New England--The Wild Side! Winter 2022

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Class Details

In this course we will explore, first hand, the New England landscape to make some sense of its amazing physical and biological diversity. From the spruce-clad Berkshires to the broad Connecticut River Valley to wind-swept Cape Cod, we will delve into various landscapes and decipher the primary forces and features that make them distinct–their bedrock and climate, glacial history, flora and fauna and even paleontology. We’ll learn the typical trees and shrubs of the region and what their presence suggests about the nature and history of the places they grow. We will make forays into the world of winter-hardy wildlife–including chickadees, waterfowl, rabbits, weasels, beavers and coyotes. What do their tracks and behavior reveal about how they cope in their rigorous and fickle environments, and how might they be affected by climate change and other human impacts? Through hikes, field trips, visits to museums, readings, discussions, and personal observations, you will increase your awareness and appreciation of the natural heritage of the region that you have made your recent home. This class is field focused; therefore students should be prepared to spend significant time outdoors, sometimes hiking several miles, in winter conditions. Some trips will require students to be away from campus beyond normal class hours and even overnight. No special equipment or prerequisites are required for this class.
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: 10
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: the final project could comprise a 6-page paper, journal, creative endeavor (sketches, poetry, etc), field study, or related work, plus a short presentation
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: seniority, demonstrated interest and curiosity in the subject
Unit Notes: Drew Jones has been manager of Williams College's Hopkins Memorial Forest for 21 years. There he coordinates research, education and maintenance activities. In addition, he bands saw-whet owls in the fall and boils maple sap in the spring. Previously, Drew has worked as a wildlife biologist and environmental educator from the southern Appalachians to the north woods and beyond.
Materials/Lab Fee: $273

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