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A Comprehensive Watershed Instrumentation Program For Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Education At Lafayette College

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.27.1 - 7.27.10



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Paper Authors

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Dru Germanoski

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David Brandes

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A Comprehensive Watershed Instrumentation Program for Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Education at Lafayette College David Brandes and Dru Germanoski Lafayette College, Easton, PA, 18042


Multidisciplinary environmental problems associated with suburban sprawl are increasingly being addressed at the watershed scale. Consistent with this theme, Lafayette College (LC) faculty and undergraduate students are installing a comprehensive network of automated instrumentation to investigate hydrologic impacts of land use change in a 200-km2 watershed adjacent to campus. When complete, the network will include six permanent stream gaging stations, two wellfields, and two weather stations. The project is a cooperative effort between engineering and geoscience faculty at LC; however, others may use the publicly accessible web database under development. We are incorporating a series of field-based exercises within existing civil engineering and geology courses, and encouraging students to pursue undergraduate research projects and honors theses using the equipment and data. In addition, we are working in close cooperation with community groups such as the Bushkill Stream Conservancy and the Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center. Some of the interesting features of our project are: (1) the comprehensive monitoring network and full watershed scale; (2) strong geologic and land use contrasts, and rapid development within the basin; (3) collaboration between engineering and natural science students and faculty; (4) emphasis on linking data to public policy issues such as stormwater management; and (5) the degree of involvement of the local community.


Recent reviews on higher education in the U.S. have documented a lack of technical literacy and propose that institutions of higher education provide "opportunities for all undergraduates to study science, mathematics, engineering, and technology as practiced by scientists and engineers"1 . Furthermore, it has been suggested that this literacy be acquired by "direct experience with the methods and processes of inquiry" and a linking of faculty research and teaching2 . These recommendations point to the need for more hands-on, project-oriented learning experiences. Stream or watershed-based field studies have been used for this purpose at a number of K-12 schools, colleges, and universities in a variety of disciplines3 .

The emphasis on the watershed as a theme for teaching is also consistent with national trends in land-use planning and management. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is advocating a watershed-based framework for protecting public health and the environment4 . Much of this emphasis is a result of non-point source pollution, in which the cumulative effect of many diffuse pollutant and sediment sources throughout a watershed has significant

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Germanoski, D., & Brandes, D. (2002, June), A Comprehensive Watershed Instrumentation Program For Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Education At Lafayette College Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--11158

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