Technology is an important aspect of our work here at the Goodall Center. As computers and technical science have become more and more important to both work and daily life, TLAR hopes to encourage Wofford students and others to learn the skills necessary for success in the future. Technology allows us to discover and learn in a whole new way, bringing tangible data into the greater environmental studies discussion. We hope that the information gathered by our technology will serve to illustrate a rich understanding of the natural history of our Lawson's Fork Creek.
The "dam cam", as it is lovingly referred to, is a camera that we have capturing a live stream of the Lawson's Fork dam. The internet has allowed people from all over the world to watch the creek, from Germany to Costa Rica! Images of the dam have also been captured and cataloged, so that researchers far into the future can have actual photos of stream flow and flooding. This way, we can determine how this waterway has changed over time and establish trends of large flood events.
Next to the Goodall Center, we have installed a weather station which measures temperature, rainfall, barometric pressure, and other aspects of our weather. This data is archived, and can be compared to photos of the dam to see how river flow is affected by weather conditions. In addition to providing useful information, the weather station is a great teaching tool. Students of all ages can learn about weather and climate by studying the weather station and its data.
Our stream gauge is located a bit further upstream, near the Cottonwood Trail. The stream gauge indicates water height of the Lawson's Fork as it fluctuates through dry and wet periods. Over a long enough period of time, we can determine how the water level is being affected by greater influences, such as climate change. The stream gauge data can also be compared to the dam cam to see how the nature of the Lawson's Fork changes as it flows downstream.