BCU professor informs freshmen about Sioux City ecosystem

Photo by Christopher Braunschweig
Above: Dr. Brian Hazlett gets more involved with his lecture by walking around the crowd of students.

Chris Harpenau
Staff Reporter

The Briar Cliff University freshmen and faculty took a look at Sioux City’s past to discover reasons why they should be caring more about its future.

Tuesday afternoon, Dr. Brian Hazlett addressed students with a lecture outlining the different types of ecosystems we live in today. Hazlett specializes in the environmental sciences as part of Briar Cliff University’s biology department. 

In a very informal lecture style Hazlett did not hide behind a podium, but instead surprised students by wandering the audience and giving surveys based upon audience applause.

Hazlett began the talk by trying to reassure students about the content of his lecture.

“I am here today to represent the environment,” said Hazlett, “reasons why you like it, and reasons you should. For those of you who like pictures and not words, I have a lot of pictures. And for those of you who like words, I have those as well.”

Kelsey Brady, a freshman studying radiation technology said she was very impressed with how Hazlett conducted himself among students.

“He was very involved with us and cared for our opinions,” said Brady. “I also liked the amount of pictures and videos he put within his lecture.”

One of the first questions Hazlett asked students was about where they had grown up in relation the Loess Hills, a formation of wind-deposited soil known in the westernmost parts of Iowa and Missouri along the Missouri River.

During the lecture Hazlett showed students pictures taken of the Missouri River over the past 40 years, showing how the river’s banks had narrowed in width over the years.

“It was interesting to see the pictures of how much it has changed and exactly why we had the amount of flooding we did in the Siouxland area,” said Brady.

Pictures were shown to students to explain the impact that mankind often makes on the natural order of nature and how that was a contributing factor to this past summer’s record flooding in the area.

Hazlett explained how the core of engineers had narrowed the river over time based on the amount of boat traffic the city’s river had experienced in its earlier years.

“I did not know that the core of engineers had narrowed the river that much or even at all,” said Brady.

Hazlett also showed a few short video clips during his lecture. One humorously depicted Mother Nature as a real person showing up at people’s doorsteps and requesting payment for her services; the most important of those being clean oxygen.

“I learned that if we don’t change how we are dealing with the world that the ecosystems will die off and we will be out of luck,” said freshman Michael McMahn, a studio art and music major.

Freshmen were not the only ones present at this lecture. Some students from Hazlett’s environmental science class were also in attendance.

“I was there for extra credit for my environmental science class,” said Cody Davis, a senior elementary education major. “Dr. Hazlett really enjoys the environment and you can definitely tell when he talks.”

This marked the fourth lecture in a five part series for the “freshman core” class.

“I liked the last lecture,” said McMahn. “It was not boring and much more personable than the other lectures.”

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Submitted by schotzkom on Mon, 11/21/2011 - 18:36

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