Geography 590 is a field research based course, that fits the elective requirement for both my Geography and Sustainability majors. The focus of this course, in addition to methods of field research, was the development of a semester long project designed by each individual student. In terms of the presented materials, the course involved concepts such as field notes, surveys, questionnaires , interviews, interview selection, interview protocol, sampling, sampling methods, sampling sizes, and most importantly project development. Although there was material covered in class, a large portion of the class time was spent on the development of each students project, as each student provided ideas and feedback for one another.
The skills learned in this class, I find to be incredibly useful as communication and networking are a large part of todays society. In addition to these skills, I found this course to be rewarding yet challenging due to the fact that there was no set structure or timeline for the project, which required students to stay on top of their work. One thing I found to be surprisingly easy with this class was scheduling the interviews for the project, apparently there is an abundance of people who are willing to meet and talk about sustainable issues, which caught me by surprise. Overall the class not only provided skills and knowledge in time management and project development, but it provided a sense of accomplishment as each student developed an intensive research project on a topic of their liking entirely from square one.
In relation to the sustainability major, this field research course was beneficial due to the fact that research plays a large role in any effort to solve a sustainable issue, and I oriented my semester project around sustainability. The focus of the project was on how severe issues with water pollution can affect the sustainability of both towns and cities. The primary focus of the project was oriented around the incident of water contamination at Pease Tradeport in Portsmouth, NH. As part of the total project, each student was required to gather data from one conducted survey in regard to their topic and also conduct three successful interviews with individuals associated with the topic. I was lucky enough to sit down and interview Ms. Amico, who is a very successful social activist in regard to the Pease Tradeport incident. Ms. Amico received a national public service award from the EPA as a result of her work as an activist in the fight to protect families in the Pease Tradeport area from further contamination. In addition, I was able to interview the field service manager for Clean Harbors in Boston, MA and a graduate student with a focus on water pollution research. As a result of my research, I was able to determine how water pollution can and will effect the social, economic, and environmental sustainability of cities across the US.