radar methods. By early November we have enough data and the weather is deteriorating, so class shifts indoors to concentrate on data processing and analysis. This semester there are 9 students (2 undergrads, 7 grads) and we have been working near the ravine trail. The course is offered only in Fall semesters, and that number of students is fairly typical. Our results are accumulated from year to year and are compiled in a GIS database (ArcView) which will be available for broader use from the GIS facility in the Geography department.
GEOL 114, The Earth's Dynamic Interior
This holds 118 students, and includes a seismic refraction lab (2 weeks) and a water chemistry lab (2 weeks).
GEOL113, Dynamic Earth
Enrollment is 50-60 students. We go on a geological field trip that starts on the campus, goes through the Nature Preserve, and ends up at Stair Park. In the Nature Preserve, I discuss the nature and origin of the surface topography and the underlying sediment deposits.
GEOL 465/565, Environmental Measurements
This is a field-intensive course. It is offered every Spring and has about 9-10 students, mostly grads. Most of the time, his students are concentrating on the built portion of campus north of the Nature Preserve and Fuller Hollow Creek. They measure the chemistry of surface and groundwater as well as the soil. They may make use of monitoring wells along the Nature Preserve road.
Student field project involves a walk up the part of Fuller Hollow Creek from the Rugby field to the bridge at Washington St. They observe evidence of erosion and deposition in the channel and attempt to relate the erosion to land-use changes that have occurred.
Enrollment is about 150-160. We take a field trip to the Nature Preserve and look at water chemistry in the pond and streams in the nature preserve and look at local glacial geology.
ENVI342, Environmental Hydrology
Enrollment varies year to year, but is between 10 and 25 stidents. We study the hydrology of the ponds, stream, groundwater. This includes: How much water is in each and how rapidly does it move? Does the chemical composition of water in one vs. the other vary? What are the soil and deeper subsurface material like (i.e. how readily can rainwater infiltrate and then move to groundwater).
GEOL416 / GEOL516, Hydrogeology
Enrollment varies, but is approximately 10 and 15. We study the groundwater levels, direction, and speed of movement (in more detail than the ENVI342 course).
There are about 25 tours per year, including Parent's Weekend, Open Houses and the like.
BIOL114, Introductory Biology, Enrollment is about 600 students
Upperlevel Biology Courses (eg.. Entomology), Enrollment is about 100 students
Running and Health Awareness
Enrollment is about 45 students. We use the nature trails for our enjoyable runs through the nature.
I usually bring my students to the Nature Preserve, and I average 45 students per class
ENG 112, Science and Literature
I brought that class of twelve up to the Nature Preserve twice: first for an early fall nature hike, and then for a winter hike.
One of my students, Jennifer Ivan, wrote a beautiful book, LOVE NOTES, about the Nature Preserve.