Green Nature, Human Nature
Winter 2015 and Spring 2015 quarters
In this program, we will explore connections and intersections between "green nature"-- the beautiful and fascinating realm of plant biology--and human nature. We'll examine plants in three ways--as organisms, as species, and as communities. We'll consider human relations with plants similarly--at an individual level, at a community level, and at a larger scale. Green Nature, Human Nature is designed for students who are interested in plants, sustainability, and nature writ large. It will also provide students will ample opportunities to practice expository writing and develop research skills. We will approach the study of plants through biology and ecology, drawing upon a mixture of readings, lectures, field observations and laboratory work. We will pursue questions about the relationships between people and plants through a mixture of readings from the humanities and the social sciences--including research articles, poems, and essays. Students will also be introduced to methods for pursuing qualitative studies of the relationship between people and plants, and will carry out independent or collaborative research projects culminating in spring quarter. Over the two quarters of this program, we will be focused on two essential questions:
- What are plants doing--individually, as species, and as communities?
- Why do our relationships with plants matter--to us as individuals, to our communities, and to humans writ large?
The overarching goal for this two quarter program is to help students develop their capacities as critical thinkers in the context of plant science and humanistic studies of plant/people relationships. Winter quarter will focus primarily on developing an understanding of plant biology and ecology, developing basic research skills, and practicing critical and creative non-fiction writing. Spring quarter will deepen our study of plant biology and ecology, and students will conduct research projects to understand the relationships people have with plants, and why that matters in terms of creating more sustainable communities. In both quarters, students will keep field journals, write frequently, participate in community-based plant-related projects (like Native Plant Salvage), and develop a practice of research and writing that supports effective civic engagement.
Fields of Study
Preparatory for studies or careers in
Location and Schedule
Offered during: Evening and Weekend
Advertised schedule: 6-10 Mon/Wed, 9a-5p Sat (winter: Jan 10, 24, Feb 7, 21, Mar 7; spring: Apr 4, 18, May 2, 16, 30)