Geography 307: Management and Preservation of the Natural Environment
James Hayes-Bohanan, Ph.D.
Department of Earth Sciences and Geography

Fall 2004 Syllabus
The course will meet Mon/Wed/Fri for 50-minute sessions
Two Saturday field trips will be required; some Friday sessions will be canceled to offset that time commitment.
Click on the Fall 2004 Class Schedule

This syllabus provides general information on the resources used for this course, the work that is to be completed, and mandatory field trips. Several links in the document provide further information, which should be considered part of this syllabus.

How to Communicate with Me

I make myself available to students in a variety of ways, so that you may discuss any questions or concerns you may have about this course, our department, the discipline of geography, or internships and careers in geography. I encourage you to drop by my office early in the semester for a get-acquainted chat.

Phone: (508) 531-2118
For office hours and further contact information, see "Current Schedule " on my web site.

Introduction and Goals

This course is designed for geography majors and others with a strong interest in the management of natural resources, including minerals, soils, water, forest, grassland, fisheries, wildlife, recreation areas, and scenery. This being a geography course, the question of the spatial aspects of resource management will be of central importance. We will examine ways in which societies understand and exploit resources, and the means available to preserve, conserve, or restore them.

Course Materials

Texts: Three excellent texts are required for this course. You will need to purchase them both early in the semester, before the book store returns unpurchased copies. The books, in order of their use, are:

The Foster text provides both a revival of Henry David Thoreau's important work on landscapes and conservation and an analysis of the changes that have occurred on New England's landscapes from Thoreau's day to the present.

The Ernst text is a brand-new analysis of the efforts to manage the resources of the Chesapeake Bay, formerly one of the most productive ecosystems in the world and still an important ecological and economic resource. Because the Bay's watershed includes hundreds of local jurisdictions in six states, efforts to "save" it are very complicated. These efforts are widely seen as the most successful of their kind, which Dr. Ernst attributes to the generally problematic state of environmental management. His is a very readable and cogent discussion of both the physical condition of the bay and the policy issues surrounding it.

Finally, the Gustanski text is a more "managerial" text. It describes case studies from throughout the United States, in which conservation easements have been used as a resource-management tool. The purpose of including this text is to familiarize students not only with the variety resource challenges found throughout the country, but also with the variety of legal and economic tools that can be used to address them.

Required reading will also include a number of handouts and web-based resources. Access to these resources will be via Blackboard.

Computing: In addition to the readings described above and conversations about those readings, students will use various computing resources, including BlackBoard, the Internet, and online journals. The college provides training in a variety of formats (e.g., online instructions, workshops, tutorials) for all of these tools.

Course Requirements

Participation: The presumption of "strong interest" means that I assume students are committed to furthering their understanding of the topics included in the course, and will treat the course requirements as opportunities, rather than burdens. Regular attendance and active participation are assumed. See my assumptions page for further assumptions and my standards page of a description of how I calculate participation and writing grades.

Reading and writing: Class discussions are based on assigned reading; you will not be able to participate if you have not done the reading. In addition, some reading assignments include a brief writing assignment. The reading schedule is maintained in BlackBoard under "Assignments." See my writing tips page for guidelines.

Policy Papers. Each student will prepare a research paper that addresses state-level initiatives in resource management in some state outside of Massachusetts. Details will be posted in BlackBoard under "Assignments." Interim drafts are required.

Examinations: Two mid-term exams and one final exam will be given. Each will be cumulative and will cover readings and class activities to date. The final will assume mastery of material covered early in the semester, and the ability to integrate what has been learned. Students may be allowed to bring a limited set of notes to the exams, which will be held in class. Students who need special accomodations for exams should make their needs known within the first week of class.

Field Trips: Two Saturday field trips are required, as specified in the college's schedule of courses. Details are provided on the 307 field trip page . These trips will be great! Each field trip will be the subject of a brief writing assignment.

Grades: Grades are accumulated in a "pinball" fashion, with points awarded for each exam or assignment, as follows: 

Short writing assignments: 50 points each
Participation Two times: 50 points each
Mid-term exam 100 points each
Final exam 150 points
Policy paper 200 points

No asssignment is optional: Failure to complete any assignment or exam may result in a failing grade, even if the student could otherwise pass the course without that assignment. See my standards page for an explanation of my grading scale, especially with respect to "D" grades.

Diversity: A college education in which one's previously-held assumptions are never challenged is not worthwhile. In this course, students are welcome and encouraged to participate regardless of race or ethnic background, religion, political persuasion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, learning disability or physical handicap. See the BSC Student Handbook for more information. Please contact the professor of this course with any concerns or needed accomodation.

Academic Honesty: The expectation of academic honesty extends to all assignments and exams in this course, including on-line work. Infractions are subject to disciplinary action, as described in the Student Handbook. At a minimum, a grade of zero may be assigned to any work that is found to be the result of plagiarism or cheating, including copying from online sources without proper attribution. No work submitted for another course may be used to meet the requirements of this course, without prior approval.