Natural Resource Management Facilities at Colorado Mountain College

Facilities housed within the NRM program include the Timberline Analytical Laboratory and the Soils Laboratory/Greenhouse. These faculties provide students numerous opportunities as part of course work and the summer internship to apply their knowledge in testing the chemical and physical properties of water, soil, sediment, rock and biologic media.

Both facilities are unique to a two-year degree program and are in place to not only increase the students knowledge but to also provide them with hands-on training with high-end equipment and instrumentation. The pages for each facility will be constantly updated as new equipment and instrumentation is added.

NRM Soils Laboratory/Greenhouse

The NRM Soils Laboratory/Greenhouse is housed in Room 139 in the New Discovery Academic Building next to the Timberline Analytical Laboratory (TAL). This facility serves several purposes:

  • Soils laboratory for testing the physical and chemical properties of soils for classes and project work in the NRM program
  • Sample preparation of soil, sediment, and rock for the TAL
  • Greenhouse space that allows students to conduct bench-scale testing that requires vegetation growing plots and a year-around warm climate with ample sun
  • Staging ground for field work where field equipment and supplies can be stored

Additional information about the soils testing capability will be added soon!

CMC Timberline Analytical Laboratory (TAL) Facility

Unique lab offers analysis of water, soil, sediment, rock, biological, and building material samples for CMC programs and other users

The Timberline Analytical Laboratory (TAL) facility was conceptualized from invaluable feedback from CMC students, faculty, staff, and project partners. The development of the TAL facility, from the conceptualization meetings, is deemed to be necessary for the continued development of the NRM, Science, and Historic Preservation programs at the Timberline Campus as well as programs located at other CMC campuses. The development of this facility will truly be unique to CMC and the central Rocky Mountain Region in Colorado since analytical facilities similar to the TAL can only be found in Grand Junction, Steamboat Springs, and/or the Front Range.

The TAL facility will increase the opportunity for regional research and chemical analysis in the central Colorado Rocky Mountain region where access to equipment and instrumentation in the TAL facility is limited to independent laboratories. Leadville, CO, the location of the Timberline Campus, is a historic mining community with over a hundred years of active mining and associated environmental degradation. The TAL facility will afford many opportunities for additional analysis of water, soil, sediment, rock, biological, and building material samples that are a vital part of on-going research by CMC and other users in the Leadville vicinity.

The TAL facility will provide students a more comprehensive understanding of research techniques through the development, implementation, and presentational aspects of analytical chemistry in courses and research projects. In addition, the TAL facility will provide underrepresented groups invaluable exposure to instrumentation that will not only enhance their scientific education but also develop important research training. Based on the demographics of the CMC District and Mr. Dee’s and Ms. Harting’s Native American heritage, the opportunity exists to develop additional bridges with other academic institutions with significant underrepresented populations.

Educational Component
The focus of CMC faculty and staff is to provide students with a strong academic and field experience background including a full understanding of the role of research in the NRM, Science and HP fields. The TAL facility will provide a proper environment to enhance the analytical component of research and education that is often a missing link due to the current inconvenience and additional cost of chemical analysis. Students begin to develop research and laboratory skills in their first year of education, and utilize these research skills in a final capstone project, prior to graduation. The capstone project will require students to develop and implement a research project that will demonstrate the educational, research, and presentational competencies gained through the associated program.

Whether students are performing research themselves, interpreting research done by others in support of an environmental issue, or requesting proposals for research to solve an environmental problem, the knowledge they gain in all facets of research is invaluable to their future academic and employment endeavors.

Students currently in the NRM, Science, and HP programs have limited exposure to analytical chemistry equipment and techniques in the classroom. Coursework through each program typically involves chemistry and biology as part of the curriculum yet there is no component that illustrates the laboratory analysis of chemical and biological samples.

The TAL facility will provide an excellent opportunity for students in each program to participate in the analysis of chemical and biological samples that are collected as part of class or through research projects. This aspect will provide students the chemical and biological analytical knowledge that is a vital part of their career in Natural Resource Management, Science, and Historic Preservation. The laboratory experience is an appropriate component to add to the NRM, Science, and HP programs. The laboratory facility will provide students who participate in the Student Internship program a more in-depth component in analytical chemistry. These skills are an invaluable tool which they can utilize either in the work force or a four-year institution.

Student Outcomes

  • Understand and apply the operation and maintenance of ICP-OES, IC and XRF  instrumentation.
  • Understand and apply appropriate sample (water, soil, rock, building material, biologic tissue, etc) collection for chemical analysis.
  • Understand and apply appropriate (ASTM, EPA, etc) preparation of samples for chemical analysis.
  • Understand and apply proper handling of chemicals and equipment commonly utilized in analytical laboratories. Understand and apply appropriate storage of samples and chemicals.
  • Understand and apply results from instrument analysis in the form of reporting and quality assurance and control (QA/QC).
  • Understand and apply laboratory Quality Assurance and Quality Control methods and techniques.