Courtesy / Rachel McLaughlin
Ravine Romp

Courtesy photo

Courtesy / Rachel McLaughlin Ravine Romp

Rachel McLaughlin

As part of Grand Valley State Univeristy’s Family Weekend, Peter Wampler, a geology professor, led students and their families on the annual Ravine Romp, which gives attendees the hands-on opportunity to romp through the ravines and learn about storm water management.

The group began by setting up a flood simulator using a small ravine landscape model in order to show the difficulties and disasters associated with improper water management and how to appropriately handle storm water runoff such as creating wetlands.

Wampler said the storm water in GVSU’s parking lot has been “discharge diverted” or piped into the ravines. However, the water had been eroding the soil which was leaving the slopes steeper and steeper which put buildings at risk of slipping in. GVSU has created about 60 acres of wetland in order to act as a sponge to prevent flooding.

Under a constant cover of clouds and light rain, families and students were taken on a hike through the ravines on campus to not only catch a glimpse of the color-changing auburn autumn leaves but to see first-hand where the water was and is going.

Wampler took the group on a tour of the forest and areas on campus encompassed with drainage possibilities such as Mackinac’s green roof, permeable concrete, and bioswals, areas wherein street water runs off into a drain in the grass. The group also made a quick stop at GVSU’s rain gardens, one of which is located outside of the Kelly Family Sports Center on Allendale’s Campus.

Skidding and sliding on the muddy forest floor made family members either hang onto trees or each other for balance and support while learning about the storm water care process.
“The ravines surrounding GVSU are a unique and amazing place,” Wampler said.

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