Environmental Science

Nathan Cahoone, ,
Trinidad State Junior College


This is an interdisciplinary course that focuses on many of the past, current and future environmental issues that affect our everyday lives, both locally and globally. We address how chemistry, water pollution, air pollution, forestry management, environmental planning, geology and other concepts affect our everyday lives.

Course Size:

Course Format:
Lecture and lab

Institution Type:
Two Year College

Course Context:

This is an introductory course for non-science majors. Students can take this course for science credit with the college, but serves as an elective course and is not required. Also, it is a relatively new course in the State of Colorado, and is the first semester that the course is being taught here at our college. It is a fairly demanding course, with many simulated labs that focus on air quality, soil quality, acid deposition and overall environmental indicators. We also have been working with the community to learn more about city planning and land-use issues.

Course Content:

This course integrates topics within hydrology, geology, water chemistry, air pollution, soil chemistry and local watersheds and land use issues. We incorporate some field experience, but are limited on time. A lot of labs are simulations, but students are asked to collect data, develop graphs from them, and then finalize reports.

Course Goals:

Students will primarily be able to correlate our individual environmental impacts with that of the local and global level. Specifically, students will be able to more accurately read topographic maps, air and soil monitoring data, read water level and quality charts and be able to accurately determine standards. Most importantly, students will be able to accurately portray this data in charts and graphs and share this information.

Course Features:

A big component of this course involves the health of the local town's water supply and how to accurately gauge the level of acidity, mineral and temperature. In addition, we study the effect that quality of water, soil and land use affects local populations.

Course Philosophy:

Because this course is brand new on the campus, I have been learning a lot of new things and ideas as the semester has progressed. I feel that the primary way environmental justice is addressed in this course is to recognize the ways in which the environment both shapes our lives and affects our everyday lives as well.


We have weekly assignments that consist of labs, quizzes, reports, and exams just about every month. Most labs have data collection, graphing components, spreadsheet development, word processing, etc. Lab reports are due every other week and are often group assignments. Writing is a very important aspect to the course.


References and Notes:

Essentials of Environmental Science.. Kenneth Friedland