University of Montana Western Geology Professor Rebekah Levine’s hydrology class recently spent block one assessing beaver activity and wetlands generation on Alkali Creek southeast of Dillon, Mont., as well as assessing restoration work by The Nature Conservancy on Long and Middle Creeks in the Centennial Valley.
Levine and her students worked across southwestern Montana to understand groundwater and surface water processes through involvement in river restoration and monitoring work for The Nature Conservancy and Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks.
“My students have a real advantage over their peers due to the amount of hands-on fieldwork experience they obtain because of Experience One (X1),” Levine said. “They are able to build a portfolio of work at the undergrad level that they can present to future employers.”
Under X1, Montana Western students attend eight blocks, or classes, throughout the school year receiving the same amount of credit as under traditional semesters. The innovative program emphasizes concentrated, real-world learning.
Levine’s students were involved in data collection and project work on-site, which they then brought back to campus for analysis and presentation in professional reports to the agencies.
Levine and her hydrology students recently presented their findings at the American Water Resources Association meeting in Fairmont Springs, Mont. Their research was primarily from work conducted in class projects. All other student presentations were either graduate or undergraduate thesis work, Levine explained. She attributes this advantage to X1.
— Montana Western —