Retired-Course: Volunteer Stream Monitor Summer

Instructor Name: 
Mary Ann Schmidt
Course Description: 

Students will work in partnership with the Clackamas River Basin Council to monitor over twenty stream sites both public and private. Local land owners will provide access to their stream side properties in order for students to collect and analyze water samples. Students will provide creek side landowners with information on the quality of their local surface water, and also report their river basin wide project results to the Clackamas River Basin Council.

This course involves field and lab work, communication of scientific information to a lay audience, and exploration of the role of public education and volunteer mobilization to monitor and improve water quality.

Potential students for my summer capstone should be aware that due to the field schedule, they should not schedule a class to begin right after our class sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays 8-10:20AM.

In addition, Capstone students will put on an interactive learning exhibit at a local community festival – Damascus Days.


Course Learning Goals:

  • Learn the technical lab and field skills used in water quality monitoring.
  • Gain an understanding of the Clean Water Act and the current issues surrounding water quality standards.
  • Learn to use various tools for data analysis including data management in a database and data analysis using statistics.
  • Explore the concept of environmental stewardship including: Incentives and challenges to involving citizens in scientific data collection; and environmental stewardship from different perspectives, i.e. is a forested plot – open space or is it a tree farm? What are it’s purposes and how are they prioritized? By whom?
  • Learn to communicate the scientific and legal jargon of these topics into lay terminology and concepts for the public at large.
  • Facilitate and support outreach to landowners in order to collect samples for analysis.
Project Description: 

The topic of debate woven through this course will focus on environmental stewardship, education and the challenges of engaging individuals in our society in the care of natural resources. What are the different perspectives on stewardship in our society? Do different people see different things when they look at the same plot of land? How do we reconcile these differences and effectively improve and sustain the health of natural resources such as water.
There will be a final writing assignment that focuses on these topics, as well as reflecting on course readings and your experience in the community.