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Hannah Wellish, student on JBS Environmental Health and Justice Program, creates a short video about the students' work with Worcester Roots.
Class will typically meet on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday (with variations to work around the fall calendar). The Environmental Field Semester totals approximately 240 contact hours. Mornings will be devoted to classroom work and afternoons to field work. Tuesday and Friday can be used by students for field and archival research.
Class will meet in the morning for two, one-and-one-half-hour blocks. Topics will include the historical and ecological development of New England and particularly Waltham and Weston, contemporary environmental challenges and the legal and political context in which decisions about land are made. Particular attention will be paid to how these communities have been shaped as part of the development of greater Boston, protection of species and ecological services in a fragmented suburban environment and sustainable local food and wood production. Morning sessions might also include Geographic Information System (GIS) training.
Afternoon sessions will be devoted to field work on research projects. Throughout the semester students will engage in coordinated group projects involving parcels of conservation land in Weston. Working in small teams they will explore land use history, conduct ecological inventories and design stewardship and education plans. They will work closely with community organizations such as the Weston conservation commission and school department.
Students will learn research skills such as GIS mapping, inventory methods and field and archival historical research, along with communication skills in effective writing and public presentation. They will write detailed reports, and at semester's end, will present their findings at a forum for members of the Brandeis and Weston communities.
Note that this schedule and all information is subject to change.