Introduction to Environmental Science and Sustainability: NTRES 1101 (co-taught with Eugene Madsen)
This course examines two fundamental questions about the biological, chemical and physical processes that influence the biosphere. First, how do humans obtain knowledge about these environmental processes? Second, how can we assess human influences upon these environmental processes? We focus on topics from the physical, chemical and biological sciences that establish a foundation for sustainably using environmental resources. Course material examines how we assess trends, use evidence, develop models, and evaluate the credibility of available information about environmental processes. We also examine human impacts on specific environmental resources. Throughout the semester case studies, readings, discussions, writing assignments, field and laboratory exercises are used to provide a foundation for understanding how natural systems influence and are influenced by human activities.
This course was taught for the first time in Fall 2013 as the introductory course for a new Cornell major in Environmental Science and Sustainability.
Environmental Policy Processes: NTRES 4300 (co-taught with Barbara Bedford)
This course deals with the creation, implementation, and evaluation of environmental policy, at the federal level. Emphasis is on the policy process and the roles within that process played by the policy network of (1) congressional staffs and committees, (2) executive departments and agencies, and (3) advocacy organizations, interest groups, and lobbyists.
The course begins with an introduction to the study of public policy, focusing on policy process and actors, and then examines in detail several case studies. Past case studies include: risk assessment policy with a specific focus on mercury in fish; marine fisheries policy; endangered species policy; and invasive species policy. Students complete a guided (mostly independent) research project, and develop a paper on that topic. Topics are selected by students, but must have significant national environmental importance, and be approved by the instructor. Recent student topics have focused on issues related to climate change, energy, agriculture, food and nutrition, education, transportation, and natural resources, among others.
Stream Ecology: NTRES 4560, also BIOEE 4560 (co-taught with Alex Flecker)
Course description [alternate years; will be taught in Fall 2015]: Lecture examines patterns and processes in stream ecosystems, including geomorphology and hydrology, watershed-stream interactions, trophic dynamics, biogeochemistry, disturbance, and conservation and management. Field and laboratory exercises focus on experimental and analytical techniques used to study stream ecosystems, including techniques to measure stream discharge, physical habitat, water chemistry, and stream biota.