Explore this section to learn what participants were asked to do for the On-Water-Intensive program.

Before day 1:

After you have finished the readings, write a 500-word essay guided by the anticipatory questions:

What do you hope to learn and experience during this Intensive?
How do you envision that to happen?
E-mail your answers to (all three),, and Selected authors will be published on the Intensive blog on this page and may be re-published at

Before day 3:

Try to arrive before 9:15, and look across the river and try to imagine Rambo’s Rock and the Castle of the State in Schuylkill that used to be near it. Spend some time with the Surging Seas sea level rise visualizer. Consider these two future maps, one under a scenario with no action to reduce CO2 emissions (“unchecked pollution”), the second under a scenario with the “extreme carbon cuts” that presently seem rather unlikely.

Before day 5:

Reflect on why you decided to participate in the seminar, think back to our day 1 discussion about your goals, and craft three sentences that state what that goal is. Then, upload your three sentences to this shared folder.

Before day 6 (6/25):

After you have finished the readings, reflect on the following: You are planning to purchase a new home in South Philadelphia, based what you have learned so far in this course, and based on the readings, what information would you like to have to help you in your choice of home?

Record your thoughts and submit to the Google drive with “YOURNAME_0625_assignment” as the file name

After day 7 (6/26):

For today’s session on the tidal Schuylkill we expanded on some of the ecological principles and field methods that we introduced last week. In looking at the river’s biology, the fish crew captured a pair of snakeheads (Family Channidae) – a fish that was introduced into the Delaware watershed within the last 15 years, and one that is generally seen as being environmentally destructive. We also had the opportunity to observe a hatchery for freshwater mussels (Class Bivalvia) that is intended to protect and possibly reintroduce mussel species that have been extirpated from local habitats.

This juxtaposition raises interesting questions about what constitutes “desirable” vs. “undesirable” species in an ecosystem. Why are some species considered “invasive” while others are purposely introduced? How long is an introduced species considered “alien,” considering that several of the most popular game fish in the Delaware began their time here as “invasives”? What level of environmental disruption do we tolerate before a species is considered “bad”? How does the reintroduction of mussels differ from the introduction of a fish like the snakehead? Does the language we use (“alien”, “invasive”, or “beneficial”) have significance?

Please write a reflective piece (~250 words) that considers how humans shape their ecosystems according to our sense of good or bad organisms.