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Students and faculty Katherine Adelsberger in the Environmental Studies course Soil Science take samples and GPS data from burned and unburned prairie and forest sites at Green Oaks.

Environmental Studies

Department Chair

Katherine Adelsberger

The Douglas and Maria Bayer Endowed Chair in Earth Science

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401-4999



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The prairie at the Green Oaks Biological Field Station.

Major, Minor

How We Work:

1. We work across boundaries. We study history and food, geoarchaeology and social justice, chemistry and philosophy and climatology. Environmental studies is organically (literally and figuratively) interdisciplinary.

2. We get out in the field. Our own 700-acre Green Oaks Biological Field Station is 20 miles from campus. But we don't stop there. Our faculty and students conduct on-site research across the region and around the world.    

3. We get out on campus. We're doing important research right here, right now -- in our outdoor urban farm, in our Ellen Browning Scripps Greenhouse, our geology/hydrology laboratory, and our advanced Geographic Information Systems lab.  

4. We work for tomorrow. Our seniors graduate with a long list of experience -- internships, research, an intensive senior project. They're ready for what's next.

Who We Are

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 a social scientist focused on environmental policy. 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.

Where We Learn

The environmental studies program is housed in Umbeck Science-Mathematics Center, where there are several large teaching laboratories as well as dedicated student/faculty research laboratories. Other resources include:

  • An outdoor urban farm.
  • Controlled environmental chambers and the Ellen Browning Scripps Greenhouse.
  • Green Oaks Biological Field Station, a 700-acre preserve that includes prairie, woodland and wetland habitats.
  • The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) laboratory that includes state-of-the-art computers with the latest ESRI ArcView software.
  • Hand-held and differential Global Positioning System (GPS) devices and equipment for water quality monitoring, soil sampling, and other environmental field work.
  • The geology laboratory provides space for student projects as well as basic wet lab functionality.  Specialized equipment for sample preparation and analysis are available, including a rock saw and ball mill, petrographic and stereo microscopes, and sediment sieves.

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Printed on Tuesday, July 23, 2019