Courses

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

ENVS0112 - Natural Science & Environment      

Natural Science and the Environment
We will explore in detail a series of current environmental issues in order to learn how principles of biology, chemistry, geology, and physics, as well as interdisciplinary scientific approaches, help us to identify and understand challenges to environmental sustainability. In lecture, we will examine global environmental issues, including climate change, water and energy resources, biodiversity and ecosystem services, human population growth, and world food production, as well as the application of science in forging effective, sustainable solutions. In the laboratory and field, we will explore local manifestations of global issues via experiential and hands-on approaches. 3 hrs. lect., 3 hrs. lab. SCI

Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

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ENVS0120 - Spatial Thinking with GIS      

Spatial Thinking with Geographic Information Systems
This course applies spatial thinking (integrating spatial concepts, spatial representations, and spatial reasoning) using geographic information systems (computer systems for processing location-based data). Students will learn to frame and solve a sequence of applied problems with GIS across a wide range of topics, including environmental planning, biogeography and conservation biology, environmental justice, political geography, and urban geography. Fundamental concepts and methods of GIS will include raster and vector data structures and operations, geographic frameworks, error and uncertainty, and principles of cartographic design. (First semester first year students and second semester seniors by waiver) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab. DED SOC

Fall 2016, Spring 2017

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ENVS0209 - Gender Health Environment      

Gender Health Environment
Growing concern for the protection of the environment and human health has led policy makers and scholars to consider ways in which gender, class, and race and other forms of identity mediate human-environment interactions. In this course we will explore how access to, control over, and distribution of resources influence environmental and health outcomes both in terms of social inequities and ecological decline. Specific issues we will cover include: ecofeminism, food security, population, gendered conservation, environmental toxins, climate change, food justice, and the green revolution. We will draw comparisons between different societies around the globe as well as look at dynamics between individuals within a society. The majority of case studies are drawn from Sub Saharan Africa and Asia, however some comparisons are also made with the United States. 3 hrs. lect. AAL CMP SOC

Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017

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ENVS0210 - Social Class & the Environment      

Social Class and the Environment
In this course we will explore the consequence of growth, technological development, and the evolution of ecological sacrifice zones. Texts will serve as the theoretical framework for in-the-field investigations, classroom work, and real-world experience. The Struggle for Environmental Justice outlines resistance models; Shadow Cities provides lessons from the squatters movement; Ben Hewitt's The Town that Food Saved describes economy of scale solutions, and David Owen's The Conundrum challenges environmentalism. Texts will guide discussions, serve as lenses for in-the-field investigations, and the basis for writing. We will also travel to Hardwick and Putney, Vermont, to explore new economic-environmental models. (Not open to students who have taken ENVS/WRPR 1014) NOR SOC

Spring 2013, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017

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ENVS0211 - Conservation & Env Policy      

Topic determined by instructor - please refer to the section. NOR SOC

Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

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ENVS0215 - Contested Grounds      

Contested Grounds: U.S. Cultures and Environments
Throughout the history of the United States, Americans have created a complex set of meanings pertaining to the environments (wild, pastoral, urban, marine) in which they live. From European-Native contact to the present, Americans’ various identities, cultures, and beliefs about the bio-physical world have shaped the stories they tell about “nature,” stories that sometimes share common ground, but often create conflicting and contested understandings of human-environment relationships. In this course we will investigate these varied and contested stories from multi-disciplinary perspectives in the humanities—history, literature, and religion--and will include attention to race, class, gender, and environmental justice. 3 hrs. lect./disc. NOR

Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

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ENVS0240 - The Science of Climate Change      

The Science of Climate Change
In its 2013 report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change declared that "warming of the climate system is unequivocal” and that "human influence on the climate system is clear.” Why do human activities affect climate? What future climatic changes can we expect, and what will be their impacts? Answers to these questions lie in processes that govern the flows of energy to and from Earth and its atmosphere, in changing atmospheric composition, and in cycling of materials among Earth, atmosphere, and oceans. In this course we will explore these processes and their implications for human-induced climate change, giving students solid grounding in climate science. We will also explore the latest IPCC report and other current literature, work with climate data, and develop simple climate models for exploring future scenarios. The climate-modeling workshop of ENVS 0240 qualifies it for the lab science requirement of the ENVS major. (MATH 0121 or waiver for high-school calculus) 3 hrs. lect. and workshop DED SCI

Fall 2014, Fall 2016

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ENVS0245 - Human Environment: Middle East      

Human-Environment Relations: Middle East
In this course we will begin with an environmental history of Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, asking such questions as: How does politics affect conservation practice? To what extent are formulations of nature constructed socially and politically? Whose rights are affected by protected areas and who decides governance criteria? The objectives of this course include providing students with an understanding of human-environment relations theory by addressing the regional specifics of modern environmental and social histories of these countries. We will look at animals, water, and forests in the literature of NGOs, UNEP reports, media, policy papers, and the academic literature. (One of the following: ENVS 0112, GEOG 0100, IGST 0101, SOAN 0103; Or by approval) 3 hrs. lect. AAL SOC

Fall 2015, Spring 2017

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ENVS0277 - Body & Earth      

Body and Earth
This course has been designed for students with an interest in the dialogue between the science of body and the science of place. Its goals are to enhance movement efficiency through experiential anatomy and to heighten participants' sensitivity to natural processes and forms in the Vermont bioregion. Weekly movement sessions, essays by nature writers, and writing assignments about place encourage synthesis of personal experience with factual information. Beyond the exams and formal writing assignments, members of the class will present a final research project and maintain an exploratory journal. 3 hrs. lect. 1 hr. lab. ART NOR PE

Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2015, Spring 2017

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ENVS0311 - Nature's Renaissance      

Nature’s Renaissance: Ecostudies and Early English Literature
In this course we will study a wide variety of literary and non-literary texts (from lyric poetry to proto-scientific and philosophical essays) that highlight both traditional and changing conceptions of “nature” pre-dating the genre of nature-writing as it has evolved over the last two hundred years. We will read these works using the tools of modern ecocriticism (with an emphasis on class, race, gender, ecology, and environmental justice) while also striving to understand these works in historical context. Topics include the microscopic and the macrocosmic, “freaks” of nature, the human/animal, bestiaries and early zoography, angling, hunting, hawking, the pastoral, country houses, harvest festivals, fair land use and enclosure, poetic inspiration, human anatomy, biological determinism, and artifice. Readings may include Spenser, Jonson, Marvell, Lanyer, Herrick, Walton, Milton, Finch, Montaigne, and Bacon, among others. 3 hrs. lect. EUR LIT

Spring 2016

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ENVS0327 - Photography & the Environment      

Photography and the Environmental
Since the invention of photography in 1839, photographers have turned their gaze toward the world around them. Working on the land, they have considered issues of land management and natural resources in a variety of ways. In this course we will explore the question of how American photographers from the 19th century to the present have used their photographs as a way of raising awareness about a variety of environmental questions. Artists to be considered may include: Timothy O'Sullivan, William Henry Jackson, Carleton Watkins, Annie Brigman, Ansel Adams, Laura Gilpin, Richard Misrach, and Edward Burtynsky. 3 hrs. lect/disc. ART HIS NOR

Spring 2015, Spring 2016

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ENVS0330 - Conserving Endangered Species      

Conserving Endangered Species
The planet is in the midst of the sixth mass extinction event. In this course we will examine the science of species endangerment and recovery and how human society, through its political and legal systems, seeks to conserve endangered species. We will explore several case studies, primarily focused on species recovery efforts in the United States. The course will culminate in a student group project. (BIOL 0140 or ENVS 0112 or ENVS 0211) 3 hrs. sem.

Fall 2014

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ENVS0380 - Global Challenges      

Global Challenges of the 21st Century
In this course we will begin by studying theories of social and political change, and then we will analyze the systematic causes of poverty and environmental degradation around the world. We will then study prospective solutions, focusing on the role of selective members of global civil society in achieving these solutions. Over the course of the semester, each student will prepare a comprehensive analysis on how to tackle and overcome a specific global challenge. (ENVS 0211 or PSCI 0214) 3 hrs. sem. SOC

Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015

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ENVS0385 - Global Political Ecology      

Global Political Ecology
In this course we will draw on theories of social and political change to understand the systematic causes of inequality and environmental degradation around the world. Using a political ecology lens, we will look at both proximate as well as ultimate drivers of environmental conflict focusing on the relations between production and consumption, representation and regulation, rights and responsibilities, and information and norms. We will compare the disproportionate distribution of environmental benefits and burdens across communities and nations. We will also study prospective solutions, focusing on the role of individuals and organizations in achieving these solutions. (ENVS 0211 or PSCI 0214) 3 hrs. sem. CMP SOC

Fall 2016

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ENVS0390 - Env Negotiation/Dispute Res      

Environmental Negotiation and Dispute Resolution
In this seminar, we will gain an understanding of environmental negotiation and dispute resolution as applied to public policy at both the domestic and international levels. We will consider the mutual gains approach to negotiation, facilitation, mediation, and dispute systems design. We will grapple with challenging features typical of environmental negotiations, such as the large number of stakeholders involved, scientific uncertainty, and value differences. We will undertake role-playing simulations. Throughout, we will think critically about the negotiating styles and assumptions employed by both seminar participants and those presented in course materials. (Junior or Senior standing; Sophomores by approval; ENVS 0211 or IGST 0101 or PSCI 0109). 3 hrs. sem. (International Relations and Foreign Policy)/ SOC

Fall 2012, Spring 2014

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ENVS0395 - Religion, Ethics + Environment      

Religion, Ethics, and the Environment ET
We will explore the relationship between religion and ecology through two general approaches. Firstly, we will examine what religious traditions (especially, Jewish and Christian, but also Hindu and Buddhist) have had to say about the human-nature relationship by studying such dominant themes as: doctrines of creation and stewardship, restraints on human impact, concepts of interdependence, and ideas of sacred space. Secondly, we will turn our attention to contemporary religiously-based environmental activism, examining the possibilities and problems that emerge when religious traditions are mobilized on behalf of the environment. Students may write research papers using one or both of these approaches. (RELI 0110 or RELI 0130 or RELI 0160 or RELI 0190 or RELI 0295 or ENVS 0215) 3 hrs. sem. PHL

Spring 2015, Spring 2017

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ENVS0401 - Environmental Studies Sr Sem      

Environmental Studies Senior Seminar
See section for course description.

Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

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ENVS0402 - World Rivers, Lit., Policy      

World Rivers, Transboundary Stories: Global Literature and Environmental Policy
Rivers are vital features in the lives of people, nations, and the environment. In this interdisciplinary course we will draw on literary studies and environmental policy to explore how narratives about rivers are constructed and the significance of these stories for how we manage transboundary rivers, which flow across physical, political, and cultural borders. We will draw on literature from around the world, such as The Hungry Tide, by Amitav Ghosh, and Adrift on the Nile, by Naguib Mahfouz, and on historical, legal, political and scientific sources in order to discuss concepts in transboundary river policy, such as freedom of navigation, the watershed, and integrated water resources management. We will examine how these concepts, in turn, shape literary narratives. This course is equivalent to IGST 0402. CMP LIT

Spring 2013

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ENVS0444 - The New West      

The New West: From Reagan to Burning Man
The U.S. West since 1976 has been transformed by economic, social, political, and environmental forces. Immigration, amenity tourism, climate change, globalization, technology, political change, and economic booms and busts have remade a region once defined by isolated rural communities, extractive industries, “natural landscapes,” and filmmakers’ imaginations. In this course we will draw from history and politics to make sense of conflicts over public lands, water, fire, energy, Native sovereignty, racial inequality, rural gentrification, urbanization, and sprawl. Short papers will culminate in a historical policy brief on current challenges in the West. (ENVS 0211 or ENVS 0215 or HIST 0216) 3 hrs. sem. NOR

Fall 2016

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ENVS0445 - Novels Environmental Justice      

Recent Novels of Environmental Justice
In recent years environmental justice has emerged as a major topic in the humanities. This intersection of environmentalism and social justice is motivated by a concern for the differential access to natural resources (clean water, clean air, tillable land) afforded to different groups of people within particular social systems. Students will encounter these themes thorugh the reading of many global Anglophone novels, including Waterland, by Graham Swift; The Hungry Tide, by Amitav Ghosh; Animal's People, by Indra Sinha; A Thousand Acres, by Jane Smiley; Ceremony, by Leslie Marmon Silko; and Disgrace, by J.M. Coetzee. 3 hrs. sem. CMP LIT

Spring 2014

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ENVS0500 - Independent Study      

Independent Study
In this course, students (non-seniors) carry out an independent research or creative project on a topic pertinent to the relationship between humans and the environment. The project, carried out under the supervision of a faculty member with related expertise who is appointed in or affiliated with the Environmental Studies Program, must involve a significant amount of independent research and analysis. The expectations and any associated final products will be defined in consultation with the faculty advisor. Students may enroll in ENVS 0500 no more than twice for a given project. (Approval only)

Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017

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ENVS0700 - Senior Independent Study      

Senior Independent Study
In this course, seniors complete an independent research or creative project on a topic pertinent to the relationship between humans and the environment. During the term prior to enrolling in ENVS 0700, a student must discuss and agree upon a project topic with a faculty advisor who is appointed in or affiliated with the Environmental Studies Program and submit a brief project proposal to the Director of Environmental Studies for Approval. The expectations and any associated final products will be defined in consultation with the faculty advisor. Students may enroll in ENVS 0700 as a one-term independent study OR up to twice as part of a multi-term project, including as a lead-up to ENVS 0701 (ES Senior Thesis). (Senior standing; Approval only)

Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017

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ENVS0701 - Senior Thesis      

Senior Thesis
This course is the culminating term of a multi-term independent project, resulting in a senior thesis on a topic pertinent to the relationship between humans and the environment. Approval to enroll is contingent on successful completion of at least one term (and up to two) of ENVS 0700 and the approval of the student’s thesis committee. The project, carried out under the supervision of a faculty advisor who is appointed in or affiliated with the Environmental Studies Program, will result in a substantial piece of scholarly work that will be presented to other ENVS faculty and students in a public forum and defended before the thesis committee. (Senior standing; ENVS major; ENVS 0112, ENVS 0211, ENVS 0215, GEOG 0120, and ENVS 0700; Approval only)

Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017

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ENVS1023 - Sustainable Writing      

Sustainability: Writing and Rhetoric
In this writing-intensive course we will examine the ways in which sustainability and environmentalism have been shaped and defined through a variety of literary, scientific, political, and popular texts. Class discussions will trace the roots of sustainability in environmental writing, analyze the diverse debates surrounding sustainability, and consider local, national, and international texts about sustainability. Students will engage with invited guest speakers, conduct field research on environmental texts in local communities and institutions, and create their own narratives and scenarios for sustainable futures based on their findings and speculations. This course counts as a cognate for ENVS majors. CW WTR

Winter 2014

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ENVS1024 - Conserv. Land Mgmnt Practice      

Conservation and Land Management in Practice
In this place-based course, we will investigate land conservation and resource management at numerous spatial scales centered on the northern forest of Vermont and New York. Studying the application of conservation tools and practices from site to landscape scales, we will explore issues including forest and wildlife management, recreational use, educational programming, public-private partnerships, and history of land conservation and use in these contested spaces. We will focus on three public-private conservation stories to glean local, regional, and national contexts and hear numerous perspectives on successes and challenges. Group projects will compare and contrast land conservation initiatives in other regions. WTR

Winter 2014, Winter 2017

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ENVS1025 - Renewable Energy-Public      

Kingdom Community Wind - Perspectives On Renewable Energy Development
In this course we will study Vermont renewable energy development goals, solar and wind turbine siting controversies, net metering rules, and Renewable Energy Credit policies. We will compare the Lowell, Vermont Kingdom Community Wind Project to the Cape Wind Project in Massachusetts, considering the diverse perspectives of developers, opponents, and regulators. Using public materials, we will analyze the issues and arguments surrounding large renewable (solar/wind) energy development. We will ask: How should renewable energy projects be sited? How have public discussions and projects in Massachusetts and California played out differently from those in Vermont? Are Vermont’s public policy tradeoffs different from those faced elsewhere? WTR

Winter 2014, Winter 2015, Winter 2017

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ENVS1026 - Impact Investing      

Impact Investing for a Sustainable Planet
In this course we will explore the field of impact investing, with specific emphasis on its evolution, company case studies, and current players in the field. We will look at “first movers”, “lost leaders”, and growth companies which sustainably manage natural resources, mitigate climate change, and protect ecosystems. We will focus on practical evaluative tools to undertake effective sourcing, due diligence, monitoring, and exits in building a solid portfolio of impact investments. This course counts as a cognate for ENVS majors with a focus in the natural sciences. WTR

Winter 2014, Winter 2015, Winter 2017

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ENVS1027 - Farming and Food Policy      

Farming and Food Policy
The interest in farming and food policy in the United States over the last several decades has grown dramatically. Examples range from movements such as Slow Food and localvores, the growth of organic food and Free Trade, and increased concerns with food equity. In this course we will examine why these issues have risen on the public agenda, and delve into the foundations of farming and food policy at the state, national, and international levels. The class will feature guests involved in food systems, and the culminating student project will focus on how various policies affect a particular food (such as apples or milk) or an aspect of the food system (such as food inspection requirements). This course counts as a cognate for ENVS majors with a focus in the natural sciences. SOC WTR

Winter 2015

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ENVS1028 - Social & Environmental Justice      

Social Justice and Environmental Justice
In this course we will study contemporary environmental justice in the context of social justice movements that have preceded them, paying particular attention to how these earlier movements have influenced the challenges and tactics of environmental justice today. Drawing on the work of Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Dorothy Day, and others, we will explore the roles race, class, gender, and religion have played in confronting poverty, racism, and violence. We will then go on to examine contemporary environmental justice movements, exploring how these movements are rooted in as well as distinct from social justice movements of earlier periods. This course counts as a cognate for ENVS majors with a focus in the natural sciences. NOR PHL WTR

Winter 2015, Winter 2016

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ENVS1029 - Food, Culture, & Communication      

Food, Culture, and Communication
In this course we will examine the dialogue between the science of body and the science of place. Our goals will be to enhance understanding of the human body through experiential anatomy and also heighten sensitivity to food both as culture and as a medium for communication. Weekly movement sessions, readings, and writing assignments will encourage a synthesis of personal experience with factual information. Beyond one exam and formal writing assignments, students will present a research/culinary project and maintain an exploratory journal. This course counts as DANC/ENVS 0277 for the Creative Arts Focus in Environmental Studies, or as a cognate for ES majors doing a science focus. ART PE WTR

Winter 2015

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ENVS1030 - Interactive Deep Dive      

Changing Our Impact on the Ocean: An Interactive Deep Dive
We will explore, through geographic case studies, how humans impact the ocean, what happens scientifically as result of those impacts, and how local to international communities respond to them. Topics covered will rotate by week: 1) Nutrient pollution: the Gulf and Chesapeake Bay, 2) Ocean Acidification: Washington and Maine, 3) Ocean Temperature: the Caribbean and Alaska, and 4) the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Students will write short position papers, do projects in small groups, and make at least one presentation to the class related to the four main topics. Each week we will have a mock “policymaking” session. Readings will include primary, gray, and popular literature. This course counts as a cognate for ENVS majors who have a focus in the natural sciences. WTR

Winter 2016

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ENVS1031 - Nonfictions of Env. Justice      

Environmental Justice at the Margins: Non/fictions
Does it make sense to talk about environmental justice at the margins of global society, where the political, social, and legal structures that ensure justice tend to fail? With three literary case studies—the toxic slums of a fictionalized Bhopal; the ghost-voices of Chernobyl’s radioactive wasteland; and the land-mined countryside of a post-war Mozambique—we will consider the strategies writers use to fictionalize real contaminated environments. Our three primary texts are Indra Sinha’s Animal’s People, 2015 Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich’s Voices from Chernobyl, and Mia Couto’s The Last Flight of the Flamingo, which we will read alongside critical writings and short films. This course counts as an ENVS humanities cognate. LIT WTR

Winter 2017

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ENVS1032 - Forest Conservation in America      

Forest Conservation in North America
The wild and wooded lands of North America have been critical for the development of society, and their significance is only expected to grow. In this course we will explore the wide variety of political and economic approaches used to “protect” forested lands, and examine how those approaches shape the landscape around us today. Students will be introduced to the roles of different publicly-owned forests, programs for privately-owned forests, and the challenges those strategies might face in the future. The course will incorporate examples from local forestlands conserved by land trusts, towns, state, and federal agencies. This course counts as an ENVS social science cognate. NOR WTR

Winter 2017

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ENVS1036 - Sea Turtles to Sharks      

Sea Turtles to Sharks
In the past two decades there has been an exponential increase in the number and size of marine protected areas (MPAs) worldwide. MPAs are used to aid fisheries, protect biodiversity, and stabilize coastal ecosystems. In this course we will engage an interdisciplinary approach, drawing from the fields of conservation biology, political ecology, and anthropology, to investigate MPA design and effectiveness in multiple locales globally. Specific issues we will investigate include: marine organism life-cycle traits, connectivity, land-sea linkages, predator-prey dynamics, centralized versus decentralized MPA governance, gendered marine property, indigenous rights, and “sea grabbing.” We will draw comparisons among MPA projects and examine dynamics between individuals within a given MPA project. The course will consist of lectures and classroom discussions. SOC WTR

Winter 2017

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ENVS1110 - Ice Cores: By Land and By Sea      

Ice Cores: By Land and by Sea
Ice coring is a primary technique for polar scientists studying Earth’s climate, both past and present, as well as for understanding air-ocean-land interactions. Although there are similarities in extracting glacial and sea ice cores, the scientific questions these cores help answer are quite different. What can we learn about past climate from two-mile thick ice? How do brine channels provide pathways for salts moving between the ocean and the atmosphere? In this hands-on course, we will learn the different analysis techniques used to study ice cores, and pursue group research questions using ice cores from both Antarctica and the Arctic. SCI WTR

Winter 2017

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Program in Environmental Studies

Franklin Environmental Center at Hillcrest
531 College Street
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753