Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)




Nathanael Kidwell

Committee Members

John C. Poutsma

Deborah C. Bebout

Jonathan Frey


Lake Alaotra is the largest lake in Madagascar, and the surrounding wetlands are a major food producing region for Madagascar. The regions around Lake Alaotra are suffering from deforestation and erosion. Due to the cultural and economic importance of Lake Alaotra it has become of particular interest for restoration. Conservation International and the Priceless Planet Coalition have collaborated on a project to reforest the area. This project relies on stakeholder engagement and is led by the communities in the region. Community engagement and the expertise they provide is critical for successful conservation. The community involvement in the evaluation and monitoring is just as important, although there are many obstacles to monitoring and many projects are never evaluated. In particular, the cost of project evaluation is high, especially for water quality. A meter for water turbidity capable of mid to long-term deployment costs thousands of dollars. We aimed to create a sensor capable of mid to long-term deployment that was low cost and made from locally sourced parts. We heavily considered materials likely to be available in Madagascar as we created our design. In summer 2023, we built three sensors. One was built from parts almost entirely found in Madagascar. Two were deployed successfully for a week-long test period in study streams in the Alaotra-Mangoro region and one was used for local workshops. Over fall 2023 and spring 2024 we built two additional sensors that have been used to collect calibration data. The data from these tests has allowed us to refine the sensor design, improve deployment materials, and engage with community members

Available for download on Saturday, May 10, 2025

On-Campus Access Only