Environmental Science


Courses and Special Projects


ES101 and ES102: Introduction to Environmental Science I and II

Illustration - Intro to Environmental ScienceThis course is an overview of the major issues facing our planet today: species extinction, sustainable agriculture, ecotoxicology, mineral resources, water pollution, air pollution, climate change and other significant topics. The class takes a hands-on approach to help students learn the skills needed to investigate environmental problems and to find solutions. Students work in groups on labs and on special projects, including a natural resource inventory of the University's conservation easement land, testing water quality, determining goals for sustainability, reducing energy use and other projects. Photo: Students record evidence of wildlife on campus lands.

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ES310: Environmental Impact Assessment 

Illustration - Environmental Impact AssessmentHow does a development like a new highway or a hydroelectric dam affect the environment? What laws require people to consider these environmental impacts? What process should be followed to answer these questions? In this class students learn the process of environmental impact assessment, which is sometimes legally required, but is always helpful in deciding whether a proposed action will have a negative effect on the natural world. Students spend the semester conducting a real assessment of the effects of a proposed new building on campus or elsewhere in the local community. They collect information on the effects of the proposed development on air and water quality, wildlife, plant life, energy resources, hazardous materials and socioeconomic resources. At the end of the semester students present their findings to the decision makers concerned with that development. Photo: Students explore the effects of a proposed new building on campus or elsewhere, and then present the findings to decision makers.

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ES320 Wetland Ecology

Illustration - Wetland EcologyWetlands are the transitional ecosystems between open water and dry land. They are incredibly important for water quality, wildlife, flood control and other functions. In addition, they are complex and fascinating ecosystems. Wetlands provide the student with the opportunity to develop marketable skills (because wetlands are legally protected, there are many jobs for wetland scientists), as well as expand their understanding of the interconnectedness of the natural world. Photo: Professor Catherine Koning helps students in Wetland Ecology take soil samples at Ponemah Bog.

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ES240: Sustainable Communities

Illustration - Sustainable CommunitiesWe know that there are a lot of environmental problems; what are the solutions? This class focuses on the norms and values of our mainstream American society, and tries to find some ways to convince people to live more sustainably. The class chooses a project that will help the college or the town live reduce their environmental impact. Past projects have been a study of the amount of residential growth that is taking place in the Town of Rindge, and an effort to decrease cafeteria waste and promote the purchase of locally grown foods on campus, which not only works to support local farmers but also reduces the energy costs of food transportation. View a PowerPoint presentation of a report card on the University's sustainability efforts. Photo: Greta Frost, Patti Gillen and Pat Deane present information about how much waste is produced on Franklin Pierce University's Rindge Campus.

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ES342: Wildlife Conservation

Illustration - Wildlife ConservationOne of the most serious problems facing our planet today is the extinction of species and overall decline in biodiversity. In this course, students learn how and why species and ecosystems are disappearing, what can be done to save them. Photo: Kozue Nogami, Sheryle Bindman, Hue and Harmony Goldstein learn about adaptations of migratory birds.

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BI231: Animal Behavior

Illustration - Animal BehaviorWhy do animals do what they do? Understanding the what, how and why of wildlife is key to deciphering their behavior and learning how to live with our vertebrate friends. In this class students observe birds and mammals in the wild and learn the many techniques used to track and decode their activities. Photo: Animal Behavior students use radio telemetry and global positioning systems to find and track wildlife.

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ES465: Forest Ecology

Illustration - Forest EcologyIn Forest Ecology, students learn how forests grow and change over time, and what threats face them from irresponsible logging practices, habitat destruction and exotic species. Students design their own scientific study of the forest, using any one of the 100's of acres of upland and wetland forest available within easy walking distance of the Rindge campus buildings. Photo: Students identify plant species on campus.

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ES480: Junior Seminar

In this class, students focus on the "big issues" in the field of science, and think about their own future careers. What are the skills and knowledge needed to tackle these hot environmental issues, such as endocrine disruptors or global climate change? Each student takes an inventory of their own ability to solve environmental problems, and discovers where and how they can improve. Students also plan their Senior capstone experience, the thesis or internship.

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ES481 Senior Thesis or ES460 Internship

The "capstone experience" of the Environmental Science major is designed to challenge each student's abilities to tackle environmental issues. Students can choose any topic that relates to human impact on the environment. Past topics have included impacts of sedimentation on wetland plants, effects of developed areas on wildlife, restoration of trout to local streams, impacts of invasive species, park management, wastewater treatment and water quality, a composting system for college campuses, waste reduction at FPC, environmental ethics, and many more. FPC students have had internships at NH Fish and Game, Monadnock State Park, private environmental consulting firms, environmental education organizations, etc. 

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