Environmental Studies (ENV)

Academic Catalog 2010–2011

  • Jeffrey Jeremiason, Program Director

The Environmental Studies (ENV) Program, initially established in the 1970s at Gustavus, combines rigorous empiricism with analysis of ethical, aesthetic, and historical issues in examining the relationship between humans and the nonhuman world. A rich array of faculty expertise, courses, facilities, internships, and study abroad options provides the foundation for an interdisciplinary study of the environment.

Careful planning on the student’s part is essential from the beginning of one’s undergraduate career. Because of the individualized, interdisciplinary nature of the program and the sequential nature of many of the courses, students should normally declare an ES major no later than the end of their sophomore year, and should consult with an adviser from the department of their intended concentration. The advisers include Jeffrey Jeremiason (Chemistry); Jeff Owen (Economics); Mark Bjelland, Robert Douglas and Anna Versluis (Geography); Joel Carlin, Cindy Johnson, and Pamela Kittelson (Biology); Deane Curtin (Philosophy); James Welsh and Laura Triplett (Geology); Karen Larson (Interdisciplinary Studies); Richard Leitch (Political Science); David Obermiller (History); and Donald Scheese (English).

Environmental Studies Major

The major consists of 14–16 courses distributed as follows:

  1. The following ten core courses provide the student with a foundational knowledge of important concepts, theories, principles, and facts related to the interdisciplinary study of the environment:
    1. ENV-110, Introduction to Environmental Studies;
    2. BIO-101, Principles of Biology, and either BIO-102, Organismal, or BIO-245, Conservation Biology;
    3. GEO-111, Principles of Geology, and GEO-246, Geomorphology;
    4. E/M-102, Principles of Microeconomics (ES majors and minors may waive the prerequisite for E/M-102 by having the instructor sign their registration form), or POL-260 Environmental Politics;
    5. ENG-228, American Pastoralism;
    6. GEG-243, Water Resources;
    7. PHI-109, Philosophies of the Environment;
    8. ENV-399, Senior Seminar.
  2. A five course minimum concentration within one department, selected in consultation with an adviser in the department of the concentration. The concentration may include one or two core courses. The five-course concentration is intended to ensure depth within a particular discipline, and should include at least three Level II (200-299) or Level III (300-399) courses.
  3. One course credit selected in consultation with the Environmental Studies adviser from the following choices: independent study, internship, study abroad, field course.

Environmental Studies majors are strongly encouraged to consider study abroad opportunities relating to the major. The College sponsors the Community Development in India program, and additional opportunities are available in twelve different countries. Additionally, the HECUA consortium sponsors a program in Guatemala and a domestic program in the Twin Cities. The Center for International and Cultural Education and the Environmental Studies adviser will assist with integration of international study with the requirements of the major.

Environmental Studies Minor

ENV-110 and six additional courses selected from the core courses for the Environmental Studies major.

101Interpreting the Fall Landscape(.5 course) The sun is changing and our daylight shortens. Autumn not only is the season of harvest and color but the time of preparation for winter. Use your five senses to really discover the out-of-doors. The course emphasis will be on observing, recording and interpreting our natural environment. Visits to deciduous forests, tallgrass prairies, cattail marshes, and other natural areas, plus nature interpretive facilities are all part of this class. Fall semester, first half.

102Interpreting the Winter Landscape(1 course) Experience January in Minnesota from a naturalist’s perspective. We will gather information about what nature is by learning names of plants, birds, mammals, and other living things that make up the winter natural landscape. We will learn observation techniques and how to record our observations. Internships and jobs in the field of nature interpretation and environmental education will be explored. Be prepared to be outside each day with activities that include binding, weather studies, animal tracking, snowshoeing, and snow-shelter building. Interim Experience.

103Interpreting the Spring Landscape(.5 course) Overhead, underfoot, and all around us are discoveries to be made. As far as natural history is concerned, spring is the most eventful season of the year. The course emphasis will be on active observing, including visiting wetlands, deciduous forests, a restored prairie, and other natural areas, plus nature interpretive centers and trails. The study of local birds and insects, trees, shrubs and wildflowers, and other life forms is an integral part of the course. Making a mini herbarium and keeping a daily outdoor observation journal are course requirements. Spring semester, second half.

110Introduction to Environmental Studies(1 course) This course introduces students to interdisciplinary methods of studying the environment. We begin with a study of the inter-linked environmental systems of atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere. We then explore critical questions such as food production, water use, energy use, waste disposal, and sustainability. Field trips will expose students to local environmental issues. Throughout the course we will also seek to cultivate an aesthetic appreciation for the natural world and to explore the ethical foundations for responsible use and care of the earth. Spring semester.

399Senior Seminar(1 course) This capstone course for environmental studies majors emphasizes the interdisciplinary nature of environmental studies. Students will examine a number of environmental issues within the context of particular bioregions from geological, geographic, economic, political, historical, as well as other perspectives. A variety of research methodologies will be utilized. Student research projects will culminate in a public presentation. Fall semester.