June 15, 2015

Getting Their Feet Wet


A class of students taking a geology course about pollution learned first hand during the fall semester. On a sunny Saturday in early October, they drove 30 miles north of Greensboro and spent the afternoon paddling canoes down a stretch of the Dan River past a retired coal-fired power plant where eight months earlier almost 40,000 tons of coal ash had spilled into the river.

They stopped several times, upstream and downstream of the spill, to collect soil and water samples. Back in the lab, they ran a variety of tests on the samples.

“Being able to go out to the Dan River and go canoeing and dig up sediment samples that were affected by the coal ash spill really changed students’ perspective,” said Holly Peterson, the assistant professor of geology who taught the class.

+ Watch a video about the project at guilford.edu/weareguilford.