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This CD resource guide accompanies a series of maps made available to teachers1 for educational use. The maps cover basic geographical data within the Presumpscot watershed in southern Maine, including past and present settlement patterns, dam location, population density, surface water quality classifications, and amount of land that has been paved over or built upon (impervious surfaces). Scientists, scholars, conservation experts, land use managers, and the public use such maps to understand resource issues and help make better decisions about them. This CD provides opportunities for students to explore environmental issues in their own watershed using a Geographic Information System (GIS).

Some maps cover the entire watershed, some are focused on specific areas or municipalities, and one covers parts of the larger Gulf of Maine watershed. The objective is to provide a series of resources for students to explore in place-based education. We recommend allowing students time to click around and explore what happens. The Adobe PDF format is very stable and protects the files and the maps from being deleted or edited by the users (see Appendix for information on using the PDFs).

Each set of maps can be used for a series of lessons. Each category is introduced along with key concepts. Next, we provide sample lessons for that category. The first lesson calls for basic skills in locating information and for some critical thinking. Subsequent lessons engage the student in more advanced research and critical thinking exercises. Some lessons can be done in an hour. Some may require more time to collect and apply auxiliary information, but could still be completed in an hour or two depending on the boundaries set for the collection of supporting information. Some of the research questions in the lessons can come from the students themselves. Some research questions can be rather open-ended, as is often the case with environmental research. In such cases, the teacher may choose to expand the lesson into the basis of a unit involving several weeks. Whether the goals are to give the student some initial meaningful contact with spatial data or to develop a long-term, place-based class research project, the maps support active inquiry that lets students explore data layers and look for patterns.


This work was supported by the National Targeted Watershed Grant Program, with funding provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through a Cooperative Agreement with the Casco Bay Estuary Partnership and the Presumpscot River Watershed Coalition. This guide and the activities have been developed by Robert Sanford, Sarah Plummer, Rosemary Mosher, and Matthew Craig. Any errors or omissions are the responsibility of the authors. The Cumberland County Soil and Water District provided a meeting place and resources in creating the guide. Dr. Nathan Hamilton (Geography-Anthropology Department, University of Southern Maine) provided historical information.

Permission is granted to produce copies of this guide and associated maps for educational use. Reproductions should credit the authors and source.


Watersheds - Presumpscot River, Education


Casco Bay watershed, Presumpscot River



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