PE&RS June 2015 - page 429

June 2015
and how waste from industrial and residential development
has impacted water quality in the Murchison Bay (Figure
2). These and the rest of the images used in the classroom
made it evident that urban growth impacts are not localized
but often have a very broad area of influence.
In the Spring of 2012, UWL students were learning about the
environmental impacts of natural resource extraction ac-
tivities such as deforestation, mining and drilling. Coal Bed
Natural Gas (CBNG) extraction activities in the Powder River
Basin (Wyoming) has led to the construction of nu-
merous retention ponds for holding the excess or
co-produced water. Students were introduced to
environmental impacts associated with the water
stored in these retention ponds along with their
potential to serve as the habitats for mosquitoes
that carry West Nile virus. By comparing the Land-
sat image acquired in 2009 with the one acquired
in 2000 (Figure 3), students were able to see the
newly constructed retention ponds, along with the
drill pads and roads that connected them. It is hard
to visualize such large-scale environmental impacts
by reading about them. Another advantage is that
teachers were able to incorporate images related
to Wyoming that may not be available in their text
books. Students also saw the impact of deforesta-
tion around the Gishwati Forest, Rwanda, moun-
taintop mining in West Virginia, and aquaculture
activities in Ecuador (Table 1).
Figure 2 – Growth of Kampala City from 1974 (left) to 2008 (right) are captured by the Landsat image-pair available from the NASA Images of
Change website. This image-pair shows the impact of urban growth on nearby forests and water bodies. High resolution of this image can be
downloaded from the UN Environmental Program website
Laramie Junior High 25 April 25, 2013.
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