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Keota Silaphone
Department of Geography and Geosciences



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Research Experience for Teachers, 2015

Three high school science teachers were selected to participate in the National Science Foundation funded program, Research Experience for Teachers, aka RET. The RET program began on June 29th and ended on August 7th. The goal of RET is to advance teacher understanding of science concepts, to improve science communication skills, and to develop teaching modules for the classroom that build on research experiences. The teachers participated in the larger NSF-funded research project known as People Land Water. This study is testing whether densely applied best management practices (BMPs) in three experimental watersheds in the Choptank Basin on the Delmarva Peninsula will show improvements in water quality over a five year period.

During the 6 week program, the teachers assessed the health of vegetation in different remotely sensed images by measuring its "greenness" using Arc GIS desktop10.x Image Analysis software. The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) was used to identify areas of high, moderate, and low plant growth. After healthy vegetation measures were recorded, teachers learned how to automate the process of extracting classified vegetation by type. Each teacher created GIS data files to show plant growth stages, forested areas, and bare ground in the Greensboro Watershed. Teachers then applied their GIS data to web map applications to illustrate spatio-temporal changes in land cover and NDVI.

Each teacher was trained in ArcGIS Desktop 10.1, image interpretation, and ArcGIS Online web map design. This training, combined with each teacher's understanding of the People Land Water study, was integrated into a newly developed teaching module, Applications of Landsat Data. This new teaching module compliments the Water Quality and GIS module by emphasizing the use of interactive maps to understand how land use and BMPs impact water quality in the Choptank Basin, and more specifically the Greensboro Watershed.

Click here to view web map applications developed by Hemalatha Bhaskaran (James M. Bennett High School, Salisbury, MD), Albert Potvin (Dover High School, Dover, DE) and Lauren Greer (Talbot County Public Schools, Easton, MD).

Salisbury University Virtual Tour

Students currently enrolled in Geography 219, Map Interpretation and Analysis, developed interactive web mapping applications to give the public a glimpse of Salisbury University. The creators of the virtual tour shown below are Michael Omps, Abigail Dietz, Daniel O'Connell, and Noah Krack. Click on the image below to begin your tour.


Wicomico Creekwatchers Volunteer Coordinator

The Wicomico Creekwatchers is a grassroots volunteer force that monitors the water quality of the Wicomico River and its tributaries. The maps below provide a spatial understanding of where this effort is taking place.

Wicomico Creekwatchers Sampling Sites (in development) 

Tour of Wicomico Creekwatchers Sampling Sites (in development) 


Research Experience for Teachers, 2014

Two Maryland high school science teachers were selected to participate in the National Science Foundation funded program, Research Experience for Teachers, aka RET. The RET program began on June 29th and ended on August 7th. The goal of RET is to advance teacher understanding of science concepts, to improve science communication skills, and to develop teaching modules for the classroom that build on research experiences. The teachers participated in the larger NSF-funded research project known as People Land Water. This study is testing whether densely applied best management practices (BMPs) in three experimental watersheds in the Choptank Basin on the Delmarva Peninsula will show improvements in water quality over a five year period.

During the 6 week program, the teachers assisted in the recovery of records of implementation of cover crops, stream buffers and more BMPs in the USGS gauged watershed, Greensboro. Each teacher was trained in ArcGIS Desktop 10.1, image interpretation, and ArcGIS Online web map design. This training, combined with each teacher's understanding of the People Land Water study, was integrated into a newly developed teaching module, Water Quality and GIS. This new teaching module compliments the "From Land to the Sea" module by emphasizing the use of interactive maps to understand how land use and BMPs impact water quality in the Choptank Basin, and more specifically the Greensboro Watershed.

Click here to view web map applications developed by Hemalatha Bhaskaran (James M. Bennett High School, Salisbury, MD) and Jane Whitelock (Talbot County High School, Easton, MD).