|NR 185 – Lake Champlain to Mount Mansfield - Field Ecology of Vermont
June 27 – July 1, 2005, 1 credit
Instructor: Dr. Mary C. Watzin
Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory,
3 College Street, Room 200
Meeting Time and Place: Rubenstein Lab, Room 207, and points beyond
Monday, June 27 – Thursday, June 30, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Friday, July 1, 8:30 – 11:30 am, One meeting in September, 2005
Course Description and Objectives:
Using the Lake Champlain Basin as your laboratory, you will explore the ecology of Lake Champlain and the streams and mountain forests of Vermont. Through a series of field and laboratory exercises, you will investigate the major groups of organisms and the key ecological processes in at work in each environment. At the end of this course, you should:
1. Be familiar with some of the approaches used to study water quality, fish, wildlife, forests, and streams. .
2. Appreciate some of the taxonomic diversity of the natural environments of Vermont.
3. Appreciate the effects of human activities and some of the management challenges in the Lake Champlain Basin.
A small set of required readings will be distributed in class. These will supplement the primary focus of the class, which is first-hand study of the natural history of Vermont.
We will be spending much of each day in the field. You need to come prepared for the changeable Vermont weather. No matter what the weather, we will go out unless it is unsafe to do so. At a minimum, each day you should bring: water, a lunch, rain gear, sunscreen, a hat, a warm sweater or sweatshirt, and sturdy footwear (sneakers for wet days, hiking boots for the trip up Mount Mansfield). Feel free to wear or bring a swimming suit for the first two days of class; if the weather is nice, there will be opportunities for swim calls for those who are interested!
Course grading will be as follows:
Class participation 50%
Course notebook 50%
Full participation in the field and laboratory exercises is an integral part of the course. Each day, there will be a learning objective and a set of activities to go along with this objective. Students will work in groups as we go through the days activities, observing each natural system and collecting some basic data on that system. At the end of each day, students will be asked to enter essential data in a course notebook and answer a few questions interpreting those data.
The “class participation” grade will be assigned with the following expectations in mind:
(1) all students will actively participate in all activities, including contributing to discussions, asking questions, and assisting with set-up and clean-up as appropriate; (2) students will work cooperatively with the instructor, TAs, boat captain, and each other, following guidelines and instructions.
Course Notebook -- students should take notes and record observations throughout the course. Each notebook should contain:
1. objectives of each day’s activities
2. summary of activities and principal data gathered
3. brief discussion that demonstrates understanding of the data collected, answers the
specific questions posed by the instructor, and reflects on any insights gained.
Notebooks should be constructed on a day-to-day basis. They can be presented in a journal format (dated entries) and need not be as formal as a traditional lab report. The last entry in the notebook should be a three to four page essay that describes in narrative fashion what you learned over the one-week course.
---> The course notebook will be due in September, when you return to campus for the fall semester. We will have one group meeting to reassess the summer’s activities and reflect on what was learned.
Course Outline and Schedule:
Monday – Introduction to Lake Champlain and its ecology (Mary Watzin)
Tuesday – Cormorant biology and telemetry studies of wildlife populations (Dave Capen)
Wednesday – Urban sprawl and the challenge of stormwater management (Breck Bowden and Alex Hagman)
Thursday – Forest ecology and silviculture on Mount Mansfield (Bill Keeton)
Friday – Managing people and natural habitats in Vermont (Mary Watzin)