For some reason, I have always thought of the lake as a static fixture on our campus, and even though I have seen it trickle down the dam underneath the commons, it never really occurred to me that it must also have a source. Once we started talking about our campus’s watershed, however, it clicked in my mind that, of course, it must be fed by something. Given the relatively small size of our campus, however, and the fact that I thought I had managed to explore almost every nook and cranny, I was confused at first as to where the stream could meet up with the lake and certainly did not expect it to be anything more than a gentle trickle.
Learning about the miniature watershed of our campus and really getting the chance to firmly wrap my head around the geography of the area helped me to both appreciate the natural aspects of our campus and to see all that it has to offer. In addition, Wednesday’s lesson showed me how our campus – which often seems incredibly isolated – clearly connects to the outside world via water systems. The stillness of the lake suggests that it is fed by just a small trickle of water (if by anything at all), but the power of the water as the stream rushes under the road and onto campus is astonishing, and the speed at which it slows to almost a halt as it curves around to join the lake is equally impressive. The heavy and consistent rainfall of course helped increase the power of the stream, but even on a dry day, I am sure it would have been greater than what I expected.
All in all, the walk around the top of campus and the exploration of our school’s watershed helped show me the continuous nature of the water system, and that, while our campus may have definite boundaries, the water that runs in and throughout it certainly does not. To those students and faculty members who feel as if they know everything there is to know about our campus, and the lake in particular, I would greatly encourage them to simply take a walk along that narrow strip of land that separates the baseball field and lake form the road. Discovering a “new” part of campus is always an exciting activity and it really does not take much effort to step back and put the lake and stream into the context of our campus’s watershed. This new point of view, however, will undoubtedly alter the way you view water on campus in the future.
Unfortunately, I feel as if I could have gotten more out of Wednesday’s class if it had occurred later in the semester after we have had the opportunity to learn more about basic geographical concepts. This being said though, I was able to learn something new, and I am sure that as the semester progresses, I will be able to look back and apply what I learn to last week’s walk around campus.