Environmental Studies 401: Environmental Studies Senior Seminar
T-Th 11.00a – 12.15p; Th 1.30p – 4.15p
Kathryn Morse, History/ES
Hillcrest 119/SA 240
Coordinator for Community Based Env. Studies
ex. 5925, firstname.lastname@example.org
W 1:30-4 (exc 4/13), HLD
F 4-5 (with exceptions), SA
and by appointment
M 10:00 am – Noon
W 11:00 am – Noon
and by appointment
The Environmental Studies Senior Seminar is the capstone course for the Environmental Studies major. Our goal in this course is to bring seniors from the various foci together to examine a specific topic in depth and from an interdisciplinary perspective. We hope to provide you with an opportunity to apply your general background knowledge and specific expertise of your focus to a single issue that is relevant not only to the local area but also to the global environment as well.
The Environmental Studies Senior Seminar follows a service-learning teaching model.
At its core, service learning is a form of experiential learning that combines collaborative work with a community organization, scholarly reading, classroom discussion, and reflective writing. One of our goals is to help community organizations address their own needs while also creating an excellent learning experience for you. Along the way, you will integrate and apply your previous academic knowledge, along with our class readings and discussions, while grappling with real, current issues. Through a sense of community service and responsibility, you will take your learning to a deeper and more meaningful level. Furthermore, service-learning projects are well suited to learning the tools needed to work effectively in groups; this kind of group approach is common in most professional environmental work.
Our theme for this semester is phosphorus loading in Lake Champlain.
Many different people and agencies work on the challenge of water quality in the Lake Champlain watershed. That is part of what makes this problem a challenge: two states, two nations, multiple towns, state agencies, environmental groups, local private landowners, non-local private landowners, and more. Our community partners include independent environmental consultant Kristen Underwood of South Mountain Research & Consulting in Bristol, VT, and the Addison County Regional Planning Commission, with offices in Middlebury. At ACRPC we will work specifically with Kevin Behm, Assistant Director/GIS Data Manager and Tim Bouton, Senior Planner. We will also be talking to various offices within the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. Our contacts at Vermont State Agencies will include Ethan Swift, Watershed Coordinator, Department of Environmental Conservation, VT ANR; Rich Langdon, Aquatic Biologist in the Water Quality Division of the VT Dept of Environmental Conservation; Neil Kamman, Program Manager of MAPP (Monitoring, Assessment, and Planning) for the Water Quality Division. At the Lake Champlain Basin Program, we’ll hear from Eric Howe, the Technical Coordinator for LCBP.
This theme provides an excellent opportunity to connect a pressing local issue with larger national and global concerns about water quality, economic activity, and climate change. It connects environmental policy and economics, soil and water science, spatial analysis, history, ethics and many other allied themes from environmental studies. Where did the problem come from and when and how did Vermonters (and others) come to recognize it as a problem? Why is a clean lake valuable and why has that goal been difficult to define and achieve? What are the inherent challenges in solving this environmental problem?
Classes will focus on readings and project work. In addition, members of the seminar will form four project groups charged with completing projects designed with our community partners. The course will culminate in final group products and formal, public presentations at the ES Woodin Colloquium Series. For further background on ES 401, past projects, and a guidance document for students, see:
Other than the two books that will form the discussion topics for weeks (insert weeks)
(Edmondson, The Uses of Ecology: Lake Washington and Beyond; McGucken, Lake Erie Rehabilitated: Controlling Cultural Eutrophication, 1960s-1990s), all readings are in the course share folder or will be made available via e-mail to the class list. Many are also available through the Internet.
GRADES AND ASSIGNMENTS
1. Class attendance and participation. The ES Colloquium, class, and lab attendance are required. While class time is scheduled T/Th with a Thursday afternoon lab, we will not pre-schedule every lab period (especially after week 6). In weeks 7-13, Thursday time slots will be a common time that you all have available in your schedules to work on your projects, conduct research, go to field sites, etc. You are required to attend the weekly ES Colloquium on Thursdays 12:15-1:20 in Hillcrest 103. The colloquium no longer features a free lunch. Feel free to bring food from the dining hall to eat during the colloquium. (25% of grade)
2. Class readings and discussions. For class periods with reading assignments, 2-3 students will serve as discussion leaders. These students will be responsible for leading us through the day’s readings and stimulating critical discussion of the material. Weekly discussion leaders are required to email Kathy by 7 a.m. of the morning they are leading class, presenting a brief plan for structuring discussion, including several key questions they will pose about the readings. Avoid discussion questions that have yes/no answers. Be creative with your use of discussion time; consider including brainstorming sessions captured on the board, role plays, and other activities. Also feel free to come to office hours to discuss your plan. (5% of grade)
3. Discussion papers. Individual writing assignments for the course take the form of two discussion papers (4-5 pages) due February 18th and March 12th. Papers will ask you to reflect on the readings, synthesize ideas across multiple readings, and integrate readings with other aspects of the course, including your project work and ES colloquia. (10% each paper)
4. Group projects. The class will form four project groups to undertake the projects with our community partners. You are expected to collect and analyze information, data, and materials related to your group’s project and ultimately produce a report delivered to our community partners. Projects may require travel within the region and substantial time outside of formally scheduled class. Interim progress reports, a public presentation (at the ES Colloquium on Thursday May 5), and a professional-quality report are required. The final written report is due Tuesday May 17. (50% of grade: final project presentation (oral and written) (35%), scope of work and work progress reports (10%), self and team evaluation (5%)).
Spring ’11 COURSE SCHEDULE
Note that “Project Working Sessions” are times that we will meet formally as a class for you to work in your project groups with easy access to Kathy, Diane, and your classmates for feedback. “Project Group Work” indicates periods of time when we will not meet formally, but during which you are expected to work independently on your projects.
2/8 Introduction: Four websites:
2/10 (11:00) Reading (And Listening) #1: All .pdfs in share file: “EPA tosses out Lake Champlain cleanup goals: As phosphorus pollution grows, agency wants protection plan strengthened,” Burlington Free Press, 24 January 2011; “Vermont Clean and Clear Action Plan, Annual Report, 2009 Annual Report (2010); “Revised Implementation Plan, Lake Champlain Phosphorus TMDL, January 2010” Kathryn Flagg, “Pollution in Lake Champlain,” Parts 1-3, Addison County Independent , July 2010. PLUS listen to Vermont Public Radio’s Vermont Edition from Monday Feb. 7 (download or listen at:
http://www.vpr.net/episode/50449/#) Topic is EPA and new cleanup plan.
(1:30) Meet with partners, Facilitate students getting into project groups
2/15 Reading #2: Another, slightly greater lake, for historical context: William McGucken, Lake Erie Rehabilitated : Controlling Cultural Eutrophication, 1960s-1990s (2000), Preface, Introduction, Chapters 1-6.
2/17 (11:00): Reading #3: Historical context continued: McGucken, Lake Erie, Chapters 7-end.
(1:30) Screening of film BLOOM (http://www.bloomthemovie.org/)
DUE FRIDAY FEBRUARY 18th BY 4:00 pm: HARD COPY OF DISCUSSION PAPER 1
2/22 Reading #4: Looking back at recent research on Lake Champlain: Eric Smeltzer, “Phosphorus Management in Lake Champlain,” in Thomas O. and Patricia L. Manley, eds, Lake Champlain in Transition: From Research Toward Restoration; Laura Medalie and Eric Smeltzer, “Status and Trends of Phosphorus in Lake Champlain and Its Tributaries, 1990-2000;” Willaim E. Jokela et al “Effectiveness of Agricultural Best Management Practices in Reducing Phosphorous Loading to Lake Champlain;” Donald W. Meals, “Water Quality Improvements Following Riparian Restoration in Two Vermont Agricultural Watersheds,” all in T. Manley et al eds, Lake Champlain: Partnership and Research in the New Millennium (2004).
2/24 Reading #5: Science and politics in another lake: W. T. Edmundson, The Uses of Ecology: Lake Washington and Beyond (chapters 1,2, 3, 4, 10, 12, 14, 15).
(1:30): Panel discussion with Ethan Swift, Neil Kamman, Eric Smeltzer, Eric Howe.
DUE FRIDAY FEBRUARY 25th
BY 4:00 pm: HARD COPY OF DRAFT TIMELINE AND WORKPLAN
3/1 Reading #6: Two sides to every story. Another look at Seattle and questions of social difference and values. Matthew Klingle, Emerald City: An Environmental History of Seattle, chapter 7 (On Seattle Metro); Timothy Holmes, Anthony Artuso, and Douglas Thomas, “Economic Analysis of Lake Champlain Protection and Restoration,” in Thomas O. and Patricia Manley, eds., Lake Champlain in Transition: From Research Toward Restoration (1999).
3/3 (11:00) Project Working Session and Progress Reports
(1:30) Project Group Work
3/8 Reading #7: Climate Change and other complexities: The Nature Conservancy, “Climate Change in the Champlain Basin: What Natural Resources Managers Can Expect and Do,” 2010 and another TBA.
3/10 (11:00) Project Working Session and Progress Reports
(1:30) Project Group Work
DUE FRIDAY MARCH 12th BY 4:00 pm: HARD COPY OF DISCUSSION PAPER 2
3/15 Check in with Middlebury ENVS Faculty.
3/17 (11:00) Project Working Session and Project Reports
(1:30) Check-in with community partners; Project Group Work
DUE FRIDAY MARCH 18th BY 4:00 pm: PROJECT PROGRESS REPORT
3/22 Feedback on Progress Report; Project Working Session/Progress Reports
3/24 (11:00 and 1:30) Project Group Work
3/29 SPRING BREAK
3/31 SPRING BREAK
4/5 Project Working Session and Progress Reports
4/7 (11:00 and 1:30) Project Group Work
DUE FRIDAY APRIL 8th BY 4:00 pm: FIRST DRAFT OF PROJECT MATERIALS
4/12 Share Feedback on Project Draft
4/14 (11:00) Check-in with Community Partners
(1:30) Project Group Work
4/19 Project Working Session and Progress Reports
4/21 (11:00 and 1:30) Project Group Work
DUE FRIDAY APRIL 22rd BY 4:00 pm: SECOND DRAFT OF PROJECT MATERIALS
4/26 Brainstorming Discussion about Your Colloquium Presentation
4/28 (11:00) Project Group Work and Work on Presentation
(1:30) First Rehearsal of Colloquium Presentations
5/3 Practice Colloquium Presentations
5/5 (11:00) Dress Rehearsal of Colloquium Presentations
(12:30) COLLOQUIUM PRESENTATION
(1:30) Colloquium debriefing and finalizing materials
DUE MONDAY MAY 9th BY 9:00 am: THIRD DRAFT OF PROJECT MATERIALS
DUE TUESDAY MAY 17th BY 5:00 pm: FINAL POLISHED PRODUCT