Hydrology Service-Learning at UVM
This material is replicated on a number of sites as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service Project
At the University of Vermont, instructors used land use change, driven by development of the University of Vermont campus and recent student occupancy of surrounding neighborhoods in Burlington, Vermont, as an opportunity for service learning and for teaching fundamental hydrologic and geologic skills in two undergraduate Geology courses. Two students, from a Geomorphology class, used historical mapes and aerial photographys of the University campus to document the dramatic increase in impermeable surfaces on campus from 4% of the land area in 1869 to 42% in 1999. In Geohydrology, student teams used aerial photographu, field mapping, and door-to-door surveys to document green space losses of 40 to 50% over the past 20 years in neighborhoods inhabited predominantly by students, despice zoning controls enacted in 1973. Students used simple hydrologic calculations to demonstrate that this unregulated change in land use increased both the volume and peak flow of stormwater runoff. Senior research projects have also made field and demographic studies of individual neighborhoods and examined the percent of land use change.
In Geomorphology, the project goal was to document the increase in impermeable surfaces on campus. In Geohydrology, the project goal was to document green space loss in neighborhoods and calculate the change in volume and peak flow of stormwater runoff. Senior research projects goal was to study individual neighborhoods and examine the percent of land use change.
Context for Use
This project was completed by two students in a Geomorphology class, student teams in Geohydrology, and two senior research projects. The student projects built on the work of the previous student groups.
A full description of the project is found at Nichols, K. et al, 2003, Quantifying Urban Land Use and Runoff Changes Through Service-Learning Hydrology Projects Journal of Geoscience Education, v51,n.4, September, 2003, p. 364-372.
Teaching Notes and Tips
The Urban Hydrology and Landuse Change Over Time in Burlington website, includes detailed information about the project, including service learning instructions for students (Microsoft Word 56kB Dec21 05), and results.
References and Resources
Publications from this research are available for download on the project website.