Place-based learning based on the Nevada Climate-ecohydrological Assessment Network (NevCAN): NSF Nevada Geopaths

Wednesday 2:05 PT / 3:05 MT / 4:05 CT / 5:05 ET Online
Oral Session Part of Oral Session I: Student Learning


Laura Rosales Lagarde, Nevada State College at Henderson
Jennifer Edmonds, Nevada State College at Henderson
Richard Jasoni, Desert Research Institute
Barbara Graham, College of Southern Nevada
Paul Buck, Nevada State College at Henderson
Cynthia Shroba, College of Southern Nevada
NevCAN provides data to develop class and outreach material to learn about Nevada's Basin and Range topography and its influence on the water, soil and ecological resources. It consists of 12 monitoring stations installed in two elevation transects along northern and southern Nevada. Variables measured include precipitation, air temperature, wind speed and direction, incoming solar radiation, relative humidity, barometric pressure, soil moisture and temperature at several depths. This data has been used as the base to develop educational and outreach material for undergraduate students at Nevada State College and College of Southern Nevada, with the support of Desert Research Institute through the NSF supported Nevada Geopaths Program (
Limiting the spatial and temporal scale introduces non-science and science majors to data analysis while more complex datasets allow upper division students to apply class concepts. NevCAN data helps to answer: How does incoming solar radiation change seasonally? How does daily temperature change during a month? How vegetation zones will be modified due to global warming? How deep will water infiltrate after a winter or a summer storm? How do you organize "big data" to show patterns in a graph? How does the weather change going up a mountain? Why do you find tall trees only at the top of a mountain? What is the relationship between monthly average temperature and precipitation at a site, and how does it change between sites? What does the USDA soil description at each site tells us about the soil development at each site? What is the contribution of Biotic Crusts to the Mojave Desert?
Students relate the data to places they are familiar with as they gain confidence on their analysis skills by knowing they are the first ones to explore this data. Last, development of this material continues strengthening the ties between different institutions.

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