Courses

ESP 1500 Field Immersion Experience                                                                     3 credits

Introductory course for ESP majors; involves weekday lectures and weekend fieldwork during the first 3 weeks of fall semester. Students learn field and technology-based skills essential in environmental coursework and careers. On-campus lectures explore field applications for environmental issues and create opportunities for practice with computer databases, spreadsheets, and graphing. Additional course fee required. Falls.
Prerequisite(s): Environmental Science and Policy major, or permission of the instructor.

ESP 2100 Introduction to Environmental Science and Policy I                                  4 credits

Engages in a scientific approach to the physical, ecological, social, and political principles of environmental science; uses a scientific method to analyze and understand the relation between humans and the natural environment. Focuses on how ecological realities and human desires to increase their material standard of living often clash, leading to environmental degradation. Provides an analytical framework and a set of concepts that can be used to analyze environmental issues, to guide one’s life, and to clarify our responsibility to future generations; accomplished through lectures and exams, discussions, and laboratory experiences that include field trips and original data collection. Teaching environmental activism is not the purpose of the course. Laboratory/field studies. Not open to students who have earned credit for ESP 2000. Additional course fee required. Falls.
Prerequisite(s): Environmental Science and Policy majors or permission of Department Chair.

ESP 2110 Introduction to Environmental Science and Policy II                              4 credits

Complements Introduction to Environmental Science and Policy I themes to provide background information and skills about global environmental topics. Additional course fee required. Springs.
Prerequisite(s): Environmental Science and Policy majors.

ESP 2150 Introduction to Geological Sciences                                                    4 credits

Prepares participants in accepted theories, hypotheses, and methods regarding geological processes affecting our past and present environments. Lectures, labs, and field excursions train students to investigate, observe, and measure earth’s geosystems, including use of microscopes for identification of minerals, sample collections for keying out different rock types and fossils, and basic geological instruments for measuring. Additional course fee required. Falls.

ESP 2300 Foundations of Environmental Policy                                                  4 credits

Provides students with an introduction to domestic (US and New Hampshire) and global environmental history, issues, policies, and politics. Students learn the processes by which environmental policy is created and become familiar with common policy tools for addressing environmental issues and conflict. Explores interdisciplinary linkages between economical and environmental policies and examines the role of science and society in policy-making. Springs.
Prerequisite(s): (ESP 2100 and ESP 2110) or permission of the instructor

ESP 3000 Environmental Field Studies                                                                3 credits

An off-campus field-oriented course that studies a specific ecosystem in detail. The study area varies from year-to-year with the focus shifting between marine coastal (Maine or NH) environments, freshwater lakes or rivers (Lakes Region of NH), forests (White Mountain National Forest), and alpine environments (Mt. Washington region). Uses field research techniques appropriate for the study location. Requires a short-term field-based research project; includes a paper and presentation on-campus following the study. Additional costs for living accommodations and travel; the exact amount depends on the study site. May be repeated once with a different field site.
Prerequisite(s): Environmental Science and Policy majors; permission of the Department Chair

ESP 3200 Energy and Society                                                                              3 credits

Investigates the different forms of energy and the natural laws that govern their use, transformation, and conservation. Examines different sources of energy available to modern societies. Discusses the development of each as a resource, extraction methods, and associate environmental and societal consequence. Additional course fee required. Falls.
Prerequisite(s): Environmental Science and Policy majors or permission of the instructor

ESP 3270 Sustainable Structures                                                                         4 credits

Introduces students to the built environment through the lens of sustainability. Sustainable building is the use of locally available, minimally processed materials for human use. Investigates many methods and materials associated with natural building. Students have opportunities to explore design processes through both an individual project and a collective group design/build project. Additional course fee required. Springs.
Prerequisite(s): Environmental Science and Policy or Environmental Planning major, or permission of instructor.

ESP 3300 Soils and Environmental Change                                                        4 credits

Introduces soil science to environmental science, geology, geography, and biology majors and minors. Its multidisciplinary coverage teaches the relevance of soil studies across a broad spectrum of modern issues. Students learn the geologic, geographic, and climatologic aspects of soil formation, the structural components of soil that impact diverse aspects of soil fertility, drought, and tendency to landslide or erode, the dynamical aspects of soil hydrology and geochemistry, and the biological aspects of soil nutrient available, nitrification, carbon cycling, and biodiversity. Laboratory and field exercises. Additional course fee required. Falls.
Prerequisite(s): (CH 2330 or CH 2335) and CH 2340.

ESP 3310 Applied Environmental Hydrology                                                       4 credits

Combines physical hydrology concepts and theory with laboratory and field measurements, demonstrations, and observations. Provides integrated training in hydrologic sciences and hands-on experience with instruments and analytical methods such as stream gaging, indirect discharge measurements, and surveys of channel morphology. Students learn hydrologic aspects of fluvial lake, wetland and groundwater systems in interdisciplinary, biogeochemical contexts. Falls. Prerequisite(s): ESP 2110 or GE 2001 or MT 2110. ESP 3320 Climate, Risk, and Adaptation 3 credits Introductory course on Earth’s climate; examines evidence about climate change, both past and present, and predicted future effects on environmental and societal systems. Topics include global, regional, and local approaches to climate risks, mitigation, and adaptations. Springs.
Prerequisite(s): BI 1120 or ESP 2110 or GE 2001 or MT 2110 or permission of the instructor

ESP 3330 Environmental Geology                                                                       4 credits

Covers Earth’s geosystems and the geologic aspects of environmental hazards concerns like heavy methods, asbestos and radioactive elements; sea level change; acid-mine drainages and hydrofracturing earthquakes. Provides hands-on opportunities to investigate, observe, and document geological aspects of Earth’s environmental systems including soils and sediments; minerals, rock and land formations; various types of fossils, oceanography, and geochemical cycles. Additional course fee required. Falls.
Prerequisite(s): ESP 2110 or GE 2001.

ESP 3340 Introduction to Ecological Economics                                                3 credits

Science of sustainability. Implementing sustainable practices must consider what is ethical, practical, efficient, and logical, and economics is a key component. Topics include: ecosystem services, resource management, supply and demand, market failures, economic growth and human well-being, policy instruments, resource allocation efficiencies pricing and valuation of non-market goods, and ecological economics case studies. Fall of even years.

ESP 3400 Life in the Universe                                                                          3 credits

Are we alone in the universe? Astrobiologists use their understanding of diverse concepts in biology, earth science, physics, chemistry, engineering, and technology to search for answers to this question. The science of astrobiology is an integrated study centered on the search for life in the universe. Builds on our understanding of earth and life systems to investigate the habitability of other worlds. Students participate in inquiry based activities and discussions to investigate the limitations of life, the habitability of other planets, and model robotic explorations in other worlds. Culminates with student designed space missions. Springs. Prerequisite(s): Junior status. (INCO)

ESP3502 Geo-cultural Education on the Colorado Plateau                             3 credits

Students join a PSU science education faculty member and Four Corners Outdoor School staff during spring break in March to learn about bio, geo-regional outdoor education on the Colorado Plateau, originally funded by the National Science Foundation. Spend 3 days rafting on the San Juan River in southeastern Utah, learning the concepts behind, skills needed and techniques to train teachers and students in bio, geo-regional outdoor education. Explore the middle section of the San Juan River, from Bluff to Mexican Hat, which has unique geologic formations and a rich cultural history with Ancestral Puebloan ruins and rock art. The next 3 days students are assigned to intern with 1 of the Regional Coordinators for the Bioregional Outdoor Education Program (BOEP) in Utah, Colorado, New Mexico or Arizona. Students visit diverse, cross-cultural elementary schools (with Hopi, Navajo, Ute, Mormon and/or Spanish students) to observe and assist with implementing the BOEP project. The final day and a half is spent visiting regional southwest National Parks focusing on unique geological and management issues. PSU students peer teach and assist in classrooms on implementing bio-regional outdoor education curricular initiatives. PSU students also publish reflections, following a structured rubric, about their experiences on a travel blog site created for the course at http://fourcorners.blogs. plymouth. Additional costs for travel, lodging, meals, fees, and supplies. Spring of odd years.

ESP 3550 Environment and Health                                                                  3 credits

Highlights the connection between Healthy Places and Healthy People. Humans interact with the environment constantly. These interactions affect our quality of life and the surrounding environment. Students explore how human-altered environments can influence human health and disease. Discusses the natural environment, and the social and building environment. Falls and Springs. Prerequisite(s): Sophomore standing. (WECO)

ESP 3600 Special Topics in Environmental Policy                                          3 credits

An in-depth study of a particular environmental science oriented topic or contemporary issue. Since topics vary, the course may be repeated with permission of the instructor. Additional course fee required.
Prerequisite(s): Environmental Science and Policy majors.

ESP 3610 Special Topics in Environmental Science                                      3 credits

An in-depth study of a particular environmental science oriented topic or contemporary issue. Since topics vary, the course may be repeated with permission of the instructor. Additional course fee required.
Prerequisite(s): Environmental Science and Policy majors.

ESP 4100 Applied Hydrogeology                                                                    3 credits

Provides comprehensive coverage of groundwater hydrology and the role of water in geologic processes from theory (i.e., principles of governing the flow of groundwater) to practice with application to issues of groundwater supply, contamination, and resource management. Practical experience is gained through the use of real data sets and by the investigation of real-world problems. Additional course fee required. Last offering Spring 2019.
Prerequisite(s): Environmental Science and Policy majors.

ESP 4200 Natural Hazards: Science and Policy                                             4 credits

Upper-level lecture with lab course dealing with regional to global scale environmental geology, including hazards and risk assessment. Students learn inter-relationships between population growth, development, and environmental risk which occur from urbanization in coastal areas, in earthquake and landslide zones, along the flanks of active and dormant volcanoes, and flood and wildfire prone regions. Additional course fee required. Fall of odd years.
Prerequisite(s): upper-level Environmental Science and Policy majors.

ESP 4300 Land Conservation Techniques                                                    3 credits

Conserving land is a common societal goal. Explores the numerous, diverse reasons for conserving land and various mechanisms for conserving land. Students learn techniques and methods for land conservation and associated management needs. Numerous case studies in land conservation and field trips to those sites enrich the course. Additional course fee required. Fall of odd years.
Prerequisite(s): junior or senior status.

ESP 4310 Advanced Conservation Ecology                                                 3 credits

Provides students an in-depth understanding of ecological principles at the foundation of environmental problems and conservation actions. Blends qualitative and quantitative assessment of environmental integrity of landscape, ecosystem, community species, and genetic levels. Students discuss peer-reviewed literature and use Excel formula, GIS, and online tools to achieve learning outcomes. Fall of even years.
Prerequisite(s): ESP 2100 and BI 3240.

ESP 4320 Decision Making in Natural Resource Management                   3 credits

Sustainably managing natural resources for multiple objectives creates challenges for practitioners and researchers in today’s complex socio-political environment. Presents decision-making theories, applications and tools related to natural resource management, including life cycle assessment and multi-criteria decision analysis. Students work through local and regional decision making scenarios, comparing different tools and theories to real-life issues. Additional course fee required. Falls of odd years.
Prerequisite(s): ESP 2110 or GE 2001.

ESP 4400 Environmental Outreach and Communication                            3 credits

Communicating about environmental science is an important skill that helps link environmental science to policy. Introduces environmental science communication concepts, explores its historical and theoretical aspects, and develops communication and outreach skills through a variety of activities and projects. Fall of even years.
Prerequisite(s): junior or senior status.

ESP 4440 Climate Change                                                                         3 credits

Overview of the methods for examining climate change. Included are time series analysis and climate proxies such as tree-ring analysis, ˡ⁸O/ˡ⁶O ratios, pollen and carbon-14 dating. Also covered are a variety of possible causal factors such as orbital variations, plate tectonics, volcanic eruptions, CO₂ variations and El Niño. The results of paleoclimatic modeling are also discussed. Springs. Prerequisite(s): MT 2110, (PH 2130 or PH 2410), and (MA 2490 or MA 2550); Junior status. (INCO)

ESP 4915 Undergraduate Research                                                               1-4 credits

Provides opportunity for students to conduct authentic science/social science environmental research in collaboration with 1 or more PSU faculty members. Expected outcomes include publication and outreach of work. The number of credits corresponds to the level of effort and scope of work at 60 hours per credit. Repeatable for a maximum of 8 credits. Falls and Springs.
Prerequisite(s): permission of the instructor and ESP Department Chair.

ESP 4550 Environmental Science and Policy Seminar                            4 credits

A central theme in the Environmental Science and Policy program is the need to use interdisciplinary approaches to effectively address environmental issues. The Seminar is the culmination of the course work in the program, and engages students in experiential learning about the challenges of working in interdisciplinary teams and perspectives. Provides students with opportunities to research significant issues of local or regional scale using multiple perspectives in a collaborative. Each spring one or more research teams are formed to conduct a project often developed in cooperation with an NGO or government agency to meet the needs of that organization and/or a community in the region. The projects are not theoretical or broad in scope, but rather focused on the kinds of problems that graduates might expect to face. Springs.
Prerequisite(s): Senior level Environmental Science and Policy majors or permission of Department Chair. (WRCO)

ESP 4630 Environmental Science and Policy Internship                     1-6 credits

Under the supervision of a faculty sponsor, Department Chair and supervising agency representative, students engage in a work program to apply, in a practical manner, knowledge gained in major and minor coursework. The internship addresses a department goal of being involved in a community-based or service learning project through a state, federal or local environmental organization. Students must obtain a faculty sponsor and submit a detailed written proposal prior to undertaking the internship. Students must also submit a written report to their faculty sponsor when the internship is complete. Final approval of the internship comes from the Department Chair. Repeatable for a maximum of 6 credits.
Prerequisite(s): Environmental Science and Policy majors and permission of the Department Chair.

ESP 4710 Science Colloquium Series                                             1 credit

The Boyd Science Colloquium Series is the department seminar intended to focus on the analysis of contemporary issues in environmental science and policy. Specific topics vary from year to year and are tailored to the interests of the students enrolled and the faculty. Creates a foundation of knowledge and methods for studying environmental issues. Helps students identify research interests as well as be exposed to new ideas through interaction with others. May be repeated with a different topic for a maximum of 4 credits. Falls and Springs.
Prerequisite(s): Environmental Science and Policy majors or permission of the Department Chair.

ESP 4910 Independent Study                                                        1-4 credits

Offers students the opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of an environmental science or policy topic that is not covered extensively in other courses. Working with guidance from a faculty member with relevant expertise, students select a specialized topic in environmental science and/or policy for exploration and prepare an in-depth research paper or project pertaining to that topic. Scheduled conferences with the faculty members are required and a possible presentation to a class or seminar group is suggested.
Permission of the student’s advisor, the supervising faculty member and the Department Chair is required.

ESP 5040 Environmental Consulting                                              3 credits

This course is designed to train students on scientific degree tracks to become valuable employees in the environmental consulting industry by introducing them to the technical skills, project planning, and business management skills in demand by environmental consulting firms. The course focuses on the technical aspects in areas such as brown-field redevelopment, natural resources and environmental permitting, environmental compliance, sustainable development planning, etc. Course elements stress the use of industry-standard procedures and state regulations, data and information management, report preparation, development of findings and opinions, and verbal presentations.

ESP 5050 Earth Surface Dynamics                                                 3 credits

The Earth’s near-surface environment, its so-called critical zone, supports almost all known life, holds most of the geologic record, and is the region where all of earth’s dynamic systems intersect. Changes in climate, land use, water resources and ecosystems alter the form and function of this critical zone, creating landforms such as river deltas, lakes, beaches, gullies, bogs, dune fields, salt flats and dried lake beds. This course examines recent trends and changes in Earth’s most dynamic system, its critical zone, with emphasis on how these changes affect the very shape of our environment, including both terrestrial and sub-surface features. Although this course incorporates many aspects of glacial and periglacial geology, it goes beyond those remnants of past climate regimes to look at future earth scenarios. Topics range across many disciplines but all are, in essence, geomorphic responses to a dynamic earth. Potential topics: the impacts of changing sea level on river sediment and dissolved loads; ecological and water quality consequences of infilled dams/lakes, soil erosion and land conversion; climate-induced changes in floodplains, permafrost and Arctic shore-lines; heightened storm surge from changes in terrestrial sediment budgets and marine currents; consequences of newly deglaciated land on Greenland, Antarctica and high mountain regions.

ESP 5060 Ecological Economics: Theory and Applications              3 credits

Ecological Economics (EE) is not a traditional discipline. Often referred to as a “transdiscipline” because it crosses the boundaries of several subjects, many say that ecological economics is the science of sustain-ability. In this introductory, graduate-level course we will explore EE as a young and evolving field of inquiry. Standard and non-standard economic concepts will be explained along with ecological understanding to describe the challenges that arise in coupled natural-human systems. We will use problem and solution-based inquiry to test out some of the methods advocated by ecological economists. This will include participatory research on ecosystem services in local communities. Specific topics to be covered may include: Abiotic and biotic resources; supply and demand; market failures; economic growth and human well-being; policy instruments; efficient allocation of resources; pricing and valuation of non-market goods; and ecological economics case studies around biodiversity.

ESP 5070 Decision Making in Natural Resource Management       3 credits

Managing natural resources for multiple objectives, in a sustainable manner is a challenge that both practitioners and researchers face in today’s highly complex socio-political environment. Decision analysis skills are highly valued in the field of environmental science. This course will present current theories and applications related to decision making for natural resource management. Students will have the chance to work through local and regional decision making scenarios and compare different tools and theories on the ground.

ESP 5080 Soils and Environmental Change                                     3 credits

The purpose of this course is to introduce soil science to environmental science, geology, geography and biology majors. The course’s multi-disciplinary topics inform students about the relevance ofsoil studies across a broad spectrum of modern issues. Students will learn the geologic, geographic and climatologic aspects of soil formation, the structural components of soil that impact diverse aspects of soil fertility, drought, and tendency to landslide or erode, the dynamical aspects of soil hydrology and geochemistry, and the biological aspects of soil nutrient availability, nitrification, carbon cycling and biodiversity. This class is integrated with a laboratory that allows exploration of soil science topics through field and laboratory exercises.

ESP 5090 Environmental Chemistry                                                  3 credits

This course covers the chemistry of Earth’s environment, including the natural chemical processes as well as anthropogenic contributions. The environment in this context is divided into the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, the lithosphere, and anthrosphere. Particular emphasis is given to human influences in each of these “spheres,” including the causes, effects, detection, prevention, and mitigation of pollution. Environmental pollution is a global problem, with many technological and cultural causes, and as such requires an understanding of numerous disciplines in order to solve. This course thus involves the integration of concepts from chemistry, biology, geology, ecology, atmospheric sciences, hydrology, toxicology, political science, and others. Major topics to be covered include stratospheric ozone depletion, global climate change and energy, acid rain, waste disposal, organic and inorganic pollutants, and environmental regulation in the United States. The lab component will focus primarily on detection of pollutants in air and water and will include a class research project.

ESP 5160 Land Conservation Techniques                                            3 credits

Conserving land is a goal that many people share. This course explores the many and diverse reasons for conserving land and various mechanisms for achieving land conservation. Students will gain an under-standing of the techniques and methods used in land conservation and how conserved land is managed. The region provides numerous case studies in land conservation that will be used to enrich the course.

ESP 5210 Forest Ecosystems                                                              3 credits

The course will be structured around the advanced methods that have enhanced our understating of forest ecosystems. The course will explore concepts and techniques to address the changes in climatic cycles, the implications of wide-scale pollution, fire, and other ecological disturbances that have an effect on forests ecosystems. Topics to be covered include forest water and biogeochemical cycles, forest ecology, forest diversity, and global forest ecology. A field trip to the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest or another location in the White Mountain National Forest is included. Prerequisite: demonstration of competency in biogeochemistry, chemistry, ecology, and quantitative analysis; or permission of instructor.

ESP 5320 Watershed Hydrology                                                           3 credits

This course will provide a qualitative and quantitative understanding of concepts and physical principles governing the occurrence, distribution, and circulation of water near Earth’s surface. Emphasis will be on the physical understanding and parameterization of hydrologic processes, such as how rainfall and snowmelt become streamflow, evapotranspiration, and groundwater. This course is expected to serve as prerequisite to Watershed Management and Snow Hydrology, and co- or prerequisite to Field Methods in Water Resources.

ESP 5430 Environmental Law, Policy, and Management                       3 credits

This introductory level course will help students understand the key “human” relationships in coupled natural and human systems. This will include understanding how the environment is affected by relationships among legal, political, and management players – including legislatures, administrative agencies, courts, federal, state, and local governments, nonprofit, private, and public stakeholders. We will explore key events and issues in the history of U.S. environmental law and policy and then analyze how those have impacted management practices. With historical perspective in context, we will explore current issues and project what the future landscape of environmental law, policy, and management might look like. Frequent case studies of varying scale (local, regional, international) will be used to examine the major theme and questions.

ESP 5440 Watershed Systems                                                                 3 credits

This course is dedicated to integrated environmental analysis of water-sheds, but it is not the study of water, per se, but rather the spatial unit defined by the flow of water, and the dynamics within these environ-mental systems. Watersheds are a microcosm of global ecosystems, containing the same dynamic relationships between land, water, and air but on a scale more accessible to study. This course provides students with a detailed overview combined with specific, high-impact examples of complex earth systems. It uses the watershed concept as a tool for analyzing water, energy, element, and sediment budgets, including biogeo-chemical cycles with important feedbacks to larger systems. It includes human impacts and reliance on these budgets and prepares students to see how global-scale ecosystems are integrated with each other and with society. Students should be prepared to read, comprehend and analyze several scientific papers each week, and to discuss them in class.

ESP 5450 Environmental Outreach and Communication                           3 credits

Communicating about environmental science is an important skill and helps in linking environmental science and policy. This course will provide an introduction to environmental science communication concepts, explore historical and theoretical aspects of environmental communication, and develop communication and outreach skills through a variety of activities and projects. Connections will be made to students’ research interests and projects to assist them in conveying their work to multiple audiences.

ESP 5500 Special Topics in Environmental Science and Policy                1–4 credits

An in-depth study of a particular topic, contemporary issue, or concern. The course will be taught by a specialist within the field being studied, or, as an alternative methodology, a faculty member will coordinate a series of guest speakers who will meaningfully address the topic. Since topics vary, the course may be repeated with permission of the instructor.

ESP 5510 Analysis of Limnological Systems                                              3 credits

This course will examine the structure and function of freshwater ecosystems. Topics to be covered will include the geology, chemistry, physics, and biology of such systems. Special emphasis will be given to biogeochemical cycles, energy flow and productivity, and relationships of freshwater systems to human existence. Lab work will include studies of both lotic and lentic systems.

ESP 5530 Science-Based Research Design and Data Visualization         3 credits

This course will focus on data analysis techniques in environmental science. Topics will include exploratory analysis, research design, univariate and multivariate statistical approaches, a few basic machine learning algorithms, and Monte Carlo propagation of uncertainty. The course is project based, so students will work with a large data set of their choice throughout the semester.

ESP 5540 Master’s Thesis Outreach                                                          1 credit

The Center for the Environment at Plymouth State University includes outreach in its mission. The center works on applied environmental problems and the engagement of local communities and organizations in its work and through the work of the graduate students in Environmental Science and Policy. In order to prepare students to be better communicators of science, this course will introduce outreach and science communication concepts and help students in developing outreach skills. This course is designed to be taken along with ESP 5900 Master’s Thesis Research, and students will be required to complete an outreach project or activity related to their thesis research. Creative methods and activities will be encouraged. Pass/No Pass.

ESP 5560 Independent Environmental Research Outreach                        1 credit

The Center for the Environment at Plymouth State University includes outreach in its mission. The center works on applied environmental problems and the engagement of local communities and organizations in its work and through the work of the graduate students in Environmental Science and Policy. In order to prepare students to be better communicators of science, this course will introduce outreach and science communication concepts and help students in developing outreach skills. This course is designed to be taken along with ESP 5920 Independent Environmental Research, and students will be required to complete an outreach project or activity related to their independent environmental research project. Creative methods and activities will be encouraged. Pass/No pass.

ESP 5580 Climate Change                                                                           3 credits

This combined lecture and discussion course examines Earth’s climate system and the feedbacks that affect it over annual to millennial (thou-sands of years) timescales. It is a highly interdisciplinary course that integrates information on climate from atmospheric, oceanographic and geologic sciences, and broadens overall comprehension of natural and human-invoked changes in earth’s critical zone systems. Students from meteorology, environmental science and policy, and ecology should find this course highly informative and useful. Topics include past and present records of climate change, the various fields of study that contribute to climate knowledge, the effects of scale and frequency on the quality and reliability of climate records, and the state-of-the-art in climate assessment and prediction. Lecture sessions will provide fundamental information, especially with regard to the scientific basis for our current understanding of climate, and will introduce “hot” topics for discussion. Discussion sessions will focus on the most-recent status of these “hot” topics using recently published scientific papers and also online professional-level discussion forums. The role of science in politics and society will be an integral part of many of these discussions, including the obstacles created by declining public proficiencies in science and math and varying perceptions of risk.

ESP 5620 Environmental Law and Policy                                                      3 credits

This course reflects the legal and political aspects of major environmental issues as embodied in environmental laws. The course will teach learners about the law and the policies that are the basis for environ-mental laws. Concurrent examination is proposed in order to provide linkage between policy and law as we will discuss real world events and issues. The course will be presented in a form to convey a robust understanding of the bigger procedural and theoretical picture in the formation, implementation, and facets for each topic. Topics include the legal process, the policy process, ownership and property rights, and how these relate to major environmental issues; water, air, waste, wildlife, and forestry. Emerging new issues will also be discussed.

ESP 5660 Principles of Environmental Education and Interpretation            3 credits

This course introduces students to the basic principles and practices of the art and profession of interpretation. After completing this course students will be able to understand and relate a working definition of interpretation; discuss the history, principles, and philosophy of interpretation as it is practiced in natural resource settings; describe the basics of visitor evaluation; illustrate basic skills in interpretive research, oral presentation development, and exhibit development; demonstrate development of interpretive themes, goals, and objectives; and demonstrate competency in making thematic oral presentations and producing interpretive exhibits. For an additional fee to the National Association for Interpretation, students will have an opportunity to become a Certified Interpretive Guide (CIG). This option will be explained in class at the beginning of the semester.

ESP 5700 Graduate Seminar in Ecology and the Environment                     3 credits

This graduate seminar focuses on how ecological concepts and studies inform scientists, managers, and decision makers about the nature of and solutions to environmental problems. Specific topics, each will clearly demonstrate the central role of ecology in understanding ecosystem function and how ecosystems respond to disturbances at multiple scales. Through readings and discussion, students become knowledge-able and critical of ecological theory and practice. The concepts are fleshed out through case studies taken directly from peer-reviewed literature. Prerequisite: Demonstrated competency in the principles of ecology, including ecosystem ecology, landscape ecology and/or community ecology; or permission of the instructor.

ESP 5710 Science Colloquium Series                                                            1 credit

This graduate seminar is designed to be a core course in the environ-mental science and policy program. It will focus on the analysis of contemporary issues in environmental science. Specific topics will vary from year to year and will be tailored to the interests of the students enrolled and faculty interests. The course will create a foundation of knowledge of contemporary issues. It is also expected that it will help students refine their research interests as well as be exposed to new ideas through interaction with others in the course. Pass/No Pass.

ESP 5720 Environmental Planning Seminar                                                   1–3 credits

Land use planning is a dynamic field that involves the integration of a variety of components to improve communities and places. This graduate seminar will focus on furthering knowledge on specific topics related to environmental planning and explore interrelationships between topics. Topics might include smart growth, low impact design, transportation, energy, sustainable design, watershed planning, and community involvement.

ESP 5730 Contaminant Hydrology                                                                  3 credits

This course expands on Watershed Hydrology (ESP 5320) by taking a closer look at the contaminants carried by water as it moves through the hydrologic cycle. Studied contaminants will include water temperature (an EPA recognized contaminant), pH, nutrients, metals, and organic toxics such as pesticides. Participants will study the distribution of these contaminants and the theories necessary to understand their fate and transport in watersheds.

ESP 5740 Ecosystem Management: Principles and Applications                    3 credits

The course will be structured around two major themes in ecosystem management: principles and applications. The theoretical background and current status of science-based knowledge and applications will be studied based on readings from the primary literature and under-standing of selected case studies. The objectives of this course are to introduce the basic conceptual and theoretical framework of ecosystem management; the important biological, ecological, and socio-economic components of ecosystem management; and the challenges of implementing ecosystem management in real landscapes. The course intends to provide an interdisciplinary environment, an opportunity to develop open-mindedness and appreciation for diverse viewpoints regarding integrated resource management, and a chance to refine communication skills.
Prerequisite: Demonstrated competency in social sciences, ecology, and Geographic Information Systems; or permission of the instructor.

ESP 5750 Environmental Ethics                                                                        3 credits

Ethics help us understand what constitutes a good life and how to live one, as well as address questions of right and wrong. Science can provide us with data, information, and knowledge, but it does not tell us how to live a good life. Environmental ethics apply ethicalthinking to our understanding of the natural world and the relationship between humans and the earth. It can help us bridge science and our personal and organizational responsibilities in life. This course will help students develop the skills necessary to recognize the ethics behind environ-mental problems and issues and the role of these ethics in leadership positions in environmental fields.

ESP 5760 Nature of Environmental Systems                                                     3 credits

The modern world is characterized by an accelerating fragmentation and specialization of research-based information that hinders linking scientific knowledge and action to offer solutions to environmental problems. Scientists must bring together an understanding of the many components of the environment (e.g., ecological, economic, social, geo-physical, etc.). This class outlines a framework that explicitly integrates social, ecological, and geological disciplines to address specific, fundamental questions related to biophysical systems, ecosystem services, and human responses and outcomes. This framework is iterative with linkages and feedbacks between biophysical and social sciences. The class will explore under which conditions an environmental system may shift from simple to complex (e.g., exhibiting surprising responses) by relying on theoretical, empirical, and methodological contributions from ecological, biophysical, and social science disciplines.
Prerequisite: Demonstrated competency in social and biophysical sciences, and quantitative analysis; or permission of the instructor.

ESP 5780 Applied Environmental GIS                                                               3 credits

This is an introductory course designed for students with little or no experience using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The course is hands-on and will progressively build on a series of GIS skills in preparation for completing a natural resources project utilizing GIS. The course includes five “learning” sessions during the term which will include extensive instruction and repetitive performance of key GIS tasks. The course will meet once a week for the remainder of the term where students will focus on and receive assistance with individual projects. ESP 5900 Master’s Thesis Research 1–6 credits Students select a topic in consultation with their advisor and committee. A timeline, proposal, and defense are outlined. A final thesis is prepared in accordance with program thesis guidelines. Pass/No Pass.

ESP 5910 Independent Study in Environmental Science and Policy                1–3 credits

Independent study provides enrichment of the background of students through the pursuit of a special topic pertinent to their interests and abilities. It is an opportunity for an in-depth study of a problem in environmental science or policy. Consent of a faculty supervisor and the student’s advisor is required. ESP 5920 Independent Environmental Research 1–3 credits Students select a topic and project in consultation with their advisor and committee. Collaboration with external organizations and partners is encouraged. A timeline, goals, deliverables, credits, and expected outcomes are outlined for each project. Pass/No Pass.