When Tom Barthelmeh, program manager and wetlands creation expert at the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, visited an environmental geology class at Delaware Tech in Georgetown recently, he left the students with a challenge. Following his presentation on the principles of wetlands creation as it relates to agricultural lands, he asked them to construct their own model wetlands.
After collaborating on their plans in groups, students began by dumping sand into square, 3-by-4-foot containers made of plywood and 2-by-4 boards. They created wetlands models using clay, grass, sticks and pine cuttings to represent trees. They even used toy tractors, cows and sheep, as well as laundry detergent to represent water. Each group then presented their model, explaining the concepts of their design and the function of their created wetlands.
Students in the class are part of a new Delaware Tech associate in applied science degree in environmental engineering technology, which started in fall 2012 at the college’s Georgetown and Stanton campuses. The program was developed in response to the need for professionals with knowledge and skills in the general and technical aspects of preventing, assessing and managing environmental issues.
“This program offers a blend of hands-on experience in both the engineering and environmental fields, making it a unique opportunity for students,” said Bethany Krumrine, environmental instructor at the Georgetown campus. “The experience they get in the first semester lets them see early on if this is the career for them. This semester alone, we’ll be inspecting an active construction site, analyzing soil samples and visiting a local landfill, among other activities.”
According to Brian Hoyt, compliance manager for NAES Corporation and advisory committee member for the program, “Environmental professionals enjoy a wide variety of responsibilities, and ultimately can count on a high degree of satisfaction knowing the importance of the work they do not only to industry, but to the community at large."
To learn more about environmental engineering at Delaware Tech, go to www.dtcc.edu.