Superintendent Winfried Feneberg
114 Cougar Court
New London, NH 03257
For Immediate Release
Thursday, April 4, 2019
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Kearsarge Students Use GIS Technology to Study Local Stream
NEW LONDON – A new class at Kearsarge Regional High School is teaching students how to use geospatial technologies to better understand their own backyards.
Emily Anderson, a Kearsarge High School science teacher, created a new course this past fall titled GIS (Geographic Mapping System) Mapping of Natural Resources. Anderson was inspired by the natural landscape surrounding Kearsarge High School when creating the class, including Mt. Kearsarge, Stevens Brook and nearby conservation land.
The course was open to any student who had already taken a prerequisite biology class.
During the course, students studied a stream in the Black Mountain Forest that directly abuts the Kearsarge High School campus. Students were tasked with collecting comprehensive data on a stream, which serves as the habitat of the Eastern Brook Trout. After collecting their data, students examined how the trout’s habitat can be used as an indicator for watershed health.
“It was wonderful being outside with students engaging directly with the habitat in their backyard,” Anderson said. “The days we spent running along the contours of the stream, catching fish, taking measurements and recording data were of course the most exiting. But GIS Mapping, as a skill, is also very hands-on and provides a lot of opportunity for creativity and exploration.”
Students in the course worked closely with Carrie Deegan, Volunteer and Community Engagement Manager for the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests and John Magee, Fish Habitat Program Manager for New Hampshire Fish and Game, who each helped the class collect data in the field.
Students gathered data from 200 meters of stream and created analytical maps from data points they collected. They documented the shape, depth and substrate of a stream, along with location, size and decay class of every piece of in-stream wood, log jam, or organic material. Students also used electrofishing data to create their maps with ArcGIS.
ArcGIS is a geographic information system software that allows users to built maps using their data.
“This class has done an excellent job of engaging students in a real-world study of a stream not far from our school,” Superintendent Winfried Feneberg said. “Emily has done an impeccable job teaching students how to perform field work and use geospatial technologies as they also utilize critical thinking skills, problem solve and cultivate a scientific level of curiosity about the world.”