Environmental Studies

Advanced Projects in Environmental Studies

Students in this course will complete an original project of their design. Class time will be spent examining various lines of inquiry within environmental studies and the methodologies employed to investigate them. Students will identify common readings from primary literature for group discussions and peer-review each other's work from the design phase to project completion. A final presentation of the project will be required as well as identification of outside reviewers. Students in this course should be prepared to conduct a substantial amount of independent work. Prerequisites: Previous work within environmental studies and related areas and permission of the instructor.

  • Valerie Imbruce | SP2012 | , - | ENV4501.01


This is an advanced course for students interested in the ecology of agricultural systems. Students will gain an in-depth understanding of inputs and outputs in agricultural systems and their relation to primary productivity, nutrient cycling, soil formation, pest control and biodiversity on farm. We will address questions like, how can animals contribute to soil fertility on farm? Can temporal and spatial crop diversity be used to manage pest and disease populations? How does tillage affect water uptake by crops? During the lab portion of the course students will undertake a group research project addressing a problem of relevance in the surrounding area. Prerequisites: Ecology or related biology course. Corequisites: Students must also register for the lab, ENV4103L.01.

  • Valerie Imbruce | FA2013 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | BIO4101.01
  • Valerie Imbruce | SP2011 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | BIO4101.01

Agroecology Lab

  • Valerie Imbruce | FA2013 | W, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | BIO4101L.01
  • Valerie Imbruce | SP2011 | W, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | BIO4101L.01

An Environmental History of Food and Farming

Humans came up with agricultural technology active ecosystem management for food production over 10,000 years ago, and began changing the world irreversibly. The long-term feedbacks between food production, human population dynamics, and local and global ecosystem properties are so potent that they must be addressed in any consideration of the human condition and what we mean by 'natural states'. A deep historical perspective and the context from ecological science are essential for thoughtful address of modern debates about climate change, food, population, and nearly all 'environmental' issues, and may call for reassessment of basic assumptions about what constitutes sustainable behavior. There will be extensive reading from both primary and synthetic works by scientists and historians. Students will write several essays over the course of the term. Prerequisites: None, but students without previous work in the natural or social sciences may be required to undertake some background preparation.

  • Kerry Woods | SP2013 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | BIO2204.01
  • Kerry Woods | SP2011 | MTh, 8:00AM-10:00AM | BIO2204.01

Applied Physics - Deformation of Solids

This course applies the concepts of mechanical physics to practical engineering and environmental problems. Any structure, be it a building, a nuclear reactor, a dam, an embankment, or a natural hillside, must be able to withstand the stresses that are placed on it by its environment without failing in order to ensure peoples safety. You will learn how forces cause stress within solid materials and how to map the three-dimensional state of stress through a material. We will then apply concepts of material science to predict how the stress state of a material causes it to deform and predict how, and at what load, a structure will fail. One emphasis of this course will be learning how to study a natural setting or a design and reduce it to a simplified model that can be analyzed mathematically. Prerequisites: PHY2235 Forces and Motion and strong quanitative skills.

  • Tim Schroeder | SP2012 | MTh, 8:10AM-10:00AM | PHY4215.01

Bedrock Geology

Understanding the solid earth processes requires detailed observations of both the mineralogical/chemical makeup of rocks and textures and structures within rocks. The emphasis of the course will be on field and laboratory observation of rock textures and structures, including depositional features that allow us to interpret how the rocks formed, and tectonic/metamorphic features that can help us determine how Plate Tectonic activity modified the rocks since their formation. Students will be expected to become proficient at field observation skills and laboratory methods used to interpret field data and understand earth processes. This is an intermediate/advanced level course that assumes prior knowledge of earth systems. Prerequisites: An introductory Geology or Earth Science course; ES2102 Environmental Geology or ES2101 Geology of the Bennington Region.

  • Tim Schroeder | FA2012 | T, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | ES4125.01

Bennington Biodiversity Project

The notion of an "all-taxon biological inventory" -- a complete list of species of all groups occurring in a particular area -- is comparatively recent but compelling. The value of such inventories is recognized widely, and many have been initiated, but none has ever approached completion. Ours will be no exception; it is a permanently on-going project. Each offering of this advanced class will focus on a selected taxonomic or ecological group (moths, mosses, millipedes, mites, microplankton....) for intensive study. The objective is documentation (quantitative, qualitative, photographic, etc.) of selected groups on campus (and immediate environs), with results compiled towards an ongoing, cumulative "Bennington Biota" website and wiki. The experience of becoming intimately familiar with a particular group of organisms, and the approaches and tools for study and identification are generally readily transferable to other groups. Candidate groups for fall 2011 include fungi, lichens, and selected plant families. Students may take the class for credit more than once. Prerequisites: Open to students with appropriate background in biology (college-level course work) and the permission of the instructor. Students must be willing and able to work independently.

  • Kerry Woods | SP2011 | , - | BIO4214.01
  • Kerry Woods | SP2013 | T, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | BIO4303.01
  • Kerry Woods | FA2011 | , - | ENV4214.01

Bennington Farm to Plate

In 2011, Vermont released its Farm to Plate Strategic Plan to provide a rationale and approach to increase economic development in Vermont's food and farm sector and improve access to healthy, local foods. Much of this work is to be done by a network of devoted individuals and organizations across the state, including a nascent Farm to Plate Council in Bennington. In this course we will contribute to the statewide effort by conducting research on food and farm issues in the Bennington region. Students will learn methods for making systematic observations about food production, distribution, or consumption, interpreting the data collected, and documenting results. Students in the course will engage in group projects and an individual project of their own design. We will also collaborate with Kate Purdie's documentary production course to explore video as a means of documentation. Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor.

  • Valerie Imbruce | FA2014 | W, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | ENV4256.01
  • Valerie Imbruce | SP2013 | W, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | ENV4256.01

City and Hinterland

Cities have always been intimately connected to their rural hinterlands. The waterways and farmland surrounding cities gave rise to urban commerce and population density. In turn, urban growth resulted in the pollution and destruction of the natural environment. Urban life has been characterized as the antithesis of environmental lifestyles, where consumption reigns and people are divorced from their natural environments. Now, as rural to urban migration continues at rapid rates, cities face the new challenge of housing over half of the world's population. Many post-industrial cities in the world's more developed countries have become leaders in environmental governance supporting polices that are reclaiming polluted sites, conserving energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, fostering urban agriculture and mass transit. Cities in less-developed countries are struggling to provide basic services and housing for their residents, let alone take up an environmental agenda. In this course we use New York City as a case study to examine the relationship between cities, their rural hinterlands, and the natural environment more broadly in order to question if cities can provide new models for sustainable living. Prerequisites: One course in the social sciences or environmental studies, or permission of the instructor.

  • Valerie Imbruce | FA2014 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | ENV4108.01
  • Valerie Imbruce | SP2012 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | ENV4108.01

Diversity of Coral Reef Animals

Coral reefs are among the most diverse, unique and beautiful of ecosystems on the planet. Alas, they are also quite vulnerable to various environmental assaults and most of the reefs on earth are in real jeopardy. Students will learn the taxonomy, identification and characteristics of the animals that live in coral reefs. We will discuss the major biological innovations that have permitted the evolution of these extraordinary ecosystems. This course can serve as a prerequisite for the one-week January 2012 field course in Coral Reef Biology in Grand Cayman. Prerequisites: None.

  • Elizabeth Sherman | FA2013 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | BIO2339.01
  • Elizabeth Sherman | FA2011 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | ENV2339.01

Ecopoetics: Origins of Environmental Literature

In this course, we will look at the ways in which writers have shaped our thinking about nature, the environment, sustainability, and rural living and will place particular emphasis on the intersection between language and our thinking about the natural world. For starters, we will study works by Virgil, poets of the English Romantic era, New World travel journals, and accounts of first encounters between Europeans and indigenous people. In addition to poems, we will read essays and longer works of nonfiction by authors such as Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman, and Emily Dickinson, though the main body of reading will be poetry. Prerequisites: None.

  • Mark Wunderlich | SP2012 | W, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | LIT2290.01

Emerging Constitutional Issues in Environmental La

Lines are being drawn for a battle over who will control environmental problems now and in the future, and the U.S. Constitution is the ammunition. Our Constitution has a profound influence on laws and policies that address the most pressing environmental issues of our time: climate change, species and biodiversity conservation, pollution control, sustainability, rights to a quality environment, individual property rights and liberty interests, to name a few. These environmental issues are molded by features of our federal Constitution, including the Commerce, Supremacy, Takings, and Due Process Clauses; the Tenth and Eleventh Amendments; and principles and doctrines such as standing, executive authority and federalism. For a document that almost no one has read, everyone seems to have an opinion about the Constitution. Through in-class analysis and discussion, individual research and writing, and reading cases, legal analysis, and current reports, we will endeavor to understand and be prepared to take part in this national debate. Prerequisites: None.

  • Elisabeth Goodman | SP2014 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | ENV2208.01


Energy has been called the "universal currency" (Vaclav Smil) but also "a very subtle concept... very, very difficult to get right" (Richard Feynman). Building on skills started in physical computing, we will, through generating and measuring electricity, gain a more nuanced and quantitative understanding of energy in various forms. We will turn kinetic and solar energy into electrical energy, store that energy in batteries and capacitors, and use it to power small devices. We will develop skills useful in a variety of undertakings, from citizen science (distributed remote sensor networks) to large-scale art installations. Students will build a final project using skills learned in the class. Prerequisites: None.

  • Jeff Feddersen | SP2012 | Th, 8:10AM-12:00PM | SCMA2110.01

Energy and the Environment: What Lies Ahead?

Many problems facing the U.S. and the world today are the direct or indirect result of our need for energy to power industrial society. Our most urgent environmental issues, many foreign wars and conflicts, and an array of economic problems would cease to exist if we suddenly discovered an endless supply of cheap clean energy. Unfortunately, such a simple solution is not likely to emerge soon enough to save us from the tough choices and possible sacrifices that will be required to preserve a world in which humanity can thrive. This course will examine both the scientific principles and societal implications of energy exploration, production, and consumption. We will analyze the history of energy use and industrial development that built modern American society, assess the current state of energy supply and production impacts, and evaluate the array of energy options before us to continue development into the future. Students will be expected to perform independent research in addition to completing readings on technical and non-technical topics. Prerequisites: None.

  • Tim Schroeder | FA2011 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | ENV2201.01

Environmental Aesthetics

Environmental Aesthetics is a relatively new sub-field in philosophical aesthetics, though it has roots in the 18th and 19th centuries. In this course we will take a broad look at the different topics that fall under the heading of Environmental Aesthetics: the aesthetics of everyday life, the picturesque, earth art, and the relation of aesthetics to environmentalism. Prerequisites: Prior work in Social Sciences, Visual or Performing Arts, or Environmental Studies.

  • Karen Gover | FA2011 | TF, 8:10AM-10:00AM | PHI4250.01

Environmental Conflicts and Mitigation

This class will look at the environmental messages found within the Book of Genesis and explore their relevance for us today. The two creation stories, the respect for diversity and the conflicts of religious fundamentalism are all found in this text. We will also explore the importance of water as an essential element, symbol and metaphor in human affairs. Prerequisites: None.

  • Michael Cohen | SP2012 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | CR2105.01

Environmental Ethics

What ethical responsibilities do individuals have towards the environment? What does environmental justice require of national and international institutions? This course examines the philosophical issues and arguments that underlie these questions. Our complex relationship to the environment, as nature, as resource, and as shared world, invites questions concerning our ethical obligations to others, to parts of the world itself, to non-human animals, and to future generations. Prerequisites: None.

  • Paul Voice | SP2012 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PHI2103.01
  • Paul Voice | SP2014 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | PHI2103.01

Environmental Geology

Earth's life-supporting environmental systems are controlled by a complex interplay between geologic and biological processes acting both on the surface and deep within the planetary interior. This course will explore how earth materials and physical processes contribute to a healthy environment, and how humans impact geologic processes. Topics covered will include: earth resources, natural hazards, water resources and pollution, soil formation and depletion, coastal processes, energy resources, and climate change. Students will be expected to examine these topics from both scientific and societal perspectives. This course will include Saturday field trips that require moderate physical activity. Prerequisites: None.

  • Tim Schroeder | FA2012 | MTh, 8:10AM-10:00AM | ENV2102.01
  • David De Simone | SP2014 | F, 8:10AM-12:00PM | ES2102.01

Environmental Hydrology

Fresh water is perhaps the worlds scarcest and most critical resource. Giant engineering projects are built to control water distribution, wars and legal battles are fought over who controls water, and the problems will only get worse as populations grow. This course is a broad survey of hydrology, the study of the distribution, movement, and quality of water. Students will be expected to perform quantitative analysis of water budgets and movements through Earth systems including rivers, lakes, artificial reservoirs, and groundwater. The focus will be on practical applications and peoples access to safe water. This course will require several field trips within and outside of normal class time. Prerequisites: Prior coursework in Earth Science. Students should be comfortable with quantitative thinking and have a firm grasp of basic algebra.

  • Tim Schroeder | SP2011 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | ES4105.01
  • Tim Schroeder | SP2013 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | ES4105.01

Environmental Law and Policy

Environmental law and policy are fundamental features of our daily lives. Yet, despite 40 years of detailed and complex regulations, obtaining a balance between economic growth and development and environmental quality has never been more difficult or more critical than it is today. This course will examine the character of environmental policy problems such as climate change, fracking, and depletion of ocean fisheries, and how these problems complicate the search for legal solutions. We will review key environmental laws in the United States, such as the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act, to study how laws are developed, evaluated for effectiveness, and changed. In addressing these questions, we will pay particular attention to how existing institutions, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, and administrative policies shape environmental decision-making. By the completion of the semester, students will understand basic themes that occur in virtually all environmental conflicts and how laws are being reinvented. Students will learn how to analyze judicial decisions and statutes, perform legal research, and write about it. Prerequisites: None.

  • Elisabeth Goodman | SP2012 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | ENV2230.01
  • Elisabeth Goodman | SP2013 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | ENV2230.01

Environmental Studies Colloquium

The Environmental Studies Colloquium is the lecture series of the Environmental Studies program. It is designed to address an environmental topic of immediate concern from a multidisciplinary perspective. For Spring 2012 the Colloquium will focus on environmental justice, the intersection of environmental and human rights. While the right to live in a healthy environment can be considered a basic human right, many political and economic processes support outcomes in which people must fight for this right. In this colloquium we will ask what justifications exist to place populations of people at environmental risk? What processes exist to involve people in decision-making that affects the quality of the environment that they live in? Outside speakers will be invited to campus to lecture and work with student participants. While the colloquium will be open to the public, students registered for the course will receive two credits with the expectation that they will attend seven events, complete assigned readings, write responses, and participate in discussion after the lectures. Prerequisites: None.

  • Valerie Imbruce | SP2011 | M, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | ENV2101.01
  • Valerie Imbruce | FA2011 | T, 7:30PM- 9:00PM | ENV2101.01
  • Janet Foley | SP2013 | T, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | ENV4238.01


This course will be a cross-cultural study of the relationships between people and plants. We will focus on how indigenous peoples around the world today know and use plants for food, medicine, shelter, and rituals. We will examine folk taxonomies, the role of plants in religion and cosmology, the conservation of genetic diversity, and the ethics of bioprospecting and scientific documentation of indigenous knowledge. The course will include basic botany as well as cultural studies. Prerequisites: None.

  • Valerie Imbruce | SP2013 | F, 10:10AM-12:00PM | ENV2203.01


Evolutionary theory provides conceptual unity for biology; Darwin's concept and its derivatives inform every area of life science, from paleontology to molecular biology to physiology to plant and animal behavior to human nature. This course will establish deep grounding in basic selective theory (including some exploration of population genetics) and explore selected current questions through readings in the primary literature. Particular topics may include: evolution of reproductive systems and behaviors, evolutionarily stable strategies and game theory; competing models of sexual selection; inclusive fitness and the evolution of sociality and altruistic behavior; coevolution in mutualistic and predator-prey (parasite-host) systems; evolution of disease and evolutionary medicine; and the (multiple) origin and loss of sex. There will be extensive reading in primary literature as well as both critical and synthetic writing. Prerequisites: Prior college-level work in biology or permission of instructor; basic familiarity with essential concepts of genetics, cell function, physiology will be assumed. Solid quantitative skills important.

  • Kerry Woods | SP2011 | MTh, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | BIO4104.01
  • Kerry Woods | FA2012 | MTh, 8:10AM-10:00AM | BIO4104.01
  • Kerry Woods | SP2014 | MTh, 8:10AM-10:00AM | BIO4104.01

Forests Lab

  • Kerry Woods | FA2013 | Th, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | BIO2109L.01
  • Kerry Woods | FA2011 | Th, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | ENV2109L.01
  • Kerry Woods | FA2012 | Th, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | ENV2109L.01

Forests: An Introduction to Ecology and Evolution

New England is one of the most heavily forested regions in the United States. 14,000 years ago it was covered by ice. When humans arrived about 11,000 years ago, they found forests already established -- and began reshaping the landscape through hunting and fire and, beginning about 2000 years ago, farming. European colonists caused further ecological change by expanding agriculture and bringing livestock, and by 1850 most of the region was cleared for agriculture. Most of that farmland has now become forested again. How do we understand and predict the workings of such a dynamic landscape? This course in ecology and evolution addresses adaptations of organisms in habitat and the function and history of ecological systems. We will use the forest ecosystems that dominate the current landscape to explore general concepts of ecology and evolution, and to develop research tools that will be applicable in the study of any ecosystem. This course is for anyone interested in how ecosystems work and why they are as they are; it will also prepare students for more advanced work in ecology and evolution. There will be extensive field-work in potentially unpleasant weather; there will also be quantitative analyses. There will likely be at least one weekend field-trip. Prerequisites: None, but students should be comfortable with algebra and with quantitative thinking in general. Corequisites: Students must also register for the lab, ENV2109L.

  • Kerry Woods | FA2013 | MTh, 8:10AM-10:00AM | BIO2109.01
  • Kerry Woods | FA2011 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | ENV2109.01
  • Kerry Woods | FA2012 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | ENV2109.01

Foundations of Physical Science

A Concise Introduction to the Principles Governing The Transformations of Matter and Energy and How They Relate to Our Environment Mastery of fire was just the beginning. After fire came kilns, then furnaces, then steam engines, then nuclear reactors. Since our humble beginnings, the story of the development of our species has featured a nearly ubiquitous and insatiable appetite for energy, most commonly in the form of combustible fuels and the heat they provide. But what is heat and what makes such a seemingly familiar and mundane phenomenon such a driving force for human activity? And as traditional sources of heat become scarce, what alternatives exist? These questions provide the framework for this course and the context for examining the foundations of chemical and physical science. The answers provide insights into the nature of heat, energy, and matter, their limitations and possibilities. The environmental, economic, and political challenges that face all countries are deeply intertwined with the scarcity of energy, making an understanding of how it is obtained, harnessed, and lost, of critical importance to all citizens and especially for future leaders and policy makers. This course will include two weekly lectures with occasional lab exercises to be conducted in class, reading assignments, short papers, review assignments, and a project. Students will publicly present their project work at the end of the term. Prerequisites: None.

  • Janet Foley | FA2013 | TF, 8:10AM-10:00AM | SCMA2104.01
  • John Bullock | FA2014 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | SCMA2104.01
  • John Bullock | FA2012 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | SCMA2115.01

Geology of Bennington Region Lab

  • Tim Schroeder | SP2012 | W, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | ES2101L.01

Geology of the Bennington Region

The stunning landscapes seen from Bennington's campus were sculpted by geologic processes over millions of years. Bennington College lies near an ancient boundary, along which the Proto-North American continent's coast collided with other continental fragments over 400 million years ago to build the continent as we see today. The Bennington region is an excellent natural laboratory to study both internal and external Earth processes, and learn how continents are built. This course will introduce basic geologic concepts, including: Plate Tectonics, geologic time, Earth materials, rock-forming processes, the water cycle, erosion, and glacial flow. Students will explore how these processes acted locally by applying field, mapping, and laboratory techniques to study rocks, sediments, and landscapes. Students will be expected to participate actively in field excursions and laboratory exercises, and independently acquire and analyze data. Field trips may require moderate physical activity. Prerequisites: None. Corequisites: Students must also register for the lab, ENV2101L.

  • Tim Schroeder | SP2012 | MW, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | ES2101.01
  • Tim Schroeder | FA2014 | T, 8:20AM-12:00PM | ES2101.01

Global Change

Every generation thinks they live in unique times, but we might have the best argument for this claim in the last few centuries. There are several reasons it's hard to predict where we're going by looking to the past. What's distinctive about our time? What are the consequences for human welfare and futures? For the natural environment? Human population has increased many-fold in the last century, and is still increasing rapidly even though rates of growth are dropping. We are already experiencing significant climate change, and our best understanding indicates that, within the next century, the world will experience climates warmer than any since the evolution of humans. These changes are substantially driven by the one-time combustion of a limited fossil fuel resource that's likely to be fully depleted over the next few decades. Humans now preempt a third or more of biological production on the planet, contributing to massively accelerated extinction (perhaps, now, a species every few minutes), wholesale rearrangement of ecosystem function, and regional collapses in productivity of agricultural systems and fisheries. Social and economic structures are embedded in and dependent on these global systems; changes in their dynamics will affect us. We will strive for understanding of the connections among global physical, biological, and cultural systems, and we will give some thought to how human society can and might respond to global changes. Prerequisites: None.

  • Kerry Woods | SP2012 | MTh, 8:10AM-10:00AM | BIO2249.01

Global Problems, Local Solutions

IThe course uses environmental issues to explore how normative and empirically based arguments are used in public discourse to achieve change. We will consider how global environmental problems take on societal importance and what steps have been taken to deal with them. What is the role of science in describing environmental problems? How does ideology shape what is seen as a problem? What kinds of conflict arise in the process of defining problems and solutions? The course will focus on the American environmental movement from the 1960s to the present day to familiarize students with the main actors and issues of the movement and to discuss change in environmental thought over time. We will focus on how individuals and groups pursue sustainable solutions through policy, grassroots organizing, research, and writing. Students in this course will be asked to confront their own ideologies about the environment and reconcile them with the knowledge gained in the course. Prerequisites: None.

  • Valerie Imbruce | FA2011 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | ENV2115.01
  • Valerie Imbruce | FA2014 | MTh, 10:10AM-12:00PM | ENV2115.01
  • Valerie Imbruce | FA2013 | TF, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | ENV2115.01
  • Valerie Imbruce | FA2012 | TF, 10:10AM-12:00PM | ENV2115.01

Intro to Maps & Geographic Information Systems

This is an introductory course on the theory and practice of analyzing and displaying spatial information. We will investigate the history of cartographic techniques, how the Earths shape was determined, and the development of coordinate systems for describing locations. Modern computer systems allow mapping of more spatial information than ever before, but more importantly, provide tools to manipulate, process, and query spatial information. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) combine the tools of a computerized mapping system with those of a relational database to allow us to better understand spatial information, formulate inquiries about spatial information, and inform decision making. In this course you will use simple computerized mapping systems to acquire and display spatial information, and you will begin to use GIS tools to manipulate spatial information so that you can formulate and answer questions. Students will be expected to develop their own work and are encouraged to use data from other classes or projects. Prerequisites: None; Students who have previously taken ES2105 Introduction to Maps and Graphs should not take this course.

  • Tim Schroeder | FA2012 | T, 8:10AM-10:00AM | ES2110.01

Introduction to Maps and Graphs

This is an introductory course on the theory and practice of analyzing and displaying quantitative and spatial information. The methods covered have a wide range of applications in the natural and social sciences. Students will learn how to utilize software to analyze large datasets, and how to plot information on graphs and maps using spreadsheet programs, graphing programs, computerized algebra systems, and geographic information systems (GIS). Students will be expected to develop their own work and are encouraged to use data from other classes or projects. Prerequisites: None.

  • Tim Schroeder | SP2011 | W, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | ES2105.01

Introduction to Video

This course teaches techniques fundamental to the craft of moving image creation, including cinematography, lighting, sound recording, and editing. It also provides a conceptual framework for video as an art medium. Students will build individual technical skills while developing an aesthetic vocabulary based on medium-specific audiovisual qualities. Throughout the term we will screen a broad range of examples of film and video works of genres both familiar and perhaps alien. We will address ideas and techniques spanning storytelling and nonnarrative approaches, fiction and nonfiction, linear and nonlinear structures (such as web-based projects), abstraction and representation. We'll spend equal time on the technical skills and the creative possibilities of sound and image editing. The subject matter of assignments will have roots in the soil--gardening and plants. The class will have group workshops, field trips and showings during the term with MA2325 Puppets and Animation I students who will be working with the same subject matter. Prerequisites: None. Corequisites: Lab, Tuesdays 1- 2 pm.

  • Kate Dollenmayer | FA2012 | Th, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | ENV2174.01
  • Kate Dollenmayer | FA2011 | F, 8:00AM-12:00PM | FV2101.01
  • Jonathan Schwartz | FA2014 | M, 8:20AM-12:00PM | FV2101.01
  • Kate Purdie | SP2013 | T, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | FV2101.01
  • Warren Cockerham | FA2013 | Th, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | FV2101.01
  • Kate Purdie | SP2014 | W, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | FV2101.01
  • Kate Purdie | FA2012 | T, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | FV2101.02
  • Kate Purdie | FA2013 | T, 2:10PM- 6:00PM | FV2101.02

Law, Citizenship, and Environmental Project Review

This course examines the practical application of environmental regulations to real issues on the federal, state and local levels. Environmental law, regulations and policies, and the ways in which citizen input can affect the ways that they are applied, are examined through an in-depth analysis of three projects. The class will undertake a joint investigation of the complex interplay between commercial purposes, citizen participation and governmental regulation of our environment by analysis of a federal case, a project subject to state law, and a project governed on the municipal level. Students can focus their research on areas of their own interest within the structure of each project, and within the overarching course focus on how environmental law and policies are actually applied. Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor.

  • Elisabeth Goodman | FA2011 | MTh, 4:10PM- 6:00PM | ENV4230.01

Modeling Landscapes: An Intro to Applied GIS

A project-driven course introducing conceptual and applied approaches to describing, analyzing, and modeling patterns and dynamics at the landscape scale. Landscape properties are the result of spatial and temporal interactions among physical, biological, and cultural processes, playing out over scales of many m or km, and over periods of years and decades. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software offers increasingly accessible tools for quantitative and predictive modeling of landcape patterns and processes. Increasing availability of long-term landscape-scale digital data (satellite imagery, maps of terrain properties, aerial photography, etc.) enhances the potential of GIS. In this class, we will bring these data-sets and tools to bear in projects addressing practical and theoretical questions about our local landscape. Projects might include, for example, development of a landscape model of carbon budgets for the 500-acre campus landscape, or plans for trail-system development on campus. Class projects could have practical consequence in campus planning -- for example, in developing land-use plans to approach carbon neutrality. Prerequisites: Students should have prior coursework in natural sciences (preferably in ecology or earth sciences), have good skills with basic computer applications, and be comfortable with algebra and geometry.

  • Kerry Woods | FA2011 | T, 10:10AM-12:00PM | BIO4110.01
  • Tim Schroeder | FA2011 | T, 10:10AM-12:00PM | BIO4110.01

Natural History of Plants

Plants define the biological environment. All other organisms depend on plants' capacity for photosynthesis. Plant structure and chemistry have shaped animal (including human) evolution, and we directly depend on plant products for food, medicine, structural materials, and many other things. Yet few people can name even the dominant plants in their environment and what determines their distribution, can recognize the role of vegetation in controlling the living landscape, or are aware of the particulars (and vulnerabilities) of our dependence on plants. This course is a general exploration of the structure, habits, and diversity of plants, with strong emphases on the study of plants in habitat and development of observational skills. Themes include: basic plant structure and function (anatomy, physiology, development); field identification of plants (with an emphasis on the local flora); understanding of nomenclature and evolutionary relationships (taxonomy and systematics); relationships between plant growth and habit and species distributions and abundance (ecology); and the history and nature of human use of and dependence on plants (ethnobotany). In addition to classroom and written work, the course includes extensive fieldwork in diverse terrain and weather, and there will probably be one weekend field trip. Prerequisites: None.

  • Kerry Woods | SP2012 | M, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | BIO2107.01
  • Kerry Woods | SP2014 | M, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | BIO2107.01

Nature and Artifice - A History of Architecture

Because architecture seeks to establish a degree of permanence in the world, it is by definition, not natural, a work of human artifice. But our structures are very much of the earth, and the history of architecture is a record of the manifold ways in which cultures have understood, and responded to, their relationship to nature. This course will explore the ways in which the natural world has been interpereted and modeled through slides and lectures. We will also read brief essays each week touching on various aspects of this relationship. Students will be expected to participate in class discussion. Weekly responses to the readings are required, in addition to a comprehesive final presentation. Prerequisites: None.

  • Donald Sherefkin | FA2014 | T, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | ARC2112.01
  • Donald Sherefkin | SP2014 | T, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | ARC2112.01
  • Donald Sherefkin | FA2011 | T, 10:10AM-12:00PM | ARC2112.01
  • Donald Sherefkin | FA2012 | Th, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | ARC2112.01

Puppets and Animation I

The class will be concerned with animating inanimate objects by strings, drawn and digital animation, human puppets, and mechanical means. A variety of filmmakers and techniques will be looked at including The Brothers Quay, Jan Svankmajer, Jiri Trnka, Ladislaw Starewicz, and William Kentridge. Students will be expected to produce a variety of short projects followed by a longer more sustained project based on current events and issues. Students will be additionally instructed in using video editing software and various other programs. Students are required to take MA2137 History of Animation in conjunction with this class. The subject matter of assignments will have roots in the soil--gardening and plants. The class will have group workshops, field trips and showings during the term with FV2175 Introduction to the Moving Image students who will be working with the same subject matter. Prerequisites: None. Corequisites: MA2137 History of Animation (M 6:30 - 8:20 pm). Lab, Tuesdays 1- 2 pm.

  • Sue Rees | FA2011 | M, 8:00AM-12:00PM | MA2325.01
  • Sue Rees | FA2012 | M, 8:20AM-12:00PM | MA2325.01
  • Sue Rees | FA2013 | T, 8:20AM-12:00PM | MA2325.01

The Agrarian Myth

The "family farm" as a unit worthy of protection and replication is a construct deeply embedded in American culture. Thomas Jefferson was a devout defender of agrarianism. He believed that democracy, personal freedom and virtue are dependent on a society in which people own and work the land in order to sustain the family unit. The yeoman tradition, however, was never a reality in the United States. Since early colonial times farmers were engaged in commercial agriculture, and there were various forms of land tenure from near feudal relations to sharecropping. Curiously, however, agrarianism still holds a strong place in present day culture. Historians have coined this contradiction "the agrarian myth." Agrarianism is now coupled with environmentalism; the small, family farmer is argued to be a better land steward, and the family farm unit has become a pivotal point of opposition to large, industrial farms. What evidence exists to support this argument? What is "good land stewardship"? How does land tenure, market structure, and regulation affect agricultural practice? In this class we will examine the agrarian ideals of past Americans like Jefferson and the Grangers to the current philosophies of the influential writer Wendell Berry. We will compare these ideals to records of practice by reading historical accounts of agriculture in New York State, ethnographies of organic, conventional, and small-scale family farming, and farmers' memoirs. The class will be reading and writing intensive, and will include a field trip. Prerequisites: One course in environmental studies and one in social science, or permission of the instructor.

  • Valerie Imbruce | FA2012 | TF, 2:10PM- 4:00PM | ENV4107.01