Graduate Students and Environmental Firm Collaborate on Stream Flow Project in Schenley Park Monday, December 10, 2018
L to R: Cali Feeney, Scholarstica Oviahon, Zoe Zentner and Ingrid (Reiland) Pearson '13
Photos by Brandy Richey, senior multimedia major
“This was a timely opportunity as we are learning about land management and hydrology in our Environmental Science course at Point Park. Getting into the streams and using professional equipment to collect data was just as interesting as applying what we’re discussing in the classroom to this restoration project that will improve a watershed and park so close to where I live and work."
Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc., a top 200 environmental firm in the nation headquartered in Pittsburgh, recently invited Point Park University graduate students to join them on a client project measuring stream flow in Schenley Park.
The students measured stream width, depth and velocity at eight stream sites, providing hydrologists with valuable knowledge about stream flow conditions such as flood frequency.
“I believe it’s important to offer students with information and opportunities outside of academia while they are pursuing their degrees. This flow monitoring project was ideal for a group task, provided hands-on learning and was conveniently located in Schenley Park,” Pearson explained.
According to Pearson, this particular flow monitoring project will provide stream flow data that will be incorporated into research for the eventual restoration of Panther Hollow Run and Phipps Run, as part of the Four Mile Run Stormwater Improvement Project to alleviate stormwater issues.
“The fieldwork also gave students the chance to ask questions and discuss other types of fieldwork and jobs that are available,” Pearson added.
Zoe Zentner '19, a graduate of Burrell High School in Lower Burrell, Pa., enjoyed the opportunity to work with a private environmental consulting company.
“I also just love doing research and thought it would be fun to help with a project that impacts the local community,” she said.
Learning to use stream monitoring equipment firsthand was a major benefit to Keri Rouse '19, a graduate of Hempfield Area High in Greensburg, Pa.
“This was a timely opportunity as we are learning about land management and hydrology in our Environmental Science course at Point Park. Getting into the streams and using professional equipment to collect data was just as interesting as applying what we’re discussing in the classroom to this restoration project that will improve a watershed and park so close to where I live and work,” Rouse said.
According to Matthew Opdyke, Ph.D., professor of environmental science and director of the M.S. in environmental studies program, this project reinforced the knowledge his students are gaining in the classroom.
“They learn the principles of hydrology and the skills to conduct stream flow measurements, but working with an environmental professional in the field emphasizes the importance of their education and shows them the practical application of the material they learn in class,” he said.
Opdyke added: “It is also a great opportunity for students to begin networking and building relationships with professionals so they have those established connections when it comes time to apply for jobs.”