Green Nature, Human Nature


Spring 2015 quarter

Taught by

composition, education, literature
ecology, plant biology

Plants keep the Earth and all of us alive. In Green Nature, Human Nature, we will explore connections and intersections between "green nature"—the beautiful and fascinating realm of plant biology—and human nature. Students will develop a solid foundation in green nature—plant biology—and learn to do qualitative research as they explore how people think and feel about plants. These two questions will guide our work: 


  • What plants are and what do they do, as individuals, as species, and as communities 
  • How and why plants matter to people, and why do those relationships matter to us individually and to our communities


Whether you’ve been a plant lover all your life or are just starting to notice the green nature around you, this program will introduce you to key concepts in plant biology and ecology and help you develop your skills of observation. We will approach the study of plants through biology and ecology with a mixture of readings, lectures, field observations and laboratory work. We will explore how people think and feel about plants—favorite house plants, flower and vegetable gardens, tree-lined streets, wild forests—by designing and conducting qualitative research studies tied to program readings.


Students will engage in a range of learning activities, including frequent short writing exercises designed to increase your understanding of critical biological concepts and your ability to communicate them to non-scientists. Students will also be guided through the process of doing a qualitative research study, exploring current issues in plant-people relationships, conducting interviews and interpreting transcripts, and presenting their results in a formal research paper. Students will also keep field journals, and participate together in at least one community-based plant-related project (such as Native Plant Salvage or Kiwanis Food Bank Garden. 


The twelve-credit version of the program will overlap with the eight-credit version, and will feature an additional evening of class for hands-on work to develop more depth and detail in the scientific study of plants.


Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

plant biology, environmental studies; teaching; students will gain a strong background in research methods and expository writing

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Evening and Weekend

Advertised schedule: 8 credits: 6-10 Mon, 9a-4p Sat (spring: Apr 4, 18, May 2, 16, 30) 12 credits: 6-10 Mon/Wed, 9a-4p Sat (spring: Apr 4, 18, May 2, 16, 30)


Buy books for this program through Greener Bookstore.

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning: Access to web-based tools required, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.


Date Revision
August 1st, 2014 8 credit option added to the program.

Registration Information

Credits: 8, 12 (Spring)

Class standing: Freshmen–Senior

Maximum enrollment: 25


Course Reference Numbers

(12 credits): 30026
(8 credits): 30354

Go to to register for this program.

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