Course Listings

Courses

MD4010Marine Policy

According to the Chair of the Pew Oceans Commission, "America's oceans are in a state of crisis. Pollution, unplanned coastal development, and the loss of fisheries, habitat, and wildlife threaten the health of the oceans and the tens of thousands of jobs that form the backbone of coastal communities." This course will provide a general understanding of both marine resources and current regional, national, and international policy regarding these resources.  Because oceans and the life they support transcend national and state boundaries, the course will explore international, national, and local oceanpolicy-making frameworks, including specific legislation addressing fisheries, coastal development, species protection, pollution, and resource extraction.  We will examine some of the controversies that exist in marine environments today using historical case studies of ocean management policy.  These case studies include management of Atlantic salmon, tuna-dolphin interactions, off-shore oil drilling, and New England fisheries.  Because of the interdisciplinary nature of these problems, it is necessary to understand how scientists and policy makers think about the same issues, how they attempt to solve problems, and how these two views can be brought together successfully. Assessment will include several question sets, a final small group paper and presentation that investigates a current marine policy issue, and class participation.

Level:  Intermediate/Advanced.  Prerequisites: Background in the biological sciences and environmental policy and permission of Instructors.  Course fee $20.

Ken Cline

HS4042Reading the West

The spectacular range of habitats between the Pacific Ocean and the Great Basin and Sonoran Deserts has generated some of the most significant “place based” writing within American literature. In this intensive field-based course students will be required to read a range of materials dealing with key places, people, and events in the western landscape during the summer prior to the formal start of the course. The class will then convene in California and begin a trek eastwards into the Great Basin Desert, south to the Carson/Iceberg Wilderness, Yosemite, the Hetch Hetchy Valley and Mono Lake, and then finally southeastward across the Sonoran desert to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where students and faculty will participate in a conference celebrating the first 50 years of the Wilderness Act. Readings will include work by Muir, Didion, Steinbeck, and Fremont. Evaluation will consist of class participation, a series of essays and journal essays, and a final term paper that will be completed following the end of the field portion of the course.  This course will be integrated with and requires co-enrollment in Ecology and Natural History of the American West, and Wilderness in the West.

Level:  Intermediate/Advanced.  Prerequisites: Permission of instructor; camping/backpacking ability.  Class limit: 9.  Lab fee: $1500.  Meets the following degree requirements: HS

Ken Cline

MD1011Rivers: A Wilderness Odyssey

Rivers: A Wilderness Odyssey begins and ends on the COA campus.  Through reading and discussion, students will gain an introduction to the natural history, conservation, literature, and emotional and psychological aspects of wilderness and river systems. While on Mount Desert Island, students will explore Acadia National Park, which provides a connection to the outdoors for millions of visitors each summer.  These experiences and observations will be contrasted with the experience of a downriver canoe-camping expedition on the much more remote Allagash Wilderness Waterway in northern Maine.  Writings by Thoreau as well as contemporary authors will provide context for the canoe expedition.  The expedition will serve as our laboratory to experience and explore group dynamics in a wilderness setting and to examine conceptions of leadership, authority, and community as well as the transformative power of shared adventure.  Upon returning to campus, students will compile samples of their writing and photographs to be shared in a final group presentation for assessment of their learning.

Level:  Introductory.  Signature of Instructor.

Ken Cline

HS1012Introduction to the Legal Process

The "law" affects every aspect of human activity.  As human ecologists we must garner some basic understanding of how law is used (or misused) to shape society and human behavior.  This course examines two aspects of the American legal system:  1) the judicial process or how we resolve disputes; and 2) the legislative process or how we enact policy.  Course readings cover everything from classic jurisprudence essays to the daily newspaper.  We use current environmental and social issues to illustrate specific applications of the legal process.  Legal brief preparation, mock courtroom presentations, lobbying visits to the Maine legislature, and guest lectures are used to give a practical dimension to course subjects.  Students analyze Federal Election Commission documents to understand the impact of campaign financing on public policy and look closely at other current issues facing the legislative and judicial systems.  Evaluation is based upon two papers and several other exercises.  

Level: Introductory.  Offered every other year.  Class limit: 30.  Lab fee $20.  Meets the following degree requirements: HS

Ken Cline

HS1021History of the American Conservation Movement

This course provides students with an overview of the American conservation movement from the 1600s through the present.  Through an examination of historical accounts and contemporary analysis, students develop an understanding of the issues, places, value conflicts, and people who have shaped conservation and environmental policy in the United States.  They also gain an appreciation for the relationship between the conservation movement and other social and political movements.  Students should come away with a sense of the historical and cultural context of American attitudes toward nature.  We also seek to apply these lessons to policy debates currently underway in Maine.  Working from original writings, students do indepth research on a selected historical figure. Evaluation is based on problem sets, group activities, participation, and a final paper. 

Level: Introductory.  Meets the following degree requirements: HS, HY

Ken Cline

HS1032Acadia: Exploring the National Park Idea

Using Acadia National Park as a case study, this course will explore the various facets of "the national park idea" and what it means for Americans in terms of history and identity.  Through direct experiences in one of the "crown jewels" of the park system, the class will examine the historical, ecological, cultural, social, legal, economic, and spiritual context in which national parks are formed and continue to exist in the 21st century.   We will work with National Park Service professionals to look at various aspects of park management and day-to-day challenges of implementing the "national park idea." Through weekly field trips, journaling, service learning opportunities, and projects, we will be immersed in the management and experience of Acadia.  We will explore, through reading and writing, the broader themes of wilderness preservation, attitudes toward nature, the history of conservation, and the commodification of nature.  This experiential class is specifically geared toward first Year students and they will be given preference for enrollment. Assignments will include journal writing, short exercises, a group project/service learning opportunity, short presentations, and papers.
 
Level: Introductory. Prerequisites: none. Class limit: 24. Lab fee: $40. Meets the following degree requirements: HS

Ken Cline

HS320The Human Ecology of Wilderness

Wilderness has been the clarion call for generations of environmentalists. Henry David Thoreau once said, "In wildness is the preservation of the world." That single sentence and the controversy surrounding that idea provides the central focus of our explorations over the term. This course examines the question of wilderness from multiple perspectives in the hopes of providing an understanding of the concept and real spaces that constitute wilderness. Starting with a week-long canoe trip down Maine's Allagash Wilderness Waterway, we look at historical and contemporary accounts of the value of wilderness, biological, and cultural arguments for wilderness, and the legal and policy difficulties of "protecting" wilderness. Considerable time is spent evaluating current criticisms of the wilderness idea and practice. Students are involved in a term-long project involving potential wilderness protection in Maine. This involves some weekend travel and work in the Maine Woods. Classwork emphasizes hands-on projects as well as theoretical discussions. Level: Intermediate. Prerequisite: Introduction to the Legal Process, Signature of instructor. Class limit: 14. Lab fee: $200. *HS*

Ken Cline

HS4026Environmental Law and Policy

This course provides an overview of environmental law and the role of law in shaping environmental policy.  We examine, as background, the nature and scope of environmental, energy, and resource problems and evaluate the various legal mechanisms available to address those problems.  The course attempts to have students critically analyze the role of law in setting and implementing environmental policy.  We explore traditional common law remedies, procedural statutes such as the National Environmental Policy Act, intricate regulatory schemes, and market-based strategies that have been adopted to control pollution and protect natural resources.  Students are exposed to a wide range of environmental law problems in order to appreciate both the advantages and limitations of law in this context.  Special attention is given to policy debates currently underway and the use of the legal process to foster the development of a sustainable society in the United States.  Students are required to complete four problem sets in which they apply legal principles to a given fact scenario.

Level: Intermediate/Advanced.  Prerequisites:  Introduction to the Legal Process or Philosophy of the Constitution strongly recommended.  Offered at least every other year.  Class limit: 20.  Lab fee $20.  Meets the following degree requirements: HS

Ken Cline

HS4043Wilderness in the West: Promise and Problems

Wilderness has been the clarion call for generations of environmentalists. In a letter in support of the Wilderness Act, writer Wallace Stegner characterized the importance of wilderness as an essential “part of the geography of hope.” That single phrase and the current controversy surrounding the concept of wilderness provide the central focus of our explorations of wilderness in western lands. This course examines the question of wilderness from multiple perspectives in the hopes of providing an understanding of both the concept and real spaces that constitute wilderness. Through conversations with wilderness managers, field work, and experience in federally designated wilderness areas in National Parks, National Forests, Wildlife Refuges and on BLM lands, the course will also examine what “wilderness management” means on the ground in the varied landscapes of the western United States. In this context, we look at historical and contemporary acco unts of the value of wilderness, ecological and cultural arguments for wilderness, and the legal and policy difficulties of "protecting" wilderness. Considerable time is spent evaluating current criticisms of the wilderness idea and practice. The class will culminate at a week-long national conference celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. The 50th Anniversary National Wilderness Conference provides an incomparable opportunity for students to hear from and interact with federal management agencies, academics, recreation experts, and environmental advocacy organizations. Presenting their final course work at this conference will also give students an opportunity to share their ideas and to receive valuable feedback from this sophisticated and well-informed audience of wilderness experts. Classwork emphasizes hands-on service-learning projects as well as reading, writing, and theoretical discussions. Students will be evaluated on journal entries, contributions to the class discussions, response papers, engagement in field activities, questions in the field, and contributions to group work.  This course will be integrated with and requires co-enrollment in Reading the West and Ecology and Natural History of the West.

Level:  Intermediate/Advanced.  Prerequisites: Ecology, Our Public Lands, and permission of instructor and concurrent enrollment.  Class limit: 9.  Lab fee: none.  Meets the following degree requirements: HS

Ken Cline

HS566International Wildlife Policy and Protected Areas

"Save the whales"; "save the tiger"; "save the rainforest" - - increasingly wildlife and their habitats are the subject of international debate with many seeing wildlife as part of the common heritage of humankind. Wildlife does not recognize the political boundaries of national states and as a result purely national efforts to protect wildlife often fail when wildlife migrates beyond the jurisdiction of protection. This course focuses on two principle aspects of international wildlife conservation: 1) the framework of treaties and other international mechanisms set up to protect species; and 2) the system of protected areas established around the world to protect habitat. We begin with an examination of several seminal wildlife treaties such as the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, CITES, migratory bird treaties, and protocols to the Antarctica Treaty. Using case studies on some of the more notable wildlife campaigns, such as those involving whales and elephants, we seek to understand the tensions between national sovereignty and international conservation efforts. The Convention on Biological Diversity and its broad prescriptions for wildlife protection provide a central focus for our examination of future efforts. Following on one of the key provisions in the Convention on Biological Diversity, the second half of the course focuses on international and national efforts to create parks and other protected areas. In particular we evaluate efforts to create protected areas that serve the interests of wildlife and resident peoples. Students gain familiarity with UNESCO's Biosphere Reserve model and the IUCN's protected area classifications. We also examine in some depth the role that NGO's play in international conservation efforts. The relationship between conservation and sustainable development is a fundamental question throughout the course. Level: Intermediate. Recommended courses: Use and Abuse of Public Lands, Global Polit

Ken Cline

HS639Whitewater/Whitepaper: River Conservation and Recreation

Loren Eisely once remarked, "If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water." Eisely's observation is an underlying premise of this course - that there is something very special about moving water. This course is taught in a seminar format in which students will read and discuss ecological, historical, sociological, political and legal aspects of river conservation and watershed protection. Special emphasis is placed on understanding the policy issues surrounding dams, river protection, and watershed planning. In conjunction with readings and class discussions, students will use a term-long study of a local stream to learn about the threats facing rivers in the United States and the legal and policy mechanisms for addressing these threats. In addition, the class will take an extended field trip to western Massachusetts to gain first-hand knowledge of the tremendous impact river manipulation can have on a social and ecological landscape. We will spend time looking at historically industrialized and now nationally protected rivers in the region. Through weekly excursions on Maine rivers, students will also develop skills to enable them to paddle a tandem canoe in intermediate whitewater. Evaluation will be based on problem sets, role-playing exercises, contribution to the class, short essays, and paddling skills. Weekly excursions to area rivers entail special scheduling constraints as we will be in the field all day on Fridays. Level: Intermediate. Prerequisite: Signature of instructor. Class limit: 11. Lab fee: $100.

Ken Cline

HS731Our Public Lands: Past, Present, and Future

By definition "public lands" belong to all of us, yet public lands in this country have a history of use (and abuse) by special interests and a shocking absence of any coherent management strategy for long-term sustainability. This course is taught in seminar format in which students read and discuss several environmental policy and history texts that concern the history and future of our federal lands. We also use primary historic documents and texts to understand the origins of public ownership and management. We examine the legal, philosophical, ecological, and political problems that have faced our National Parks, wildlife refuges, national forests, and other public lands. An effort is made to sort out the tangle of laws and conflicting policies that govern these public resources. Special attention is given to the historic roots of current policy debates. Evaluation is based upon response papers, a class presentation, participation in class discussions, and a group project looking closely at the historical context and policy implications of a management issue facing a nearby public land unit. Level: Intermediate. Prerequisite: Introductory history or policy class recommended. Lab fee $15. *HS* *HY*

Ken Cline

HS741Advanced International Environmental Law Seminar

This course is designed to provide an overview of the use of international law in solving transnational environmental problems and shaping international behavior. We examine, as background, the nature and limitations of international law as a force for change. The course will then explore customary law, the relationship between soft and hard law, enforcement of international law, implementation mechanisms, and the effectiveness of multilateral environmental agreements. Special attention is given to existing international environmental law frameworks addressing climate change, Arctic and Antarctic development, ozone depletion, biological diversity, forest loss, export of toxic chemicals, and the host of issues raised by the 1992 United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development and subsequent environmental fora. Students will also consider the interface between international environmental law and other important international forces such as the Bretton Woods institutions, human rights frameworks, and international development entities. Students will be evaluated on the quality of their classroom comments and several analytical problem sets given during the term. Students will also be asked to complete a major research project examining the effectiveness of a treaty or a proposed international environmental legal arrangement. Level: Advanced. Prerequisites: Environmental Law and Policy, Global Environmental Politics, or Signature of Instructor. Class limit: 10. *HS*

Ken Cline

HS889Tutorial: Revisiting The Lakes and Ponds of Mt. Desert

"The Downeast Guide to the Lakes and Ponds of Mt. Desert" was published in 1989.  Since that time, the use, physical aspects, and management of the water bodies have changed.  In this tutorial, students will work with "Lakes and Ponds" author Bill Newlin and faculty member Ken Cline to update, revise, and see through to publication, a second edition of this definitive guide to the fresh water on Mt. Desert Island.  Initial tasks will involve a careful review of the existing text to determine aspects that require updating.  Students will then research specific lakes and ponds for new material or other information that reflects the changes that have occurred in the past 23 years.  Students will document these changes in text, photography, cartography, or other artistic means depending on interest and ability.  A significant amount of time will be devoted to coordination with the cartographer, the book designer, and others involved in the production and publication of the book.  This tutorial will allow students both to learn about Mt. Desert Island and some of its most precious resources while refining research and writing skills as well as learn the organizational, planning, and collaborative skills necessary to publish a book.  Students will be evaluated on contributions to the final volume, quality of research, timeliness of product, and collaborative effort. 

Level: Advanced. Prerequisites: Permission of instructor. Class limit: 5. Lab fee: none.

Ken Cline

This Year's Courses

What's the schedule for this term? What's going to be offered next term? Find out more about this year's courses on the Registration page.