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Dog

River Conservancy
Teaching Packet of Modules and Lessons
(June 2018 through May 2020)





Developed by

The Center for Global Resilience and Security


Norwich University

With funding from

The Lake Champlain Basin Program



Table of Contents

Modules:
Lessons Page
2018 - 2019

Community Interviews 3
People
River Recreation and Restoration 4

Bridges Past and Present 5


History
Short Stories About the 1927 Flood 6

Spring Acid Shock Lab 7


Water Quality
Filtering Runoff Lab 9

Benthic Macroinvertebrate Assessment 11


Field Lab
Floodplain Habitat Investigation 12

River Habitat Assessment 14


Geomorphology
Culvert Designs 15


Modules:
Lessons Page
2019 - 2020

River Festivals 17
Art and Architecture
Water-Friendly Buildings 18

Japanese Knotweed Surveillance 21


Drones and Aerial
Mapping
The Changing River Corridor 26

Streamflow and Gage Height 27


Water Sensors
Velocity and Discharge 39

Flood Resilient Households 41


Flood Resilience
Riparian Buffer Values 42

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People Module

Community Interviews
Goals:
1. Community: Foster public cohesion and connect the community to its place.
2. Students: Learn how to create a narrative about their community to enrich
its history and promote flood resiliency.
Student Objectives:
1. Explore human perspectives by interacting with different generations and
various sectors across the community (e.g., residents, businesses, rescue
people, senior citizens, etc.).
2. Learn how to conduct primary research through interviews.
3. Create an archive of community stories to raise awareness of community
identity.
Sequence of student activities:
1. Invite a member of the Northfield Historical Society to talk to students about
the 1927 flood and the 2011 flood.
2. Invite Kim Reynolds and/or her students from NU to speak to students about
their 2018 Labor Day interviews with the public about Irene, or read the
interviews directly.
3. Brainstorm questions about flooding that they would like to research
through interviews, and the groups of people they would like to interview.
4. Based on their question(s) and target group(s), design an interview process
using the Story Corps app (https://storycorps.org/participate/storycorps-
app/). Write the process they design as a guide for their actual interviews.
5. Conduct interviews, taking photos and making recordings.
6. Upload their interviews to Story Corps’ online archive.
7. Revisit their initial question(s) and determine whether they answered
it/them through their interviews. If not, what else do they need to know?
Write an addendum to their interview guide with their response to this
question.
8. Write reflections on their own experiences as interviewers and archivists.
9. If there’s time, do another round of interviews based on their new questions,
or pass their new questions on to another group of students who continue
the process and add to the archive.
Student Assessment:
1. Interview guide, including the addendum (see activity #7 above).
2. Photos and recordings of students’ interviews, and their Story Corps archive.

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3. Self-reflections on this experience.

River Recreation and Restoration
Goals:
1. Community: Understand that a healthy river corridor provides an array of
recreational opportunities and thus contributes to the community’s quality of
life.
2. Students: Learn how people recreate within a healthy river corridor, and
how flooding can negatively impact recreation.
Student Objectives:
1. Learn how Tropical Storm Irene in 2011 degraded certain recreational
opportunities.
2. Learn how to recreate in the river corridor without degrading the river’s
health.
3. Learn how the river recovers naturally from flood damage and how people
can use restoration activities to help a river recover.
Sequence of student activities:
1. Brainstorm all of the ways that people use the river corridor for recreation.
2. Based on the brainstormed list, design a survey to gather information on
river corridor recreation in their community, how different groups use the
river in distinct ways, and the values that people place on certain activities.
3. Conduct the survey in the school, in students’ families, and around the
community to get a good cross-section of responses. Be sure to include
people who remember recreating along the river before Irene, how the flood
affected their recreational activities, and to what degree opportunities for
their preferred activities have recovered over time.
4. Analyze the survey responses, looking for patterns and priorities of activities.
Produce a report on how their community uses their river corridor for
recreation.
5. Research how natural processes and human activities can restore river
health, and produce a report for the community.
6. Present their reports to groups in the community, such as the selectboard
and business groups interested in tourism.
Student Assessment:
1. Survey(s)
2. Reports
3. Presentations to the community

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History Module

Bridges Past and Present
Goals:
1. Community: Understand how their river’s watershed changes over time,
which affects how people travel over their landscape.
2. Students; Understand the value of historical archives to educate the
community and help the community continue to document its history.
Student Objectives:
1. Learn how to access and research historic documents and photos.
2. Understand how techniques for preserving history have changed over time.
3. Learn how to investigate the evidence of landscape/waterscape changes over
time.
Sequence of student activities:
1. Receive a tour of the Northfield Historical Society with a presentation by
Chris Delmas on the community’s bridges.
2. Receive training on how to conduct research on the location and design of
historic bridges in Northfield.
3. Choose 3 historic bridge sites and write a narrative of each historic bridge.
4. Travel to the site of each of the 3 bridges to photograph and write about each
the site. Use historic photos and documents to compare former and current
conditions at each site, focusing on the following: (a) Note the bridge
structure and how it has stayed the same or has been changed over time, (b)
If the bridge is now gone, find evidence that it was present in the past, and (c)
Record how the river’s streambed, meander pattern, banks, etc., have
changed over time (to the degree possible).
5. Create a display that pairs historic photos and narratives of each site with
current photos and narratives of each site. Make note of how the physical site
has changed over time.
6. Put the display in a public place, such as the town library or at town meeting.
7. Do a public presentation to interpret their displays and educate the
community about ways that the landscape/waterscape in their town has
changed.
8. Write a self-reflection on their own experience learning about the history of
their town.
Student Assessments:
1. Displays showing comparisons of former and current sites.
2. Self-reflections on the experience.

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Short Stories About the 1927 Flood
Goals:
1. Community: Bring the 1927 flood to life through fictional stories.
2. Students: Use historical accounts of an actual event to learn to write
compelling stories that educate about the event.
3. Everyone: Use awareness about how floods damage communities to promote
flood resiliency.
Student Objectives:
1. Learn what elements of writing make a historical account a compelling read.
2. Learn how to craft a fictional short story based on facts.
3. Understand the ways that fiction can communicate about history.
Sequence of student activities:
1. Read one or more accounts of the 1927 flood. Identify accounts that are
interesting to read as well as informative. Discuss the elements that make for
a compelling story.
2. Receive a presentation by Kim Reynolds and/or her students from NU on
how to conduct historical research to inform a fictional short story, how to
find your writer’s voice, how to construct a fictional short story that people
want to read, and how to offer other writers constructive feedback to
improve their writing.
3. Conduct research on elements of the 1927 flood. Topics might include:
weather forecasting in 1927; how deforestation in the mountains
exacerbated valley flooding; rescue methods of 1927 and today; flood
recovery in 1927 (jobs, businesses, families, etc.). Produce a research report
on their findings.
4. Present their findings to the class to build a picture of the flood’s varied
affects on the community and how the community responded.
5. Research current responses to flood damage and identify the most effective
approaches to restoration.
6. As a class, brainstorm themes for fictional short stories about the flood based
on historical facts. Then each student outlines their own fictional short story.
7. Work in small writing groups to flesh out their story ideas and offer each
other feedback.
8. Write a first draft of their short stories, get feedback from the teacher, then
revise into a second draft.
9. Invite Kim Reynolds’ students back. Each NU student works with a writing
group to discuss their short stories and suggest edits.
10. Produce a final version of the short story, with a cover design and a title page.

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11. Organize a series of readings for younger students, senior citizens, school
open house groups, and other public groups. At each reading, the author
gives an overview of the historical facts they used in their story. Then the
author reads an excerpt or their whole story to the group.
12. Using historical facts, their own research about flood responses, and their
stories, generate recommendations about ways to promote flood resiliency in
the future. Share these recommendations with the community.
Student Assessment:
1. Research reports.
2. Short story drafts and final versions.
3. Video-recordings of students presenting their research and reading their
short stories to public groups.

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Water Quality Module

Spring “Acid Shock” Lab (indoors and outdoors)
Goals:
1. Community: Understand that “acid shock” from the melting snowpack
degrades water quality.
2. Students: Learn about one group of pollutants in snowmelt, acids from
precipitation, and how they get into Vermont’s snow.
Student Learning Objectives:
1. Understand the pH scale and how it affects water quality and aquatic ecology.
2. Learn about the acids that contribute to acid precipitation and the sources
that produce them.
3. Learn about “acid shock” that occurs in the spring with snowmelt and runoff
into streams and rivers.
4. Learn how to design a scientific investigation to generate information on a
community problem.
Sequence of student activities:
1. Receive a presentation from a NU professor and/or students to understand
the pH scale and how acids and bases affect aquatic life.
2. Use a pH test kit or pH papers to experiment with household acids and bases,
and make a chart of substances tested from most acidic to most basic.
3. Do research on the kinds of acids that are found in precipitation and how
they affect water quality and aquatic life. Write a report and present findings
to the class or younger students.
4. Design an experiment to measure the pH of snow, thinking about where in
the snowpack (top to bottom) and where on the landscape pH might vary.
Consider landscape features (roads, farms, woods, etc.) when choosing sites
from which to collect samples. The samples should be taken from snow that
has not been disturbed by plowing, shoveling, etc.
5. Take a fieldtrip to collect the snow samples and record information about
each site, including the depth from which the sample was taken, nearby land
uses, degree of exposure to the sky, etc.
6. Bring the samples inside, melt them, and measure the pH of each.
7. Analyze the results, exploring the ways that snow depth and land uses might
contribute to the readings obtained.
8. Investigate the sources of the acids in Vermont’s precipitation. Consider
which of these sources Vermont could control and which of these sources
require interstate and/or national collaboration to control.
9. Present their findings to school groups and/or public groups.

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Student Assessments:
1. Acid precipitation research reports.
2. Snowpack experiment reports.
3. Report on sources of Vermont’s acid precipitation.
4. Presentations on their work.

Filtering Runoff Lab (indoors; outdoors if possible)
Goals:
1. Community: Foster awareness of how to improve water quality by treating
runoff.
2. Students: Learn to address an identified problem using science and
engineering.
Student Learning Objectives:
1. Learn how stormwater and agricultural runoff can degrade water quality.
2. Learn how to use engineering practices to design a filtration system for
runoff.
3. Make recommendations to the community for filtering polluted runoff.
Sequence of student activities:
1. Accompany a local expert on a fieldtrip around the community to see and
learn about current problems with polluted runoff in town and find out how
the town is dealing with them.
2. Receive a presentation from Simon Pearish and/or his students from NU
about various filters that can reduce the pollution in runoff.
3. Working in groups, design, build, and test filtration systems. Gather both
observational data (e.g., by visually comparing water before and after the
filter) and quantitative data (e.g., by using chemical test kits for phosphates,
nitrates, pH, etc.).
4. If a rain event occurs at an opportune time, take a fieldtrip to observe runoff.
Collect a sample of this runoff water for testing in their filtration systems.
5. Revisit their original runoff problem and assess their filtration system’s
effectiveness in dealing with it. If the system was determined to be
successful, explain why. If it was determined to be unsuccessful, redesign the
system.
6. If there’s time, build and test their redesigned systems, or pass their revised
designs on to another group of students for future testing.
7. Write recommendations for ways the community can filter runoff pollution,
and present them to town officials.
Student Assessments:

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1. Design plan for their filtration system, narrated photos of it in action, and a
summary of the data they gathered on its operations.
2. Redesign of their filtration system to improve its effectiveness.
3. Recommendations to the community and a video-recording of their
presentation.

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Field Lab Module

Benthic Macroinvertebrate Assessment (outdoors)
Note: The BMI Assessment should be coupled with the River Habitat Assessment under
the Geomorphology Module. Doing a River Habitat Assessment will help students
interpret their BMI WQ Score and understand how better habitat conditions support a
greater diversity of BMIs, including those that are sensitive to physical degradation of
the river.
Goals:
1. Community: Understand that good water quality in rivers is connected to
healthy aquatic ecosystems.
2. Students: Learn how to measure water quality in a river using aquatic
macroinvertebrates as indicators.
Student Objectives:
1. Understand that aquatic macroinvertebrates are an essential component of a
healthy river, and that a healthy river protects water quality.
2. Understand how the physical and behavioral adaptations of aquatic
invertebrates are shaped by river conditions.
3. Learn how to assess the aquatic macroinvertebrate community to gauge the
water quality of a river.
Sequence of student activities:
1. Receive a presentation by Simon Pearish and/or his students from NU on
river ecology and aquatic invertebrates, especially the ones that are big
enough to be seen with the unaided eye (“macro”) and that live on the
riverbed (“benthic”).
2. Take a fieldtrip to the river, collect benthic macroinvertebrates (BMIs) with a
kicknet or D-net, and have students sketch them and write notes on their
behavior.
3. Choose a BMI and research it to produce a report on its lifecycle, its habitat,
its role in the river’s food web, its pollution-sensitivity rating and other
interesting information.
4. Present their research to their class and/or younger students.
5. Learn about BMI anatomy and how to identify specific groups. Learn about
the pollution sensitivity index, which assigns a sensitivity rating to specific
groups of BMIs.
6. Learn how to do the Benthic Macroinvertebrate Assessment in the UVM
Watershed Alliance Teacher Handbook
(https://www.uvm.edu/watershed/sites/default/files/uploads/UVM_WA_st
ream_teacher_hndbk_2015.pdf). Note that there are three tiers available: one

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for elementary students, one for middle school students, and one for high
school students.
7. Learn the procedure (protocol) for collecting BMIs that accompanies the BMI
Assessment.
8. Take a fieldtrip to the river, choose two or three sites with riffles (areas that
are shallow, have fast water, and a rough riverbed), and complete a copy of
the fieldsheet at each site.
9. Discuss the resulting WQ Scores. If they are excellent, why are they excellent?
If they are less than excellent, what are some reasons that the river may be
degraded? (If students have completed a River Habitat Assessment, have
them review the River Habitat Score from their fieldsheets. Do the results
from their River Habitat Assessment help them understand their results from
their BMI Assessments?)
10. Set up a database using Excel or another spreadsheet program for their data
and the data of future student BMI assessments. Include documentation of
their collecting sites so that future assessments can use those same sites for
comparison.
Student Assessment:
1. Observations of live BMIs, including their sketches and behavior descriptions
2. BMI Assessment Fieldsheets
3. Database spreadsheet

Floodplain Habitat Investigation (outdoors)
Goals:
1. Community: Foster public awareness of the new Water Street Park as fish
and wildlife habitat.
2. Students: Learn how to generate ecological information about their place.
Student Learning Objectives:
1. Learn how to use the scientific method to answer questions about the world.
2. Learn how protecting land along a river can provide important wildlife
habitats.
3. Understand how scientific information can help to inform community
decisions.
Sequence of student activities:
1. Receive a presentation by Simon Pearish and/or his students from NU about
river corridor habitats and how they change over time due to ecological
succession and river dynamics.
2. Take a fieldtrip to the park and map out the ecosystems found there. Record
observations of animal evidence and sightings.

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3. Working in groups, choose a question focused on habitat to investigate.
Sample question: How does disturbance influence bird presence? Three
disturbed areas to explore: lawn - mowed often, riparian buffer - mowed
once a year, and “no mow” parts of the park)
4. Develop a hypothesis for their question and design an investigation to test
their hypothesis. Gather the needed supplies.
5. Take fieldtrips to the park to carry out their investigation.
6. Analyze their results. Revisit their investigation; did the investigation design
adequately test their hypothesis? Did their hypothesis adequately answer
their question? If so, explain. If not, propose a new design and/or hypothesis.
7. Based on their investigation, pose a new question that could be the subject of
a future investigation.
8. Write a fieldwork report and present it to town officials and the conservation
commission.
9. If there’s time, design a new investigation based on their new question. Or
pass their new questions on to another group of students who carry out their
own investigations.
Student Assessment:
1. Students’ fieldwork report, including their initial observations, photos, and
maps; their research question and hypothesis; their investigation, data, and
conclusions; and their new or revised research question.

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Geomorphology Module

River Habitat Assessment
Note: The River Habitat Assessment can be coupled with the Benthic
Macroinvertebrate Assessment under the Field Lab Module. Doing a BMI Assessment
will help students interpret their River Habitat Score and understand how better
habitat conditions support a greater diversity of BMIs.
Goals:
1. Community: Understand that rivers interact with their landscape in dynamic,
every-changing ways.
2. Students: Understand how a river affects the physical features of the
landscape and how the landscape affects the river.
3. Everyone: Understand that physical degradation of a river degrades aquatic
habitats and therefore aquatic life.
Student Objectives:
1. Learn about the earth materials in a stream corridor and the forces that
shape them.
2. Learn how to carry out a physical assessment to document the current
conditions of a river corridor and record changes over time.
3. Learn how degradation of a river’s physical conditions affects water quality
and aquatic habitats.
Sequence of student activities:
1. Receive a presentation from a professor or student from NU on the
geomorphology of rivers. Discuss how geomorphology shapes aquatic
habitats.
2. Visit the stream table at NU and observe how water carves through a
landscape.
3. Take a fieldtrip to the Dog River, find two sites with riffles (shallow, fast
water, rough streambed) and make sketches of the streambed and
streambanks to practice observation skills and notice physical features.
4. Go over the Habitat Assessment Fieldsheet from the UVM Watershed Alliance
Teacher Handbook
(https://www.uvm.edu/watershed/sites/default/files/uploads/UVM_WA_st
ream_teacher_hndbk_2015.pdf). Please note: this handbook offers 3 levels:
Tier 1 (elementary school), Tier 2 (middle school), and Tier 3 (high school).
Learn the terms in the fieldsheet and discuss the parameters.
5. Take a fieldtrip to complete the fieldsheet in 3 different sites along the river.
Discuss the River Habitat Assessment rating produced at each site. If the
rating is excellent, why is it excellent? If it is below excellent, what kinds of
changes to the river’s geomorphology might improve the rating?

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6. Produce an assessment report that includes their river sketches, their
fieldsheets, their interpretations of the their results, and suggestions on how
people might work with the geomorphic conditions at each site to improve
habitat.
7. Set up a database using excel or some other software program so that future
students can add their data to create an ongoing geomorphic monitoring
program.
Student Assessments:
1. River Habitat Assessment reports.
2. Database spreadsheets.

Culvert Designs
Goals:
1. Community: Understand how the design of artificial stream crossing
structures can impact the flood resiliency of a stream.
2. Students: Learn how to design a culvert that accommodates the changing
conditions in a stream without causing degradation.
Student Objectives:
1. Learn about the varieties of culverts that people use to cross flowing waters.
2. Increase student awareness of the culverts in their communities and the
ways that they impact the geomorphology of streams.
3. Learn how to use scientific models to design structures that address an
identified problem.
Sequence of student activities:
1. Find the culverts in their community – especially in the places where they
spend the most time – and map and photograph them. Assemble the maps,
photos, and a description of each culvert into a culvert report.
2. When possible, photograph their culverts after big runoff events to get a
sense of the variations in flow for each culvert, and add the new photos to
their community culvert reports.
3. Gather various mini “culverts” such as metal cans of different sizes with both
ends removed, sections of PVC pipe, etc., then visit NU’s stream table with
Simon Pearish and/or his students from NU and use the table to model
different culvert scenarios at various flow rates. Take photos and videos to
document their findings.
4. Read and discuss the Vermont Stream Crossing Handbook
(https://whiteriverpartnership.org/wp-
content/uploads/2018/06/Vermont-Stream-Crossing-Handbook.pdf) to
learn about the problems that occur around culverts that are not well-

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designed for the site, and how to properly design a culvert that maintains the
natural geomorphology of the site and is flood resilient.
5. Revisit the stream table with their mini culverts, and include a bottom-less
arch as one option. With the knowledge gained from the stream crossing
handbook, design investigations that involve installing various culverts and
running different flow rates to see if the culverts maintain natural
geomorphology and can accommodate flood waters. Take “before flood” and
“after flood” photos and/or videos to document culvert performance, and
write conclusions of their findings.
6. Review their community culvert reports and consider how they might
redesign “problem culverts” to reduce damage. Write their redesign
recommendations as an addendum to their community culvert reports, and
include design option sketches.
7. Present their findings and culvert redesign recommendations to community
groups, such as the select board and the conservation commission.
Student Assessments:
1. Community culvert reports.
2. Stream table culvert designs and reports.
3. Presentations of their findings and recommendations.

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Art and Architecture Module

River Festivals
Goals:
1. Community: Foster awareness and appreciation for the local river through
events that bring people together to celebrate it.
1. Students: Understand the value of a community’s river by considering
reasons to celebrate it.
Student Objectives:
1. Become aware of how many ways we use water.
2. Learn how festivals are designed to reflect society’s values.
3. Identify one or more values held by their community regarding the local
river.
4. Increase their community’s awareness of and appreciation for their local
river. (This offers students a service learning opportunity.)
Sequence of student activities:
1. Have students brainstorm all of the ways that they use water in their lives.
No use is too small or insignificant for this discussion! This brainstorm
should include:
a. How we use water every day, such as for bathing, brushing our teeth, etc.
b. How our bodies require water to function properly (Make sure that
students understand that water is an essential element in our diet.)
c. How our economy depends on water, such as in manufacturing processes.
d. How we ship goods over water in our trading relationships.
e. How we derive pleasure from water, such as when we swim, fish, tube,
watch waterfowl in aquatic habitats, etc.
2. Have students star the ways that they use their local river and its water.
What provides water for the other items on their list? (This could be a
research project.)
3. Have students read about water festivals that occur in different parts of the
world, and consider the kinds of values that each of these festivals is
designed to emphasize. Norwich University students have gathered examples
of water festivals from around the world, which can be found on the Dog
River Conservancy website.
4. In groups, have students create a River Festival that they would recommend
as an annual event in their community. Ask students to choose a name for
their festival and write a statement that describes its purpose. (That is, what
is this festival celebrating? And why would people want to participate in it?)
Have students plan the details of their festival, including where it would take

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place, when it would take place, how people would participate in it, what
activities would occur during the festival, and any supplies or equipment
they would need to implement it.
5. Have each group design a poster with images and text to introduce their
festival to their community.
6. Have students display their festival posters in a public place, such as the
town library, or at a public forum such as town meeting.

Student assessments:
1. Assess each step of the groups’ festival design process, from theme selection,
to planning, to the creation of their poster, to the final product. How effective
is the poster in teaching an audience about one or more values of the
community’s river?
2. Ask each student to write a reflection on how their knowledge increased and
their thinking changed during this design process.

Resources for this lesson:
Water Festivals from Around the World: Norwich University student examples, Dog River
Conservancy website.


Water-Friendly Buildings
Goals:
1. Community: Gain awareness of “green” design elements that conserve water
in buildings.
2. Students: Understand the role of building design in water conservation.
Student Objectives:
1. Learn how water comes into the school building, gets channeled to
appliances where it’s needed, and how wastewater exits the building.
2. Learn how to incorporate water conservation elements into building design.
(This offers students a service learning opportunity.)
Sequence of student activities:
1. Have students conduct a water survey that gathers information on how
water supplies are used in the school building and how wastewater is
managed. Take a tour of the school building to learn
a. how and where water enters it
b. how it’s piped into toilets, sinks, dishwashers, hoses, etc.
c. where it goes after it’s used, and how this wastewater is treated

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The maintenance staff of the building might be able to help with this tour.
Take note of any leaky faucets or toilets, where water is constantly lost.
2. If possible, find out how many gallons of water the school uses each day. If
that number is not available, ask students to research the amount of water
used by a typical toilet, estimate the number of times each toilet is used each
day, count the toilets, and do the math to estimate how much water moves
through the school’s toilets in a given day.
3. In groups, have students create a sketch of the school (or a representative
part of the school) that shows how water moves through it and how it’s used.
4. Invite a faculty member or a team of students from Norwich University to
visit the classroom to give a presentation on how architects design buildings
to channel water where it’s needed, and collect and dispose of wastewater.
Ask the NU group to give an overview of how to minimize water use in our
buildings.
5. Have students conduct research on ways to conserve water using green
building design principles. Introduce them to a document called Best
Practices for the Dog River Watershed (see below) that offers useful
information on water conservation in buildings.
6. Using students’ sketches of the school or part of the school, have students re-
design the building to incorporate selected water conservation elements. For
each element used in their design, have students explain why they chose it
and how it reduces water use.
7. Have each group present their plan to the class, and encourage the class to
ask thoughtful questions that help the group think about ways to improve
their plan. Identify one student from each group to record questions and
feedback on their plan.
8. Give groups time to polish up their plan with input from the class and
additional research as needed.
9. Invite a Norwich University professor, a team of Norwich students, or a local
architect to visit the class to see presentations of the students’ revised plans.
Again, identify one student from each group to record questions and
feedback on their plan.
10. Have groups incorporate this last round of feedback into their plans.
11. Once student groups have finalized their plans, have each group create a
poster with images and texts. (You may want to have your students watch
the video, Making a Better Research Poster on youtube.) Have students
display their posters in a public place, like the town library, or at a public
forum, like town meeting.
Student Assessments:
1. Assess each step of groups’ green building design, from initial notes, to their
draft plan, to their revised plan, to their final plan, to their completed poster.

DRC Teaching Packet of Modules and Lessons, 2018-2020 Page 19 of 45


2. Ask each student to write a reflection on how their awareness and
knowledge increased and their thinking changed during this design process.

Resources for this lesson:
Best Practices of the Dog River Watershed, by Norwich University students, DRC website
Making a Better Research Poster, by American Journal Experts

DRC Teaching Packet of Modules and Lessons, 2018-2020 Page 20 of 45


Drones and Aerial Mapping Module

Japanese Knotweed Surveillance

Goals:
1. Community: To understand the environmental and social impacts of
Japanese knotweed in river corridors.
2. Students: To understand how to combine technology with fieldwork to locate
and monitor an invasive species.

Student objectives:
1. Learn about Japanese knotweed ecology and why it’s a problem in the
riparian zone of the Dog River.
2. Learn about using drone technology to locate and document landscape
features.
3. Learn how to confirm collected data through ground truthing.

Sequence of student activities:
1. Introduce students to the species Japanese knotweed, which has become
highly invasive along the Dog River and elsewhere. This species thrives in
riparian zones because it does well in areas of high disturbance, and can be
spread vegetatively by moving water.
2. Ask students to do research on Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) and
write a profile of this species. They should include information on its ecology;
where it is native and how it arrived here; how it affects the natural
environment and human structures along rivers; how it can undermine
riverbanks; and efforts being used to manage it.
3. Explain that Norwich University (NU) is experimenting with Unmanned
Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) – otherwise known as “drones” - to read landscape
features along the Dog River. NU drones are videotaping and photographing
the river corridor to document the kinds of vegetation found there and to
record changes to the corridor over time. One species of interest in these
studies is Japanese knotweed.
4. Have students read the report called Classification of Fallopia Japonica Along
the Dog River, by NU graduate student Harry Simotwo (or provide students
with a synopsis of the article). Here are the main points to discuss:
a. Japanese knotweed has adverse affects on biodiversity, building
structures, streambank stability, and the economy.
b. The Dog River Conservancy is interested in measuring the land area
covered by this specie and its locations along the river.

DRC Teaching Packet of Modules and Lessons, 2018-2020 Page 21 of 45


c. Drones were flown along the Dog River to identify Japanese knotweed
and to document where it is found. (Figure 2 and Figure 3 below.)
d. A method called ground truthing (confirming information by making
direct observations on the ground) was used to classify selected
features in the drone images.
e. Three selected features (“classes”) were represented in “false colors”
as follows in a drone image:
i. black: Japanese knotweed
ii. green: trees
iii. red: grass and shrubs.
f. The results of this drone work show a “proof of concept” that set the
stage for more testing of this method. Using lessons learned from the
pilot project, an ongoing experiment could yield valuable information
about Japanese knotweed in the Dog River corridor over time.
5. Show students Harry’s photos in the figures below. Using google maps
and/or other mapping programs, locate the site in Figures 2 and 3 for
“ground truthing.” (Note the coordinates for the site above the photos.)
6. Choose a fieldwork date for the students to visit the site of the drone image
in Figure 2 and ground truth vegetation types as described below.
a. Outdoors. Travel to your fieldwork site, bringing the following
supplies: student waders; meter measuring tapes; long sections of
rope; clipboards; and copies of Figure 2 below, expanded to fill a 8.5 x
11 inch sheet. Find several locations along the river where you can
establish 3 transects1 - or 2 transects if safe accessibility is a concern -
that extend from one riverbank, across the river, to the other
riverbank. (Students will need to safely wade across the river.) Each
transect should be:
i. the same length as the others
ii. a set distance apart from the others, and
iii. parallel with the others
The railroad track on one side of the river offers a starting point for
each transect that crosses the river.
b. Have students walk along each transect, recording the classes of
vegetation they find at regular intervals, such as every 5 meters. The
classes that correspond to Harry’s drone study are Japanese
knotweed, trees, and grasses and shrubs.


1 transect - a straight line or narrow section through an object or natural feature or across the earth's surface, along
which observations are made or measurements taken

DRC Teaching Packet of Modules and Lessons, 2018-2020 Page 22 of 45


c. Have students compare their findings with Figure 4 to determine if
their ground truthed information lines up with Harry’s false colored
vegetation classes.
d. Ask students to discuss:
i. Other river corridor data to collect through drone work and
ground truthing.
ii. How this work to map Japanese knotweed can contribute to
efforts to understand its impacts on the Dog River’s riparian
zones
iii. How an understanding of Japanese knotweed ecology can help
people to minimize its negative effects.
7. In groups, have students create informational posters on the issues related to
Japanese knotweed along the Dog River and its ecology.
8. Have students display their posters in public places, such as the school
library, the town library, and at town meeting.

Student assessment:
1. Students’ reports on Japanese knotweed.
2. Students’ ground truthed transect data.
3. Students’ Japanese knotweed posters.


Resources

Vermont Invasives: Japanese Knotweed
https://www.vtinvasives.org/invasive/knotweed-japanese

Invasive Species: Japanese Knotweed, video by The Nature Conservancy and other partners
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lOGgOkpUYM&feature=related

iNaturalist: Japanese Knotweed
https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/914922-Reynoutria-japonica
(“Filter by Place” – type in Northfield, US, VT)

Classification of Fallopia Japonica Along the Dog River, by Harry Simotwo, NU graduate student, DRC
website

DRC Teaching Packet of Modules and Lessons, 2018-2020 Page 23 of 45



Drone Images of the Dog River
Figure 2, Figure 3, Figure 4, and Figure 5 are the same image of the site at coordinate
44.8.23 by 72.39.48. Taken 362 feet above the river.

Figure 1.
A band of Japanese knotweed along the Dog River

Figure 2.
Drone image used to choose 3 “classes” of vegetation along the Dog River.


DRC Teaching Packet of Modules and Lessons, 2018-2020 Page 24 of 45


Figure 3.
Highlighted areas show spots where Japanese knotweed was confirmed using
ground truthing.

Figure 4.
Image of “classes” in false colors: Black - Japanese knotweed; green - trees; red -
grasses and shrubs

DRC Teaching Packet of Modules and Lessons, 2018-2020 Page 25 of 45


Figure 5.
Sample transect lines along which students can record changes in vegetation and the “classes” of
vegetation found: Japanese knotweed, trees, and grass and shrubs.


The Changing River Corridor

Note: This lesson includes an optional student activity (#6) that uses the stream table owned by the Earth and
Environmental Science Department at Norwich University. Simon Pearish, NU ecology professor, and/or his
students can bring NU’s stream table to your school if you contact him a semester in advance and if Simon and
the table are available. His email is spearish@norwich.edu. While the #6 activity is not essential to this overall
lesson, it offers a powerful way to learn about stream dynamics.

Goals:
1. Community: To increase awareness of how river channels change over time,
and how these changes are influenced by, and affect, human activities.
2. Students: Same as above.
Student objectives:
1. To learn why and how rivers meander naturally.
2. To learn how rivers respond to human landscape changes and reestablish
meander patterns.

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3. To learn how drone technology can be used to document a river’s channel
and record how it changes over time.
Sequence of student activities:
1. Explain to students that a river in a flat or gently sloping landscape naturally
meanders2 within its river corridor.3 Generally, a river develops more curvy
meanders over time – that is, the meander pattern spreads out side to side
and covers a wider area. Show students the 2:40 minute video, Why Do
Rivers Curve?, by Minute Earth.
2. Explain that the natural meandering action of rivers results in soil erosion in
some places and sediment deposition in other places, which means that land
along a river is in a constant state of change. People often want to “anchor” a
river within a defined channel so that we can reliably use land along the river
for agriculture, roads, settlements, and other human activities. Techniques
used to anchor a river in place include channelizing4 the river and applying
riprap5 to riverbanks. Such human activities often increase erosion and
deposition as the river naturally re-establishes a meander pattern.
3. Show students one or more of the following videos to illustrate how streams
and rivers change their meander patterns over time.
a. Meander Development in a Straight Channel (43 seconds)
b. Remeandering of a Small Channelized Stream (40 seconds)
c. Grand River Remeander Sequence (56 seconds)
d. other River Geomorphology Videos
4. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), otherwise known as “drones”, offer us a
birds-eye view of a river corridor from the air. A drone video can show how a
river’s curves change as it crosses the landscape. It can also show features
like a straightened segment beside a road or a riprapped bend near a house.
Norwich University (NU) has created drone videos of the Dog River. Show
students the drone video, DJI_0001.MOV on the Dog River Conservancy
website. Challenge students to recognize landmarks that they know in the
town of Northfield. Drone videos can be an effective way to record and study
river changes over time.
5. Explain that rivers can become highly erosive during flooding events, when
the water flows high and fast. In the drone video, have students notice places
along the river where a bend might become more pronounced over time and
potentially cut into a road, an agricultural field, or a railroad track, or where
it might undermine a building and cause it to fall into the river.


2 meander – verb: to carve a series of back and forth bends across a landscape; noun: a curve or bend in a river
3 river corridor - the area on either side of a river where fluvial erosion, sediment deposition, and channel
alterations are most likely to occur.
4 channelize – to straighten or deepen a natural stream channel. (Living in Harmony with Streams)
5 riprap – broken rock placed on a streambank or other surface to protect against scouring and erosion. (Living
in Harmony with Streams)

Dog River Conservancy Teaching Modules and Lessons, 5-27-20 Page 27 of 45


6. Optional activity: NU’s stream table. Please schedule ahead to use it (see
the Note at the top of the previous page).
a. NU’s stream table, an educational model containing sediments and
flowing water, allows students to observe stream/river dynamics on a
small scale and over a short timeline. Students can manipulate
elements of the stream table, such as the location of sediments, the
velocity of the water, and the slope of the landscape, to simulate real
conditions and watch how water and land respond to changing
conditions.
b. Bring the NU stream table to your school, or bring your students to
the stream table. Simon Pearish, ecology professor at NU, or his
students are often available to teach stream table activities, such as
those described in Stream Table Outreach below.
7. Divide students into groups and ask each group to “adopt” a segment of the
drone video that shows a stretch of the Dog River with human activities
along one or both riverbanks. Have students pause the video and print their
segment, or create an accurate sketch of it on poster paper, then label the
human activities shown in the segment. (The labels should include landscape
features, like a field, that result from human activities.) Now have students
imagine how the river channel might change over time by making an existing
bend more curvy, straightening out a bend of river, or creating a new bend in
a straight stretch. How might this change in the meander pattern affect the
human activities in that segment?
8. Have students sketch their river stretch after their imagined changes occur in
their scenario. Ask them to write labels that describe how their predicted
changes could affect each human activity that is present in their stretch of
river.
9. Introduce students to the Vermont Rivers Program of the Vermont
Department of Environmental Conservation. Its goal is to “protect and
restore natural river and floodplain processes to enhance water quality,
ecological health, and flood resilience.” The Rivers Program has three
divisions, including River Corridor and Floodplain Protection. Ask students:
What kinds of land use decisions would allow rivers to move and change
their meander pattern in response? How would we need to redesign human
infrastructure to get out of the way of rivers? What other measures might we
take to promote flood resilience in our communities?
Student assessments:
1. Group “before and after” river segment posters.
Resources for this lesson:
Why Do Rivers Curve? by Minute Earth
Living in Harmony with Streams by Friends of the Winooski River, et al.
River Geomorphology Videos from Teach the Earth: The Portal for Earth Education
Vermont Rivers Program of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation

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Water Sensors Module

Streamflow and Gage Height
Goals:
1. Community: Foster awareness about the national USGS Streamgaging
Network, including the local station in Northfield Falls, and the role that
these stations play in helping to forecast and manage floods.
2. Students: Learn how to use information and collect internet-based data to
help manage changing river conditions.
Student Learning Objectives:
1. Learn about the Dog River Streamgaging Station and how it contributes
information to a national stream database.
2. Find out how to use a USGS website to retrieve data on the Dog River.
3. Learn how scientists measure important stream characteristics, such as
streamflow (discharge) and gage height (water level).
4. Explore one flood event, Tropical Storm Irene, and how it affected their
community.
Sequence of student activities:
1. Discuss with the class a famous flooding event in August 2011, Tropical
Storm Irene, which was devastating for Dog River communities. Have
students conduct research on this storm and its effects on their community.
They may want to interview residents who have stories about how this flood
event affected their lives, homes, jobs, businesses, children, etc.
2. Explain to the class that an important element of flood resilience is good data
on how rivers have behaved in the past and what happens as their water
volumes and water levels go up and down. Discharge – often called
streamflow - is the total volume of water per second that is flowing past a
fixed point in a stream.6 Water level - often called gage height - is measured
using a fixed reference point in a particular water body.7
3. Explain that there are 10,000 sites on water bodies across the U.S. that
measure streamflow and water levels. One of Vermont’s 104 sites is on the
Dog River in Northfield Falls, where data have been collected continuously
since 1934. The information recorded at these sites helps local communities,
states, and the federal government in the following ways8:
• planning, forecasting, and warning about floods and droughts;


6 Activity 3: Measuring Streamflow and Virtual River, GLOBE Watershed Dynamics, Office of STEM Education Partnerships,
Northwestern University, 2011.
7 How do I interpret gage height and streamflow values? USGS, National Water Information System
8 This bulleted list is from the USGS Streamgaging Network. This website provides a useful overview of the history, goals, and
work of the network.

Dog River Conservancy Teaching Modules and Lessons, 5-27-20 Page 29 of 45
• managing water rights and transboundary water issues;
• operating waterways for power production and navigation;
• monitoring environmental conditions to protect aquatic habitats;
• describing impacts to streamflow from changing land and water uses;
• assessing water quality and regulating pollutant discharges;
• determining if streams are safe for recreational activities; and
• designing reservoirs, roads, bridges, drinking water and wastewater facilities.
4. As a class, visit the USGS Streamgaging Network website to find streamflow
and gage height data for the Dog River. Please set the following items as
follows:
• Available parameters: click both Discharge and Gage Height
• Available data for this site: Time-series: Current/Historical
Observations
• Output Format: Graph
5. Now set a timeframe for data retrieval. You can type in the number of Days
you want to look at or a Begin date and End Date. Then hit Go. A graph that
corresponds to your timeframe will be generated for both Discharge and
Gage Height (scroll down to find Gage Height graph).
6. Below are three sample timeframes that will allow students to become
familiar with these data. Each of these timeframes corresponds to a pdf file
below that provides a “snapshot” of that example on the USGS Streamgaging
Network website. Provide students with access to computers and this
website, and have them plug in each of these timeframe examples, one at a
time.

Timeframe
Begin date End date
Examples

1st timeframe: 2020-02-10 (Feb 10, 2020) 2020-02-17 (Feb 16, 2020)

2nd timeframe: 2018-01-01 (Jan 1, 2018) 2018-12-01 (Dec 1, 2018)

3rd timeframe: 2011-08-01 (Aug 1, 2011) 2011-09-10 (Sept 1, 2011)


6. For each Timeframe Example, have students look under the graph to find
where it says, “Create presentation quality / stand alone graph.” Ask
individual students or groups to print out a final graph for each example.
7. Have students note that the third timeframe example, August 1, 2011 to
September 1, 2011, captures data from Tropical Storm Irene. On the graph,
you can clearly see the spike in both Discharge and Gage Height that resulted
from that massive rain event.

Dog River Conservancy Teaching Modules and Lessons, 5-27-20 Page 30 of 45


Enrichment Activity: Origami Tipping Bucket Rain Gauge
In this fun, hands-on activity, students use engineering skills to design a tool that addresses a
real-world need. They must follow precise instructions, measure carefully, assemble materials,
and then test their prototype - adjusting as needed - to fine-tune the tool.
A rain gauge measures rainfall amounts, which strongly influence streamflow and
therefore gage height data. Students can build their own rain gauge using an origami
technique that produces a “tipping bucket” for measuring rainfall. This gauge has
two buckets balanced on a fulcrum. One bucket collects rain, then tips when it gets
heavy and empties, after which the bucket on the other side collects the rain. The
buckets tip back and forth, and the tips are counted. The amount of water to cause a
tip is calibrated, so the amount of rain can be calculated based on the number of tips.
Please see Attachment E below for instructions and photos.

Student Assessments:
1. Student research and interviews about Tropical Storm Irene.
2. Student graphs generated from Timeframe Examples (above).


Attachments:
• A. USGS National Water Information System: Dog River at Northfield Falls
• B. 1st Timeframe Example graph: Feb 10, 2020 to Feb 16, 2020
• C. 2nd Timeframe Example graph: Jan 1, 2018 to Dec 1, 2018
• D. 3rd Timeframe Example graph: Aug 1, 2011 to Sept 1, 2011
• E. Origami Tipping Bucket Rain Gauge

Resources for this lesson:
How do I interpret gage height and streamflow values? USGS, National Water Information System
USGS Streamgaging Network


Dog River Conservancy Teaching Modules and Lessons, 5-27-20 Page 31 of 45



Attachment A. Attachment B.
Available Parameters Period of Record
USGS Home
All 1 Available Parameters for this site
Contact USGS
Search USGS 00060 Discharge(Mean) 1934-11-27 2020-02-16
Output format
National Water Information System: Web Interface Graph
USGS Water Resources Data Category: Geographic Area: Graph w/ stats
Surface Water Vermont GO Graph w/ meas
Graph w/ (up to 3) parms
Table
Tab-separated
Click to hideNews Bulletins
Days (6) Summary of all available data for this site GO
Introducing The Next Generation of USGS Water Data for the Instantaneous-data availability statement
Nation -- or --
Full News Begin date
2020-02-10Discharge, cubic feet per second
End date
Click to hide state-specific text 2020-02-16

To view real-time groundwater levels in New


Hampshire. click here

USGS 04287000 DOG RIVER AT


NORTHFIELD FALLS, VT

PROVISIONAL DATA SUBJECT TO


REVISION
Available data for this site Time-series: Daily data GO

Click to hidestation-specific text


Station operated in cooperation with the Vermont Department
of Environmental Conservation and other State agencies.
Boating safety tips

Attachment C. Attachment D.
Available Parameters Period of Record Available Parameters Period of Record
All 1 Available Parameters for this site All 1 Available Parameters for this site
00060 Discharge(Mean) 1934-11-27 2020-02-16 00060 Discharge(Mean) 1934-11-27 2020-02-16
Output format Output format
Graph Graph
Graph w/ stats Graph w/ stats
Graph w/ meas Graph w/ meas
Graph w/ (up to 3) parms Graph w/ (up to 3) parms
Table Table
Tab-separated Tab-separated
Days (334)Summary of all available data for this site GO
Days (31) Summary of all available data for this site GO
Instantaneous-data availability statement Instantaneous-data availability statement
-- or -- -- or --
Begin date Begin date
2018-01-01 Discharge, cubic feet per second 2011-08-01 Discharge, cubic feet per second
End date End date
2018-12-01 2011-09-01

Dog River Conservancy Teaching Modules and Lessons, 5-27-20 Page 32 of 45


Attachment E.

Origami Tipping-Bucket Rain Gauge

Cut out the 6-inch by 3-inch paper


• Mountain folds
• Valley folds

Dog River Conservancy Teaching Modules and Lessons, 5-27-20 Page 33 of 45


2-inch plastic packing
tape to waterproof
interior surfaces of the
bucket

Dog River Conservancy Teaching Modules and Lessons, 5-27-20 Page 34 of 45


Making the
“valley” folds

“Mountain” and
“valley” folds

Dog River Conservancy Teaching Modules and Lessons, 5-27-20 Page 35 of 45


Tape
tape

Straw
(coffee stirrer)
Paper clips

Dog River Conservancy Teaching Modules and Lessons, 5-27-20 Page 36 of 45


Example:
https://www.weathershack.com/static/ed-
tipping-bucket-rain-gauge.html

Funnel collects rain

Water drips into the “bucket”

The bucket tips when it gets heavy and


empties, and the bucket on the other side
collects the water

The bucket tips back & forth, and the


tips are counted

The amount of water to cause a tip is


calibrated, so the amount of rain can be
found based on the number of tips

Dog River Conservancy Teaching Modules and Lessons, 5-27-20 Page 37 of 45


Origami Tipping-Bucket Rain Gauge

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Velocity and Discharge

Goals:
1. Community: Become aware of how water volume in a river changes with
environmental conditions like precipitation and snow melt.
2. Students: Learn how to use information and collect fieldwork data to help
manage changing river conditions.
Student Objectives
1. Use information on precipitation and landscape conditions (such as
snowmelt) to plan for and interpret stream measurement activities.
2. Learn how to measure water velocity in a stream using a hands-on activity.
3. Learn basic stream terminology, how streams flow, and how stream velocity
and discharge are measured using a virtual activity.
Sequence of Student Activities
7. Choose a day to bring students to your local river to do actual measurements
of stream velocity and streamflow (discharge). Please consider current water
levels and weather conditions to ensure that students can enter the river
safely. High, fast, cold water that is above students’ knees is unsafe for
students.
8. Before the students’ fieldtrip to do their measurements, have them discuss
any significant water inputs into the river in the past week. Were there any
heavy rains? Was there a lot of snowmelt? (Remember that snowmelt at high
elevations in the watershed might affect river levels.) A total lack of
precipitation over the past week and beforehand? Discuss how these factors
might affect the river’s water level, its velocity, and the volume of water that
is currently flowing downstream.
9. Review with students Activ 3: Measuring Streamflow and Virtual River, from
GLOBE Watershed Dynamics. Refer to the Teacher Overview of the
Measuring Streamflow activity, and use the “Low-Tech: Orange Dropping”
activity to measure stream velocity.

Please note: Stream velocity is one part of a streamflow


(discharge) measurement.
average velocity of a stream
= distance (that the orange travels) / time

streamflow or discharge
= area of stream cross-section (measured by width and depth)
x stream average velocity

Dog River Conservancy Teaching Modules and Lessons, 5-27-20 Page 39 of 45


10. Outdoors. Have students complete the GLOBE Measuring Streamflow Lab
Packet, which will guide them through the outdoor activity and ask them to
answer summary questions.
11. Indoors. Back in the classroom, have students do the Virtual River in
GLOBE’s Activity 3, and choose the River Discharge section. In this activity,
students learn basic stream terminology, how streams flow, and how stream
velocity and discharge are measured. If students have measured velocity and
discharge on their own river, this virtual activity will be more easily
understood.

Student Assessments
1. Completed Measuring Streamflow Lab Packets.
2. Virtual River quiz answers.

Resource
Activity 3: Measuring Streamflow and Virtual River, GLOBE Watershed Dynamics

Dog River Conservancy Teaching Modules and Lessons, 5-27-20 Page 40 of 45


Flood Resilience Module

Flood Resilient Households

Goal:
1. Community and Students: To understand how residents in a community can
contribute to flood resilience through the design of their house and yard.
Student Objectives:
1. To gain awareness of how buildings and their surrounding yards move and
store the water that falls as precipitation.
2. To learn about some “best practices” for managing stormwater runoff from
buildings to reduce flooding in rivers.
3. To understand that collecting and storing runoff improves the flood
resilience of a community.
Sequence of student activities:
1. Sketch a typical house and yard on the board and have students consider
what happens to the water that falls during a rain event as follows:
a. Rain on the roof – how does it flow, where does it go? [it pours off the
hard surfaces of the roof and collects in gutters and drain pipes that
have an outlet onto the ground, or drips directly off the roof along the
roof line into the ground around the house]
b. Rain on the yard – how does it flow, where does it go? [it may soak
directly into the ground, or flow over the ground, potentially causing
erosion]
2. For homework, have students sketch their own house and make notes about
“how it flows, where it goes” on their roof and on their yard. When students
bring in their sketches with notes, have them discuss their “flows/goes” in
groups.
3. Set up two basins, one that is empty and one that has a folded-up towel on
one side to simulate vegetation along a river. We call vegetation along a river
riparian vegetation, and a strip of riparian vegetation is called a riparian
buffer. Use a watering can to “rain” down on each basin. Have them notice
that the basin with the “vegetation” becomes less flooded because water is
stored and slowly released over time. The first basin, without “vegetation,” is
more prone to flooding while the second basin, with “vegetation,” is more
protected from flooding.
4. Ask students to brainstorm ways to catch and “soak up” rainwater on and
around their houses and yards. If they need some prompting, refer them to
the document called “Best Practices for the Dog River Watershed,” produced
by Norwich University students in Wendy Cox’s Art and Architecture class
during fall 2019 and found on the Dog River Conservancy website. Have

Dog River Conservancy Teaching Modules and Lessons, 5-27-20 Page 41 of 45


them look at the following sections that discuss managing stormwater runoff
around buildings:
a. Rainwater Collection Systems
b. Managing Runoff and Rain Gardens
c. Slow It Down, Spread It Out, Soak It In
5. Divide students into groups. Ask each group to design an apartment building
with a yard in which the members of the group will live. Then have them add
design features to their building and yard that collect rainwater and store
runoff. Encourage them to use the design features they learned about and to
create new features as well. The goal is to catch and control runoff to reduce
flooding in the local river and increase flood resilience in the community.
6. Have students display their group apartment building/yard illustrations in a
public place or at a public forum, such as town meeting.

Student Assessment:
1. “How it flows, where it goes” homework assignment.
2. Group apartment building designs.

Resource:
Best Practices for the Dog River Watershed, Dog River Conservancy website


Riparian Buffer Values

Goals:
1. Community: To understand the value of protecting and restoring natural
vegetation along their river.
2. Students: To understand how natural vegetation along a river offers a variety
of benefits to a community, including flood resilience.
Student Objectives:
1. To learn about the functions of the riparian zone along a river.
2. To compare the flood risks in a heavily manipulated landscape with the flood
risks in a landscape that protects flood resilient features.
3. To learn about one example that shows how natural flood protection
minimized damages after Tropical Storm Irene.
4. To informally assess several riparian buffers along the community’s river,
and produce a report for the community. (This offers students a service
learning opportunity.)
Sequence of student activities:
Dog River Conservancy Teaching Modules and Lessons, 5-27-20 Page 42 of 45
1. Introduce students to the term riparian buffer, which is the zone of variable
width along the banks of a stream that provides a protective natural area
within the stream corridor.9
2. Explain that the riparian buffer performs many functions for the stream and
the landscape. Riparian functions include10:
a. Reducing soil erosion into the stream by stabilizing streambanks.
b. Filtering pollutants, nutrients, and sediments from runoff into the
stream, thus improving water quality.
c. Improving aquatic habitats by protecting water quality (see above),
dropping plant parts into the water that offer important resources,
cooling the water and increasing dissolved oxygen, and increasing
shade and cover.
d. Improving terrestrial habitats by offering important resources and
travel corridors for wildlife.
e. Absorbing large water volumes and slowing water velocity during
heavy precipitation and snowmelt, thus reducing flood damage.
3. Explain that wide riparian zones generally provide more diverse and higher
quality functions to aquatic, terrestrial, and human communities, and that
narrow riparian zones provide less diverse and lower quality functions.
Show students the following image to summarize this discussion.


9 Living in Harmony with Streams: A Citizen’s Handbook to How Streams Work, by the Friends of the Winooski
River, White River Natural Resources Conservation District, and Winooski Natural Resources Conservation
District. 2012.
10 Values of Riparian Buffers, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation.

Dog River Conservancy Teaching Modules and Lessons, 5-27-20 Page 43 of 45



Riparan Zone Restoration, https://www.austintexas.gov/faq/riparian-zone-restoration

4. Introduce students to the website, Flood Ready Vermont, and bring them to
the page, Use Natural Protection. This page describes how natural landscape
and waterscape features can reduce flood damage to communities along a
stream. On this page, show students the 3:30 minute video called “A New
Type of River Management is Coming.” This video, made in France and
translated into English, reflects the mission of the Vermont Rivers Program,
which is “to make human and natural communities safe and healthful
through the protection of natural flows, floodplains and meandering
rivers.”11
5. After students have watched the video, have them summarize the two river
management approaches depicted in the video, and how each of them affects
river flooding. (The two approaches are traditional landscape development
and development that protects natural features.)
6. Tell students about Tropical Storm Irene, which took place in August 2011,
and ask them to conduct research to learn about it. How did this massive
storm affect the students’ own community?
7. Explain that some communities benefitted from natural flood protection
while others experienced severe flood damage. Show students the 11-minute
video on the Use Natural Protection webpage called “How the Otter Creek
Floodplain Responded to Irene.” In this video, various flooding experts in
Vermont tell the story of how wetlands and other natural communities
upstream of Middlebury dampened the worst effects of Irene and protected
the downtown from severe damage.


11 Flood Ready Vermont: Use Natural Protection.

Dog River Conservancy Teaching Modules and Lessons, 5-27-20 Page 44 of 45


8. Have students explore the riparian zones along their local stream or river.
Below are some activities that can help with this.
a. On the computer. In google maps, have students look at the satellite
image of their community, and zoom in on their local stream or river.
Ask them to find examples of very narrow or non-existent riparian
zones and very wide riparian zones. Have them identify recognizable
landmarks in their town (like a well-known bridge) that they could
visit in person. Ask them to look at the riparian zones around those
landmarks.
b. Outside fieldtrip. As a class, choose 3 such landmarks for students to
visit on a fieldtrip. At each landmark, have students record the
following information:
i. The average width of vegetation within the riparian zone.
ii. The human activities outside of the vegetated zone along the
river. Discuss the kinds of impacts that these activities might
have on land and water resources. Given the width of the
riparian buffer at that location, what kinds of functions might
that buffer provide?
iii. The amount of plant diversity at that location along a rough
spectrum from monoculture at one end (example: cornfield) to
diverse natural ecosystem (example: undisturbed floodplain
forest) at the other end. Ask them to consider how diversity
might affect the kinds of wildlife species that might occupy that
location.
iv. One or more photos of that location to record important and
interesting features.
9. Have students write a Riparian Values Report (as a whole class, in groups, or
as individuals) that informs the community of the benefits of naturally
vegetated riparian zones. Have students include a profile of each landmark
site they visited and the information they collected at each site.

Student Assessments
1. Tropical Storm Irene research reports
2. Riparian Values Reports.

Resources:
Living in Harmony with Streams: A Citizen’s Handbook to How Streams Work, by the Friends of the
Winooski River, White River Natural Resources Conservation District, and Winooski Natural
Resources Conservation District. 2012.
Values of Riparian Buffers, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation.
Riparan Zone Restoration , Government of Austin, Texas
Flood Ready Vermont: Use Natural Protection. Vermont Government Website.

Dog River Conservancy Teaching Modules and Lessons, 5-27-20 Page 45 of 45