Everyone knows that water is essential for life. Water covers most of the earth’s surface. More than half of the human body is made up of water. It has been estimated that a person without water would only live for 3 days. Despite these well-known facts, much of what humans do has a direct and negative impact on water. Lawsuits have been filed about water rights, water use, and water quality. Common practices in Iowa have been linked to the death of organisms 1000 miles away in the Gulf of Mexico. The water problem is one that can’t be ignored.
This course will explore the interactions between water, humans and natural systems. A significant focus will be the ways humans are impacting water quality in Iowa and beyond. Finally, we will explore ways in which we can change our practices to protect and conserve water. In particular, we will focus on how implementing buffer strips, restored prairies and wetlands, and bioreactors into agricultural systems can help decrease runoff into streams. Course activities will include readings, discussions, travel to local sites for water testing and biological sampling, and guest lectures from water stakeholders. We will coordinate much of what we do with the SC101 course, “H 2 Uh-Oh” taught by Heidi Berger, who will be focusing on mathematical techniques to model these water quality issues. We will also be coordinating with John Pauley’s SC101 entitled, “Rural Iowa”, because of the importance of water to communities throughout the state. In this way, we will be taking an interdisciplinary approach to studying this vital resource.
Meet Your Professor
Associate Professor of Biology, Director of Sustainability Programs, Co-Director of Undergraduate Research
I grew up on a farm in northeast Nebraska. I spent much of my childhood outside, exploring the fields and woods, on a quest to understand the plants and critters around me. It is fitting that I am now a field ecologist because I essentially made a career out of continuing the exploration I started as a child. I teach a range of courses at Simpson, but as often as I can I take students out during classes, labs, and in research projects to learn as much as we can about the natural world. My favorite organisms are plants and insects. I love the diversity that both groups represent because there are so many ways in which these groups are critical to the habitats and communities they are a part of. I am excited to teach an SC 101 course again because I get to know students at the beginning of the educational journey. It is incredible to watch a student figure out exactly what they want to do with their lives and to help in any way I can along the way. When I’m not at Simpson, I’m probably spending time with my family. When there is some spare time I can be found on our acreage tending animals and the garden, out in the field hiking, on a quest for ducks, pheasants, and fish, or somewhere playing music.
Meet Your SC Leader
Hello! My name is Kaylee Grabarkewitz and I will be a sophomore during the 2018-2019 school year. I am from Grand Rapids, Minnesota. In High School, I was the recipient of the International Baccalaureate Diploma. At Simpson, I am majoring in Mathematics and Biochemistry with the plan to get into research.
On campus, I am involved in the Mock Trial team as well as participating in the Math Modeling Competition. I also get involved with different volunteering opportunities on and around campus. I am also excited to say that I have taken advantage of Simpson’s May Terms and will be going on a trip to London, Belgium, and Paris to study World War 1.
A little about me, I love watching movies and TV shows. I watch NCIS, Criminal Minds, Supernatural, Arrow, and many more. I love to play board games and hang out with friends, whether it be to study or watch a movie. I am also a Student Ambassador on campus, meaning I give tours to perspective students so I know a lot about Simpson if you every have any questions.
I am excited to be the SC Leader for Professor Meyer’s class and I am glad to meet all of you! I know the first year of college can be a bit of an adjustment and my job is to help you through that and I know Simpson can feel like a home to all of you! I look forward to seeing you all at Registration and helping with your transition to Simpson College.
Meet Your Writing Fellow