Environmental Science: Citizen Action in the Global Environment

Claus Svendsen
Department of Environmental Conservation, Skagit Valley College

Summary


This special course in environmental science will explore how natural resource management has changed and developed over time. Many different socio-economic groups, institutions and NGOs continue to influence the societal values guiding the uses/abuses or conservation of our natural resources and biodiversity. Through readings, videos, fieldtrips, and guest speakers we will explore the challenges that we as individuals and nations face in the very near future. Finally, we will make international comparisons.

Course Size:
15-30

Institution Type:
Two Year College

Course Context:

Course is intended for 50% American and 50% Asian (mostly Chinese) students. Non-science majors. This special summer edition of environmental science (BIOL 107) integrates political science with environmental science. Each student, through group and individual work, will develop a service learning project.

Course Content:

The major themes are:
1) historical view of natural resource management in North America.
2) Forestry and fisheries issues.
3) Native American perspective and treaties.
4) Ecological templates, dam removal.
5) Climate change - Himalayas and the Puget Sound.
6) Energy choices - the good and the bad.
7) Whaling - Native Americans versus Asians. What constitutes indigenous peoples right?
8) Dryland forests - grazing and fire issues.
9) The role of NGOs.
10) The interconnectedness of the Puget Sound - Landuse, rivers, nearshore habitat, and Orcas.

Course Goals:

Integration:
The student project for this special summer edition of BIOL 107 integrates political science with environmental science. Each student, through group and individual work, will develop a service learning project that will consist of the following elements:

-identify an environmental problem in the student's home region and possible solution - it must be of a realistic scope
-identify the local stakeholders - individuals, groups, and institutions
-identify both the biology and politics of the problem
-what is the governmental structure and local political culture contributing to the problem
-identify local attitudes towards the problem
-proposed solution MUST make sense from both an environmental and political strategy in order to get the project off the ground
-identify all the local players
identify the necessary steps and a timeline for implementing the project

Students will write a concise essay and give an oral presentation. We will create a Moodle site for students to check in over the next year. They will be able to give updates on their progress with their project and exchange ideas.

We will keep in touch with students through our Moodle site. Students can chat, network, give updates, load photos.

This integration project integrates the issues from frieldtrips and guest lectures. In addition, it personalizes the curriculum to the student's home region.

Course Features:

The course is to be experiencial and uses and contextual pedagogy. The main features are numerous fieldtrips with guest speakers. Invited guest lecturers to the class, videos, and group discussions. A cornerstone of the course is the development of a service learning project that students walk away with.

Students will be exposed to a number of organizations and individuals who have made a positive infuence on the environment.

Course Philosophy:

The philosophy is to get students to understand the complex issues we face in light of many solutions possible. Especially, there is a focus on the development of the students asking critical questions about environmental issues in their home region, and look at solutions.

Finally, students should walk away with the sense that citizenship does make a difference. We can all make a positive change towards the future.

Assessment:

Students will write a concise essay and give an oral presentation. We will create a Moodle site for students to check in over the next year. They will be able to give updates on their progress with their project and exchange ideas.

We will keep in touch with students through our Moodle site. Students can chat, network, give updates, load photos.

Syllabus:

Syllabus BIOL 107 (2010) (Microsoft Word 89kB Aug9 11)

Teaching Materials:

Time schedule for the three week course (Microsoft Word 40kB Aug9 11)

References and Notes:



Evergreen State College