BIO 104, Environmental Concerns

Summer 2004 Freshman Course

General Syllabus

Welcome to Environmental Concerns.  I hope you find this course to be valuable in your college career. There is no prerequisite for Environmental Concerns besides knowing why you are taking this course. My goals for the course are as follows. First, with an understanding of the scientific method and through laboratory activities, I hope that your critical thinking and problem solving skills will improve. This will be a value to you whatever your major in college is. Second, through analysis and discussion of class topics, I hope you improve your level of scientific literacy in the areas of basic biology and ecology. Third, through our brief exposure to this amazing natural world in which we live, I hope that your appreciation and connection to nature is strengthened. According to Senegalese conservationist Baba Dioum, “In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, we will understand only what we are taught.”

How is this course relevant to the general education goals? (For the general education goals, see the college catalog.) In Environmental Concerns you will be communicating in both written and oral forms.  By learning about human’s effects on various ecosystems, you will understand more about your role in society.  In lab you will be making observations, interpreting data and using information resources.  As John G. Neihardt said in his Poet Laureate address, “Education is fundamentally a spiritual process.  In its proper function it is concerned less with the problem of acquiring the means of life than with the far more difficult one of knowing what to do with life after one is in possession of the means to live.”

Topics Covered

Introduction to Environmental Science
A brief history of environmentalism in the United States
Biological organization, movement of energy and matter
Evolution and the basics of ecosystem function
Ecosystems in transition
Water resources and conservation
Air pollution and climate change
Soils and land-use practices
Biodiversity and species extinction
Human populations