2011-12 Catalog

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Offering Description

Nature's Prose

Spring 2012 quarter

Heather Heying biology, anthropology
Fields of Study
biology, mathematics, philosophy of science, writing and zoology
Preparatory for studies or careers in
biology, communications and field research.

The natural world exists with or without humanity’s interpretation of it. As observers and users of symbols, it is easy to mistake ourselves for the creators and masters of what we are trying to explain. In this program, we will learn through direct experience of nature: we will learn to trust our own senses. Knowledge and interpretation will also come through writing about nature, and measuring and analyzing aspects of it. We will spend two weeks of the ten on class field trips, and individuals will develop a sense of place by finding and revisiting the same natural site every week throughout the quarter. We will focus on observation as central to a careful, critical and creative understanding of our world. We will learn the disappearing art of unitasking, of clear undivided focus.

Readings will come from science, literature, and the philosophy of science; evolutionary explanations for nature’s complexity will be prominent. Students will write every week, both scientific and creative prose. If you are already a skilled writer who loves to write, you will find an outlet here. If you do not enjoy writing, or would like to further develop some basic skills, you will also find this useful, and hopefully pleasant. Similarly, we will do some math in this program. If you find numbers and their manipulation exciting, you will have fun with this. If you are a math-phobe, we will try to reveal some of its beauty and wisdom to you. Words and numbers are symbolic representations of our world; if we do not understand them, they have undue power over us. As we learn to use them as tools that we can master, they allow us to further our own understanding, experience and representation of the world.

Online Learning
Enhanced Online Learning
Greener Store
Required Fees
$250 for field trip costs.
Offered During