2011-12 Catalog

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Offering Description

Citizen Science: Ecoliteracy


Fall 2011 and Winter 2012 quarters

Frederica Bowcutt ecology , Gaku Mitsumata ecological economics , Jeff Antonelis-Lapp environmental education
Fields of Study
botany, ecology, environmental studies, field studies, natural history, outdoor leadership and education and writing
Preparatory for studies or careers in
K-12 teaching, environmental education, horticulture, natural history and ecology.

As a learning community our central question will be: how can ordinary citizens assist in the important work of shifting society to more sustainable relations with the natural world? We will begin by examining what it means to be ecoliterate.

In the fall we will focus on the natural history of the Puget Sound region and contrast that to eastern Washington’s high desert. In October the learning community will visit the sagebrush steppe of Sun Lakes State Park to gain field experience in linking plant and animal distribution patterns with environmental conditions. Through this work, students will learn how to read topographic and geologic maps, and basic mapmaking skills. Students will gain experience in conducting biodiversity assessments in the park and on campus, including vascular plants, birds, mammals and insects. The learning community will explore how ecoliterate citizens can serve as citizen scientists, for example, by helping to monitor plant and animal responses to climate change. To support their work in the field and lab, students will learn how to maintain a detailed and illustrated nature journal. 

In the winter we will examine the relationship between people and gardens through the disciplines of garden history, children’s literature, and environmental and place-based education. Special attention will be given to urban horticulture that fosters socially just communities and an ecoliterate citizenry. Students will learn how to link scientific knowledge about soils, plants and animals with the pragmatic realities of installing and maintaining educational gardens in public settings. Lectures and labs in soil science, botany, ecology and environmental/place-based education will support this learning. Students will learn to develop K-12 curriculum for the teaching gardens on campus, and pursue opportunities to lead activities in them and the surrounding woods with local school groups. During both quarters, a significant amount of time will be dedicated to honing our ability to write an expository paper. 

Credit may be awarded in natural history, environmental education, expository writing, children’s literature, horticulture, garden history and botany (with a lab). This program is appropriate not only for students with interest in the natural sciences, but also for students who would not normally select academic programs in the sciences.

Online Learning
Enhanced Online Learning
Greener Store
Required Fees
$250 for entrance fees and overnight field trip in fall.
Offered During

Program Revisions

Date Revision
November 21st, 2011 This program will not accept new enrollment winter quarter.
April 15th, 2011 Gaku Mistumata will be joining the faculty team.