Environmental Studies

Website: environmental.sewanee.edu/

Professor James Peters, Coordinator of the Program

Professor Bachman, Chemistry

Professor Brown, Religion

Professor Dale, Mathematics and Computer Science

Professor Durig, Physics

Professor Evans, Biology

Professor Gatta, English

Professor Haskell, Environmental Studies and Biology

Professor Knoll, Forestry and Geology

Professor Kuers, Forestry and Geology

Professor Malde, Art

Professor McGrath, Biology

Professor Michael, English

Professor Palisano, Biology

Professor Pond, Art

Professor Potter, Forestry and Geology

Professor Ray, Anthropology

Professor Shaver, Forestry and Geology

Professor Smith, Forestry and Geology

Professor Smith, Religion

Professor Torreano, Forestry and Geology

Professor Willis, History

Associate Professor Levine, History

Associate Professor Miller, Music

Associate Professor Sherwood, Environmental Studies and Archaeology

Associate Professor Shibata, Chemistry

Associate Professor Zigler, Biology

Visiting Assistant Professor Carter, Environmental Studies

Assistant Professor Elrod, Economics

Assistant Professor Fielding, Environmental Studies

Assistant Professor White, Chemistry

Program Mission

The Environmental Studies Program at Sewanee offers students an unusually rich array of curricular options including four majors, one minor, and a certificate. This expansive curriculum — including natural and social sciences as well as the humanities and fine arts — offers students multiple pathways to appreciating the ecological complexity and wonder of the earth we inhabit. The Program’s spread of curricular options across four diverse majors enables majors to develop not only depth of exposure to certain fields and methodologies of study, but also cross-disciplinary breadth of understanding. This broad-gauged outlook is crucial for graduates looking to address the inherently interdisciplinary challenges of environmental study in today’s world. So while each of the four majors has its own, largely autonomous pattern of faculty-administrative oversight, an overarching belief in the value and need for interdisciplinary inquiry suffuses the entire program. Students enrolled in all four majors also share common exposure to the Program’s team-taught offering, “Introduction to Environmental Studies” (EnSt 101), as well as involvement in various other collaborative opportunities and occasions for interaction across academic disciplines.
 
A major asset of the Environmental Studies Program at Sewanee is the unparalleled opportunity for field study available throughout the University’s 13,000-acre land-base, commonly known as “the Domain.” This extensive tract includes extensive woodlands, lakes, trails, caves, and bluffs that surround the central campus and encompass the residential village of Sewanee. The Domain’s amalgamation of wildlife preserve, working forest, farmland, and settlements thus offers students and faculty members rare benefit as a “living laboratory” for inquiry.

Majors:
The four majors available are those in Ecology and Biodiversity, Environmental Arts and Humanities, Environment and Sustainability, and Natural Resources and the Environment. Each major requires eleven courses, including EnSt 101 and a senior capstone course.

Ecology and Biodiversity — An interdisciplinary major that integrates coursework in biology, ecology, and evolution with other environmental disciplines.

Administered chiefly through the Department of Biology — Deborah McGrath, Chair.

A total of eleven courses are required.
Six core courses are required:
Biol 133. Introductory Cell and Molecular Biology
Biol 210. Ecology (Fall, recommended for sophomores and juniors)
Biol 211. Biodiversity: Pattern and Process (Spring, recommended for sophomores and juniors)
EnSt 101. Introduction to Environmental Studies
Biol 315. Advanced Ecology and Biodiversity (Capstone for seniors)
either EnSt 217. Fundamentals of GIS or Stat 204. Elementary Statistics

Four courses in Ecology or Biodiversity, at least one from each category:
Ecological and Evolutionary Processes
Biol 206. Plant Ecology
Biol 213. Evolutionary Biology
Biol 221. Environmental Physiology of Plants
Biol 235. Freshwater Conservation
Biol 241. Rainforests and Coral Reefs plus Biol 251. Field Study in Belize
Biol 260. Cave Biology
Biol 313. Ecosystems and Global Change
Biol 350. Environmental Physiology and Biochemistry of Animals
EnSt 240. Island Ecology (counts as one course)
Taxonomy
Biol 200. Entomology
Biol 201. Ornithology
Biol 202. Invertebrate Zoology
Biol 215. Fungi plus Biol 216. Algae and Bryophytes
Biol 310. Plant Evolution and Systematics
Human Dimensions
Biol 209. Advanced Conservation Biology
Biol 222. Advanced Conservation Biology
Biol 232. Human Health and the Environment
Biol 235. Freshwater Conservation
One course on the environment from a non-science perspective:
Anth 298. Ecological Anthropology
Anth 316. Archaeology of the Cumberland Plateau
Anth 350. Environmental Archaeology
Anth 357. Field School in Archaeology
Econ 335. Environmental Economics
EnSt 217. Fundamentals of GIS (if not taken as a core course)
EnSt 336. Environmental Land-Use Policy
Engl 220. Poetry, Nature, and Contemplation
Engl 396. American Environmental Literature
Fors 270. Water Resource Policy and Law
Phil 230. Environmental Ethics
Pols 382. International Environmental Policy
Psyc 215. Behavior Modification for Sustainability
Relg 125. Religion and Animals
Relg 307. Religious Environmentalism
Relg 341. Religion and Ecology
Relg 353. Buddhism and the Environment
Relg 393. Rural Religion
Rusn 363. Environmentalism and Ecocide in Russian Literature and Culture
other non-science environmental courses by departmental approval

Recommended electives:
Chem 120. General Chemistry
Geol 121. Physical Geology
Stat 204. Elementary Statistics (if not taken as a core course)

Study abroad is recommended from programs such as:
Organization for Tropical Studies (Costa Rica or South Africa)
School for International Training (from a variety of countries)
Sea Semester

Note that many graduate programs in ecology and biodiversity require one or more semesters of physical science (chemistry, geology, and/or physics)

Required for a B.S. (but not for a B.A.) in Ecology and Biodiversity:
Statistics, and three additional Math/Stat/science classes outside Biology, including at least two lab science classes.

Note: The major field is defined as all Biology classes listed above, Biol 130, EnSt 140, EnSt 200, EnSt 217, EnSt 240, EnSt 317, and EnSt 400. Study abroad courses count inside the major field if the majority of the work in the course concerns the scientific study of ecology and biodiversity; study abroad courses will count outside the major field if the majority of the work for the course concerns social science, humanities or other work outside the natural sciences.

Environmental Arts and Humanities — An interdisciplinary major that explores humanity’s evolving relation to the environment with the benefit of diverse perspectives offered by history, literature, art, philosophy, and religion.

Administered chiefly through a steering committee co-chaired by James Peters and John Willis.

Eleven courses required:

 
EnSt 101: Introduction to Environmental Studies (writing intensive)
EnSt 400: Seminar in Environmental Studies (senior capstone course)

Six courses from the following themed categories, with at least one course from each of the first two groups and no more than four courses from any group.
 
Culture and History
Anth 298: Ecological Anthropology
Engl 220: Poetry, Nature, and Contemplation
Engl 396: American Environmental Literature
EnSt 100: Walking the Land
Hist 100: The Environment in History (only when the course bears this topical subtitle)
Hist 229: The Many Faces of Sewanee
Hist 330: History of Southern Appalachia
Hist 386: African Environmental History
Rusn 363: Environmentalism and Ecocide in Russian Literature and Culture

Religion and Values
Anth 312: Place, Ritual, and Belief
Phil 230: Environmental Ethics
Relg 125: Religion and Animals
Relg 307: Religious Environmentalism
Relg 341: Religion and Ecology
Relg 353: Buddhism and the Environment
Relg 393: Rural Religion

Arts, Landscape, and Design
Art 242: The Lens and the Landscape: Documentary Studies and the Environment
Art 263: Intermediate Documentary Projects in Photography
Art 282: Sustainable Structures
Art 343: Advanced Video Production (also Thea 343)
Art 363: Advanced Documentary Projects in Photography
Art 381: Advanced Sculpture
Musc 269: Music of the Birds and Bees: Music and Nature
 
One Policy course from the following
EnSt 201: Foundations of Food and Agriculture
EnSt 332: Archeological Resource Management and Policy
EnSt 336: Land-use Policy
Fors 270: Water Resource Policy and Law
Fors 201: Natural Resource Issues and Policies
Econ/Pols 381: The Political Economy of Sustainable Development
Pols 382: International Environmental Policy
 
Two Natural Science courses (one of which must be either field-based or lab)
One of the following (Life Science):
Biol 105: Biology and People
Biol 107: People and the Environment
Biol 130: Field Investigations in Biology (Field-Based)
Fors 121: Introduction to Forestry (Lab)
 
One of the following (Physical Science):
Chem 101: General Chemistry (Lab)
Geol 121: Physical Geology (Lab)
Geol 235: Earth Systems and Climate Change
Phys 105: Energy and the Environment
 
Strongly recommended (outside the major elective):
EnSt 217: Fundamentals of GIS

Environment and Sustainability — The Environment and Sustainability major requires 11 courses, including (1) three common core courses, (2) a course in Environmental Economics, together with two Environmental Policy courses, (3) one foundational science course, (4) one course in Research Methods, and (5) a thematically focused grouping of three courses.

Administered chiefly through a steering committee chaired by Ken Smith.

1. Core Courses:

All Environment and Sustainability majors must complete the following three courses:

EnSt 101: Introduction to Environmental Studies
EnSt 320: Environment and Sustainability Colloquium
EnSn 400: Seminar in Environmental Studies (capstone)

2. Environmental Economics and Policy:

The following course must be completed:

Econ 335: Environmental Economics (Prereq: Econ 101)

Two of the following must be completed:

Econ 381: The Political Economy of Sustainable Development (also listed as POLS 381)
EnSt 332: Archaeological Resource Management and Policy
EnSt 334: Environmental Policy and Law
EnSt 336: Environmental Land-Use Policy
Fors 270: Water Resource Policy and Law
Pols 382: International Environmental Policy

3. Foundational Science:

A 200-level course (or higher) in Biology, Forestry and Geology, Chemistry or Physics. ENST 240 (Island Ecology) may also be used to satisfy this requirement.

4. Research Methods:

One of the following must be completed:

Chem 211: Chemical Methods of Environmental Analysis (Prereq: CHEM 120)
EnSt 217: Fundamentals of GIS
EnSt 340: Tools for Environmental Policy Analysis
EnSt 341: Environmental Data Analysis
Stat 204: Elementary Statistics

5. Student-Designed Focus Topic

Three courses must be completed to fulfill the designated focus topic. Students design their own focus in collaboration with their advisor and two faculty members participating in the program (or two participating faculty if one is their advisor). This focus must contain three courses from a minimum of two departments (preferably three) that have a central theme related to the student’s senior capstone project. Courses listed above under Environmental Economics and Policy but not selected to fulfill the requirement, may be applied toward a focus. An appropriate special topics course or independent study (ENSC 444) may also be used to satisfy one of the foci requirements. The Environment and Sustainability steering committee must approve each self-designed focus prior to the end of the first semester of the junior year. The ultimate goal of the foci is to provide students with a cohesive interdisciplinary experience while preparing them to complete capstone projects, in collaboration with faculty mentors, that offer substantial research potential.

Natural Resources and the Environment Major: An interdisciplinary environmental major that integrates coursework in forest ecosystems and geology with the broad range of potential environmental coursework offered at Sewanee.

Administered chiefly through the Department of Forestry and Geology — Karen Kuers, Chair.

All Natural Resources and the Environment majors take the introductory forestry and geology courses (Fors 121 and Geol 121); a complementary science course in biology, chemistry, or physics; the department’s oral presentations seminar; and the department’s interdisciplinary senior field project course. The remaining 4 required core and 3 elective courses are chosen by the student, in consultation with his/her faculty advisor, to match the student’s specific interests.

1. Fors 121: Introduction to Forestry

2. Geol 121: Physical Geology

3. One of the following science courses:
Biol 130: Field Investigations in Biology
Biol 200: Entomology
a biology laboratory course
Chem 100: Foundations of Chemistry
Chem 120: General Chemistry
Phys 105: Energy and the Environment
Phys 106: Foundations of Global Warming

4. Four of the following core courses in Natural Resources:
Fors 211: Dendrology
Fors 262: Forest and Watershed Restoration
Fors /Geol 303: Soils
Fors 305: Forest Ecology
Fors 312: Silviculture
Fors 319: Natural Resource Management Decisions
Geol 221: Mineralogy
Geol 222: Historical Geology
Geol 225: Sedimentology
Geol 305: Economic Geological Resources
Geol 314: Hydrology
Geol 318: Geomorphology
Geol 325: Field and Structural Geology

5. Three Natural Resources elective courses (12 hrs):
Any Fors, Geol, EnSt, ESci, Chem, or Phys course;
Any Biol course numbered 130 or higher;
Anth 307, 316, 318, 350, 357
Econ 335
Hist 238
Phil 230
Pols 260, 381, 382;
Relg 307, 341, 353
(EnSt 101 recommended.)

6. Fors /Geol 332: Oral Presentations in Forestry and Geology (0.5 credit)

7. Fors /Geol 432: Senior Interdisciplinary Field Project (Capstone)

Required for B.S. (but not for B.A.) in Natural Resources and the Environment
Two science lab courses not in Fors/Geol (Chemistry recommended)
Two other math or science courses
 

Watershed Science Certificate:
The Watershed Science Certificate is designed for students interested in gaining a better understanding of the interactions among the physical, chemical, and biological factors that affect our watersheds and wetlands. Students pursuing the certificate take a range of courses that focus on water resources and watershed science. In addition to hydrology, students take at least one half-course in applied watershed science, and choose additional watershed science courses from a list that contains offerings in a variety of disciplines, including biology, chemistry, forestry, geology, and environmental studies. Each student completes the Certificate with the Watershed Science Capstone course, a multidisciplinary, project oriented course in which students address issues related to two or more of the following topic areas: the interaction of biological processes and watershed function, chemical processes in streams and watersheds, the relationship between forested landscapes and hydrologic systems, or geological processes in terrestrial aquatic systems. The capstone project may be a semester project created solely for the capstone, or may begin as a watershed-related summer internship project that is further developed by the student during an academic semester.

Students who obtain the Certificate will be better prepared to pursue graduate training in watershed science and other hydrologic disciplines, or to begin careers associated with watershed science and management.

Students deciding to pursue the certificate should contact one of the faculty members of the Watershed Certificate Organizing Committee to develop his or her study plan. The Organizing Committee is also available to help a student identify his or her area of emphasis and primary faculty supervisor for the ESci 430 Watershed Science Capstone; together the student and primary supervisor identify the second discipline and arrange to work with a faculty member in that area.

Watershed Certificate Organizing Committee
  • Professor Knoll, Forestry and Geology
  • Associate Professor McGrath, Biology
  • Assistant Professor White, Chemistry
Five-and-a-half courses required

Core Watershed Science courses required
(10 semester hours)
Geol 314 / Fors 314: Hydrology
Either Geol 315: Watershed Contaminant Hydrology (half course, 2 hours)
or Fors 260: Forest Watershed Measurements (half course, 2 hours),
or ESci 444: Independent Study (half course, 2 hours; approved by the Organizing Committee)
ESci 430: Watershed Science Capstone

Additional Watershed Science coursework required
(12 semester hours from the following)
Biol 237: Freshwater Biology
Fors 215: Fisheries Ecology and Management
Fors 262: Forest and Watershed Restoration
Fors 270: Water Resource Policy and Law
Fors 303/Geol 303: Soils
Either Fors 305: Forest Ecology or Biol 210: Ecology
Chem 211: Chemical Methods of Environmental Analysis
Chem 411/Geol 411: Geochemistry of Natural Waters
Biol 235: Freshwater Conservation
EnSt 217: Fundamentals of GIS or other GIS course, (half or full course, 2 or 4 hours)
EnSt 240: Island Ecology (summer program; only 4 hours count toward the Certificate)
EnSt 310: Comparative Watershed Studies (half course, 2 hours)
EnSt 311: Comparative Watershed Studies Field Course (summer; half course, 2 hours)

Religion and Environment Minor:
  • Emeritus Professor Robin Gottfried, Director
  • Offered by interdisciplinary faculty, in conjunction with the Environmental Studies Program and the Center for Religion and Environment
The ways we interact with the natural world reflect the deep-seated values of the society to which we belong and the experiences of nature we have as individuals. Religion, and the spiritual experiences of individuals that inform religious thought, provide profound insights into how we perceive the world around us and guidance as to how to interact with it. The minor in religion and environment encourages students to integrate religious insights and spiritual experience with the natural and social sciences to better understand how religion and the natural world affect one another. Accordingly, the minor includes coursework in natural and social environmental science along with coursework in religion. Because the minor encourages students to reflect on their own spiritual experience and beliefs as they relate to the environment, it culminates in a capstone experiential course involving environmentally related service or action along with reflection on the meaning of that engagement.

Five-and-a-half courses required
• EnSt 101: Introduction to Environmental Studies
• Phil 230: Environmental Ethics
• EnSt 431: Practicum in Religion and Environment (half-course)
 
Choose two from the following Religion list
  • Relg 125: Religion and Animals
  • Relg 307: Religious Environmentalism
  • Relg 341: Religion and Ecology
  • Relg 350: Field Methods in Religious Studies
  • Relg 353: Buddhism and the Environment
  • Relg 393: Rural Religion
  • Theo 360: Creation, Evolution, and God (three semester hours)
Choose one from the following lists: either Policy or Natural Science Policy
• Econ/Pols 381: The Political Economy of Sustainable Development
• EnSt 332: Archaeological Resource Management and Policy
• EnSt 336: Environmental Land-Use Policy
• Fors 201: Natural Resource Issues and Policies
• Fors 270: Water Resource Policy and Law
 
Natural Science
• Biol 105: Biology and People
• Biol 107: People and the Environment
• Biol 130: Field Investigations in Biology (Field-Based)
• Chem 101: General Chemistry (Lab)
• Fors 121: Introduction to Forestry (Lab)
• Geol 121: Physical Geology (Lab)
• Geol 235: Earth Systems and Climate Change
• Phys 105: Energy and the Environment