First Engaged Community Partners Award recognizes watershed course students and faculty

From left, professors Mark Patterson and Nancy Hoalst-Pullen with watershed course students and WASS' Berkovitz, at right in white blouse

Community partnerships help students make a difference for Sandy Spring, Ga.

Kennesaw State University presented its first “Engaged Community Partner” award to the Watershed Alliance of Sandy Springs on June 25.

The award, presented to Patty Berkovitz, WASS president, is part of the campus-wide Engaged KSU initiative. Additional awards for engaged learning efforts were presented to Berkovitz, Richard Farmer, WASS education director, and Jack White, who aided students in stream restoration techniques. 

Mark Patterson, professor, and Nancy Hoalst-Pullen, associate professor, both from the Department of Geography and Anthropology,  nominated WASS for the award. The two professors have worked closely with WASS over the past three years in conjunction with the department’s Watershed Assessment and Watershed Analysis courses.  Students dual-enrolled in both courses have helped WASS monitor stream water quality, assess overall watershed health, and perform a stream bank restoration in the Marsh Creek and Long Island Creek watersheds of Sandy Springs.

WASS’ Richard Farmer noted that the combined watershed class is truly a win-win relationship between WASS and Kennesaw State, with WASS benefiting from the water quality data and analysis in a city that is undergoing development, and the students benefiting from the applied learning opportunities that provided skill sets and concrete knowledge useful to WASS and Sandy Springs.

 Hoalst-Pullen also recognized the additional assistance of community partners like the National Park Service, Georgia Adopt-A-Stream and the City of Sandy Springs. "The course showcases the impact students can make when engaging with community partners," she said. 

Participating students created a wiki site and presented the findings of their assessments and analyses to officials and citizens of Sandy Springs and Fulton County at a public meeting June 25.  Major outcomes, including high E.coli and nitrate-nitrogen levels at the headwaters of Marsh Creek, have prompted the county’s water department to start monitoring portions of the watershed more closely. 

 For more information on the student findings: http://watershed2013.wikispaces.com/

For more information about WASS: http://watershedallianceofsandysprings.org/

News link to a Sandy Springs Patch artcle: http://sandysprings.patch.com/groups/editors-picks/p/ksu-students-environmental-study-raises-concerns-at-sandy-springs-creeks

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