Retired-Course: Neighborhoods and Watersheds

Instructor Name: 
Barry Messer
Course Description: 

This course addresses the health of cities with respect to the community stewardship of its watersheds. Students are challenged in a learning and community development process of discovery and direct involvement. The essential elements of the Capstone focus on the factors that can contribute to the health of Portland's watersheds. Students work with the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services and a neighborhood group on projects that may include "hands on" activities and/or community outreach/education on work involving watershed protection and restoration in Portland neighborhoods. Projects in the past have included such watershed enhancements as wetlands restoration, community gardens, eco-roofs and bio-swales. Please contact Barry Messer,, for more information.

Project Description: 

Project responsibilities - Students will participate in one of the task specific project teams.  Also, finalize and prepare final presentation.

Journals: Two journals are to be maintained by students

(1) Team project journal:

  • Activity log journal:  students are to keep a separate record journal (1st half of blue book provide) of all class/team meetings and blocks of time spent in preparing for class or completing projects.  Each entry is to be dated with a brief description of the work accomplished and the time spent.
  • Reflection journal on projects:  students are to keep a record reflections on the learning and service experience.  A separate journal entry is to be made each week based on the value of the experience gained from working on the projects and/or in the field.  The format of the journal entry is to be approximately a page long and have three short paragraphs as follows:
  • What? – a brief statement of what was particularly noteworthy in experience gained or learning acquired.
  • So What?—of what importance is this – to self and/or others
  • Now What? – what specific personal plans or actions will follow because of this

(2) Class journal on reading and class discussion: a second journal is to be kept on notes and reflections on class discussion related to the assigned readings.

Final reflection essay: a 3-4 page essay on the service-learning experience of the term.  This essay will be an expansion and synthesis of your entries from your reflection journal.