Dr. Gerhard Piringer showing students how to measure pH with an electrode.
This course is dominated by hands-on laboratory activities. Students spend most of the class in a newly created teaching laboratory, where small student numbers make learning an interactive, informal, and group-centered adventure.
Students measure water quality parameters such as hardness, solids content, dissolved oxygen, salinity and conductivity, and explore basic fate mechanisms such as the adsorption of organic contaminants. Methods to determine the concentration of organics and metals in soil and water are taught using Tulane's Coordinated Instrumentation Facility.
Participants in the optional service-learning component take part in soil sampling and analysis for heavy metals in New Orleans' area community gardens. Undergraduate students so far have come from a wide variety of fields such as biology, economics, chemistry, environmental policy, and geology.
Students, David Dunn, Anthony Brooks and Ben Segal, are comparing the alkalinity of New Orleans' tap water with the alkalinity of a Mississippi River sample.
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