Jaime Dellinger, Supervisor or the Environmental Health section in Jackson County Health Department and Tonya Howell (WCU geology alumnae) wanted to coordinate a project that would beneficial to the community and support WCU student development. Landmark Learning agreed that the students could access creek frontage on Landmark property as well as Landmark septic systems to assess Cane Creek. Environmental Health specialists from the Health Department included Tonya Howell, Jonathan Fouts (WCU ENVH alumni), David Ammons and Russell Jenkins. Students broke up into groups to work with members of the health department to determine location of onsite wastewater systems, look for any instances of straight piping (sewage or gray water) directly into creek, and also to take water samples to assess chemical parameters. WCU students are in the process of analyzing results with report and presentations complete the first week of December 2012. Landmark Learning regularly shares it's 40 acre steward forest with science students as a resource in their educational programs. We are proud to support our external community of learners!
In ENVH 310/311, students were required to assess the health of surface water using physical, chemical and biological parameters. This requires them to assess data they collected from the real world and compare it to scholarly sources (integrate complex information) and synthesize the information to create recommendations for improvement (solves complex problems). From their analysis, they are required to create a technical lab report and presentation (artifacts/capture points) to the local community that is affected by the surface water (communicate effectively and responsibly) A rubric is used to evaluate the report and presentation. Since the project takes place in the community, they are forced to consider local customs/regulations that may impact water quality and discover how to best serve that community through their report and recommendations (practice civic engagement). In addition, students work in teams on this project – this requires them to work collaboratively, identify their own and others strengths and weaknesses, and become adaptable as project obstacles emerge. Students also complete peer evaluations to assess their ability to work on a team. Last, this experience helps them discover if they would like to pursue an internship or permanent employment in water quality.
*Photo Credit: WCU Office of Public Relations