TNCC Offers Wetlands Field Study Course for Community at Large

Published: May 11, 2011

HAMPTON, Va. — This summer Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC) will provide an opportunity for in-depth wetlands study through a two-week course offered by the Biology Department. Called Topics in Wetlands Biology (BIO 295), the three-credit course runs July 25 to August 4 meeting Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on TNCC’s Hampton campus.

Open to TNCC students, those from other colleges/universities who are home for summer break and the public, the course is an ideal resource K-12 teachers. No science prerequisites are required for the class but a tolerance for outdoor conditions is one important necessity, Biology Professor Martin Zahn explained.

In addition to classroom time, Topics in Wetlands Biology includes intensive field study involving hands-on investigation at six off campus sites in the region. “Students will need to be prepared to get muddy, wet, and bug-bitten,” he noted. Transportation will be provided by the College, if available, or carpooling arrangements will be made.

Zahn said students will learn the characteristics of wetlands in general and how to determine that an area is a wetland using hydrology, vegetation and soils. “The value that our wetlands provide will be emphasized. Delineation of wetlands will also be introduced. Wetlands surround all of us every day in the Tidewater area. They are wildlife nurseries; they hold vast amounts of water and prevent flooding; they filter water runoff from storms and they detoxify our environment,” he added.

The College began offering the course in 2010. Of those who completed it, some transferred credits to four-year institutions, K-12 teachers updated their credentials and those already enrolled at TNCC expanded their science studies. “Students visited tidal and non-tidal wetlands in York River State Park, the Great Dismal Swamp and right here on the Thomas Nelson campus. They visited a living shoreline in the process of construction and plan to return to that location to help the landowner document the success of the finished project. The unique Grafton Ponds ecosystem was also explored,” said Zahn.

To register for the course, visit and apply to TNCC. Those who are not current TNCC students must enroll as career exploration or non-degree seeking students. Standard tuition and fees required by TNCC for an academic credit course apply.


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