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Academics > Majors & Minors > Environmental Studies

Courses

Contact

Katherine Adelsberger

The Douglas and Maria Bayer Endowed Chair in Earth Science

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401-4999

309-341-7274

kadelsbe@​knox.edu

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Canoes sit on the shore of a lake at the Green Oaks Biological Field Station.

Requirements

Requirements for the major

10 credits as follows:

  • ENVS 101
  • A course with a strong ethical component (PHIL 118, ENVS 228, ENVS 265, or an approved environmental ethics course)
  • An introductory class in a basic area of Environmental Science: ENVS 125 or 170
  • A course in statistics: STAT 200 (see Non-Departmental Courses)
  • A course on resources: ENVS 241, 242, or 243
  • An advanced course in environmental science: ENVS 317, 319, 325, or 335
  • ENVS 360 or 368 or an approved advanced course in the social sciences
  • Two additional credits in Environmental Studies
  • Senior project: ENVS 390/391 (1 credit) or ENVS 400.

Requirements for the minor:

5 credits as follows:

  • ENVS 101
  • A course with a strong ethical component (PHIL 118, ENVS 228, ENVS 265, or an approved environmental ethics course)
  • A 300-level course in Environmental Studies
  • Two additional credits in Environmental Studies

Course Descriptions

ENVS 101. Introduction to Environmental Studies. (1)

An overview of both the natural and human components of such environmental issues as climate change, human population growth, and biological diversity. The adequacy of scientific and policy responses to environmental dilemmas is examined in light of current knowledge and research. MNS; NPS; Course fee applies; Offered annually, typically in the fall and winter; P. Schwartzman; K. Adelsberger; B. Farrer;

ENVS 110. Introduction to Environmental Policy. (1)

This course will examine the policymaking process used for environmental issues in the contemporary U.S. We will begin by looking at the formal structures in place at the local, state, and federal levels, and then we will study the various informal ways that these structures can be manipulated. We will address multiple case studies of particular environmental issues, such as air quality, water quality, agriculture, wilderness preservation, and energy supply. Typically offered alternate years; Staff;

ENVS 118. Environmental Ethics. (1)

An examination of the contested frameworks that govern our environmental policies. Critical questions are: Is there a land ethic? Do animals have rights? Do we have ethical obligations to natural objects? Special attention is given to the major arguments of libertarian, utilitarian, and liberal-pluralist social philosophies and to the policies and practices of contemporary environmental activists. HUM; Cross Listing: PHIL 118; Staff;

ENVS 125. Environmental Geology. (1)

An introduction to the study of the Earth with emphasis on the relationship between humans and the environment as well as geologic hazards. Topics include plate tectonics, volcanism, climate cycling, rock formation, and erosion. Basic rock and mineral identification and an introduction to geologic field methods are included during laboratory periods. MNS; NPS; Course fee applies; Typically offered alternate years; K. Adelsberger;

ENVS 130. Political Ecology: Biodiversity, Sustainability, and Development. (1)

An introduction to understanding human-environment relationships through the lens of political ecology--its principles, methods, and contemporary challenges. Key issues and conflicts related to conservation, sustainability, and development will be examined through multiple case studies in local, regional, and global contexts. B. Thurau;

ENVS 160. Plants. (1)

Structured around experiences in the greenhouse, garden plot and field station, this course brings the principles of plant biology to practical use for those interested in cultivating a richer appreciation of the plant life around them. Three periods lecture, two periods laboratory. MNS; NPS; Cross Listing: BIOL 160; S. Allison;

ENVS 170. Atmosphere and Weather. (1)

An introduction to the field of climatology and meteorology, with an emphasis on atmospheric processes. Topically, this course examines key weather-related phenomena (e.g. hurricanes, frontal systems, air pollution) and acquaints students with their mathematical and scientific underpinnings. MNS; NPS; Typically offered alternate years; P. Schwartzman;

ENVS 174. Urban Agriculture. (1/2)

An introductory scientific and experiential examination of growing fruits and vegetables in an urban environment, both on open-air farm as well as in a high tunnel. Fall term version focuses on: permaculture, late crops, composting, microgreens, harvesting, season extenders, collecting/storing seeds, winterizing, and aquaponics. Spring term version will focus on: planning, seedlings, planting, bedding soils, watering, pest control, weeding, and local food systems. A student may earn up to 1 credit by enrolling in both the fall and spring versions of the course; Course fee applies; Offered annually, typically FA and SP; P. Schwartzman;

ENVS 180. Sustainability: Explorations and Opportunities. (1)

A practical introductory course in sustainability. Beginning with a history and overview of the concept of "sustainability," this course mounts an investigation and critique of many of the commonly promoted means to achieving it (i.e., recycling, technology, permaculture, etc.) from both an individual and system perspective. Group projects lead to demonstrations of usable and sustainable products and designs. Prerequisite(s): sophomore standing; P. Schwartzman;

ENVS 188. Introduction to Geographic Information Systems. (1/2)

An introduction to the fundamental principles and applications of geographic information systems (GIS) using ESRI ArcGIS software. Topics include spatial data types, map coordinate systems and projections, and basic spatial data analysis and visualization. Lectures are supplemented with ArcGIS-based projects. Familiarity with Windows operating systems recommended; Offered occasionally; K. Adelsberger;

ENVS 191. Environmental Field Studies. (1/2)

This seminar examines the environment, history, geology, and ecology of a region that will be visited during a Winter or Spring Break field excursion. Prerequisite(s): one course in Environmental Studies; Repeatable for up to 2 credits. An additional fee will be charged for the field component of the course; K. Adelsberger;

ENVS 201. Contemporary Biological Issues. (1)

This course explores the biological, political and social ramifications of contemporary controversial biological issues. MNS; Prerequisite(s): sophomore standing; Cross Listing: BIOL 201; Staff;

ENVS 220. Environmental Chemistry. (1/2 or 1)

Pollution problems are in the news every day. The government continues to set ever more stringent guidelines for pollutants. But how are the small amounts of these chemicals measured? This course answers that question by focusing on the analytical procedures used to monitor these regulated pollutants and the improvements that will be necessary as government controls become tighter. When offered for a full credit, ENVS 220 meets three periods a week plus lab. When offered as a 1/2 credit courses, ENVS 200 meets two periods a week. Prerequisite(s): CHEM 205; Cross Listing: CHEM 220; L. Welch;

ENVS 228. Environmental Racism. (1)

This course focuses upon issues of environmental quality, and how the cost to human health and access to environmental benefits is often distributed according to race and poverty. Proposals devised by environmental and civil rights groups working within the growing environmental justice movement are also explored. The goal is to help students understand more fully how decisions affecting the health of neighborhoods, regions, and groups of people are made, and what individuals can do about it. The link between environmental issues and past and present discrimination is examined from an interdisciplinary perspective, requiring students to do work in both the natural and social sciences. Fieldwork will also be required. Cross Listing: AFST 228;AFST 228;HIST 228; DV; Offered alternate years; P. Schwartzman; K. Hamilton;

ENVS 231. Native America: Identity and Adaptation. (1)

Cultural diversity of North American Indian tribes at the time of contact, adaptive strategies of particular culture areas, intellectual and artistic traditions of native North America, and confrontation of Indian and European cultures are explored. HSS; Cross Listing: ANSO 231; DV; J. Wagner;

ENVS 241. Soil Science. (1)

An introduction to soils with emphasis on laboratory methods of soil analysis. Topics examined include soil composition and genesis, physical and chemical properties of soil, soil biology and soil conservation. Current issues including environmental quality, agricultural use and soil as a natural resource are also discussed. Students formulate research questions and complete field- and laboratory-based investigations of local soils. Prerequisite(s): ENVS 125 or one course in Chemistry; W; Course fee applies; Typically offered alternate years; K. Adelsberger;

ENVS 242. Hydrology. (1)

An introduction to the hydrologic system with emphasis on water as a resource. Course topics include a detailed examination of precipitation, surface water, aquifers and groundwater flow. Students work with mathematical and graphical techniques for hydrologic analysis as well as field and laboratory methods for water monitoring and water quality analysis. Prerequisite(s): ENVS 125 or ENVS 170; MATH 131 or higher recommended; W; Offered occasionally; K. Adelsberger;

ENVS 243. Energy. (1)

A scientific examination of energy resources available on planet Earth. Energy forms are understood in terms of technological systems and sustainability. Students gain the necessary scientific background to understand the substantive challenges faced in providing sufficient energy to human civilization without depleting/exhausting natural resources and denigrating the natural environment. Prerequisite(s): ENVS 101, CHEM 101, or PHYS 110; W; Typically offered alternate years; P. Schwartzman;

ENVS 245. Environmentalism in Democratic Countries. (1)

This class will look at the environmental movement in different countries. We'll examine the interest groups, political parties, and direct action movements that emerged in the 1960s, and we'll try to understand which campaigns worked, and which didn't. We'll be focusing on North America, Western Europe, and Australasia. Prerequisite(s): ENVS 101 or ENVS 110 or sophomore standing; Offered alternate years; B. Farrer;

ENVS 248. Teaching Assistant. (1/2 or 1)

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor; May be graded S/U at instructor's discretion; Staff;

ENVS 256. Examining the Anthropocene. (1)

In the early 21st century, the term 'Anthropocene' emerged to characterize the increasingly extensive impact of human generated transformations of ecological, geological, and biological processes at global proportions. This class examines the arguments surrounding the concept of the Anthropocene and accelerated demands on natural resources and corresponding eco-systemic pressures. We incorporate the insights of cultural ecology regarding the interrelationships of social, political, and economic organization and the local and regional environments within which humans live. Through ethnogrpahic case studies, we examine the contested social and political fields in which people are making sense of, adapting to, and engaging these global transformations. Prerequisite(s): A 100-level ANSO course or ENVS 101 or permission of the instructor; Cross Listing: ANSO 256; W. Hope;

ENVS 260. World Resources. (1)

An examination of the resources necessary for human survival. The major topics include agriculture, energy, and water. Each of these core areas is investigated with a global perspective through the lenses of physical, economic and political viability and sustainability. The course includes student-led projects that examine these issues at a local, state, federal, or international level. Prerequisite(s): ENVS 101 or sophomore standing; Offered annually; P. Schwartzman; K. Adelsberger; B. Farrer;

ENVS 268. American Environmental History. (1)

The course offers a survey of American environmental history. It introduces students to how humans have transformed the landscapes in which they live; how landscapes and ecologies have affected institutions, politics, and cultures in America; and how American conceptions and ideals of nature have changed over time. Offered alternate years; N. Mink;

ENVS 270. Science, Technology, Environment, and Society. (1)

An introduction to the field of science studies. This discussion-based course examines several modern questions in the application of science and technology in society. Several non-fiction texts and contemporary articles serve as case studies in the interaction of science, technology, and society. These materials focus on the following areas of thought, each through the lens of environmental concerns: catastrophe; the philosophy of technology; technological/scientific byproducts and social injustice; biomimicry; and scientific literacy. Prerequisite(s): Sophomore standing; Offered occasionally; P. Schwartzman;

ENVS 272. Alternatives to Consumerism. (1)

Many thinkers have criticized the manner in which consumerism, overconsumption, and profit-seeking dominate both American and global culture. This course uses these criticisms as the starting point for an exploration of various alternatives which might lead humans toward not only a more sustainable lifestyle, but one which is also more personally enlivening and socially just. These alternatives include changes in personal lifestyles, economic organization, media practices, and social structures. We discuss not only the scholarly ramifications of these ideas, but how to act upon them in our lives and society more broadly. Prerequisite(s): AMST 285, ANSO 103, ENVS 101, or BUS 280; Cross Listing: AMST 272; T. Kasser; D. Beck;

ENVS 273. Chemistry and Society. (1)

A pragmatic approach to chemistry for non-science majors. Basic problem solving (e.g. stoichiometry, half-lives, etc.) and laboratory experiences will accompany this overview of how chemistry influences human life. Topics covered include consumer products, environmental concerns, drugs, radioactivity and energy. Three periods lecture, one period laboratory. MNS; NPS; Prerequisite(s): Not open to students having credit in any Knox Chemistry class.; Cross Listing: CHEM 273; Staff;

ENVS 274. Environmental Psychology. (1)

A study of the relationship between human behavior and the physical environment. This course considers the interaction of humans with both natural environments and built environments such as buildings and cities. Prerequisite(s): one 200-level course in psychology; Cross Listing: PSYC 274; F. McAndrew;

ENVS 275. Chemistry and Environmental Policy. (1)

A lecture/discussion course with emphasis on how environmental chemistry influences environmental policy. Topics include but are not limited to: atmospheric chemistry, acid rain, and the Clean Air Act. Three periods lecture/discussion. MNS; Prerequisite(s): CHEM 100 or CHEM 100A or ENVS 101 or permission of the instructor; Cross Listing: CHEM 275; M. Crawford;

ENVS 282. Deep Maps of Place. (1)

Taught at Knoxs Green Oaks Field Station, this course concentrates on the various ways in which place is understood and represented, from scientific measurements of landscape change to individual imagination and cultural memory. One of the courses principle aims is to cultivate an enhanced ability to probe beyond the appearance of place in order to inquire into the rich tapestry of narratives - ranging from the geological and natural processes involved in the formation of place to the mythic, personal, historical and artistic/imaginative narratives. Prerequisite(s): Acceptance into the Green Oaks Term program; Offered alternate years in the spring; Staff;

ENVS 283. Natural History of Green Oaks. (1)

Taught at Knox's Green Oaks Field Station, this course provides students with detailed scientific knowledge and understanding of the main ecological components and relationships within Green Oaks' prairie, forest, and aquatic habitats. Students will learn how to make systematic observations and conduct ecological studies, and they will also examine their own place within the Green Oaks ecosystem. Students will design, carry out and present individual or team research projects. Prerequisite(s): acceptance into the Green Oaks Term program; Offered alternate years in the spring; Staff;

ENVS 284. The Natural Imagination. (1)

Taught in the natural setting of the Green Oaks Field Station, this course explores works of the imagination conceived in dynamic relationship to nature by individuals and groups who live and work in communities shaped by site-specific environments. The creative process will be engaged in terms of a variety of visual, literary and/or performing arts. The course will examine the relationship between observation, memory, and imagination, the relationship between feeling, insight, expression, and experience, and the nature of imagination as an act of non-linear, analogical cognition. Students will encounter "texts," respond to and "analyze" artistic and natural phenomena (often according to the principles of bioformalism), and create original works in a medium of their choice, with a particular emphasis on creative writing (poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction) two-dimensional and three-dimensional art. ARTS; Prerequisite(s): acceptance into the Green Oaks Term program; Offered alternate years in the spring; Staff;

ENVS 285. Dynamics of Intentional Community. (1/2)

Students in the Green Oaks Term will be involved in the enterprise of forming an effective learning community. Through readings, field trips and discussions examining the processes by which communities reconcile individuality, social harmony and collective goals, this course explores the challenges and practices entailed in the building and maintaining communities. Graded S/U. Prerequisite(s): Acceptance into the Green Oaks Term program; Offered alternate years in the spring; Staff;

ENVS 288. Applications of Geographic Information Systems. (1/2)

This course builds upon the skills gained in ENVS 188, with a focus on raster data. Topics include geodatabase design, spatial analysis, data transformation and more advanced use of the editing and analysis tools provided by ESRI's ArcGIS software. Lectures are supplemented with ArcGIS-based projects. Prerequisite(s): ENVS 188; STAT 200 is recommended; Offered occasionally; K. Adelsberger;

ENVS 295. Special Topics. (1/2 or 1)

Courses offered occasionally to students in special areas of Environmental Studies not covered in the usual curriculum. Staff;

ENVS 312A. Marine Biology - Field Research on the Belizean Barrier Reef. (1)

In this course we cover the basic concepts of marine biology. In addition to the 10-week course on the Knox campus there is an optional 2-week field component for an additional .5 credit on Tobacco Caye, Belize. The instruction is motivated by the trip to Belize, therefore the specific examples of tropical marine ecosystems we study-coral reef, sea grass, mangrove, and coastal communities-are those found there. Belizean history, culture, and government, with emphasis on the environmental issues that have become a priority in the Belizean development agenda are also course topics. On Tobacco Caye, students will have the opportunity to participate in faculty guided research experiences. MNS; Cross Listing: BIOL 311A; Staff;

ENVS 312B. Field Research on the Belizean Barrier Reef. (1/2)

Two-week field component of BIOL 311A/ENVS 312A on Tobacco Caye, Belize. MNS; Cross Listing: BIOL 311B; Staff;

ENVS 314. Ornithology. (1)

This course explores the characteristics and evolution of birds and examines many areas of biology such as systematics, behavior, ecology and conservation biology using avian examples. Labs introduce students to the diversity of birds through examination of specimens of birds from around the world as well as during field trips to view a cross-section of Illinois' avifauna. Prerequisite(s): BIOL 110 or permission of the instructor; Cross Listing: BIOL 314; D. Mountjoy;

ENVS 317. Principles of Ecology. (1)

This course examines the interrelationships between living organisms and the physical and biological factors that surround them. Ecological principles at the level of the individual, population, community and ecosystem are considered. Includes both laboratory and field experiments. Prerequisite(s): BIOL 110 and BIOL 210 or permission of the instructor; Cross Listing: BIOL 317; S. Allison; J. Templeton;

ENVS 319. Conservation Biology. (1)

This course examines a dynamic and rapidly developing field. Conservation biology is the study of factors which influence both the diversity and scarcity of species. In particular, we concentrate on how human activities influence global biodiversity. We also discuss local biodiversity. Prerequisite(s): BIOL 110 or permission of the instructor; Cross Listing: BIOL 319; S. Allison;

ENVS 320. Ethnobotany. (1)

Ethnobotany is the study of the interactions of plants and people, including the influence of plants on human culture. In this course, we examine the properties of plants used for food, fiber, and medicine. We examine how plants are used in developed nations and by indigenous peoples. We focus on ethnobotanically important local native plants in labs and in term papers. Prerequisite(s): BIOL 110 and BIOL 120; or permission of the instructor; Cross Listing: BIOL 320; S. Allison;

ENVS 322. Invertebrate Biology. (1)

Invertebrate diversity, form and function. Through a phylogenetic approach, all of the major phyla are considered. Marine forms and their ecology are emphasized. Saltwater aquariums in the Umbeck Center furnish live marine forms for laboratory study. Prerequisite(s): BIOL 120; or permission of the instructor; Cross Listing: BIOL 322; Staff;

ENVS 325. Applied Climatology. (1)

An exploration of the field of climatology with an emphasis on the earth's climate history and the examination of scientific data. Intensive labs provide students the opportunity to interpret meteorological variables and forecasts, and analyze climatological data in its many forms. Prerequisite(s): ENVS 170 or equivalent; Offered occasionally; P. Schwartzman;

ENVS 335. Case Studies in Human-Environment Interactions. (1)

This course is a survey of the relationship between humans and their environments over both evolutionary and historic timescales. Course topics include major climatic influences on human landscapes, environmental impacts on human ecology and cultural change, and potential field methods used to distinguish between natural and anthropogenic landscape change. Basic climate system dynamics and archaeological case studies are discussed. Prerequisite(s): ENVS 125; W; Typically offered alternate years; K. Adelsberger;

ENVS 341. Methods of Field Biology. (1)

This course provides an introduction to research methods in field biology, focusing on local species and habitats. Topics include species identification, field techniques, data analysis and scientific writing. Students design and conduct experiments individually or in groups. Prerequisite(s): BIOL 210 and one course from BIOL 312-BIOL 319; Cross Listing: BIOL 341; Staff;

ENVS 348. Teaching Assistant. (1/2 or 1)

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor; May be graded S/U at instructor's discretion; Staff;

ENVS 360. Politics of Climate Change. (1)

This course will explore the political debate on climate change. Students will examine both the international negotiations and the domestic debates. On the domestic side, students will study the concept of representation and how changes in public opinion on climate change have led to changes in public policy, particularly in the US. On the international side, students will examine the disagreements between industrialized and non-industrialized countries, and how resulting treaties have reflected different ideas of justice, and different political contexts. The course will be centered on social science theories that help us understand the politics of climate change. Prerequisite(s): ENVS 101 or ENVS 110 or ENVS 295M or a course in Political Science or permission of the instructor; Cross Listing: PS 360; No background in statistics or climate science is necessary; B. Farrer;

ENVS 368. Environmental and Natural Resource Economics. (1)

The study of the economics of renewable and exhaustible resources, environmental problems and policy responses. Topics include: the economics of air and water pollution control, the economics of recycling, the use of cost-benefit analysis, the 'limits to growth' debate, and philosophical issues in environmental policy making. Prerequisite(s): ECON 110; Cross Listing: ECON 368; Offered annually; S. Cohn;

ENVS 382. Deep Maps of Place. (1)

See ENVS 282. Students who enroll in ENVS 382 will complete the academic requirements of ENVS 282 and will also be responsible for a more advanced level of participation and a more substantial term project. Prerequisite(s): acceptance into the Green Oaks Term program, plus two courses in Anthropology-Sociology or permission of instructor; Offered alternate years in the spring; Staff;

ENVS 383. Natural History of Green Oaks. (1)

See ENVS 283. Students who enroll in ENVS 383 will complete the academic requirements of ENVS 283 and will also be responsible for a more advanced level of participation and a more substantial term project. Prerequisite(s): acceptance into the Green Oaks Term program, plus two courses in biology or permission of instructor; Offered alternate years in the spring; Staff;

ENVS 384. The Natural Imagination. (1)

See ENVS 284. Students who enroll in ENVS 384 will complete the academic requirements of ENVS 284 and will also be responsible for a more advanced level of participation and a more substantial term project in the creative arts. ARTS; Prerequisite(s): acceptance into the Green Oaks Term program, plus relevant course work in the area of creative arts in which one plans to do a term project: e.g. creative writing; studio art; photography; music composition; dance; theatre; Offered alternate years in the spring; Staff;

ENVS 390. -391 Senior Research in Environmental Studies I and II. (1/2)

A two-term research experience in Environmental Studies. Students will work with a faculty mentor to develop a research question, propose a project, collect and analyze data, and report their results both orally and in writing. Prerequisite(s): Junior standing and one of ENVS 241, 242, or 243; ENVS 391 is W and O; Staff;

ENVS 395. Special Topics. (1/2 or 1)

Courses offered occasionally to students in special areas of Environmental Studies not covered in the usual curriculum. Staff;

ENVS 399. Senior Project in Environmental Studies. (1/2 or 1)

This is the capstone experience in the environmental studies major. The student engages in the in-depth study of some environmental topic under the guidance of a faculty member in the environmental studies program. The project may involve extensive library research, an experiment, fieldwork, or other work appropriate to the student's interests and background. All projects result in an academic paper that is evaluated by the faculty mentor. Prerequisite(s): junior or senior standing; major or minor in Environmental Studies; W; O; May be repeated for up to 2 credits; Staff;

ENVS 400. Advanced Studies. (1/2 or 1)

See College Honors Program. Staff;

Canoes at the lake at Green Oaks.
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