• Introduction to Geography


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  • FileName: Field Methods Syllabus 2008.pdf [read-online]
    • Abstract: Techniques applied during this class will include field notes, sketching, area sampling, GPS applications, mapping, rapid bio-assessment of streams, questionnaire design and administration, ... itself to a variety of projects incorporating field methods in both physical. and human geography. ...

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Sommers Office DiLoreto Hall Dr. Sommers Office Hours MW Sommers Phone Button Office DiLoreto Hall Brian Sommers Charles Button Office Hours MWF Manchester Planning Department questionnaire design Appointment Dr Town of Manchester FIELD METHODS IN GEOGRAPHY
Geography 542/442, 3 credits
Fall 2008
Drs. Brian Sommers & Charles Button
CRN: 11216 & 11218 Dr. Button Office: DiLoreto Hall 208-002
Classroom: FD 311 Dr. Button Office Hours: MWF 8:30-9:30 AM; MW 11:00-12:00 noon
Class Day: Monday Dr. Button Phone: (860) 832-2788
Class Time: 2:00-4:50 p.m. Dr. Button E-Mail: [email protected]
Dr. Sommers Office: DiLoreto Hall
Dr. Sommers Office Hours: MW 1:00-2:00 or by Appointment
Dr. Sommers Phone: (860) 832-2792
Dr. Sommers Email: [email protected]
COURSE DESCRIPTION & GOALS
The goal of this course is to engage the student in the design and execution of geographic field research.
Techniques applied during this class will include field notes, sketching, area sampling, GPS applications,
mapping, rapid bio-assessment of streams, questionnaire design and administration, design of coding forms,
water quality assessments, habitat assessments, and vegetation surveying. Students in the course will be asked
to learn and apply the field research techniques in a manner that replicates their use in professional circles.
The students will be divided into teams for the purpose of a series of field studies. The studies will use a site on
the west side of Manchester, CT. The research will be conducted with the cooperation of the Manchester
Planning Department. The activities will focus on issues related to groundwater protection and public water
use. The results of the research will be submitted to the Town of Manchester in the form of three reports.
Those reports (the ‘deliverables’ of the course) will be the basis for determining student grades. The reports
will be used by the town as it embarks on its planning for the study area.
Although the catalyst for the project is groundwater protection for the Town of Manchester and its municipal
wells, the character of the site lends itself to a variety of projects incorporating field methods in both physical
and human geography. As such, students will gain field experiences that extend beyond groundwater issues.
As part of the course we will be spending considerable time in the Town of Manchester. In doing so we are
guests of the town as well as representatives of CCSU. We thus expect that everyone will act accordingly.
GROUP GRADING OF PROJECTS
By dividing the class into teams, it will be possible to complete all of the necessary research elements. This
replicates ‘real world’ work environments where specialists are often called to work together. So the work done
in class will be as close to a real world work experience as possible. Assuming that all individuals contribute
equally, group grading is rather simple. The problem is that even in the professional world that does not always
occur. It is our expectation that all group members will act in a professionally appropriate manner and that they
will contribute equally to the group effort. To ensure that everyone does contribute equally, we will use a
methodology for deriving student feedback concerning group activities. The method will be presented during
our visit to the field on September 15th. The feedback that we receive from that methodology will be used to
determine whether individual performances merit grades that are higher or lower than the group grades.
GRADES (Undergraduate)
ELUP Group Presentation = 20 points
ELUP Group Report = 20 points
FLUP Group Presentation = 20 points
FLUP Group Report = 20 points
Report of Survey Findings = 20 points
TOTAL POINTS = 100 points
GRADES (Graduate)
ELUP Group Presentation = 20 points
ELUP Group Report = 20 points
ELUP Final Group Presentation = 20 points
ELUP Final Group Report = 20 points
FLUP Group Presentation = 20 points
FLUP Group Report = 20 points
Report of Survey Findings = 20 points
TOTAL POINTS = 140 points
GRADING SCALE:
A = 93-100% B = 83-86.9% C = 73-76.9% D = 63-66.9%
A- = 90-92.9% B- = 80-82.9% C+ = 70-72.9% D- = 60-62.9%
B+ = 87-89.9% C+ = 77-79.9% D+ = 67-69.9% F = Less than 60%
THERE IS NO EXTRA CREDIT
TENTATIVE CLASS SCHEDULE
The course schedule may change due to unexpected rapid or slow progress through the materials or due to other
unforeseen circumstances. Attendance is mandatory. Frequent absences will result in a reduction in the overall
course grade.
Week # Date Activity
1 Sept. 8 Course Introduction, Site Description & Project Overview
RFP Presentation, ELUP Field Method Presentation & Discussion
Groundwater protection Overview
2 Sept. 15 Site Visit & Overview
3 Sept. 22 ELUP – Vegetation Assessment Methods
4 Sept. 29 ELUP – Soils Assessment Methods
5 Oct. 6 ELUP – Rapid Bioassessment of Macroinvertabrates Methods
6 Oct. 13 ELUP – Index of Physical Integrity Methods
7 Oct. 20 ELUP – Land Use Surveys
8 Oct. 27 ELUP – Economic Development Surveys
9 Nov. 3 ELUP – Visioning and Charettes
10 Nov. 10 Group ELUP Documents Due and ELUP Group Presentations
11 Nov. 17 FLUP – Overview
12 Nov. 24 FLUP – Surveys and Questionnaires (pt 1)
13 Dec. 1 FLUP – Surveys and Questionnaires (pt 2)
14 Dec. 8 FLUP – Statistical Analysis Methods
15 Dec. 15 Finals Week-Presentation of Reports and Submission of Deliverables
FIELD RESOURCES & MATERIALS
The following materials will be available for the students to borrow from the Geography Department.
GPS units Waders Munsell soil charts Soil augers
Tree ID books Kick nets RBV field equipment Kayak
Canoe Binoculars Freshwater Invertebrates ID book
RECOMMENDED BOOKS, GUIDES, ARTICLES, & OTHER RESOURCES
BOOKS
Lounsbury, J.F. and Aldrich, F.T. 1986. Introduction to Geographic Field Methods and
Techniques. Second edition. Merrill Publishing Co.
Stoddard, R.H. 1982. Field Techniques and Research Methods in Geography. National Council for
Geographic Education.
(Old editions of both books will be available for non-circulating student use.)
SOILS RESOURCES
http://soildataviewer.nrcs.usda.gov/ - (Soil Data Viewer) provides users access to soil interpretations and soil
properties while shielding them from the complexity of the soil database. Each soil map unit, typically a set of
polygons, may contain multiple soil components that have different use and management. Soil Data Viewer
makes it easy to compute a single value for a map unit and display results, relieving the user from the burden of
querying the database, processing the data and linking to the spatial map.
http://www.ct.nrcs.usda.gov/soils.html - U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service. Here you can find
information about Connecticut soils.
VEGETATION RESOURCES
New England Wildflower Society - http://www.newfs.org/conserve/invasive.htm#links
CT Department of Environmental Protection (Native Plants) - http://dep.state.ct.us/cgnhs/invasive.htm
CT Botanical Society - http://www.ct-botanical-society.org/garden/garden2.html
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service - www.ct.nrcs.usda.gov/plants.html
Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group – www.hort.uconn.edu/cipwg/
Invasive Plant Atlas of New England – www.ipane.org
2004 CT Invasive Plant Law – www.cga.ct.gov/2004/act/Pa/2004PA-00203-R00SB-00547-PA.htm


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