Environmental Science Courses (ENV)

ENV-151   Introduction to Human Geography3 credits

Human geography explores the ways in which human definitions of, attitudes towards, and behavior in space affect the distribution of our activities and our impact on the natural world-- as well as the ways in which that world shapes and constrains our definitions and behavior. The course introduces several kinds of geographic analysis such as classification of industrial and agricultural landscapes, urban structure, transportation patterns, migration, conceptions of political space (such as nation-states), and cultural/religious patterns. Local case studies as well as international examples will be discussed. In the final course project, students will use public data to evaluate the impact of climate change on the human geography of a chosen region.

ENV-160   Environmental Science I3 credits

Corequisites: ENV-160L

This interdisciplinary course introduces physical principles as they apply to understanding environmental problems and issues. Topics include: human dependence on natural resources; energy; climate, nutrient cycles, and soils; chemistry of the atmosphere and air pollution; chemistry of water pollution; solid and hazardous wastes; and the power, limitations, and roles of science and technology in society.

ENV-160L   Environmental Science I Laboratory1 credit

Corequisites: ENV-160

This is the laboratory course for ENV-160.

ENV-200   Nature and Culture: Introduction to Environmental Studies3 credits

Prerequisites: FYS-101 or FYS-110

An investigation of the relationships among nature, self, and community, with special emphasis given to the interdisciplinary nature of environmental studies. The course is writing-intensive and pursues analysis of environmental issues and concepts. Students interested in the Environmental Studies major should complete this course during their freshman or sophomore years.

ENV-260   Environmental Science II3 credits

Prerequisites: ENV-160

Corequisites: ENV-260L

This course explores biological and ecological principles as a means of understanding the behavior of complex environmental systems, including biotic communities, and ecosystems, such as forests, coral reefs, and agricultural ecosystems. We investigate human population dynamics and human impacts on these systems and consider issues in areas such as climatology, biodiversity, conservation biology, sustainable agriculture, toxicology, and risk assessment using various models, problem-solving approaches, and interdisciplinary perspectives.

ENV-260L   Environmental Science II Laboratory1 credit

Prerequisites: ENV-160

Corequisites: ENV-260

This is the laboratory course for ENV-260.

ENV-294   Independent Study1 - 3 credits

Prerequisites: Instructor permission

A special research project on a selected topic. Independent studies cannot substitute for specific course requirements in the major or minor. See independent study guidelines.

ENV-324   Environmental Studies Overseas Preparation1 credit

Prerequisites: Instructor permission

This course serves to prepare students for winter study abroad and provides an introduction to the cultural and natural history, ecology, and specific environmental concerns of the winter term trip destination.

ENV-325   Natural History of Costa Rica3 credits

Corequisites: ENV-326

Recommended: previous or concurrent Spanish study. This course introduces students to the geography, ecology, and natural history of selected Costa Rican ecosystems, with an emphasis on identifying, describing, and interpreting natural phenomena such as the behavior of birds and spatial and temporal changes in plant and animal communities. Readings will include selections from such writers as Janzen, Kricher, and Kingsolver. Students will keep extensive journals of their natural history observations and interpretations, and will produce their own creative nonfiction based on their journals. Note: Completion of this course of study will satisfy the following elective categories in the following majors: 1. Environmental Studies major, Conservation Biology focus: one lab course in Systematics or one lab course in Ecology (4 credits) 2. Environmental Studies major, Global Studies focus: The elective category of "winter session classes, winter College of Idaho overseas study trips, or immersion study abroad" (3 credits) 3. Biology major: "Elective upper-division courses" (3 credits).

ENV-326   Environmental Sustainability in the Tropics3 credits

Prerequisites: Instructor permission

In this course, students explore the difficulties and rewards of pursuing an environmentally sustainable culture, while focusing especially on two of Costa Rica's most pressing challenges: tourism and agriculture. Students will both be ecotourists by engaging in some of the typical tourist activities (e.g., zip-lining, rafting, canopy walks) and analyze the effects of their tourist activities. They will also explore the complexities of an economy and national identity based on ecotourism. In addition, students will observe and investigate the complexities of agriculture by studying both the implications of unchecked grazing and industrial agriculture, and the movement toward sustainable practices such as organic and polyculture farming. Students will complete a research project based on their studies.

ENV-327   Natural History of Belize4 credits

Prerequisites: Junior or Senior standing and Instructor permission

This course explores the natural habitats as well as the past and present cultures that make Belize unique. Through an intensive two-week expeditionary-oriented approach, students will study tropical marine biology, rainforest ecology, geography, ecotourism, and Mayan and Garifuna culture. Incorporating sea kayaking, snorkeling, river running, and backcountry travel, students will be immersed in the rich biodiversity of the region and encounter firsthand the threats to tropical ecosystems. This course is open to students in all majors who have completed one year of Natural Science courses and one year of Social Science courses. Students selected based upon a competitive application process.

ENV-350   Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS)2 credits

Corequisites: ENV-350L

A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a computer-based data processing tool used to manage and analyze spatial information. This course introduces students to the theory and techniques of GIS including spatial data acquisition and input, data management, data analysis, and map output. Students will gain hands-on experience with Geographic Information System software (ArcGIS) through laboratory activities. This course is especially useful for students pursuing majors in Environmental Studies, Biology, or Political Economy. Two hours lecture and four hours laboratory weekly.

ENV-350L   Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Lab1 credit

Corequisites: ENV-350

This is the laboratory course for ENV-350.

ENV-399T.1   Slow Food in Italy1 credit

Prerequisites: ENV-200

This course, to be offered for 10 to 12 days over an extended spring break, will take students to Italy for in-depth, hands-on study of the Slow Food Movement. The trip will entail visits to universities, farmers' fields, and agricultural centers. There is an application process for admission to the course. The class will meet several times before the study trip itself, and students will have assigned reading and writing assignments in conjunction with the course.

ENV-402   Senior Capstone3 credits

Prerequisites: Instructor permission

An integration and synthesis of different disciplinary perspectives as they relate to a specific local or regional environmental issue. Students will bring to the seminar their expertise from their disciplinary foci, pursue independent research, and collaborate on a formal written project.

ENV-494   Independent Study1 - 3 credits

Prerequisites: Instructor permission

A guided research project (library, field, or both) culminating in a research paper written according to program guidelines. May also result in a website, poster, audiovisual presentation, or other public report. See independent study guidelines.

ENV-497   Environmental Internship1 - 3 credits

Prerequisites: Instructor permission

Supervised work in an environmental field in an approved firm, agency, or office. A written summary or other product and an oral presentation are presented at the conclusion of the internship. See internship guidelines.