Freshman Scholars Program 2012

Center for Sustainable Development Start-Up or GLEON Water Quality Project

Instructor:  David Johnson, Ph.D.


Project Description:

Up to two students interested in sustainability (particularly in organization start-up and/or water quality and construction and deployment of a sensor-equipped buoy).

The CSD Research Assistant will help complete the establishment of the Ferrum College Center for Sustainable Development (CSD). The center has been under discussion for several years and the Coordinator of the CSD, Dr. David Johnson, worked part-time on the center this past year. The college intends to formally announce the center’s establishment during the coming school year as part the college’s programming theme for the year, "Sustainability: More for Less for All." The RA selected to work on the CSD will be involved with multiple aspects of the CSD start-up:  communication with advisory board members, establishing contacts with other colleges and NGOs, program planning for both the center and theme, outreach, budget development, and fundraising.

The Ferrum Water Quality Program (WQP) has received continuous funding since 1985, and the water quality lab is certified by the Virginia DEQ. Dr. Johnson has been working for the past 2 years to align the Ferrum College WQP more closely with an international organization, the Global Lakes Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON: http://www.gleon.org/). The GLEON mission is to view lakes as "canaries in a mine" by using high frequency sampling to investigate changes in water quality associated with changes in land-use and/or climate. The water quality research will involve building and deploying a sensor-equipped buoy to provide high frequency sampling of certain water quality parameters at Smith Mountain Lake. To begin the long-term project, a Basic Observation Buoy (BOB) will be constructed, similar to those designed by Dr. Doug Levine of NOAA (http://secoora.org/classroom/BOB_educational_water_quality). 


Dave Johnson, Ph.D.

Dr. Johnson is Professor of Chemistry and Environmental Science and Coordinator for the Ferrum College Center for Sustainable Development. He received his bachelors in chemistry and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Environmental Health Sciences, all from The University of Michigan. He has served twice as Chair of the Virginia Blue Ridge Section of the American Chemical Society and is currently serving on the executive board of the Virginia Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society. Dr. Johnson has over 35 years of experience in water quality research and helped develop long-term water quality monitoring programs on Smith Mountain Lake and Claytor Lake. He has traveled to China annually since 2004 and spent the 2010-11 academic year at China Three Gorges University in Yichang, China.  Dr. Johnson also designed and built a passive solar home where he has lived for 28 years.

If you have specific questions about this project, please contact Dr. Johnson directly at DJohnson@ferrum.edu.

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