Ursinus Lecturer Recognized for Environmental Stewardship

Tristan Ashcroft, a lecturer of environmental studies, will receive the Perkiomen Watershed Teaching Excellence award, recognizing exceptional instruction by an individual seeking to educate students about the watershed and its stewardship.

The award will be presented at a benefit for the Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy, “A Night for Conservation: To Benefit the Perkiomen Watershed” on Oct. 18.

“Tristan has done exemplary work here, volunteering with PWC to lead walks about the watershed and its landscape issues and through his teaching at the college,” says Patrick Hurley, associate professor and chair of environmental studies. “Both his geology and GIS courses introduce important conceptual and analytical tools that help our students better understand this, their home watershed while living in Collegeville.”

The Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy is an organization dedicated to conserve and protect the local watershed while providing education for families and schools in the area. Watersheds are streams, creeks, or river drainage areas with boundaries defined by natural ridges that separate drainage basins. The Perkiomen watershed encompasses over 50 municipalities across four counties and 362 square miles.

Ashcroft volunteers his time with the conservancy in several different ways. He helps with education and outreach by giving lectures and leading field excursions of local geography. He also tries to incorporate the needs or activities of the conservancy in his class assignments and projects.

“Watershed matters are part of a broad range of topics that we talk about because of a core notion: water matters,” Ashcroft says. “In the introductory class, we go into the field to quantify stream flow, delineate surface water flow direction, and think about how surface water interacts with ground water and how both surface and groundwater shape surface features and are directed by those features.”

Ursinus students in Ashcroft’s classes also discuss effects of activities within a drainage area and identify potential locations to remedy storm water run-off. —By Mary Lobo ’15