Core: Science and Our Place on the Planet I



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Theme: Forests and Our Future 
Forests provide a wealth of benefits for people and societies, and in the Pacific Northwest we live amid one of the most spectacular forests on Earth.  This course will explore the diverse ways that forests can contribute to a sustainable future for humankind.  We will draw on perspectives from natural history, ecology, and environmental studies to examine the science of forestry and the key roles that forests can and will play in addressing climate change and ecosystem health.  Our investigations will also examine a variety of forest management approaches, including U.S. national forests, tribal and indigenous forestry, agroforestry models, and the forest certification movement.  A big part of our focus will be field studies in Bellingham and Whatcom County, as we learn firsthand about the forest we call home. 

Required Texts: Northwest trees by Stephen Arno and Ramona Hammerly;  The Hidden Forest by John Luoma.  Additional reading assignments on Canvas. 

Credit/Evaluation: Regular attendance and informed contribution to discussions is essential.  Evaluation will be based on each student’s grasp and understanding of the issues presented in the readings and field exercises.  Students also will: 1) learn to identify common native Northwest trees and carry out a short natural history presentation of one tree species;  2) contribute to conducting and analyzing a forest inventory; and 3) research, present, and write up a case study of sustainable forest management or a key forest value.


Fall 2021
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