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Environmental Studies & Ecology

Introduction to Environmental Studies
Environmental Studies 100 Roeder
4 credits
This course covers ecological principles and their application to current global environmental issues, such as human population growth, global warming, ozone depletion, changes in biodiversity, and energy issues. The importance of common property resources and their management are discussed. A laboratory is included for field trips to local areas of interest as well as in-class exercises. No prerequisites.
This course is generally offered once a year.
Environmental Studies 107 Coote
4 credits
Agroecology uses the Simon’s Rock Community Garden as the focal point for exploring the application of ecologically sound practices in agriculture. It will provide students with the philosophical and scientific rationale for alternative agricultural methods, as well as the basic scientific knowledge required to understand and assess the biological and ecological processes involved. Through labor in the garden, the pursuit of independent research projects, assigned readings, and laboratory exercises students will explore and obtain a firm understanding of the challenges of producing one of our most basic necessities. No prerequisites. Laboratory Fee.
This course is generally offered once every two years.
Aquatic Ecology
Environmental Studies 108 Coote
4 credits
This course provides the fundamental elements and concepts in the field of aquatic ecology and investigates a variety of aquatic ecosystems found in New England. Students will learn the essential physical and biological components of freshwater systems, including basic chemical and biological sampling methods, become acquainted with ecological theory as applied to aquatic systems and will be introduced to basic statistical analysis of ecological data. During the course we will explore topics ranging from aquaculture to climate change and the diversity of freshwater organisms. Through field trips we will explore local ponds, streams, and wetlands, and visit the Hudson River, one of the largest rivers on the eastern seaboard. No prerequisites. Laboratory Fee.
This course is generally offered once every two years.
Principles of Ecology
Environmental Studies 200 Schmidt
4 credits
This course examines the structure and function of ecosystems and the ecological bases of environmental problems through lectures, discussions, and laboratory work. Topics include the nature of the physical environment and its interactions with the biota, energy relationships within ecosystems, biogeochemical cycles, structures and dynamics of populations, and interactions within and among populations. Field trips to major Berkshire natural communities familiarize students with regional dominant species. Prerequisite or corequisite: Environmental Studies 100 or permission of the instructor.
This course is generally offered once every two years. Last taught F11.
Principles of Environmental Management
Environmental Studies 201 Roeder
4 credits
Here we consider alternate energy technologies, air and water pollution, risk assessment, environmental law and impact assessment, and the ways in which this society attempts to manage our environmental issues. Frequent field trips during laboratory time are used to visit hydroelectric facilities, waste burning cogeneration plans, sewage treatment plants, and water treatment facilities. Prerequisite: Environmental Studies 100.
This course is generally offered once every two years. Last taught S12.
Geographies of Nature, Wilderness, and Conservation
Environmental Studies 205 Coggins
3 credits
A well-known conservation theorist has noted that “Nature protection is more a process of politics, of human organization, than of ecology,” and that “although ecological perspectives are vital, nature protection is a complex social is the sociopolitical realm that enhances or diminishes conservation efforts.” This course examines both the “sociopolitical realm” in terms of its metaphors of nature and its conservation practices, as well as the ecologies in which it seeks its moorings. We focus on the origins of modern Western conceptions of nature, wilderness, conservation, preservation, biodiversity, land ownership, and protected area management. Focusing first on ideas of wilderness that gave rise to the “Yellowstone Model” of national park development, we discuss critical turns in conservation theory and notions of sustainable development that have led to a diverse international system of protected area management and to enduring questions regarding its efficacy. Case studies on the social and cultural dimensions of conservation in critical ecosystems within each of the earth’s major biomes describe local and regional environmental histories; rural subsistence and commercial land-use patterns; indigenous knowledge systems; local resource management practices; the making of environmental subjects (and subjectivities); and how these socio-ecological factors often render conventional preservation schemes inappropriate or even dysfunctional. As students of spatial theory and practice we also examine emerging protected area, corridor, and buffer management systems; regional conservation schemes; and theories of humans and nature that redefine the connection between biodiversity, justice, and culture. This course includes a procticum on trail building and maintenance, as well as landscape interpretation, and part of each class is devoted to work on the Simon’s Rock Interpretive Trail. No prerequisites. [Also offered as Geography 205.]
Topics in Environmental Management
Environmental Studies 304 Roeder, Schmidt
4 credits
This seminar examines problem solving, planning, and management schemes in various environmental areas. Topics change yearly and include land-use planning, management of common-property resources, campus energy management, environmental impact assessment, and pest management. Emphasis is placed on individual student research projects. Prerequisite: Environmental Studies 100 and Environmental Studies 201, or permission of the instructor.
This course is generally offered once every two years. Last taught S11.
Environmental Studies 308 Roeder
4 credits
An introduction to the study of inland lakes and rivers, this course covers the biological, chemical, and physical factors of the aquatic environment and their interactions. Emphasis is placed on the identification of aquatic organisms, methods of chemical analysis, interpretation of data, and critique of current literature. Laboratory fee. Prerequisites: College-level biology and chemistry, and permission of the instructor.
This course is generally offered once every three or four years. Last taught F10.
Environmental Studies Tutorial
Environmental Studies 300/400 Staff
4 credits
Under these course numbers, juniors and seniors design tutorials to meet their particular interests and programmatic needs. A student should see the prospective tutor to define an area of mutual interest to pursue either individually or in a small group. A student may register for no more than one tutorial in any semester.