Environmental Studies

ENVR—Department of Environmental Studies

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.: Upcoming Events :.

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Spring 2016 Speakers and Seminars:

Monday February 1, dinner, Commons: Dining Services is proud to begin offering "Meatless Mondays" in the Bistro section of the dining hall. Help the environment while eating delicious comestibles!

Wednesday, February 3 Henson 243, 7 p.m. Study Abroad Experiences ENVR students share their study abroad experiences from the past year. Hear their stories and learn about possibly opportunities for travel!

Wednesday, February 10, 6 pm ENVR House. Interest Meeting for ENVR 460 & 495 Summer I Kayaking class taught by Tom Horton and Bill Nelson. Spend a month kayaking and camping around Delmarva, experiencing the best of the peninsula and meeting more than 50 scientists, educators, environmental activists and artists!

Wednesday, February 17 Henson 243, 7 p.m. Seabed Mapping in the Chesapeake Bay Andrew McGowan from the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office will discuss the process of using sonar systems for benthic characterization and habitat assessment. These methods are used to identify locations for oyster reef restoration site placement and potential Atlantic Sturgeon breeding grounds. Habitat assessments such as these are vital to restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

Wednesday March 2 Henson 243, 7 pm Peer Advising Session. Here’s a great opportunity to learn firsthand from upperclass ENVR students: strategies, opportunities, helpful pointers and hints. Use their experience to get the most out of your coming fall/year/undergrad career at SU.

Wednesday, March 9 Henson 243, 7 p.m. Can Drone Technology Solve Global Problems? Unmanned aerial vehicles often evoke mental images of military actions, however they can be an inexpensive, safe alternative for many data collection activities in environmental studies. What happens when four professors and students from seven majors come together to develop uses for drones that promote scientific and humanitarian activities? Dr. Patrice Ludwig from the Department of Biology at James Madison University will share student outcomes and discuss this innovative project.

Wednesday, April 13 Henson 243, 7 p.m. Crabs, Crabbing & the Chesapeake Bay In honor of the release of the film Beautiful Swimmers Revisited, SU’s Environmental Studies Department hosts a panel of experts to discuss the importance of blue crabs to everyone, from consumers to researchers to watermen, in the Chesapeake Bay.

For a preview of our Spring offerings, click on News and Events.

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“How will you walk this earth?” asks Wayne Gilchrest, former US Congressman and Environmental Studies adjunct professor. His question, posed to a group of ENVR students in a summer kayaking class, is central to our program—for whether you seek to become a professional environmental advocate or wish to enrich your own understanding of the world about you, we encourage you, in the words of Thoreau, to live deliberately.

SU’s exciting Environmental Studies department integrates courses in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences to give students the tools they need to examine complex environmental issues in depth and assess them from a variety of perspectives. The program combines a solid academic foundation with extensive experiential learning opportunities: frequent opportunities for research and community engagement provide ENVR graduates with a substantial foundation for further graduate study or meaningful careers in environmental fields.

A Dynamic Environment

For the outdoor adventurer who loves marshes, rivers, forests and barrier islands, there's no better-situated university on the east coast. With the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean next door, students can explore some of the mid-Atlantic’s most intact river systems, the Nanticoke and the Pocomoke; study coastal barrier islands such as Cedar and Assateague; visit major wildlife refuges at Blackwater and Chincoteague; observe working watermen’s communities on Smith and Tangier Islands; and investigate close to a hundred thousand acres of wetlands.

Getting Our Hands Dirty

ENVR majors gain valuable real-world experience through a wide variety of activities. Opportunities for study abroad abound: ENVR students can snorkel coral reefs in Honduras, investigate glacial landscapes in Iceland, or explore biodiversity in the Amazon. Some share meals with rural villagers in India; others walk Shinto Buddhist pilgrimage routes in Japan.

Kayaking the Nanticoke river

Closer to home, they canoe remote Eastern Shore creeks, kayak to Smith Island (Maryland's only offshore inhabited island, with a three-century tradition of harvesting the bay) and witness the mass spawning of horseshoe crabs in Delaware Bay. They create pollinator gardens, build wildlife habitat sculptures, and investigate an ever-changing range of Chesapeake Bay Topics with award-winning author Tom Horton. Green Floor Living-Learning Community students share common ENVR classes, develop environmentally-oriented activities, and perform green service projects. ENVR students intern in organizations as diverse as the Maryland Coastal Bays, US Geological Survey, Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center, Nanticoke Watershed Alliance, Irvine Nature Center in Baltimore, and the Maryland Department of the Environment. Six ENVR majors have been awarded EPA Greater Research Opportunity Fellowships.


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Stewardship and advocacy opportunities comprise an important part of our program. Environmental Studies students have worked to ban arsenic in chicken feed, helped political candidates push for storm water regulations, removed invasive privet from a local forests, and taught area middle school students how to monitor electricity use. They held a fundraiser to purchase an Environmental Studies greenhouse, built raised bed gardens at a nearby elementary school, and mapped out an interpretive trail at a local forest preserve. ENVR students are growing vegetables on campus, working to develop an on-campus sustainability tour for both students and visitors, and are developing plans for the ENVR House grounds in their Sustainable Landscape Design class, which we hope will serve as a learning laboratory for both SU and the community.

The Environmental Studies Program offers a flexible and relevant mix of coursework and field opportunities—and, above all, the chance to cultivate what Rachel Carson termed "a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life."

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