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Field studies course revamped for three-week Fall term

Field studies course revamped for three-week Fall term

A closer look at environmental science in the new three-week session next Fall

One of the new courses coming in the new Augustana calendar three-week session next September will be the Environmental Field Studies course taught by environmental science professors Glen Hvenegaard and Glynnis Hood.

Previously run in August 2015, the course is already suited to the three-week time schedule.

The field studies course will have a similar schedule since it was previously run over a 15 day period. According to Hvenegaard, “The first time offering this course worked very well and we’ve made improvements since then so it will be even better this time around.”

Hvenegaard said he is excited about the possibilities for the new course slot in September. “September provides lots of opportunities for this course, many flowers still in bloom, trees with leaves, migrating birds and animals are active. It’s a fun course.”

The course is focussed around self-directed research projects led by each student. Students in the course collaborate with each other on their projects. One of the students Melissa Tollitt, who took the August 2015 offering of the course, said, “Being able to pitch in on other projects gives great experience with different field sampling techniques.”

Last year, projects included park interpretation, wetland mammal impacts, water quality, aquatic invertebrates, and reclamation.

“It’s like there are twelve different studies going on where everyone is going through the same steps,” said Hvenegaard. “The process involves identifying a problem, writing a research proposal, constructing a plan, executing the plan, analyzing results and creating a research report and presentation.”

Hvenegaard said the course offers a very intense time of research. Students live on site, share chores, go on hikes and field trips, and build strong community through time spent together.

“Be prepared to spend evenings in lessons and writing and analyzing data,” said Tollitt. “But it is worth the stress to see a project from idea to fruition.” Tollitt adds that the park is gorgeous and nights spent outside are like a vacation.

In addition, guest speakers and visits from experts in different fields of study add to the course material and experience.

An information session regarding the course is planned for Feb. 27 at 6:30 p.m. in F1-305.

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