Our group began with an interest in examining some aspect of Laurel Creek, or an issue related to it. We began by contacting several persons at the Grand River Conservation Authority and the University of Waterloo Plant Operations. Both organizations had an interest in the current Subwatershed 311 plan and the more encompassing Laurel Creek Master Watershed Plan. We then shifted our focus to the more specific task of looking at the effects that waterfowl have on the creek. After several days of pursuing this approach we again switched to look as the use of buffer strips on campus. We were interested in evaluating the effectiveness of the buffers and developed some criteria for what we considered an effective buffer. This included attempting to classify different vegetative zones along the creek. We were going to attempt to use diversity as a measure of buffer zone effectiveness, but it was realized that the diversity of a buffer is not necessarily reflecting upon the natural processes and functions of the buffer. We then examined the issues of creating a hostile environment for waterfowl, the safety hazard of buffers and the visual attractiveness of buffers on campus.
After contacting the plant operations staff we discussed our plans with Rudy Molunary. Rudy seemed most concerned with the university community perceptions of the buffers as it related to personal safety hazards and visual attractiveness. The same feelings were used to expressed by Dr. Larry Martin of the School of Urban and Regional Planning who is a member of the Laurel Creek Committee. We then narrowed our focus to the present status with our two objectives being to evaluate the university community perceptions of the personal safety concerns and visual attractiveness of different types of riparian zone management (i.e. vegetation). With this information, the staff from plant operations will be able to proceed with developing riparian zone vegetative communities that are compatible with the university community need for a safe and visually attractive natural landscape feature.
To measure the university community perceptions, we were planning on administering a survey at random sites on the university campus. Respondents would be asked to answer several questions on their perceptions of differents forms of riparian zone vegetation and management. We recently altered our form of data coolection to a series of focus groups. Focus groups would allow us to present a series of slides illustrating various vegetative assemblages at different locations on campus and allow respondents to discuss other concernes with our group following the completion of the survey and slide presentation. Our current situation as of Tuesday March 14th, is that we have yet to begin our focus groups. We have completed our survey and have collected the slides we require. We still are waiting for permission from the Office of Human Research for the use of our survey. The form was submitted on March 14, and it is expected that it will be ready by next Tuesday. The person responsible for reviewing applications is away for this week, and will not be back until next Monday. We expect that approval will be rapid, as we spoke to her secretary today to ensure expedient service.
Our group has begun to work on the draft report. We have included the tentative Table of Contents. We plan to write a final report, as opposed to entering it on hyper text. Examination and interpretation of each partiscipants answers will aloow us to present the university community perceptions of the safety concerns and visual attractiveness of different forms of riparina zone vegetation and management. From this information we will be able to recommend possible management directionss which are consistent with our findings. We will be using a slide presentation to the University Administration. Care will be taken such that the final presentation is clear and concise. We will be rehearsing the presentation prior to the actually day so that we are comfortable with the information.
TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR THE FINAL REPORT
List of Tables
List of Figures
Rationale - Connection to sustainable campus environment
Issues: Safety and Asethetics
Focus Group Design
Focus Group Results - Major Trends
Discussin of Results - In-depth analysis on information including biases.
Reccomendations - Integrating the perceptions of safety and asethetics into a riparian zone management plan.
Appendencies - Including a literature review.