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STAGE 2: MAP the HighWaterLine

STAGE 2: MAP the HighWaterLine

a. Cartography Office

B. Topographic Experiments

C. Geo-cache the HighWaterLine

D. Performing the Water Table

Reflect Establish a Cartography Office in your school or community. Begin to collect maps of your area: road maps, geologic, topographic maps, and begin to create your own version of these maps that draws from all of these sources. Play with the power of scale and start to locate bodies of water, and other geologic landmarks on your map. You can use butcher paper to create long shorelines, and use an overhead projector to display a Google map onto this surface to trace or outline.

Create a 3D papier-mâché or cardboard version of your watershed. You can use simple materials like chicken wire, paperboard and newspaper to create a visual and 3D model of your community and its relationship to sources of water.

Geo-caching is a new sport that involves finding locations using GPS coordinates. Each geo-cache typically involves several locations marked by a small container or object with a log book, asking you to sign-in after you’ve visited that location.

To begin, ask participants to first research information about your watershed. Where does water flow and come from? Use this information to create a series of maps that show hydrology and water flow. Next imagine a scenario in which the water table is increasing or shrinking in your community. Ask students to choose an area to map this phenomenon outside using colored chalk to visualize the new flood zones or land areas now exposed because of heat and drought conditions. Draw arrows to show which way the waters will flow or shrink. A group of participants can also wear blue shirts or hold blue signs to represent the water. Set the scenario in motion and ask students to follow the flows of water mapped out with chalk and perform a flood or drought event.

Invite others to become Cartographers (map makers) for the day and ask them to create their own hand drawn maps of where they live, and how close they are to coastal and flood zones. Begin to chart the flood zones for your area and translate to your map. Finally, integrate all of these elements into an official climate change map for your community and identify key impact sites such as water treatment plants, subways, train tracks, electrical power plants, and tributaries flowing down toward larger water bodies. Find out where the most recent flood or storm surge has occurred, or investigate where riverbanks or lakeshore lines were located historically.

Supplemental Activities

Use topographic maps from the US Geologic Survey ( to get started. Next, identify sites that will need to be adapted due to increased storms and flooding, and mark where your city/ town has identified emergency preparedness areas. If time allows, ask participants to imagine new urban realities for your area and begin to build a model on top of your 3D topographic map. You can ask students to imagine floating cities, new waterway transportation and other elements. Start by creating sketches and drawings, and then use cardboard and other easy to find materials to make models that can be used with your 3D topographic map. You can easily create your own geo-cache by visiting sites like and setting up an account. To invite participation in your HighWaterLine performance, you can create a series of localized geo-caches along the route you plan to walk. Each geo-cache can have information about climate change, maps or other information for people to find while they look for each marker. This could help make the project fun, exciting and invite participation after you’ve completed your line.


Supplemental Activities


HighWaterLine ACTION GUIDE  

ecoartspace presents Eve Mosher's HighWaterLine ACTION GUIDE, the first in a series of ten art and ecology learning guides presenting replic...

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