Zach Steffensmeier

Zach Steffensmeier

When it comes to the natural world, there’s no better place to learn than the great outdoors. At least that’s what Zach Steffensmeier believes. Steffensmeier, a lecturer who teaches courses in Stream Ecology in the School of Environment and Natural Resources. Steffensmeier is thankful for the close proximity of Waterman’s natural resources, because it’s an accessible setting where his students can learn about a unique stream setting while staying close to their daily activities.

“Streams are affected by everything on the landscape, so one big thing we focus on is having an intact riparian zone that will help prevent erosion,” Steffensmeier said. “I take students out to a stream, where they assess different components of stream parameters as a measure of stream health. Waterman is a good location for that because students can see the environmental impacts in the area, how that comes downstream, and where the water rises to the floodplain.”

By learning more about Waterman’s unique environment in an urban setting, Steffensmeier hopes his students will become more interested in the natural world, while gaining knowledge and experience to help them assess and improve other stream types in the future.

“It’s great to bring the students out, especially those who are not used to being in the streams,” Steffensmeier said. “It’s a good site for them to ask questions, to strap on the waders, and get excited about stream ecology.”