Environmental Studies (ENS)

Course meets General Education Aims Curriculum Requirement(s) in specified area(s).

Environmental Studies Program of Study

Link to Environmental Studies Program of Study

ENS 115 – Perspectives on Environmental Studies 2cr

In this introductory course, students examine the interrelated scientific, economic, social, ethical, and political dimensions of environmental issues. Students visit field sites demonstrating the variety and complexity of the problems and solutions in environmental and sustainability studies, and hear from a range of faculty and staff associated with the Environmental Studies program. This course is required for the Environmental Studies major.

ENS 126 – Introduction to Environmental Education 4cr

Environmental education – is it science, civics, or propaganda? Through discussions, a workshop, readings and student presentations, students in this course explore the history, philosophies, approaches, and prospects for environmental education. The emphasis is on surveying the field of environmental education, rather than upon specific environmental issues or concepts.

Aim 17 Environmental Responsibility

ENS 201 – Applied Ecology 4cr

Ecology is the study of the interactions of organisms with one another and with the physical world. It represents one of the most synoptic disciplines since it integrates biological, chemical, physical, and mathematical concepts. In this course, the characteristics of individual species, populations, communities, and ecosystems are examined and those principles applied to real world environmental problems and natural resource management decisions. Emphasis is on field work, focusing on ecological sampling methods and organism identification. Examples of applied topics that are covered include composting, wetland delineation, water pollution assessment, soil analysis, fish and wildlife management, bioremediation, and environmental impact assessment. Includes regular lab period.

Prerequisites: BIO 116 General Biology and CHM 116 General Chemistry I.

ENS 204 – Introduction to Environmental Engineering: Water and Waste Management 4cr

This course provides an overview of both traditional and emerging engineering approaches to address environmental issues. Topics covered include solid and hazardous waste management; soil and groundwater remediation techniques including phytoremediation and mycoremediation; drinking water systems; sanitary and industrial wastewater treatment systems; and storm water management. The regulatory framework that governs environmental engineering approaches is integrated within specific topics. Lectures and field trips to local facilities and projects provide the contextual foundation. Activities include field and laboratory measurement of environmental parameters typically utilized in environmental engineering projects. Case studies are analyzed. Students taking this course must be prepared to be active participants rather than innocent bystanders. Includes regular lab period.

Prerequisite: CHM 116 General Chemistry I.

ENS 219 – Introduction to Sustainability 4cr

What is sustainability? What do we want to sustain into the future? How can we sustain these things into the future? Understanding sustainability requires identifying those values that we want to sustain and understanding their components and how they work together, e.g. understanding values and systems. Studying sustainability requires transcending above disciplines to discover the whole amid the parts. Students in this course answer these questions using various frameworks for sustainability and systems thinking. Students write a creative non-fiction essay and create a systems model around a sustainability topic of their choice.

ENS 220 – Environmental Attitudes, Values and Behavior 2cr

This course explores the relationships among attitudes, values, and behaviors towards the natural and built environments. These issues are examined from the macro level of cultural and historical context and from the micro level of psychological processes. Readings draw from a wide range of psychological perspectives, including social psychology, cognitive psychology, behavioral therapy, psychodynamic perspectives, environmental psychology, and ecopsychology. Applications to personal, local, regional, national, and global environmental issues are emphasized. A companion course (PSY 416 Ecopsychology) is taught in a subsequent term. This course meets elective requirements for majors in Environmental Studies and Psychology.

Prerequisite: PSY 100 Introduction to Psychology or ENS 116 Introduction to Environmental Studies or ENS 115 Perspectives on Environmental Studies.

ENS 221 – Energy and the Environment 4cr

This course provides a broad understanding of the global energy system, addressing the fundamentals of energy, types of energy and its uses, energy production, conversion, and consumption. Students also consider challenges related to energy, focusing on environmental impacts and examining some key technical and socioeconomic tradeoffs that must be considered when these challenges are taken seriously. Students investigate conventional and alternative energy sources and their role in current and future energy mixes, as well as domestic and international energy-related policy. This course has an energy-related service component, and students should be prepared to devote one or two weekdays to it.

Aim 17 Environmental Responsibility

ENS 227 – Geology of the Southern Appalachians 2cr

This course is designed to help students gain an understanding of the geologic processes that formed the local environment. There are four field trips in which students observe the geologic environment of the southern Appalachians. There is one evening meeting during the first week TBA, and four meeting times on Saturdays.

ENS 228 – Geology of National Parks 2cr

Topics in this course focus on the geologic context of North America through study of representative national parks. Field trips visit several local parks.

ENS 229 – Environmental Geology 4cr

This course covers the geologic conditions that impact development in the area. Topics include landslides, water resources, groundwater pollution, and rural/urban development.

ENS 230 – Geology 4cr

This course provides an overview of earth materials and processes such as planet formation, plate tectonics, landscape development, and rock formation. Exercises include map studies and rock and mineral classification. Although primary emphasis is placed on physical geology and the interpretation of geologic processes, an introduction to historical geology is also provided. A three hour lab period is included every other week.

Aim 9 Natural Science Method

ENS 233 – Forest Biology 4cr

This course focuses on the patterns and processes that make forested ecosystems unique biological communities. Topics for examination include forest structure, composition and dynamics, and biotic/abiotic interactions at the species, stand, and landscape levels. The emphasis is on temperate forest systems of North America, especially those of the Southern Appalachians. Students spend considerable time in the field both during class periods and on their own learning woody plant identification and understanding the ecological context in which different species grow. The course serves as the foundation for the Sustainable Forestry Concentration in Environmental Studies and is a prerequisite for ENS 334 Silviculture and ENS 333 Introduction to Forest Management.

Prerequisite: BIO 116 General Biology.

ENS 248 – Community Organizing for Sustainable Living 4cr

Community organizing is a process by which people are brought together to act in a common interest. Sustainable living has been defined as a lifestyle that could be sustained for many generations without exhausting natural resources. This course helps students organize and communicate their knowledge and concern about sustainable living to diverse stakeholders. Students design, implement, and evaluate an environmental campaign promoting sustainable behaviors on the WWC campus.

Aim 17 Environmental Responsibility

ENS 249 – Introduction to Sustainable Agriculture 4cr

This course explores the sustainability of contemporary farming systems through a study of the history of food production in the United States as it relates to the development of ecological agriculture. Students learn about the rise of industrial and ecological forms of U.S. agriculture in the 20th century and consider the ethical, economic, ecological, and social dimensions of agricultural sustainability. The principles and practices of four distinctive methods of ecological agriculture – certified organic, biodynamic, biointensive, and permaculture – are investigated as examples of systems of food production that may be sustainable.

Prerequisite: ENS 116 Introduction to Environmental Studies or ENS 115 Perspectives on Environmental Studies.

ENS 250 – Topics in Environmental Governance 4cr

Who determines access to common timber, grasslands and waters? Do rivers and species have “rights” that must be acknowledged? When does the release of wastes and leftovers, a.k.a. “pollution,” cross the line private to public decision? Is democracy compatible with good environmental governance? “Environmental governance” concerns the exercise of collective human authority over natural resources and systems. In this sophomore-level course, students review basic theories of governance then interweave theory, case studies, and relevant law to complete an introduction to environmental governance. This course is offered in three versions, which use different topic areas to pursue a single set of learning outcomes. It cannot be re-taken for credit. In the “Woodland, Wetland and Wild” version, the case studies and laws concern protection of endangered species and their habitats, and wilderness. In “Cleaning Up The Commons,” they concern air and water pollution, including pollutants that are considered “hazardous.” In “Food, Fiber and Fuel,” they concern agriculture, including its use to produce fuel, in addition to food and fiber.

Aim 2 Research and Academic Discourse & Aim 14 Society and Human Behavior

Prerequisite: It is highly recommended that students have completed Aim 1: First Year Seminar.

ENS 302 – Aquatic Ecology and Water Pollution 4cr

This course presents the principles by which aquatic systems are organized and emphasizes the manner in which representative aquatic ecosystems function. Ecological theory relating to energy flow and matter cycling is a major topic as is studies of the adaptations for life in different types of aquatic systems. The second half of the course focuses on water pollution sources, effects, detection, and control. One major weekend field trip with a fee of $20 is required. A three-hour lab period is included every week.

Prerequisites: BIO 116 General Biology and CHM 116 General Chemistry I.

ENS 303 – Hydrology 4cr

This course is a study of hydrologic conditions and principles relevant to environmental science. There is a strong field focus. Includes a regular lab period.

Prerequisites: CHM 116 General Chemistry I.

ENS 310 – Conservation and Wildlife Biology 4cr

Conservation biology is the applied science of maintaining the earth’s biological diversity. The main focus of this course is biological, but it is cross-disciplinary and reaches into philosophy, economics, and sociology. Game, non-game, endangered species, and principles of wildlife management are included.

Aim 17 Environmental Responsibility

Prerequisites: BIO 116 General Biology and BIO 202 Ecology.

ENS 320 – Program Planning and Design 4cr

This course takes an in-depth view of the role that program planning and development plays in adventure and environmental education programs, camps, and other educational organizations. Students design programs with specific emphasis on developing goals, philosophy, needs assessment, curriculum, budgeting, marketing, and evaluation. This is a technical writing course.

Aim 4 Capstone Synthesis

Prerequisites: Junior or senior status.

ENS 330 – Soil Science 4cr

This course introduces soil as a natural body of critical importance to sustainable natural resource use. Students explore factors influencing soil development and investigate the impact of soil physical, chemical, and biological properties on ecosystem health and human well-being. Students gain experience in the identification of common soil characteristics in the field, practice the use of soil survey information in natural resource management and perform standard soil laboratory analyses. Specific soil management topics such as managing soils for agriculture, forestry, or urban uses are used as examples of general concepts but are not a main focus of this course. Includes a regular lab period.

Prerequisites: CHM 116 General Chemistry I and ENS 116 Introduction to Environmental Studies or ENS 115 Perspectives on Environmental Studies.

ENS 333 – Introduction to Forest Management 4cr

This course provides an introduction to forest management policy and decision-making processes. Emphasis is on multiple-use management. Students learn to develop management plans to meet multiple objectives that best use diverse forest resources. A three-hour lab period is included every other week.

Prerequisite: ENS 233 Forest Biology.

ENS 334 – Silviculture 4cr

Students examine the many silvicultural systems used in the United States with emphasis on the eastern U.S. forests. Each system is compared and analyzed with regard to silvics of the most important species, economics, management objectives, and environmental protection. A three-hour lab period is included every other week.

Prerequisite: ENS 233 Forest Biology.

ENS 341 – Agroecology 4cr

This course presents an introduction to the science of agroecology with a focus on the principles and practices of ecological crop and livestock production. Students apply basic ecological concepts to assess the structure and function of soil, plant, animal, and pest processes in agricultural systems and practice the use of adaptive management strategies and sustainable decision-making to enhance agroecosystem resilience. Includes a regular lab period.

Prerequisites: ENS 249 Introduction to Sustainable Agriculture and either BIO 202 Ecology or ENS 201 Applied Ecology.

ENS 350 – Global Environmental Health 4cr

What we do to Earth, we do to ourselves. Human health depends on our ability to live within the rhythms of this planet. In many ways, we have pushed beyond these limits and see significant impacts on our health. These impacts divide clearly along “developed world” and “developing world” ones. This course introduces basic tools used in environmental health and then investigates several specific issues and societal responses. The topics in this course are presented through an environmental action lens in order to evaluate the efficacy of possible human responses.

Prerequisites: BIO 116 General Biology.

ENS 422 – Introduction to Environmental Law 4cr

Environmental law, which began to take shape in earnest in the 1960s, is a relatively young and very dynamic subset of law. After a review of how environmental policy is formulated within the pluralistic majoritarian setting of the United States, students in this course study the constitutional underpinnings of environmental law. Through close work with multiple major laws and case studies, students consider the interrelated importance of legislatures, courts, administrative agencies, and science in establishing and then enacting various versions and visions of environmental quality and protection. Students hear from guest speakers working in the field and take at least one field trip. Reading materials include statutory text, agency regulations, court opinions, and a variety of popular and scholarly articles. Note: For students under catalogs prior to 2015-2016, this course fulfills the College Composition II triad requirement.

Aim 3 Research and Disciplinary Discourse

Prerequisites: PSC 151 Introduction to American Government and junior standing. Either ENS 250 Topics in Environmental Governance, or a 200+ level PSC course, is strongly recommended. Either ENS 115 Perspectives in Environmental Studies, or ENS 116 Introduction to Environmental Studies, is recommended.

ENS 425 – Sustainable Development and the Politics of Growth 4cr

Because “sustainable development” is often cited as the goal of environmental policy, this course attempts to discover exactly what is meant by sustainable development. Issues of economic incentives are analyzed. Unlike a standard course in environmental policy that focuses on the formulation and implementation of statutory law at the federal level of the American government, this course emphasizes economic, theoretical, and international issues.

ENS 426 – Methods and Materials in Environmental Education 4cr

The goal of this course is to give students experience, competence, and confidence as environmental educators. Students examine environmental education curriculum materials, try out various teaching methods, and discuss how the objectives of environmental education can be translated into programs and activities. Several teaching sessions in local schools and other educational settings are arranged.

Aim 3 Research and Disciplinary Discourse & Aim 17 Environmental Responsibility

Prerequisites: ENS 126 Introduction to Environmental Education.

ENS 431 – Toxicology 2cr

Toxicology is the study of the adverse effects of xenobiotic agents. This senior level course introduces the basic principles of biochemical toxicology. Emphasis is placed upon the impact of environmental pollution on humans and wildlife. This course requires two examinations, one presentation and one 5-page paper. Additional readings are assigned throughout the course.

Prerequisites: CHM 116 General Chemistry I, CHM 117 General Chemistry II, and BIO 116 General Biology.

ENS 432 – Epidemiology 2cr

Epidemiology is the study of disease distribution within populations and what affects this distribution. Epidemiologists have progressed from examining infectious diseases in the late 1800s to modern studies of obesity, lead exposure, and even cell phone use. Our world is a healthier and safer place because of this discipline. This course consists of two sections: first, a series of lectures and readings introduce the principles of epidemiology; second, newfound knowledge is used to develop and implement a study on campus. The first section of this course demands considerable out-of-class reading and study.

Prerequisite: MAT 141 Statistics.

ENS 440 – Sustainable Farm Management 4cr

This course introduces the principles and practices of sustainable farm management using a whole farm planning perspective and adaptive management strategies. Students develop an understanding of sustainable farm management at the individual farm scale by completing a five-year start-up plan for a new farm business using whole farm planning principles: goal setting, resource assessment, enterprise analysis, goal-directed crop and livestock production, and marketing and monitoring system performance with sustainability indicators.

Prerequisites: ENS 249 Introduction to Sustainable Agriculture and ENS 341 Agroecology, or permission of instructor.

ENS 451 – Community and Land Use Planning 4cr

This course addresses theoretical and practical aspects of land use planning at the local level. The terms “community” and “citizenship” are analyzed in their modern and historical contexts. Students investigate various concepts and techniques used by state, regional, urban, and rural planning organizations. Topics such as historic preservation, public lands, and conservation partnerships are discussed.

Prerequisites: Junior standing, PSC 151 Introduction to American Government, and ENS 116 Introduction to Environmental Studies.

ENS 461 – Environmental Policy and Justice Colloquium 4cr

This course is a senior capstone for Environmental Studies majors concentrating in Environmental Policy and Justice. Students engage with contemporary publications in the field and numerous guest speakers as they scope and complete their capstone, which is a major research and analysis paper project paired with presentation at the Capstone Carnival or other appropriate venue.

Aim 4 Capstone Synthesis

Prerequisites: ECO 380 Environmental and Ecological Economics; ENS 350 Global Environmental Health; ENS 422 Introduction to Environmental Law, except that a maximum of one of these may be taken concurrently.

ENS 470-476 – Topics in Conservation Biology 2cr

These rotating courses address timely and current issues in conservation biology. Different subjects are taught in different terms. Students explore the topic within the field of conservation biology and learn how the principles of conservation biology are applied to the topic and used in conservation on the ground. These courses combine the theoretical knowledge students gain in conservation and wildlife biology and applied work in conservation. May be repeated for credit as long as the topic has changed.

ENS 479 – Advanced Conservation Biology Seminar 4cr

This course explores the primary literature in the conservation biology field. Students study important foundational articles as well as cutting edge research in the field of conservation biology. Topics covered may include animal behavior and conservation, conservation genetics, population viability analysis, management plans, biodiversity hotspots, fragmentation, and impacts of climate change. Students develop a presentation using primary literature to communicate current conservation research with a high school or middle school audience.

Prerequisite: ENS 310 Conservation and Wildlife Biology.

ENS 484 – Environmental Studies Internship Seminar 1cr

This seminar focuses on helping students identify placement sites that will meet their personal and professional goals in environmental studies, prepare their proposals, and determine appropriate projects completed during the internship. The seminar helps students prepare for their internship experience by hearing from other students who have completed an internship.

Prerequisite: ENS 116 Introduction to Environmental Studies or ENS 115 Perspectives in Environmental Studies or permission of instructor.

ENS 485 – Environmental Studies Internship 2-16cr

The Environmental Studies Internship offers students majoring or minoring in Environmental Studies the opportunity to apply their course work in an off-campus situation. Required paperwork needs to be completed before the internship. Students need to plan for this experience at least 10 weeks in advance. Work is supervised by a Warren Wilson faculty member in Environmental Studies and by a staff member in the organization with which the student is placed. A follow-up project is required.

Prerequisites: ENS 484 Environmental Studies Internship Seminar.

Course meets General Education Aims Curriculum Requirement(s) in specified area(s).