NAS at Pictured Rocks

Lacing up their boots, feeling the dirt: Field trip provides hands-on approach to studying geology of region

Three University of Wisconsin-Green Bay faculty members and 15 environmental science students laced up their hiking boots, grabbed their field journals and at set out on a multiple-day field trip last week. The trip provided a first-hand perspective on the geology of the iron-mining region near Champion and Ishpeming, through Marquette, and into the Pictured Rocks. Both undergraduates and graduate students are members of the class.

“I started offering these trips in 2005 when I arrived at UWGB because I thought they were the best way to get students interested in geology (and environmental science) — by looking at things you can’t see in the classroom/lab,” said John Luczaj, Professor and chair of the Geoscience program at UWGB. “We visit rock outcrops, mines, and other localities in which the landforms can be visualized. This allows us to show students first hand what these structures are, given there is no other way to adequately sample or capture them in a photograph.”

The students are required to keep a field journal and participate in the observations and interpretations made at the rock outcrops or other places they visit and graduate students need to prepare a short presentation at one of the stops, along with a handout, Luczaj said.

Prof. Kevin Fermanich was the instructor of record this year, while Luczaj was on sabbatical (although he couldn’t resist traveling with the group).  Prof. Ryan Currier also attended.

In the past, these faculty-led trips have provided students opportunities to study regions in Southwest Wisconsin, Baraboo Hills, Northern Minnesota, Mellen and the Porcupine Mountains, Keweenaw Peninsula, Central Wisconsin, Northern Wisconsin, and other places. Last year’s group combined the trip with the Geological Society of America-North Central Section Meeting where some students presented their work.

Click thumbnails to enter slideshow view or view the album on Flickr.

– Photos by Dan Moore, Marketing and University Communication