In Reading the Northwoods Landscape we develop the naturalist skills of field observation, descriptive ecology and landscape interpretation while exploring the forests and geologic wonders of Northern New England. The program integrates studies of forest ecology and botany of woody plants with studies of geology, including rock types and associated landforms and geomorphic processes. We spend over half our time in the field.
Enrollment Requirements and Options:
This program includes regular full day field trips with hiking and a multi-day camping trip. Courses are integrated co-requisites with simultaneous enrollment required. Students in this pod cannot enroll in online courses. TA-ing one of these courses is possible with instructor permission.
This pod includes the following courses:
Natural History of the North Woods 4 cr
This course is a field-based exploration of the flora and vegetation of the North Woods, with an emphasis on the ecological interplay between temperate deciduous and boreal forest biomes. Students build on foundational principles of natural history and ecology through development and practice of observation, identification, and interpretation skills and the keeping of a refined naturalist field journal. Topics include a botanical survey of woody plant families and representative species, natural community composition and structure, biogeographic concepts, ecological succession, identification and classification skills (including an introduction to botanical keys, as well as extensive use of other types of field guides), and the history and philosophy of Natural History. Course format includes lectures, discussions, and a significant field component.
Geology 3 cr
This course is an introduction to geology and geomorphic processes. Students are introduced to rock types, degradational forces, the geologic time scale, plate tectonics, geologic evolution of landscapes, and major landforming processes such as fluvial geomorphology, periglacial processes, and glacial geology. This course is a global survey but pays special attention to the physical landscapes of the circumpolar regions and Northeastern North America. Course format includes lectures, discussions, and regular field excursions.