Service-Learning and field practica outputs
Mission of the UW-Madison Lakeshore Nature Preserve. The Preserve permanently protects the undeveloped lands along the shore of Lake Mendota where members of the campus community have long experienced the intellectual and aesthetic benefits of interacting with the natural world. The Preserve shelters biologically significant plant and animal communities for teaching, research, outreach, and environmentally sensitive use, and safeguards beloved cultural landscapes. It contributes to a powerful sense of place and fosters an ethic of stewardship to promote mutually beneficial relationships between humans and the rest of nature.
This course will provide students with a foundation in ecology. After completing this course students will be ready for more advanced work in biological sciences or ready to apply ecological principles to current environmental and public policy debates, as consumers, voters, and professionals. The course is aimed at first- and second-year students who are considering a natural science major and at older students majoring in other fields. The primary goal of this course is to place ecological thought in an interdisciplinary framework that encompasses the ecology of humans as another unique species evolving and interacting within Earth's biosphere and the many branches of ecological science. We focus on the biosphere (i.e., only incidental treatment of the ecology of water, energy, chemical cycling, inorganic substrates, etc.), and seek to understand how major branches of ecology developed to address problems at many levels, from landscape ecology to population ecology to behavioral ecology. We will survey research agendas and application of ecological sciences across campus and explore the ecology embedded in the activities of Nelson Institute's research centers. To integrate human behavior and ecology fully for an understanding of ecosystem function and environmental change, we will return again and again to Wisconsin's wolves, deer, and vegetation communities as a focal ecosystem to understand structure, components, functions, and trajectories of change.
Skill sets we will develop:
- Develop a conceptual framework for understanding ecosystem process and patterns with humans integral to it
- Empower students to understand how human and nonhuman ecosystem elements interact
- Link ecological observation and formulation of hypotheses to modern environmental problems
- Increase curiosity about environmental studies and ecology
This course will provide an interdisciplinary and international look at coexistence between humans and large carnivores, such as bears, big cats, and wild canids. You will learn how to mitigate conflicts and balance wildlife needs with those of people. Our case study throughout the course will be the recovery of gray wolves in our state and the nation. Wolf recovery has been the most contentious and acclaimed conservation success in US history. The wolf is symbolic for many people but depending on your value orientation, the species may be vilified or revered. Its recovery from near extinction in the USA has been associated with a complex interplay of stakeholder groups including a revival of controversy over federal and state powers. At an individual level, wolf recovery has been characterized by conflicting views of the role of humans in nature. For scientists, wolf recovery has been an important test of the integration of applied research into the policy process. Nowhere has this been more clear than in Wisconsin. In this course, we review the past 30 years of wolf recovery in our state as (i) a laboratory for understanding public participation in decision making about natural resources, (ii) a lens to examine the role of research in public debate and policy formulation, and (iii) am experiment in biodiversity conservation in the face of fears for human safety, economy and property in an agroecosystem. The course will include participation in a regional conference on carnivore management and conservation. This course requires a mandatory excursion (during the week). Registration requires enrollment in the Environmental Studies Certificate Program -OR- consent of instructor.
This course will cover the entire range of the theory and practice of conservation of biodiversity. We will focus on terrestrial systems, applied research, and systematic conservation planning. The course will be divided into approximately 60% biodiversity science and 40% human dimensions of biodiversity conservation, but fully integrated with each other. More specifically, within the unit on biodiversity science we will gain an understanding of the diversity of life on Earth and the abiotic life support system, as well as the implications of variation in individual behavioral ecology, population dynamics, and strong interactions between species. Within the unit on human dimensions of biodiversity conservation, we will explore the role of humans in nature including recent technology and land-use intensification. In the unit on threats to biodiversity we will learn about the four riders of the biodiversity apocalypse and the global reach and impact of human activities. We will analyze indirect threats and chains of cause and effect that drive biodiversity loss. In the last unit, our class will learn to plan conservation projects systematically with optimal participation of stakeholders and using adaptive management practices. In teams, students will engage in a service-learning project with the Lakeshore Nature Preserve here on campus to put classroom learning into practice.
Skill sets we will develop:
- Absorbing information and nuance about complex systems
- Critical analysis and constructive synthesis
- Clear, logical, and persuasive communication
- Quantitative thinking
- Civic engagement through a service-learning project
- Team collaboration