Fall Semester in the Pacific Northwest
ECONOMY, ECOLOGY, AND COMMUNITY
Our theme for the Pacific Northwest bioregion is “ecology, economy, and community.” Over the course of the semester, we will create a learning community and become engaged in an inquiry into what it takes to sustain both human and ecological communities. A sampling of what we will do:
- explore a leading model of the new “green urban” in Portland, Oregon, with its myriad sustainability initiatives, such as extensive bike paths, local food movement, and artistic and ecologically oriented placemaking.
- experience the complex interplay among humans, salmon, and the forests of this unique region.
- meet and share stories with tribal elders and teachers of the Makah nation.
- explore the lush, temperate rainforest of the Olympic peninsula and the impressive remaining stands of old-growth redwoods in northern California.
WHAT YOU WILL LEARN
Fall Semester Course Descriptions for Undergraduates and Gap Year Students
Leading and Learning for Transformation and Resilience
Interdisciplinary course designed to fulfill social science, education, or environmental studies requirements – 3 credits
Surveys the history of education and leadership and their modern roles in the sustainability movement. It also introduces the holistic, experiential, and progressive education model used by the Expedition Education Institute. The living and learning community provides an excellent opportunity for individuals to develop their own skills and practices as transformative educators, learners, and leaders. Through experience, action, and reflection, students collaboratively explore transformative approaches to education and the many facets of leadership.
Learning Community as Personal and Social Change
Interdisciplinary course designed to fulfill social science, education, outdoor leadership, psychology, or environmental studies requirements – 3 credits
Explores the learning community model and its influence on one’s personal well-being, community, and culture. Students learn group development theory and practice facilitation, decision making, cooperative communication, and conflict resolution skills. They become skilled in outdoor community living and learning. Trust, including the honoring of our commitments to one another, emerges as a foundation of our efforts. Students develop experiential and intellectual foundations necessary to establish learning communities in other settings.
Natural History and Ecology: A Systems Approach
Interdisciplinary course designed to fulfill natural science, ecology, or environmental studies requirements – 3 credits
Using both a scientific lens and direct experiential activities, students explore a wide variety of ecosystems to develop a systems-level understanding and a personal relationship with the natural world. They enhance their insight into and connection to each ecosystem through field guides and ecology texts, discussions with naturalists, visits to nature centers, and their skills of observation and interpretation. They also further develop their ecological consciousness—a personal, emotional, and ethical relationship with the natural world.
Worldviews and Culture
Interdisciplinary course designed to fulfill social science, anthropology, sociology, human ecology, or environmental studies requirements – 3 credits
Introduces the general principles of cultural anthropology including: the study of various American subcultures, solutions evolved over time by different cultural groups to deal with common human problems, and development of institutions within small groups or established societies. Students examine the scope of what culture and human diversity mean and develop an ability to think critically about culture. Limitations and biases historically encountered in this field (especially concerning indigenous peoples) are brought into focus.
Sustainable Solutions to Regional Environmental Concerns
Interdisciplinary course designed to fulfill environmental science, environmental studies, or sustainability requirements – 3 credits
Explores social, economic, and ecological conditions that lead to environmental degradation and that impact potential solutions. Students experience firsthand numerous concerns, from clearcutting and serious salmon decline to availability of fresh, healthy, food, local economic systems, and environmental justice issues occurring from urban centers to Native Americans communities. They examine ways in which regional environmental decline is impacted by interactions among regional ecology, global economic pressures, demographic trends, and local, state and national politics.
Each course is designed to earn 3 credits, with the full semester program designed to earn 15 credits for enrolled undergraduate students.
The five courses are a package deal; they cover the breadth and depth of our experiences, supporting each individual and the whole learning community to extend the learning beyond what is possible through single modes of learning in separate courses.