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Field Methods for Environmental Sciences - GEOL 4451/5551 - 3 credits

Course dates: May 14 to May 28, 2018

Application Deadline: April 20, 2018

Location: Gibson Jack Creek and ISU campus in Pocatello, Idaho

Pricing: $1444/$1678 for undergrad/grads (~$50 processing for international students, no out-of-state fees)


This is a multi-step process that you can begin immediately.

  • Apply for admission to the university.
  • Two days after you complete your application, contact the ISU Help Desk (208-282-4357)
    • Give them your admission Login ID and PIN
    • Verbally request your Bengal ID number and email address.
    • Send Dr. Crosby your Bengal ID# and he will remove a registration block and tell you to register.
  • Register for the course using the online Bengal Web. (INSTRUCTIONS)
  • Pay your tuition and student fees. (INSTRUCTIONS)

Group of students from field methods course

Medical Forms

We will do a fair amount of hiking, some of it off trail. Be prepared for daily physical exertion. It is especially important for students with allergies to bee stings, vegetation and dietary requirements to fill out the Medical History and the Liability Waiver forms and e-mail both to You must bring your own epi-pen(s), sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher), prescriptions, allergy and personal medication.

Transportation to/from Pocatello

  • Please fill in your travel information on this linked google spreadsheet.
  • Delta/Sky-West flies in and out of Pocatello three times a day. We can meet you at the airport upon arrival if you notify us of your arrival time.
  • Sometimes it is cheaper to fly to Salt Lake City or Idaho Falls airports. You can arrange a shuttle with Salt Lake Express to deliver you to Pocatello. Let us know your arrival time and we can pick you up at the shuttle stop. The ISU discount code is "isu17."
  • You can drive to Pocatello as well and find free, on-street parking near campus.
  • Be sure to arrive in Pocatello on the Sunday before the class begins, by 5pm


Inexpensive on-campus housing is available.  A single, twin-bed dorm rooms with a shared basic kitchen are available for ~$17 per person, per night (a steal!) The Rendezvous Center is a modern, safe facility, and only a 5 minute walk from our morning meeting location.  Bring your own linens or pay ~$8 for each set of fresh sheets, blanket, towel, pillow and washcloth.


Transcripts and Credits

Summer transcripts will be posted by mid August. You are responsible for requesting your copy from  You will need to remember your Bengal ID number.  If your school requires your grade prior to mid-August, your registrar's office needs to call our registrar's office once camp is over.  i.e. The registrar at the school that needs a grade early must call ISU’s registrar, Laura McKenzie at 208-282-2979. That registrar must be a member of AACRAO, the professional organization for registrars.

Welcome Picnic: A chance to meet fellow students from ISU and afar.

Picnic will occur the Sunday before the course begins, 5-8pm, across the street from campus at 655 South 7th Ave.  Basic food and drink will be provided but you are welcome to bring beverages or additional side dishes.

First Meeting: Orientation and Essential Information.

8 am, on the first Monday (DO NOT BE LATE!)—Mandatory meeting in Physical Science Building, Room 220. A light breakfast buffet of bagels, yogurt, fruit, juice, etc. will be provided.

Wrap-up: Goodbyes and departures. We will be done on the final Saturday by 3 pm and provide rides to airports and shuttle services as needed. Remember to add this information to the linked google spreadsheet.

Rough Schedule

Day 01- Introductions, expectations, equipment and facilities, safety, schedule, field books, grading.  Walking tour of the watershed. SNOTEL
Day 02 - Surveying and Positioning: Absolute vs. Relative positioning, Geographic vs. Projected Coordinates, Topo Maps/Compass, Pacing, Consumer GPS, Auto Level and Stadia, Laser Rangefinder, Total Station, RTK GPS.  Import/Exporting positions and data from/to GIS.
Day 03 - Introduction to Hydrologic Cycle.  Surface water fluxes. Gaging stations, stage data and rating curves. Online sources.  Flow measurement techniques (midsection): Orange peels, Salt slugs, Rotating cups/impeller, Marsh, ADV, ADCP
Day 04 - Autonomous sensors: Dataloggers and programming, Input sensor types, Power supplies, Weather Stations. Meteorology : Precipitation (rain and snow vs. SWE)(spatial variation, elevation gradients), Wind and Potential Evaporation
Day 05 - Transpiration: Sap flux, shrubs and grasses (Lysimeters, other methods?)
Day 06 - Subsurface Water: soil moisture, groundwater (need access to a well in GJ!  Install sensor now to measure variation). Summary work.
Day 08 - Introduction to Carbon Cycle.  Water fluxes: DOC, DIC, POC collection and analysis techniques.  Soil vs. Stream water.  Temporal variation in fluxes.  Auto samplers.
Day 09 - Soil Carbon Stocks.  Pits, spatial variability, soil sampling and processing techniques, leaching, LOI, etc.
Day 10 - Soil Carbon Fluxes: Sources, temporal/spatial variability, association with vegetation and soil moisture, collars, LiCor work
Day 11 - Plant Carbon: above/belowground stocks and fluxes
Day 12 - Ctd . Field work?  Prepare and make presentation of findings to stakeholders in afternoon.
Day 13 - Synthesis discussions and report generation