Course code:



MA - Intermediate/Advanced

Meets the following requirements:

  • ES - Environmental Science

Typically offered:


The American West has played a key role in the development of modern ecology and in our overall understanding of the Natural History of North America.

Researchers such as Joseph Grinnell, Starker Leopold, Ned Johnson, Phillip Munz and Jim Patton contributed enormously to our understanding of the interactions, distribution, and abundance of the enormous range of plants and animals occupying the western states, while the incredible variety of topography found between the Pacific slope and Great Basin Desert, containing both the highest and lowest points in the Lower 48, has provided an ideal setting for both observation and experimentation.

This intensive field-based course will provide students with the opportunity to examine first-hand some key habitats within Nevada, California, and New Mexico, and to conduct a series of short projects on the fauna and flora in select sites. Areas to be examined will include terminal saline lakes, open deserts , montane meadows, pine forest, riparian hardwoods, wetlands, and agricultural landscapes.

Readings will include primary sources and more popular accounts of both locations and the peoples who have lived in these lands over the past several thousand years.

Evaluation will be based on class participation, a series of individual research projects and presentations, a detailed field journal, a mid-term and a final exam. This course will be integrated with and requires co-enrollment in Reading the West and Wilderness in the West.


Permission of instructor

Always visit the Registrar's Office for the official course catalog and schedules.