A Summary Listing of Faculty Activities at Colleges Around the Nation
Does fracking cause earthquakes? It’s something students at North Platte Community College (Neb.) will investigate in Carla Long’s classroom next semester. Long, who teaches geography at NPCC, anticipates fracking will continue to be a hot topic into the foreseeable future. She’s already seen renewed interest with the 5.0 magnitude earthquake that recently hit north-central Oklahoma. Fittingly, the national discussion was heating up right before Geography Awareness Week, Nov. 13-19. “The controversy is definitely something we will be talking about in class,” said Long. “No matter what side they choose to be on, it’s important for students to know what the issue is so that they can make educated decisions.” Fracking is a method for getting oil and gas from underground rocks by injecting liquid into the rocks so that they break apart. Essentially, a mixture of sand, water and chemicals is inserted at high pressure into rocks below the surface. That pressure forces gas inside the rocks up and out to the head of the well. Students in Long’s class will try to replicate the process in a hands-on lab activity. They will use syringes to inject a water solution into containers full of soils and sediments, representing layers of the Earth’s crust. The trick will be to not break the layers of crust while figuring out a way to get mineral oil in the bottom of the container to rise to the top for extraction. “While doing the activity, we will talk about the evidence both for and against human interference increasing the incidence of earthquakes,” said Long. “It’s important to know how the Earth is structured and how to take care of it because it influences our lives, and our lives influence it.”
Friends, family, and Georgia Northwestern Technical College faculty and staff gathered at the Floyd County Campus to pay tribute to Shannen Ferry, the director of the Horticulture program at GNTC. Ferry passed away in August after a long battle with cancer. The ceremony memorialized Ferry in one of the most appropriate ways for a horticulturist to be honored — by planting a tree and dedicating it to her memory. “We chose the Ginkgo tree, not only because Miss Ferry really loved them, but also because it represents too much of her personality,” said former GNTC horticulture student Alice Towe during the dedication. “This tree is commonly used as street tree because of its resistance to pest damage and its ability to withstand pollution. Miss Ferry, as we all know, was resistant to negativity and always had something positive to say. She did not let the ‘pollution’ of life affect her outlook the way that it affects all of us sometimes,” Towe said.
Towe said that the species of tree was also chosen because it is known for its healing properties with the heart and the brain. “Shannen kept our brains sharp with knowledge, and she helped to heal a lot of our hearts,” said Towe. “She was healing and kind to everyone she met, she was tough, she brightened all of our lives, and she was the most resilient person I have ever met.”