Miami Regionals undergrads who participated in outreach program at Caesar Creek State Park: From left to right, Sarah Myers, Riley Allan, and Eric Haas

Geology Outreach: GIS Projects

During the Spring semester of 2017, two Miami University Middletown (MUM) undergraduate students and the MUM Geology Club worked with Ms. Samantha Bachelder (US Army Corps of Engineers) and Dr. Tammie L. Gerke (MUM) on GIS-based projects. These projects were conducted at Caesar Creek State Park in Waynesville OH. Eric Hass and Riley Allen used these projects as the service component for their GEO 442 GIS course and the MUM Geology Club pursed their project as part of their outreach commitment to the community. Eric Hass, Riley Allen, and Sarah Myers (representing the MUM Geology Club) gave presentation on the projects at Caesar Creek State Park April 6, 2017.

Eric Haas mapped native plant species attractive to pollinators, primarily bees and monarch butterflies. Mr. Hass identified four categories of plants and grasses in a 700 ft by 700 ft portion of the Hopewell Prairie. GIS-based maps of the distribution of the four categories and a compilation map were then produced. Ultimately these data will be used to determine planting locations of additional native plant species which will help in increasing the number of pollinators in and around Caesar Creek State Park. These data will also be used as a baseline to assess the success of this project over the next five to 10 years and future planting projects by the US Corps of Engineers at and around Caesar Creek State Park.

Riley Allen mapped the emergency spillway at the southern end of the damn and the rock exposures within. The data collected on the rock exposures is necessary to reevaluate the integrity of the spillway if it were ever required for use. Riley will be working with Dr. Carl Brett, Department of Geology University of Cincinnati and Dr. Tammie L. Gerke MUM in the summer of 2017 to identify the formations that are exposed and their associated fossils. Ultimately stratigraphic columns will be produced which will be made available to the general public to use when fossil collecting in the spillway, which is one of the most popular locations for fossil collecting in the region.

Sarah Myers, a MUM Geology Club member, took the lead in organizing a day outing on March 22, 2017 in which four groups mapped over 20 miles of the horse trails. The members that participated were Riley Allen, Michael Curtis, Kali Manning, Sarah Myers, Leighanna Palmer, Alan Stacy, Tiffany Stump, David Wolf, honorary club members Tom Lerch and Betty Lerch and the Geology Club faculty advisor Dr. Tammie L. Gerke. Ms. Myer processed all of the data collected and produced an updated version of the horse trail map for Caesar Creek. She and other Geology Club members since then have completed mapping the remaining portions of the horse trails and the completed map will be made available to the general public this summer. Geology Club also hopes to be able to continue to work with the US Army Corp of Engineers on GIS-based projects in the fall of 2017.