E&H’s Environmental Studies Program Receives Grant

Posted by Monica Hoel
The good news is a result of collaboration between a faculty member and an alumna!

Relationships between students and faculty don’t end after graduation: they turn into relationships between alumni and faculty.

That fact was pointedly clear when Martha Chapman (E&H ’04) found herself in a position to work with Dr. Laura Hainsworth on a grant proposal.

Martha is a Water Monitoring & Assessment Scientist at the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and she encouraged Dr. Hainsworth to apply for a Virginia DEQ Citizen’s Monitoring Grant. On December 1, 2019, the director of the Bartlett-Crowe Field Station got the good news that Emory & Henry College was being awarded the $4,000 grant.

Grant funds will be used to purchase equipment to monitor coliform (bacterial) contamination at several river sites. Dr. Hainsworth is excited about what this will mean for E&H students because it will be hands on preparation for the world of work. “E&H students will be learning the exact same techniques and using the exact same equipment that DEQ uses for their analyses.”

And the data collected by students will be “Level III certified – meaning that E&H students will be contributing useable and valuable data directly to DEQ.”

Dr. Hainsworth is grateful to Martha for the work she did to help prepare the grant for submission, and jokes, “It’s awesome to have friends in important places!” Martha says she loved the opportunity to work with her former prof on a meaningful project. “One of my most memorable classes at Emory & Henry was the Environmental Monitoring class that Dr. Hainsworth taught.  My classmates and I got to select a location to sample and spend all semester collecting water quality data.  We had to analyze our results, write a report, and give a presentation to natural resource professionals about our findings.  Little did I know that a few years later this would be my career.”

Martha says she knew the citizen monitoring grant would be a great fit for the Environmental Studies Program at Emory & Henry.  “It’s a win-win all around for the students, DEQ and for the folks who enjoy recreating in our beautiful rivers.  E&H students will be getting experience at water quality sampling (including lab work) and how best to place safe monitoring stations.  DEQ will be getting quality data from trained volunteers in locations where we don’t have recent data, and folks who enjoy including rivers in their outdoor recreation can be better informed about how to safely enjoy Virginia’s waters.” 

The Bartlett-Crowe Field Station won’t be the only beneficiary of this opportunity. The grant will have an additional impact on the region by engaging students at Patrick Henry High School (PHHS) through their teacher Eric Hoffman (E&H ’13). The PHHS students will also have a chance to utilize the equipment, gain real-world experience, and better understand the challenges to clean water in our region.

  • Students record data for a project at the Bartlett-Crowe Field Station.
    Students record data for a project at the Bartlett-Crowe Field Station.
  • Student recording data for a project at the Bartlett-Crowe Field Station.
    Student recording data for a project at the Bartlett-Crowe Field Station.
“One of my most memorable classes at Emory & Henry was the Environmental Monitoring class that Dr. Hainsworth taught.  Little did I know that a few years later this would be my career.”
Martha Chapman
Emory & Henry
Class of 2004

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