Note: All photos by David Manthos '11

Imagine a classroom stretching 444 miles. That's "Bucknell on the Susquehanna," a multi-disciplinary course launched this past fall that focuses on the ebb and flow of the longest non-navigable river in North America - studying its natural and cultural history, watershed science and land-use management.

"We are bringing the students to the river and its entire watershed instead of trying to bring the river to them as photos in a classroom," says Matthew McTammany, associate professor of biology and environmental studies, who along with Craig Kochel, professor of geology, and Peter Wilshusen, associate professor of environmental studies, leads the inaugural class. "Bucknell on the Susquehanna is a fulled engaged approach to teaching and learning - intense in scope, interdisciplinary, intimate and experiential."

Called a domestic study-abroad program, the river classroom takes students from Native American land in upstate New York to Maryland's Chesapeake Bay - and places in between. The idea is to combine classroom experience with extensive field work, including multi-day kayak trips, to expose students to varying locations, issues, people and perspectives throughout the watershed. Students are even introduced to nature writing and photography.

To cap the program, students journey to the Pacific Northwest for two weeks of comparative watershed study and analysis.

Students like geography major David Manthos '11 from McHenry, Md., say having the Susquehanna River as a semester-long classroom is one "amazing experience." He has a blog to prove it.

 

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