Photovoltaic power generation is proving to be a viable renewable alternative to fossil fuels, and Kenyon College is embarking on a multi-year plan to install PV systems on several buildings across campus. This course is uniquely situated to take advantage of this endeavor. We will discuss the role energy serves in society and examine the basic physics of energy in general before discussing and comparing traditional fossil fuels versus alternatives. Focusing our attention on PV electrical energy, a series of hands-on lab exercises will explore the science of electricity, PV power generation and linking such systems to the grid. Determining potential locations for installing Kenyon's growing network of solar power systems will be addressed via a combination of spatial analysis exercises and on-site visits to past and future installation sites. Additional field trips to local residential and commercial agricultural PV systems and conversations with their owners will augment these efforts. Through conversations with leaders of Kenyon's campus efforts and online virtual meetings with leaders in the industry at the state, regional, and national levels, we will learn the ins and outs of designing, planning, installing, and financing PV systems from the perspectives of buyers, sellers and investors. During semesters when an installation is in process, we will be directly involved in site evaluations and will closely follow along with the design and construction of the system. During these times, students will help plan and will host a public flip-the-switch event at system sites when these new systems are commissioned and are officially energized and connected to the grid. No prerequisite.
This course examines contemporary environmental problems, introducing the major concepts pertaining to human interactions with the biosphere. We will explore this interaction at both local and global scales. Course topics include basic principles of ecology (flows of energy, cycling of matter and the role of feedback), the impacts of human technology, the roots of our perceptions about and reactions to nature, the social and legal framework for responding to problems, and economic issues surrounding environmental issues. We will discuss methods for answering questions regarding the consequences of our actions and, using a systems approach, focus on methods for organizing information to evaluate complex issues. The format of the course will be three-quarters discussion and lecture and one-quarter workshop. The workshops will include field trips, experience with collecting data, and application of systems thinking. This course counts as a biology course for diversification. No prerequisite. Offered every spring.
This seminar challenges students to consider the establishment of crops that follow an academic year - fall, winter, spring - on a small homestead like The Kenyon Farm. The importance of sustainability and the relationship of farming to community will be emphasized. Students will learn about soils, plant nutrition, microbes and composting, managing pests and diseases, vegetable planting techniques, grafting and pruning of tree crops, and mushroom farming. Students will learn how to assess farmland and its suitability for different crops and how to plan a family and a market garden. Several Saturday field trips will explore bee keeping and use and culture of wild plants. Hands on: Students will prepare and plant hotbeds in February to produce seedlings for sale and produce some early vegetables in the spring. Prerequisite: ENVS 112 or BIOL 115 or permission of instructor.
In this course, students will examine special topics in environmental science, gaining subject knowledge so that they can lead educational experiences for elementary school classes visiting the Brown Family Environmental Center. Students will participate in two workshops at the beginning of the semester and then participate in at least four programs for visitors. Participants will keep a journal and submit a final report on their experiences along with evaluations of the effectiveness of the programs. Prerequisite: ENVS 112 or BIOL 112 or equivalent or permission of instructor. Offered each semester.
The purpose of the course is to introduce students to the principles of sustainable agriculture through hands-on experience on local farms and through readings of current literature. The course thus combines fieldwork and seminar-style discussion. Work on the farm will be varied, determined by the seasons and farm projects under way. In addition, students may be taken to the local Producers Livestock Auction and other off-farm sites as the time and season allow. Students can expect to handle and feed animals, clean barns, harvest and plant crops, prepare farm products for market, build and repair fences, bale hay, and work with, repair or clean equipment and buildings. Readings will be drawn from relevant books, current environmental literature and the news media. Discussions will be student-led and combine readings and their experiences in the field. Completion of ENVS 112 is strongly encouraged. Also, students must have available in their academic schedule four continuous hours one day per week to spend working at a local organic farm (travel time will be in addition to these four hours). In addition, students will participate in a weekly seminar discussion of assigned readings, lasting from an hour and a half to two hours. Participation is limited to eight to 10 students and permission of instructor is required. Preference will be given to juniors and seniors. No prerequisite. Offered every fall.
This course is for all students interested in improving their spatial literacy, or the ability to use spatial information to communicate, reason, and solve problems - in this case environmental problems, nearly all of which have a spatial component. Following a review of maps (coordinate and projection systems, cartographic principles, etc.) we will survey a number of online mapping applications (e.g., Google Earth) and use these to produce informative maps. We also will explore the nature of the Global Positioning System (GPS) and how data can be collected in the field for future analysis and presentation. The focus of the course will eventually settle onto the nature of computer-based geographic information systems (GIS) and the ways in which this powerful suite of tools can be used to analyze geographic data, model spatial processes and make informed decisions. Lectures will introduce fundamental concepts such as scale and resolution, the nature and structure of spatial data models, and the construction of GIS queries. A series of laboratory case studies will present real-world applications of GIS while offering students opportunities to apply the fundamental concepts discussed in lectures. Prerequisite: sophomore standing.
Instructor: E. Holdener
The intention of this capstone seminar is to draw together and apply the concepts learned in earlier courses in the Environmental Studies Concentration. The focus of the course will be on case studies of natural-resource management, with specific topic areas to be determined. In this strongly interdisciplinary effort, we will explore ecological, economic, social and legal issues that influence how people exploit natural resources, and whether that exploitation is sustainable. Students will be expected to develop and communicate their understanding of the complex and inseparable relationships of human well-being, ecosystem services and environmental management. Prerequisite: junior standing and must be pursuing the Environmental Studies Concentration. Offered every year.
Because the Environmental Studies Concentration has no faculty of its own, the nature of an individual study will necessarily vary dramatically depending on the home discipline of the faculty member guiding the course. Details regarding the expected number of contact hours per week, workload, and assessment will be left to the discretion of the faculty member guiding the individual study. There are no formal restrictions on who can pursue an individual study in environmental studies. Individual studies are not intended to replace an elective course in fulfilling the requirements of the Environmental Studies Concentration.
ANTH 111: Introduction to Biological Anthropology
ANTH 320: Anthropology of Food
ANTH 324: Human Ecology: Biocultural Adaptations
ANTH 333: Prehistory of Europe and Western Asia
BIOL 106: Conservation Biology
BIOL 115: Energy in Living Systems
BIOL 228: Ecology
BIOL 229: Ecology Laboratory
BIOL 251: Marine Biology
BIOL 328: Global Ecology and Biogeography
BIOL 352: Aquatic Systems Biology
BIOL 353: Aquatic Systems Lab
CHEM 108: Solar Energy
CHEM 110: Environmental Chemistry
CHEM 121: Introductory Chemistry
CHEM 122: Chemical Principles
CHEM 231: Organic Chemistry I
CHEM 232: Organic Chemistry II
CHEM 341: Instrumental Analysis
ECON 101: Principles of Microeconomics
ECON 336: Environmental Economics
ECON 342: Economics of Regulation
ECON 345: Futures and Options
ECON 347: Economics of the Public Sector
PHIL 110: Introduction to Ethics
PHIL 115: Practical Issues in Ethics
PHYS 108: Geology
PSCI 362: America and the World in the 21st Century
PSCI 363: Global Environmental Politics
PSCI 480: Science and Politics
RLST 481: Religion and Nature
SOCY 233: Sociology of Food