ENVS 4120 - Special Topics in Environmental Studies (4 units) - Field studies course involving on-site research in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve, studying the relationships among cultural groups and the environment. Using region- and culture-specific case studies, students assess historical and current cultural and environmental uses of wildland and/or wildlife communities. Course examines outcomes of environmental policies and wildland/wildlife management, including both sociological and natural consequences.
Experiences/Activities: In conjunction with material from ENVS 3100 and ENVS 4050, this course includes analysis of past and current legislative public land planning mandates and how they affect the region; survey of the role of wildlands in regional thought and culture; historical and contemporary resource use and issues of sustainability; concepts and principles of environmental research, management, and public land planning methods; roles of culture in wildland management.
Outcomes: Students will gain the ability to critically read and evaluate primary scientific and policy literature. Students will gain a knowledge base in wildlands natural history and policy, with specific emphasis on Alaska. Students will discuss and critique the literature in light of other information they have learned in this project from local experts, lectures, their observations, and other relevant readings. Students should be able to demonstrate understanding of basic ecological, geological, and management and policy concepts as related to the Wrangell Mountains, including glacial processes, geologic history and processes, community ecology and species interactions, effects of climate change, different management designations (e.g., park vs. wilderness), and subsistence. Students will be able to apply their knowledge of geology, ecology, and social science to new scenarios (as presented in the final exam) and clearly demonstrate understanding of the material through their narratives.
Evaluation & Assessment: Final exam is 50% and the reading discussions are 50% of the grade.
Applied to specialization requirement for Environmental Studies major at CU Boulder. May be repeated up to 6 total credit hours, provided the topics vary.