P1022: Water analysis for environmental assessment: Service learning in the general chemistry laboratory
We are in the second decade of a campus water analysis project run within the honors program serving general chemistry students. A semester long project is devoted to (1) field work with measurements and water sampling, (2) laboratory measurements including ion chromatography, (3) data analysis, and (4) reporting via posters and written reports. The types of analyses performed are chosen to gauge the health of ponds and detect nutrients from fertilizers. The data is also compared to EPA Drinking Water Standards. Measurements are made for dissolved oxygen, total dissolved solids, pH, alkalinity, phosphates, sulfates, nitrates, chloride, and fluoride. This work is part of a larger campus-wide effort called the Calvin Environmental Assessment Program (CEAP). It has grown out of interest in connecting science laboratory work to Calvin’s academically-based service-learning program. All students involved with CEAP participate in a general poster session at the end of the semester. Recently the project has been coupled to a simultaneous honors biology laboratory project focused on the same collection sites. A key element of the program is that individual student plays an important role in a project that extends far beyond the single laboratory period and, working together with other students, provides a service to the college and to the local Grand Rapids community.