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Our Spring lecture series is over, but stay tuned for our fall speaker line-up!
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Our multidisciplinary Environmental Studies Department (ENVR) 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.
For the outdoor adventurer who loves marshes, rivers, forests, and barrier islands, there's no better-situated university on the east coast. Tucked between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, 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 Islands; 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 regional wetlands.
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, while others study sea turtles in Trinidad.
Closer to home, our students canoe remote Eastern Shore creeks, kayak to Smith Island in the Chesapeake Bay, whose culture boasts over 300 years of history and traditions harvesting local waters, and witness the mass spawning of horseshoe crabs along the 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 Program, the U.S. Geological Survey, Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center, Nanticoke Watershed Alliance, Irvine Nature Center in Baltimore, and Maryland Department of the Environment. Six ENVR students have been awarded EPA Greater Research Opportunity Fellowships.
Stewardship and advocacy opportunities comprise an important part of our program. Our 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 wider community.
ENVR 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."