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Environmental Studies and Sustainability

Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and Sustainability

Environmental science and environmental studies are interdisciplinary fields that draw on information obtained from many areas of knowledge including the sciences, mathematics, philosophy, political science and economics. They are, by nature, global in scope because environmental issues transcend geopolitical boundaries.  Both majors stress collaborative study with faculty, internships, and a hands-on approach while developing a working knowledge of tools specific to the field. The curriculum centers on examining how the natural world functions and the use of information from diverse sources to examine the human impact on our environment.

The Environmental Studies and Sustainability program focuses on developing the skills necessary to be successful in the field of environmental studies and sustainability. Whether you are interested in working with environmental advocacy organizations, working in the field of environmental and public policy, or working in the emerging discipline of sustainability, examining how organizations, businesses, and communities are addressing the environmental issues of the 21st century– students are prepared for employment directly after graduation or going into related advanced study and graduate programs.

The Environmental Studies major is intended for students interested in careers related to environmental policy, environmental education (nature centers, parks and recreation), environmental law (pre-law), and work with non-profit organizations.

Requirements to Major in Environmental Studies and Sustainability
| 40 credits

  • ES 1110 – Environmental Science: A Global Concern
  • ES 2300 – Principles of Sustainability
  • ES 2410 – Environmental Ethics
  • ES 2550 – Environmental Economics & Management
  • ES 3000 – Careers in Science
  • ES 3255 – Environmental Policy
  • ES 3300 – Research Methods
  • ES 4000 – Senior Seminar
  • ES 4001 – Senior Seminar II

Take one from the following list

  • ES 4910 – Internship or
  • ES 4830 – Independent Study or
  • ES 4810 – Directed Study
  • CH 2010 – Intro to Chemistry
  • MT 2310 – Statistics

Electives (Students must complete 8 credits from the following list of courses)

  • ES 1120 – Practicum in Environmental Science (2 credits)
  • ES 1200 – Sustainable Gardening (2 credits)
  • ES 2990 – Topics in Env. Science (2 credits)
  • ES 3350 – Soil Science (2 credits)
  • ES 3550 – Water Resources (2 credits)
  • ES 3655 – Solid Waste Management (2 credit)
  • ES 3850 – Geographic Information Systems (2credits)
  • ES 4680 – Energy and the Environment (2 credits)
  • ES/BI 2070 – New England Natural History (4 credits)

Experiential Component
Environmental Science and Sustainability students in both the BA and BS track undertake an internship experience with recognized institutions (appropriate institutions are local, state and federal agencies, private businesses, consulting firms, and conservation/environmental oriented groups). The internship is immersive by nature. Students experience operation of organization that focuses on the natural environment and quite often civic environment(s).

  • ES 4910 – ES Internship
  • ES 4000 – Senior Seminar

Course Descriptions

All undergraduate courses are 4 credits unless otherwise noted.

ES1120 Environmental Science Practicum
This practicum in environmental science enables students to have a practical hands-on experience. It is tailored to the student’s interest in the environmental field, focusing on local or regional issues or projects. Evaluation is based on a portfolio generated by student documenting the learning experience and primary outcomes of the practicum. Offered upon demand. Contract required. (2 Credits)

ES1200 Sustainable Gardening
An introduction to the structure, growth, and classification of plants in specific applications including the techniques of controlling plant environments and plant growth and emphasis on practical aspects of plant production. Students will learn to grow plants using organic alternatives to synthetic commercial fertilizers, pesticides or fungicides. Soil texture and composition, organisms, and amendments are examined with a focus on the NEC/Henniker Community Garden for raising and harvesting produce and/or on campus landscaping. Extensive work is required in the College Greenhouse and the Henniker campus. (2 Credits)

ES1227 Animal Tracking
The evidence of wildlife activity is an important component of understanding the complexity of our local environment and the impact(s) of human activity. This field-based course provides the foundation for identifying and interpreting signs of mammal and bird activity which includes the presence of tracks, scats and disturbances left by wildlife. (1 Credit)

ES 2070 (BI 2070) New England Natural History
A field and laboratory course emphasizing the diversity of local organisms and their environments. We attempt to cover all major groups (animals, plants and fungi) of both terrestrial and aquatic habitats, in terms of basic structure, relationships, identification, and adaptations. Offered odd falls. Prerequisite: BI 1111-1112 or ES 1110.

ES 1110 Environmental Science: A Global Concern
This course covers a broad range of current environmental problems including population growth, global climate change, famine and food resources, global warming, and the loss of bio-diversity. The laboratory portion of this course provides students with hands-on, field and laboratory experiences that introduce a variety of methods and techniques used to examine natural communities and air and water quality. Offered every semester.

ES 2300 Principles of Sustainability
An examination into the use of natural resources and the global forces and demands that influence their availability. This includes identifying major challenges facing humanity such as climate change, energy needs, population growth and loss of biodiversity. Once the underlying challenges are defined the course examines actions to be taken to ensure sustainable use of natural resources without exhausting them. How businesses and organizations are addressing sustainability is examined and how success or limitations is measured. This includes operational policies across all segments of the organization from manufacturing, use of resources and energy, transportation, communication, and what it means to “go green.” This includes the use of real-world case studies involving sustainability challenges, successes and shortcomings are examined. Prerequisite: ES 2130. Not available for students who have taken ES 3250. (2 Credits)

ES 2410 Environmental Ethics
Students consider intrinsic relationships of humans to their physical and biological surroundings and reflect on the issues of meaning, attitudes and value. Topics include the historical roots of the ecological crisis, conflicting views on ecological problems, ethical problems in the environment and cooperation with nature. (2 Credits)

ES 2550 (EC2550) Environmental Economics and Management
Economics is about the allocation of scarce resources. As an introduction to economic principles applied to environmental protection, this course emphasizes economic tools used in managing the environment while also examining negative impacts of inappropriate economic development. Topics include the market economy, economic efficiency, environmental externalities, open access resources, government regulation of the economy, alternative measures of economic output, benefit-cost analysis, and global sustainable development. (2 Credits)

ES 2990 Topics in Environmental Science
An introduction to current environmental topics. Topics offered in the past include: conflict/interaction between humans and nature in New England, renewable energy, environment and health, hazardous waste, environmental law, management of forest/wildlife. May be repeated for credit with different topics. Variable credits ( 2 -4)

ES 3000 Careers in Science
This one-credit course is designed to give junior science majors the opportunity to hone the practical skills needed to have a successful career in the fields under the NSM Collegium. There will be activities addressing: self-assessment of personal attributes, potential career paths, resume and cover letter writing, job searching and interviewing, and graduate school options. Offered every spring. (1 Credit)

ES 3255 Environmental Policy
An examination of how natural resources are managed and protected as well as how policy is developed, evaluated and implemented. The role of government and private entities are considered along with the political challenges in establishing and maintaining sustainable use of natural resources in the face of population growth, escalating demand for energy and water, and competing uses of diminishing resources. Governmental policies and regulations will be contrasted with market driven initiatives and strategies in evaluating effective policy formulation and implementation. Use of real-world case studies involving policy challenges, successes and shortcomings will be examined. Prerequisite: ES 2130. Not available for students who have taken ES 3250. (2 Credits)

ES 3300 Environmental Research Methods
This course examines basic experimental and sampling design of research studies and experiments. Students will select and conduct experiments from problem formulation and hypothesis identification to data collection, statistical analysis, report writing and presentation of results. This will include the application of statistics, critical thinking, hypothesis testing, modeling, use surveys and measurements and studies utilizing experimental treatments and controls. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing. Offered every other year.

ES 3350 Introduction to Soil Science
This course examines the nature and properties (chemical, physical, and biological) of soil. The importance of soil as a resource is assessed from multiple perspectives, including: ecosystem processing, nutrient cycling, agricultural land use, and pollution control. Prerequisite: ES 2130 or BI1110 or CH 2510. (2 Credits)

ES 3550 Water Resources
Fundamentals of water resource planning and design, with emphasis on management of community water resources, such as public water supply and wastewater disposal. Topics include transmission and distribution, groundwater, storm drainage, water quality, and selection of appropriate technologies (such as for less developed regions). Prerequisite: ES 2130. Offered every other year. (2 Credits)

ES 3655 Solid Waste Management
Principles and practices of estimating the demand, types, and strategies for handling solid waste are thoroughly discussed. Alternative methods for managing solid waste generation and disposition in the private as well as public sector are covered. Case studies of innovative strategies and technologies developed by other regions are explored. Applications of selected technologies, such as composting, are put into practice. Not available for students who have taken ES 4650. (2 Credits)

ES 3850: Geographic Information Systems
Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) professionals in almost any field can investigate data spatially, through mapping. Questions might include… Where does my customer base live? Which drinking water wells are most at risk from hazardous material storage? How does residential proximity to trails impact physical activity? This course introduces students to the basics of GIS for use in any application, including natural resource inventory, marketing, social and human resource management, economic and/or public policy analysis, etc. Prerequisite: ES 2130. Offered every other year. (2 Credits)

ES 4000: Senior Seminar
As a two-semester capstone experience, students will develop and implement a thesis that utilizes skills and knowledge gained from their NSM major. During the fall semester students will form a faculty committee and develop a thesis proposal in a topic associated with their major. During the spring semester students will implement and report on the thesis. The thesis will emphasize application of skills such as: literature review, critical thinking, data collection and analysis, written communication, oral communication, and project management. Prerequisite: 75 Credits earned and an NSM major. Offered every year. (2 Credits)

ES 4001: Senior Seminar
The second part of a two-semester capstone experience, students will develop and implement a thesis that utilizes skills and knowledge gained from their NSM major. During the fall semester students will form a faculty committee and develop a thesis proposal in a topic associated with their major. During the spring semester students will implement and report on the thesis. The thesis will emphasize application of skills such as: literature review, critical thinking, data collection and analysis, written communication, oral communication, and project management. Prerequisite: ES 4000. Offered every year. (2 Credits)

ES 4680 Energy and the Environment
This course explores the basic principles behind the use of energy. It covers crucial environmental questions such as global warming, municipal solid waste, and the socio-economic and environmental tradeoffs that must be made to support life on earth. The course also examines different aspects of each energy resource, including the principles involved and the environmental and economic consequences of its use. We will seek to integrate the complex questions of energy policy and possible energy strategies for the next century and beyond. Sustainability is a central theme. Offered every other year. Not available for students who have taken ES 2680. (2 Credits)

ES 4810 Directed Study in Environmental Science
This course of study to be arranged between faculty and student. Contract required. May be repeated for credit. Variable credit (2-4).

ES 4830 Independent Study in Environmental Science
Advanced, independent study of a specific topic arranged with a faculty member. Contract required. Variable credit (2-4).

ES 4910 Environmental Science and Sustainability Internship
An internship experience with recognized institutions, when available, is undertaken by qualified students on a semester, year, or summer basis. Appropriate institutions are local, state and federal agencies, private businesses, and conservation/environmental oriented groups. Contract required. Variable credit (1-15).

EC 2550 /ES 2550 Environmental Economics and Management
Economics is about the allocation of scarce resources. It is the language of commerce that is pervasive in our culture. As an introduction to economic principles applied to environmental protection, this course emphasizes economic tools used in managing the environment while also examining negative impacts of inappropriate economic development. Topics include the market economy, economic efficiency, environmental externalities, open access resources, government regulation of the economy, alternative measures of economic output, benefit-cost analysis, and global sustainable development. (2 Credits)

CH 2010 Introduction to Chemistry
This is a course for students who have not previously studied chemistry. Chemical concepts are introduced and applied to the real-world societal problems and issues that have significant chemical content such as the relationship between chemistry and environmental issues concerning air, energy, water and the global climate change as well as biological issues such as genetic engineering, designer drugs and nutrition. Chemistry is a hands-on science and the learning activities are integral part of the course and include experiments during the laboratory period and in class. The course also demonstrates use of library and Internet resources for information gathering for decision-making activities and responsible citizen stewardship of our natural resources. Prerequisites: MT 1020 or MT 1100.

MT 2310 Statistics
This course is an introduction to statistical reasoning. The emphasis of the course is on the concepts of statistics rather than coverage of traditional statistical methods. Topics include: sampling and experimentation, descriptive statistics, probability, binomial and normal distributions, estimation, single sample and two sample hypothesis tests for
means and proportions, regression and correlation. Additional topics will be selected from: contingency table analysis, multiple regression, and/or ANOVA. Recommended for second-year students. Prerequisite: C- or better in MT 0997 or adequate performance on the mathematics placement test.