Introduction to Environmental Studies

Fall 2018
Winter 2019
Freshman - Sophomore
Class Size: 46
16 Credits per quarter
Log in to add this offering to your saved list.
Taught by
This program serves as an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of environmental studies, using natural and social sciences, as well as humanities to understand and address current environmental challenges. Students will engage in a variety of hands-on learning activities including field trips, case study and research projects; as well as labs, lectures, and seminars; with the central goal of advancing students' ability to think critically and in-depth about environmental challenges and solutions. Credit equivalencies of the program include introductory ecology, natural history, and environmental social science. Fall quarter (taught by Amy Cook and Ted Whitesell) will explore concepts in social science and ecology, including systems thinking, just sustainability, biocultural diversity, population biology and demography, community ecology, and ecosystem ecology. The study of fisheries, both for food and ornamentation, will bring together many of these concepts and allow us to examine both ecological and human communities around the world. Students will learn to examine the complex environmental consequences of the choices we make every day and will develop skills in analytical writing as practiced in the social and natural sciences. Readings will include both classic and contemporary environmental texts, scientific articles, and a novel. We will study scientific methods and statistics with a focus on hypothesis development and measures of central tendency (mean, median, and mode) and spread (variance and standard deviation).Winter quarter (taught by Ted Whitesell and Lalita Calabria) continues exploring local, regional, and global environmental issues with the added lenses of plant biodiversity and conservation, plus the environmental and cultural history of the Pacific Northwest. Students will gain experience and skills in the lab and field with plant identification, keeping a detailed field journal, and documenting and studying environmental change through the use of herbaria specimens and online biodiversity databases. We will study efforts to promote sustainable development and, through the use of political ecology, examine how the integration of social and natural science can lead to solutions that promote environmental quality and social justice. The program will explore the role that citizen science plays in strengthening both conservation and civil society. Students will be challenged to apply and more fully develop the skills and knowledge introduced in the fall quarter through in-depth research projects focusing on critical environmental problems and associated solutions and educating the public about these important issues in the form of a popular science blog post.


Enrollment Conditions

New students accepted in winter with signature. Students should send an email to Ted Whitesell ( and Lalita Calabria ( by the end of Week 7 of the previous fall quarter, briefly describing their experience/familiarity with environmental and social science concepts and tools that have been covered in the fall quarter of this program. The email should include relevant previous coursework and the email addresses for two college professors; who are willing to serve as references regarding the students readiness to join this program at the halfway point.

Fall 2018 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

Fr (16): 10056
So (16): 10057
Winter 2019 Registration

Signature Required

Students who would like permission to enroll in the winter quarter of IES without having taken the fall quarter of IES should email Ted Whitesell ( ) and Lalita Calabria ( ) to describe their previous learning about ecology and environmental social science.  Faculty will make a determination about eligibility to enroll no later than one week after receiving such an email from interested students.  Environmental studies is the application of both natural and social sciences to the resolution of environmental problems and the winter quarter will be building upon ecological and social science tools covered in the fall quarter. The IES faculty members will be happy to meet with interested students to discuss their preparation for entering this program at the halfway point.

Course Reference Numbers

Fr (16): 20017
So (16): 20018

Academic details

Preparatory for studies and careers in

ecosystem science, resource policy and conservation, and natural history.

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing

$30 per quarter for entrance fees for museums, arboretums, cultural centers.


In Person or Remote
In Person (F)
In Person (W)
Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting

Purce Hall 3 - Lecture


Date Revision
2018-08-14 Edited description to include faculty quarter distinctions