Major Assignments

Assignments for Mixing Messages
1. Reading/Viewing: Each week you will be assigned readings in Rain Forests of Home, and a seminar reading that will include books, scientific articles and films. Selected films will be shown outside of class time.

2. Weekly Seminar Journal: the seminar journal consists of two parts for each seminar. The first part is a one-page typed response to the reading and/or film. The seminar paper should include an in depth discussion of one major idea or questions generated from the text. It should not be a discussion of why you liked or disliked the text. Your audience should be someone outside of the class who is a skeptic. You are trying to convince them of your argument. This response paper is your “ticket” to seminar. After you attend the seminar, write a one-page reflection about what you learned in seminar. This is not to be a commentary on the quality of the discussion, but rather an exploration of ideas learned from the seminar. We will collect the seminar journals periodically during the quarter.

3. Visual Art/Ecology Journal: keeping a useful journal/sketchbook as a repository for observations, visual thinking notes, designs, and reflections is a disciplined practice for artists and scientists. Keep a loose-leaf journal/sketchbook in a three-ring binder. We will be taking pages in and out of the binder all quarter. We suggest you purchase an 18 x 24” white sketchbook and cut the pages to fit in the smaller format. We will have a paper cutter in our homeroom. This will include notes and sketches from the class field trips, self-guided field trips and your responses to design problems. The journal will be collected periodically during the quarter.

4. Environmental Art/Science Projects
a. personal memory image: After attending a guided journal writing exercise you will create an image that explores a personal memory of your relationship to forests and trees.

b. campus forest ecology problem: :  For this one-day group design problem, you and your group will address one of several issues about conservation of our campus forests. Examples include: invasive species, compacted soils, improper disposal of litter, illegal harvesting of native plants, and Facilities/Maintenance activities to groom the forest for aesthetics and security/safety reasons.

c. forest mapping project: This is a two-week independent project in which you choose some aspect of your experience in the rain forest on the Olympic Peninsula and record your observations and communicate the experience in a visual map.

d. moss project: This is a two-week group project in which you design an environmental art/science project that raises awareness of critical issues relating to non-sustainable harvesting of moss.

e. independent group project: This five-week independent group project involves the design and development of a proposal for (not implementation of) an environmental art/science project of your choice.  You will also be required to interview staff or volunteers from an existing environmental organization that works on this conservation issue.  You will explore the feasibility of alternative project ideas, communicate the design in a series of images (e.g. drawings, photographs, collages, 3-D models), and give an oral PowerPoint presentation of the project proposal.  Projects could include topics such as flyway corridors for bird migration, practical solutions to climate change (e.g., encouraging the use of bio-diesel and tidal energy), increasing awareness of impact of rising ocean temperatures on coastal forests, exploring the impact of invasive insects (due to drought conditions), the TESC Forest Canopy Project, or conserving the South Puget Sound prairies.  You are free to choose your own topic for the group; students and faculty will provide peer review at intervals throughout the project.

5. Library Research
a. 10 References Bibliography: A bibliography of rigorous peer reviewed
journal articles in proper form related to your research interests. (Independent
group project, moss project)
b. Literature Review Paper: An individual 7-10 page paper that reviews the
journal articles on your independent group project.

6. Fieldwork and plant ID Labs: We will have two one-day field labs on campus that involve learning field ecology skills, including: field ID of common woody plants and non-vascular plants; establishment of study plots; methods to map the location of particular species within study plots; and ways of quantifying the relationship of substrates to the distribution of aboveground vegetation. This will be augmented by a one-day moss identification lab by a visiting expert in cryptogamic biology. Brief lab reports will be required from small groups.

7. Exams: there will be a mid-term quiz, lab practical, and final exam that covers
concepts discussed in seminar, lectures and field trips.

8. Self-Guided Field Trips: On Fridays (November 2 and 9) we will not have class. Instead, on these days (or alternative day of your choice) you will go on two self-guided field trip to a conservation site (an arboretum, a native plant garden, a zoo), an environmental art site, a public art walk, an art museum of your own choice in Olympia, Tacoma, Seattle or Portland. The faculty will provide a list of possibilities and you are free to add your own. You will visit and photograph some aspect of the site and post a short description/evaluation and photos on our Drouple Web Site. You need to arrange your own transportation and we will facilitate communication on Drouple.