The senior capstone courses investigate the causes of, and solutions to, selected environmental issues, problems, and policies through lectures, primary literature research, original data collection, laboratory and fieldwork, discussions, and guest presentations. Focuses on completion of a group research project with methods used by private consulting firms and governmental agencies to investigate the given issues at hand. Students work individually and collaboratively on a project with a common theme and are assigned unique roles as researchers, editors, and technical coordinators.  There are there three sections; science, domestic policy and international policy.  Research results are presented to stakeholders in a public forum the end of the semester. Civic engagement component provides useful information to the affected communities and gives students experience interacting with interested stakeholders. Skill development includes research, communication, and collaborative work skills.

ES 494: Problems in Environmental Science

Changing Water Quality in Maine Lakes
As part of a capstone course, a portion of seniors in Colby’s Environmental Studies Department create an annual report on the ecology of a segment of the Belgrade Lakes system. Past studies have focused on individual lakes within the system; this year, students concentrated their studies on nutrient cycling in Great Pond. The students present their final report each year at a community meeting held at the Maine Lakes Resource Center.  A copy of the 2013 report is available.

ES 493: Environmental Policy Practicum

The State of Maine’s Sustainable Seafood Systems, Domestic Emphasis (New- Fall 2013)

The State of Maine’s Sustainable Seafood Systems investigates the benefits and potential of developing local seafood systems in Maine. One proposed solution to overfishing and underemployment in coastal communities is the development of seafood systems that are based on community-scale management and local distribution of seafood. These can be more sustainable than large-scale, industrialized fisheries for global markets and return more value to local residents. This type of solution is particularly relevant in Maine, due to the state’s more than 3,500 miles of shoreline, its long history of fishing in communities situated along coasts and rivers, and a growing interest among Maine’s consumers in maintaining and supporting local food systems. In this capstone course, students conduct original research on innovative initiatives aimed at increasing the sustainability of Maine’s seafood systems, using three case studies: town management of clams along Maine’s coast, town management of alewives along Maine’s rivers, and Community Supported Fisheries (CSFs) throughout the state. Each component of the final report includes analyses of the state of the resource and ecosystem, the legal framework providing the right to fish, and the economics of supporting community-scale fisheries in Maine.

ES 493: Environmental Policy Practicum, The State of Maine’s Environment, Domestic Emphasis

The State of Maine’s Environment 2012 report examines four topics of importance to Maine: Large Landscape ConservationEnergy InfrastructureIndustrial Hazardous Waste, and Certification Schemes. For each issue, we explorethehistory and current state of the topic, the laws and regulations whichdirectly influence it, the stakeholders involved involved in the area, and future scenarios and implications of our findings. We conclude each chapter with recommendations based on our analyses.To download the completed hard copy of the report (as pdf) see: State of Maine’s Environment 2012

To learn more about the authors, see our bios on the About Us page.

ES 493: Environmental Policy Practicum, International Emphasis

Development Strategies and Environmental Policy in East AfricaEnvironmental Policy Update 2012Development Strategies and Environmental Policy in East Africais the second in a series of reports written by the Colby Environmental Policy Group, a group of senior environmental policy majors at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.  This is the secondEast Africa Update report created by students enrolled in ES 493: Environmental Policy Practicum, taught by Assistant Professor Travis Reynolds. Reports from previous years focused on the state of Maine’s environment, and can be viewed on the State of Maine’s Environment page.The 2012 report examines seven topics of importance to Ethiopia: Philanthropy, Floriculture, Agriculture, Land-Use Management, Small Business Models, Waste Management, and Massive Hydropower.  For each issue, we explore the history of the topic, laws and institutions, stakeholders, the current state of the topic, and the implications of our findings that we relate to the future state of the topic.  We conclude each chapter with policy recommendations based on our analyses. To learn more about the authors see short biographies on the About Us page.To view a summary of the Environmental Policy Update 2012 report, see the Executive Summary. To download a complete pdf of the entire Environmental Policy Update 2012 report (26.5 MB) click here. To view and download individual chapters of the reports on-line, visit the Key Issues in Ethiopia 2012 page.To view powerpoint presentations summarizing the each individual chapter of the report, see the Student Presentations.

ES 212: Atlas of Maine

Atlas of Maine student discussing poster with Prof. Russ Cole.The Atlas of Maine 2011 was developed by students in ES212: Introduction to GIS and Remote Sensing. This course is a comprehensive theoretical and practical introduction to the fundamental principles of geographic information systems and remote sensing digital image processing taught by Philip Nyhus, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies at Colby College. For acknowledgements click here.

The Atlas of Maine was the first of two projects completed by the students. The Atlas emphasized “visual GIS.” The goal of this project was to develop a series of visually striking maps illustrating Maine’s unique natural and human resources. Full-scale posters were developed and presented at the annual Colby Undergraduate Research Symposium.
For their second project, the students completed independent projects that emphasized “analytical GIS.” To see the student’s GIS research projects, click here.
For additional information about GIS resources at Colby College, click here.