Michael Potthoff, Biology

Changing Ocean Ecosystems

Biology 129 is being taught in the Fall and Spring of 2012 and 2013, respectively. Skills that I have obtained in the Valley and Ridge Workshop will be used to teach students not only in the class room but utilized to implement actual hands on experience in environmental awareness and responsibility. The approach will be to make students aware that negative practices and activities that take place in their own back yard will have detrimental affects on their local and surrounding watersheds (i.e. Susquehanna River), the near by estuarine community (i.e. Chesapeake Bay) and ultimately the marine ecosystem (i.e. Atlantic Ocean).

I will be implementing a riparian buffer project at the College Farm. Riparian buffers “natural vegetated stream buffers” help protect watersheds from excess nutrients (from agricultural and sewage treatment), sediments, pesticides and other pollutants – all which are detrimental to stream health. We will be performing mass plantings, in both the fall and spring, of numerous tree species that are native to the local area. Over the next academic year student will plant and maintain husbandry of approximately 300 trees in an area adjacent to the Yellow Breeches Creek and in close proximity to the college farm.

This project will be part of the Dickinson College Farm Agro/Forestry Project and will allow students to experience the importance of “hands on” environmental responsibility. Students will utilize the idea of “place” based learning to ensure concepts taught will be stored in long term memory and available to be taught by word of mouth. The long-term goal of this project will be the creation of an available location “place” for the education of responsible conservation and sustainability of our natural resources.