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The Nature of Natural History
Nuisance to Negligence

The Nature of Natural History

Fall and Winter quarters

Major areas of study include:
natural history, introduction to biology, field botany, field ornithology, writing and ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest.
Class Standing:
This lower-division program is designed for 50 percent freshmen and 50 percent sophomores.

This is a field-based program focused on the natural history of Washington state. As a learning community, we will travel to a variety of ecosystems including high desert, rainforests, coastal dunes, prairies, riparian woodlands, marshes, subalpine areas and alpine zones. We will study environmental gradients and learn how climate and geomorphology affect plant and animal life. Students can expect to learn the plants and animals common in the Pacific Northwest. In addition to studying fresh plant material, students will also study herbarium specimens. Plant identification skills will include learning how to identify deciduous shrubs and trees in winter based on twig characteristics.

Students will learn to recognize the calls and songs of birds common to the 1,000 acre wooded campus of Evergreen. We will study preserved specimens of animals to learn basic morphology and anatomy. Students will maintain a detailed natural history journal for six months and study 18th- and 19th-century natural history journals as models. We will develop basic illustration skills to sketch our observations in the field. We will explore the influence of strong observational skills on the quality of quantitative approaches through a comparative field study of the key terrestrial ecosystems in Washington state. Our study in the field will be supported by work with a textbook on basic biology.

We will ponder the following questions: What is natural history? What roles do natural historians play today? Is natural history different from ecology or other life sciences, and if so, how? What do natural historians do? What kinds of questions do they ask? What kinds of methods do they use? What is the history of natural history in the Western world?

In addition to practicing the art and science of natural history, we will study the cultural history of natural history. Students will explore the rise of natural history with particular emphasis on the Victorian era, arguably the pinnacle of its popularity.

16 credits each quarter.
Special Expenses:
Approximately $250 for overnight field trips.
Program is preparatory for:
careers and future studies in conservation, biology, botany, ecological restoration, forestry, natural resource management, plant ecology, plant taxonomy, and education.
This program is also listed under:
Programs for Freshmen and Environmental Studies.

Nuisance to Negligence


not in printed catalog

Fall and Winter quarters

Major areas of study include:
environmental health, public policy, law, community studies and research economics.
Class Standing:
Juniors or seniors; transfer students welcome

Many environmental issues, from water rights to global warming, find their roots in regulatory law. Much is written about civil liability and criminal law. Less discussed are aspects of executive and legislative discretion administered by state and local agencies who have the capacity to impose fines, hear appeals and redefine codes with minimal oversight. How can we work as change agents to achieve better outcomes for our society and the environment?

Working collaboratively, we will identify key environmental issues in areas of health, tribal sovereignty and larger issues of development zoning. With our primary case law text and background readings in tribal rights and administrative law, students will achieve the background necessary to better understand and explain the regulatory policy governing an ecology-threatening issue of their choice. These projects will explore who is responsible, specifically, for oversight and what enforcement 'hammers' are available. This program will provide the legal context by which to understand work in a variety of environmental fields.

In the fall, we will take an initial look at national policy, focusing on specific environmental toxins and the court rulings that have guided the level of distribution. We will use lecture, workshops and case studies to discover more about property rights, what constitutes trespass, and how existing property uses are modified by new neighbors. We will learn about the different levels of clean-up of hazardous sites operated by the state, Tribes, federal and county governments, large corporations and smaller private owners. During the winter, we will devote more time to research methods. Working independently and in small groups, students will complete projects culminating in end of the quarter presentations in order to learn more about current environmental law and its effect.
16 credits each quarter.
Class Schedule
Program is preparatory for:
careers and future studies in: environmental studies, law, political science, planning and land-use management and public administration.
This program is also listed under:
Environmental Studies.

Program updates:

New, not in printed catalog.

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Last Updated: August 25, 2017

The Evergreen State College

2700 Evergreen Parkway NW

Olympia, Washington 98505

(360) 867-6000