· Learnabout ecological relationships of organisms in boreal forest, tundra, andcoastal rainforests, and reflect on ecological challenges facing thosebiological communities
·Learn about indigenous peoples and cultures ofAlaska and their relationships with the natural environment
·Reflect on ethical and social justice issues thatresult from the clashes between cultures and between environmental conservationand cultures in Alaska
·Participate in activities that will help alleviateat least one of the issues discussed
·Prepare a research paper on an approved topicanalyzing the conflicting pressures of environmental conservation andmanagement for social, economic and political activities
·Help plan itinerary, meals, and living arrangementsfor trip
Students are expected to attend all class meetings as wellas participate in the trip We will meet for twointensive days to prepare for the course trip. There will be lectures on arctic and boreal ecologyincluding composition of communities, and species interactions as well asenvironmental concerns. Readingsfrom handouts and other sources willbe assigned for discussion – available in a coursepak, which should be pickedup before classes end in May, and readings should be completed beforemeeting. Each student will preparea presentation on an important topic dealing with environmental conservationand social justice. This presentation of 15 to 25 minutes should include visualaids, and should describe the natural system, challenges facing that system,conflicts between conservation and human quality of life, and possibleresolutions. It will be necessaryto find current literature on the topic.When we return, students will be expected to write a research paper onan approved topic, presenting the challenges and reflecting on possiblesolutions. Topics will be chosenrelevant to experiences on the trip, and are to be discussed as a group whilewe are in Alaska.
The Alaska portion of the course will includevisits to three different types of habitats, discussions with local expertsabout environmental challenges facing those habitats, visits to native Alaskancommunities, and introduction to their cultural heritage.