Environmental Studies Program


Courses of Study

ES118s    Environment and Society An interdisciplinary study of human relationships with and impacts on the environment. Examination of important local, national, and global environmental issues by exploring causes and methods for investigating these pressing problems, as well as possible solutions, from scientific and public-policy perspectives. Students explore important literature and ideas in the field to complement the lectures; conduct an original, semester-long, group research project; and complete several writing assignments. Four credit hours. Becknell, Nyhus, Walker
[ES120]    Community Responses to Environmental Hazards An introduction to community-level environmental problems related to hazardous waste and the impacts on and responses of affected communities. Explores the concept of environmental justice and how the risk of hazardous exposures is related to race, ethnicity, class, and gender. We discuss U.S. policy debates on hazardous waste regulation and environmental injustice claims, and we consider the evidence for the inequitable distribution of environmental quality and adverse health impacts, the mechanisms for environmental and public health decision making, and community access to informational resources and empowerment. Four credit hours. W1.
[ES120B]    From Darwin to Dillard: Nature Writing through Time Focusing on broad themes such as observing and exploring, encountering animals, working the land, and dwelling in place, we thoughtfully and critically engage a century of excellent nature writing by authors worldwide. Students learn about and practice nature writing using the personal journal, the essay, word pictures and figurative language, story telling, poetry, and activism. Through reading, writing, art, music, video, and time outdoors, students encounter nature using all their senses, and gain an appreciation of the content and process of nature writing. Four credit hours. W1.
ES143j    Sustainable and Socially Responsible Business Provides a broad overview of sustainable and socially responsible business principles and the ways in which companies incorporate them. Also introduces sustainable and socially responsible investment strategies and reviews their potential impact and effectiveness. Through a series of readings, lectures, guest speakers, and real-world case studies, students are exposed to the issues and opportunities facing green businesses. Includes small-group and individual presentations. Three credit hours. Penney
ES151j    Landscapes and Meaning: An Exploration of Environmental Writing An exploration of the works of selected 20th-century environmental writers and how their life experiences contribute to a sense of connection with and action on behalf of the Earth. Through readings, film, writing assignments, group discussion, and journaling, students will develop critical thinking and communication skills while reflecting on their own personal relationship with nature. Three credit hours. L. MacKenzie
[ES212]    Introduction to GIS and Remote Sensing A comprehensive theoretical and practical introduction to the fundamental principles of geographic information systems and remote sensing digital image processing. Topics include data sources and models, map scales and projections, spatial analysis, elementary satellite image interpretation and manipulation, and global positioning systems. Current issues and applications of GIS, with emphasis on environmental topics. Students develop and carry out independent projects using GIS. Prerequisite: Sophomore or higher standing. Not open to students who have completed Environmental Studies 214 or 214J. Four credit hours.
ES214f    Introduction to GIS and Spatial Analysis An introduction to geographic information systems' (GIS) data management and visualization capabilities as well as the theory and application of spatial analysis techniques. Topics covered include spatial data representation in a GIS, effective map making, coordinate systems and projections, exploratory spatial data analysis (ESDA), and spatial statistical analysis. Prerequisite: Sophomore or higher standing. Not open to students who have completed Environmental Studies 212 or 214J. Four credit hours. Gimond
ES214Jj    Introduction to GIS and Spatial Analysis An introduction to geographic information systems' (GIS) data management and visualization capabilities as well as the theory and application of spatial analysis techniques. Topics covered include spatial data representation in a GIS, effective map making, coordinate systems and projections, exploratory spatial data analysis (ESDA), and spatial statistical analysis. Prerequisite: Sophomore or higher standing. Not open to students who have completed Environmental Studies 212 or 214. Three credit hours. Gimond
ES215f    Weather, Climate, and Society Listed as Science, Technology, and Society 215. Four credit hours. N. Fleming
[ES216]    Philosophy of Nature Listed as Philosophy 216. Four credit hours.
ES217s    Environmental Chemistry Listed as Chemistry 217. Three credit hours. McKinney
ES218s    Exploratory Data Analysis in R Exploratory data analysis employs methods such as robust data summaries and data visualization to isolate important patterns and features in the data to shed light on the phenomena being investigated. Students will learn the building blocks of effective graphic design for data exploration and for publication using the R programming environment. They will also learn how to manipulate and restructure complex data sets (including spatial data) for data analysis. Students will use R and RStudio to generate dynamic reports that will integrate both analysis and presentation with a strong emphasis on reproducible research. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing. Four credit hours. Gimond
ES219j    Architectural Design Workshop Listed as Art 218. Three credit hours. Lock
[ES228]    Nature and the Built Environment Listed as American Studies 228. Four credit hours. H.
ES231s    Environmental and Natural Resource Economics Listed as Economics 231. Four credit hours. Meredith
ES233f    Environmental Policy A comprehensive and interdisciplinary introduction to the process and challenges of developing, implementing, and evaluating environmental policy. The roles of costs and benefits, uncertainty and risks, science and technology, and attitudes and ethics are explored. Historic and contemporary case studies are used to examine major institutions and actors, laws and regulations, incentives and enforcement approaches, and their role in addressing our nation's most pressing environmental problems. Students complete a semester-long research assignment. Prerequisite: Environmental Studies 118. Four credit hours. Nyhus
ES234s    International Environmental Policy Examines how communities, nations, and international organizations govern the use of natural resources including water, land, forests, fisheries, and the global climate. Through case studies and international environmental treaty analyses we will develop an understanding of global environmental issues; explore complementarities and tradeoffs among local, national, and global approaches to environmental governance; highlight the environmental justice implications of various resource management regimes; and assess the effectiveness of policies to address major environmental problems. Prerequisite: Environmental Studies 118. Four credit hours. I. Instructor
[ES240]    Microbes in the Environment Listed as Biology 240. Three credit hours. N.
ES242s    Marine Conservation and Policy Human activities and effects—including overfishing, water pollution, climate change, and benthic habitat destruction—have all had major impacts on ocean ecosystems. Through lectures and discussions we will investigate global, regional, and local threats to marine biodiversity and ecosystem function. Potential conservation solutions will be considered. Independent and group research projects will investigate the science and policy of marine conservation issues and will evaluate and synthesize information from scientific literature, popular media, and online discussions. Prerequisite: Environmental Studies 118. Four credit hours. McClenachan
ES243s    Environmental Ethics Listed as Philosophy 243. Four credit hours. Peterson
ES244s    Marine Communities Introduces students to a diversity of marine community types around the world, including kelp forests, coral reefs, salt marshes, and pelagic communities. Through lectures, readings, and class activities, students will learn about the physical, biological, and chemical structuring forces in the ocean, key ecological interactions, and human impacts across ecosystems. Key learning goals include improved scientific literacy in marine science, as well as enhanced public speaking and writing skills. Prerequisite: Biology 271 or Environmental Studies 271. Four credit hours. McClenachan
[ES259]    Plants of the Tropics Listed as Biology 259. Three credit hours.
ES265f    Global Public Health An introduction to the principles and measures of global health, disease burdens, and environmental determinants of health, including poverty, climate change, pollution, population, violence, and lack of safe food, clean water, and fuels. We will also study international health institutions, key actors, and environmental regimes for the regulation of environmental health hazards. Through small-group presentations and discussion we will explore global case studies that highlight the complex relationship between human health and the environment. Prerequisite: Environmental Studies 118 or a course in the natural sciences. Four credit hours. Carlson
ES271f    Introduction to Ecology Listed as Biology 271. Four credit hours. N, Lb. Becknell, Moore
ES276s    Global Change Ecology Provides an interdisciplinary introduction to the principles of climate, ecosystems, and biogeochemistry needed to understand human impacts on the natural environment. Students will study the impacts of climate warming, our changing atmosphere, land-use change, altered hydrologic and nutrient cycles, and other global changes. We will examine key elements of global ecosystem function and investigate how human activities have altered global ecosystems since the Industrial Revolution. We will critically assess scientific evidence for anthropogenic changes, and consider both impacts and solutions to the challenges of global changes. Relies heavily on reading of primary scientific literature and group participation and discussion. Prerequisite: Environmental Studies 118 and one college-level science course. Four credit hours. Bruesewitz
[ES277]    Vertebrate Natural History Listed as Biology 277. Four credit hours.
[ES279]    Geology of Bermuda Listed as Geology 279. Three credit hours.
[ES282]    Extreme Climate Change in the Gulf of Maine Listed as Biology 282. Three credit hours.
ES283fs    Environmental Humanities: Stories of Crisis and Resilience Listed as English 283. Four credit hours. L. Walker
ES297f    Sustainable Business Seminar A comprehensive introduction to the ways businesses are implementing sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Lectures and business case studies are used to examine the costs and benefits of sustainable business practices to companies, the environment, consumers, and the greater community. Students will analyze different types of sustainable businesses, from start-ups to multi-national companies, and examine the role that entrepreneurs and founders have in creating mission-driven organizations. Students will complete a semester-long group research paper and presentation, as well as several individual and group writing assignments. Credit cannot be earned for both this course and Environmental Studies 143. Prerequisite: Environmental Studies 118 or Economics 133. Four credit hours. Penney
ES297Bf    Nature in Italian Literature and Film (in English) Listed as Italian 297. Four credit hours. L. Ferrando
ES297Cj    Creative Environmental Storytelling Explores the roles of awe, mindfulness, and active imagination in environmental writing. Students will be encouraged to access their "inner hermit" and explore how, as biological beings, we can create effective storytelling to envision a future where all life thrives. Students will explore the writings of others and practice writing their own stories. Introduces the idea of the evolutionary body and how it can relate to effective engagement for positive environmental change. Previously offered as Environmental Studies 297 (Jan Plan 2018). Three credit hours. Williams
ES297Dj    Global Change Impacts on Marginal Marine Ecosystems Investigates impacts of global change on "marginal" marine ecosystems, using the subtropical reefs of Bermuda as a case study. The month will combine experiential learning at the Bermuda Institute for Ocean Sciences with subsequent lab analyses at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences. Hands-on field work, including snorkeling and underwater photography, use of contemporary water quality sensors, readings in primary scientific literature, and use of biological and chemical analytical capabilities, will teach students technical skills and develop their capacity to think critically about environmental science. Nongraded. Counts toward the biology major as a laboratory course in field biology. Prerequisite: Biology 164, Chemistry 142, Environmental Studies 118, or Geology 142. Three credit hours. N, Lb. Price
ES319s    Conservation Biology Concepts of conservation biology are examined in detail. Topics include patterns of diversity and rarity, sensitive habitats, extinction, captive propagation, preserve design, and reclamation of degraded or destroyed ecosystems. Interdisciplinary solutions to the challenges of protecting, maintaining, and restoring biological diversity are discussed. Offered in alternate years. Prerequisite: Environmental Studies 118 or 271 or Biology 263, and sophomore or higher standing. Four credit hours. Nyhus
[ES328]    Radical Ecologies Listed as Philosophy 328. Four credit hours.
[ES331]    Natural Resource Economics Listed as Economics 341. Prerequisite: Economics 223. Four credit hours.
ES332f    Chemical Methods of Analysis Listed as Chemistry 331. Four credit hours. King
[ES337]    Climate Fiction Listed as English 337. Four credit hours. L.
ES338s    Forest Ecosystems Forest ecosystems regulate climate, store and filter water, provide food and fiber, and serve as recreational areas and sacred spaces. These ecosystems are undergoing dramatic changes with important ecological, economic, and social consequences. We will use cutting-edge methods in ecosystem science to explore how forest ecosystems are changing and how that influences the value we derive from forests. An interactive lecture and workshop-style lab will introduce a mix of practical skills and theoretical knowledge to serve as tools for understanding the causes and consequences of changing forest ecosystems. Prerequisite: Biology 237, 271 or Environmental Studies 271. Four credit hours. N, Lb. Becknell
[ES344]    Marine Fisheries Management Managing marine fisheries represents one of the most significant challenges in the conservation of global resources. We explore political, cultural, and ecological factors essential for successful management. Through lectures, discussions, and readings, students become familiar with global fisheries issues, including high seas management, initiatives to protect the food security and biodiversity of tropical island nations, and management of marine and anadromous fish in the United States. Prerequisite: Biology 263 or Environmental Studies 118 or 271, and sophomore or higher standing. Four credit hours.
ES346s    Global Food Policy Examines the emergence and development of global food systems and food policies starting with the earliest agricultural societies and continuing to the present day. We explore the economic, nutritional, and environmental justice implications of agricultural systems and critically analyze the intended and actual outcomes of food policies for nations and agricultural communities. Case studies, films, and independent research further highlight the role of food and food policy in degrading the environment, exacerbating ethnic tensions and social inequities, and even spurring conflict. Prerequisite: Environmental Studies 118 and sophomore or higher standing. Four credit hours. I. Instructor
ES354f    Marine Ecology Listed as Biology 354. Three credit hours. Wilson
[ES356]    Aquatic Ecology Concern over the impact of human activities on aquatic communities and ecosystems has brought aquatic ecology to the forefront of public attention. Through lecture, discussion, writing assignments, and laboratory work, students will explore the major ecological principles that influence the physical, chemical, and biological organization of aquatic ecosystems. Experimental approaches and sampling techniques used by limnologists will be employed in local lakes, streams, and rivers, as well as in the laboratory to investigate topics of concern in freshwater ecosystems, including eutrophication, pollution, land use change, invasive species, and the impact of climate change. Prerequisite: Environmental Studies 271, a W1 course, and sophomore or higher standing. Four credit hours. W2.
[ES358]    Ecological Field Study in Moorea Biological diversity, ecology, and conservation of marine ecosystems in Moorea, French Polynesia. Involves qualitative and quantitative field studies of the biological diversity and ecology of coral reef ecosystems; field-based investigation of the environmental challenges facing these ecosystems; discussions with conservation practitioners about innovative conservation solutions and the efficacy of local marine protected areas; exposure to the culture and history of Polynesian Islanders, including pre-European ecosystem management practices and traditional ecological knowledge of marine biodiversity and ecosystem function. Lectures, films, and discussions of assigned readings during the first week followed by a 20-day field trip. Cost: TBD. Financial aid available for qualified students. Prerequisite: Biology 131 or 164 or Environmental Studies 118, and permission of the instructor. Three credit hours.
[ES363]    Paleoceanography Listed as Geology GE363. Four credit hours.
ES364f    Climate Change, Justice, and Health Examines the impacts of changing climate dynamics on human livelihoods, rights, health, and well-being. Through interdisciplinary readings, class discussions, research projects, and innovative communications, students will engage deeply with data from the natural and social sciences about human impacts, adaptations, and vulnerabilities, as well as explore climate justice activism. Key learning goals include improved information literacy and written and oral communication skills and increased understanding of the ways climate change is impacting the world in which we live. Prerequisite: Environmental Studies 118. Four credit hours. Carlson
ES366s    The Environment and Human Health How human health is affected by physical, chemical, biological, and social environments; how we use science to measure effects of these determinants at the level of cell, tissue, individual, and population; how we assess these determinants to make regulatory decisions. Topics include introductions to toxicology, epidemiology, and risk assessment; health effects of pollution, synthetic chemicals, consumer products, climate change, and the built environment; the etiology of health outcomes including cancer, obesity, endocrine disruption, and respiratory diseases. Students use primary scientific literature for independent research and, when appropriate, engage in environmental health policy debates in Congress and/or the Maine legislature. Prerequisite: Environmental Studies 118 or 126, and sophomore or higher standing. Four credit hours. N. Carlson
ES371f    Current Topics in Environmental Science Explores emerging and cutting-edge topics in the field of environmental science. Lectures will be supported by in-class activities, including regular, student-led discussions. Students will read recent literature reviewing emerging topics from leading journals in environmental science and ecology. Additionally, we will examine a variety of experimental designs, laboratory methods, and statistical approaches used by environmental scientists to investigate and understand environmental processes and human impacts. A research assignment will enhance writing skills. Prerequisite: Biology 263, 271 or Environmental Studies 271. Four credit hours. Neal
[ES378]    Geologic Environments in the Marine Realm Listed as Geology 378. Three credit hours. N.
ES382s    Ecological Modeling Listed as Biology 382. Four credit hours. Moore
ES397Af    U.S. Environmental History Listed as History 397. Four credit hours. Reardon
ES397Bf    Community, Economics, and Conservation An interdisciplinary examination of sustainability through the intersection of communities, economics, and conservation. Students will gain critical thinking and leadership skills by examining strategies, policy frameworks, and decision support tools for evaluating trade-offs between economic interests and the environment. Case studies will focus on providing tools in land conservation, finance, recreational planning, GIS, and ecosystem services, with an eye towards application in a student project. Prerequisite: Environmental Studies 118 or Economics 231. Four credit hours. Amundsen
ES398s    Life in Times of Extinction Listed as English 398. Four credit hours. L. Walker
ES401f, ES402s    Environmental Studies Colloquium Attendance at selected program colloquia during the fall and spring semesters; written reflections to be submitted. Required of all senior environmental studies majors. Typically taken in addition to a normal four-course semester. One credit hour for the year. Prerequisite: Senior standing in environmental studies. Noncredit. Nyhus
ES484s    Honors in Environmental Studies Majors approved for admission into the Environmental Studies Honors Program may elect this for the January Program or the spring semester. Requires research conducted under the guidance of a faculty member and focused on an approved topic leading to the writing of a thesis. A maximum of eight credits (including Environmental Studies 491 in the fall semester) may be earned in honors work. Upon successful completion of the thesis, an oral presentation, and all requirements for the major, the student will graduate with "Honors in Environmental Studies." Prerequisite: Senior standing and a 3.50 grade point average in the major at the end of the junior year or permission of the program. One to four credit hours.
ES491f, 492s    Independent Study Independent study devoted to a topic chosen by the student with the approval of the program committee. Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing as an environmental studies major or minor. One to four credit hours. Faculty
ES493f    Environmental Policy Practicum An in-depth analysis of current issues and policies affecting the environment. Students work individually and collaboratively on a project with a common theme and are assigned unique roles as researchers, editors, and technical coordinators. Reading and discussion of primary literature is augmented with invited speakers, field trips, and student presentations. Prerequisite: Environmental Studies 233 (for domestic emphasis) or 234 (for international emphasis), and senior standing as an environmental studies policy major. Four credit hours. Abrahams, McClenachan
ES494f    Problems in Environmental Science Causes of and solutions to selected environmental problems are investigated through lectures, laboratory and field work, discussions, and guest presentations. Focuses on completion of a group research project with methods used by private consulting firms and governmental agencies to investigate freshwater (section A) or marine (section B) environmental problems. Research results are presented in a public forum at the end of the semester. The civic engagement component provides useful information to the community and the state and gives students experience interacting with interested stakeholders. Skill development includes research, communication (both oral and written), and collaborative work skills. Prerequisite: Biology 271 or Environmental Studies 271, and senior standing as an environmental science major. Five credit hours. Bruesewitz, Countway, Neal, Pearson