Green Nature, Human Nature

Spring 2015 quarter

Taught by

composition, education, literature
ecology, plant biology

 In this program, we will explore connections and intersections between "green nature"-- the beautiful and fascinating realm of plant biology--and human nature. We'll examine plants in three ways--as organisms, as species, and as communities. We'll consider human relations with plants similarly--at an individual level, at a community level, and at a larger scale. Green Nature, Human Nature is designed for students who are interested in plants, sustainability, and nature writ large. It will also provide students will ample opportunities to practice expository writing and develop research skills.  We will approach the study of plants through biology and ecology, drawing upon a mixture of readings, lectures, field observations and laboratory work. We will pursue questions about the relationships between people and plants through a mixture of readings from the humanities and the social sciences--including research articles, poems, and essays.  Students will also be introduced to methods for pursuing qualitative studies of the relationship between people and plants, and will carry out independent or collaborative research projects. We will be focused on two essential questions:

  • What are plants doing--individually, as species, and as communities? 
  • Why do our relationships with plants matter--to us as individuals, to our communities, and to humans writ large? 

The overarching goal for this program is to help students develop their capacities as critical thinkers in the context of plant science and humanistic studies of plant/people relationships. We will focus developing an understanding of plant biology and ecology, developing basic research skills, and practicing critical and creative non-fiction writing. Students will conduct research projects to understand the relationships people have with plants, and why that matters in terms of creating more sustainable communities. Students will keep field journals, write frequently, participate in community-based plant-related projects (like Native Plant Salvage), and develop a practice of research and writing that supports effective civic engagement. 

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

plant biology, environmental studies; teaching; students will gain a strong background in research methods and expository writing

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Evening and Weekend

Advertised schedule: 6-10 Mon/Wed, 9a-5p Sat (spring: Apr 4, 18, May 2, 16, 30)


Buy books for this program through The Greener Store.

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning

More information about online learning.

Registration Information

Credits: 12 (Spring)

Class standing: Freshmen–Senior

Maximum enrollment: 50


Course Reference Number

(12 credits): 30026

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