OOS 7-4
Title: Synergistic benefits to environmental justice in a couple’s ecological careers at a primarily undergraduate institution

Tuesday, August 6, 2013: 9:00 AM
101B, Minneapolis Convention Center
Bob R. Pohlad, Natural Science and Mathematics, Ferrum College, Ferrum, VA
Carolyn L. Thomas, Ferrum College

For 26 years we have worked with citizen scientists of all ages to study and understand the influences on water quality in Smith Mountain Lake and Claytor Lake in Southwest Virginia.  We have studied Appalachian Mountain streams in our area, teaching student and community groups about the Izaak Walton League’s Save Our Stream’s Program. The results of these studies helped with assessment of the water quality in the mountain streams around Ferrum and Franklin County, VA.  We helped the middle school in our county, The Center for Applied Technology and Career Exploration, design an Environmental Sciences and Natural Resources Conservation module.  We were involved in the Schoolyard Ecology Program for Elementary School Teachers (SYEFEST) for teacher training in ecology and have taught many teacher in-service days ever since.

We also have taught classes for both our local chapters of the Virginia Master Naturalist and Master Gardener programs.  We have taught classes for these programs isuch as Aquatic Ecology, Wetlands, Estuaries and Streams, Basic Botany and Plant Disease and Diagnosis of Plant Diseases, and Wildflowers and Fungi.  We have also worked with the Roanoke Valley Governor’s School for Science and Technology on research projects with the students for many years. These have primarily related to Smith Mountain Lake Water Quality questions. In addition we have judged science fairs there for many years.

Environmental Education is an important part of our service to the community and our working together enables us to do this even better.  In some of our classes, students must complete an “Enviroaction Project “ in which they choose a project that serves the community’s need for a solution to an environmental problem such as cleaning the hiking trails of litter, identifying the trees along a hiking trail or organizing a recycling program at the college.


When a small college is part of a community, the faculty and staff are part of the activities of the area and contribute to its overall good.  Since we are both on the faculty at Ferrum College, a small liberal arts undergraduate college, the involvement in the community and community causes has always been our focus. We will describe the benefit of efforts to get involved in community groups, bring students into those settings and add environmental education to the local agenda. We will also point out the synergistic effects of doing this as a couple.