"Everything that you do -- from organized commerce to casual social interactions -- uses environmental resources and contributes to environmental change," says Peter Schwartzman, a climatologist and chair of the environmental studies program at Knox.
The environmental studies department has three full-time faculty: a specialist on climatology and environmental justice, an earth scientist with a specialization in geoarchaeology and GIS, and one focused on history and food. The program also draws on faculty expertise in the departments of anthropology, biology, chemistry, economics, mathematics, history, philosophy, psychology and sociology.
Students may complete either a major or a minor in environmental studies. The major requires introductory and advanced courses in environmental studies, as well as courses in statistics and a senior project in which the student pursues a specific environmental issue in depth.
The environmental studies program is housed in Umbeck Science-Mathematics Center. There are several large teaching laboratories, as well as dedicated student/faculty research laboratories, including an outdoor urban farm. Facilities also include controlled environmental chambers and the Ellen Browning Scripps Greenhouse.
A special Knox resource is Green Oaks Biological Field Station, a 700-acre preserve located 20 miles from the campus. Green Oaks includes prairie, woodland and wetland habitats. Green Oaks is the site for one of the nation's oldest prairie restoration projects.
The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) laboratory provides Environmental Studies students with advanced technological tools, as well as a study and meeting area. The lab includes state-of-the-art computers with the latest GIS software, ArcView, which allows for superior spatial data analysis, including the making of maps and other visuals. The lab is also equipped with a color scanner, a high-resolution color printer, two Global Positioning System (GPS) devices and an array of other measuring instruments and field equipment. The geology/hydrology laboratory provides specialized equipment to conduct scientific environmental research.
Knox's Team X-Ray places second among 15 liberal arts colleges that competed in an intense regional contest involving programming teams from colleges and universities in five states.
History Professor Danielle Fatkin shares artifacts from her archaeological dig in Jordan and provides a lab environment for students to develop skills in analyzing ancient pottery.
Campus event is affiliated with the national Bioneers movement, which focuses on exploring solutions for the world's most pressing environmental and social challenges.