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Essential Objectives

Web Schedule Summer 2020

Revision Date: 19-Mar-20

Forest Ecology

Semester Dates: Last day to drop without a grade: 06-11-2020 - Refund Policy
Last day to withdraw (W grade): 07-14-2020 - Refund Policy
Not Yet Assigned | View Faculty Credentials
This course has started, please contact the offering academic center about registration


Meets Fridays 5/29, 6/12, & 6/26, 3pm-6pm. Meets Saturdays 5/30, 6/13, & 6/27, 9am-4:30pm. Meets Sundays 5/31, 6/14, & 6/28, 9am-12:30pm. Additional week to complete final project due 7/5. Field Trips Required.

Course Description:

Examination of the structure and dynamics of forest communities. Consideration will be given to geographic and ecologic factors shaping forest communities, to biological and chemical interactions among forest species, and to the human impact on forest stability. All forest types will be discussed with an emphasis on temperate deciduous and northern coniferous forests. Field trips required.

Essential Objectives:

1. Demonstrate understanding of the methods of scientific investigation in forest ecology including observation and hypothesis testing.
2. Define energy and trace the energy flow in a forest, including the grazing and detritus food chain.
3. Describe the stages of forest succession.
4. Discuss the impact soil type, moisture, light, and temperature have on the forest ecosystem.
5. Analyze the impact of forestry practices on the forest ecosystem.
6. Using a global scale of analysis, examine the impact of human behavior on forest ecosystems and discuss the role that forests play in the biosphere.
7. Identify common trees and the major forest types in Vermont.
8. Demonstrate proficiency in understanding, interpreting, evaluating and applying quantitative data and information.
9. Discuss laws and politics related to forest ecology including Convention on Biological Diversity, the Wilderness Act, and Vermont’s Act 250.

Additional Instructor Pre-Assignments/Notes/Comments:

A QUICK NOTE ON THE SCHEDULE AND PRE-ASSIGNMENT: Please read our text Reading the Forested Landscape before our first meeting. (It is short, with pictures.) We will only be together for one week. Then you'll have a little time to finish up the final project. It's intense, but mostly outside and fun in a summer camp kind of way, and when you're done most of the summer will still lie before you.

So, hi! Welcome to Forest Ecology. By the end of this course you will have learned to see enough to ask “Why?” about the many mysteries you’ll encounter in the woods. You will understand enough to start putting together some answers. You will understand what sorts of things a scientist might ask and do to learn about them. And you will have a handle on the land use history of the Vermont landscape. Basically, I want to change the way you see the world.

It’s a tall order to accomplish all this in just one week. That's why ISTRONGLY recommend you read Reading the Forested Landscape by Tom Wessels (our main textbook) before we begin; it'll just give you a little more space. You’ll get home tired each night after a full day, and I'm going to ask you to do still more things, including more readings, before class the next day. You might want to try to clear your schedule a bit during the course. However, I bet you’ll want our books on your bookshelf after you’re done with the course, and you’ll never look at the woods the same way again.

Each day will build upon what we’ve covered before, so if you’re behind you won’t get as much out of the field time and it will quickly become difficult to catch up. To drive the importance of this point home, late work will receive only partial credit.

Every night you will have some reading and you'll write a few syntheses of what we covered in the field that day or what you think we might be seeing the next day. We will have a short field quiz each day as well as an exam at the end; you will be prepared for these if you have done the reading and questions. Finally, there will be a culminating assignment (NOT a research paper!) that will be due a week after our last day of class.

We’ll go on field trips in all weather. Bring lunch and enough other food to get you through the day (we won’t have time to stop at any stores during class time). You’ll need rain gear, water bottle and waterproof and comfortable walking shoes or boots. There will be bugs.

If you do the readings, think about the questions you’re answering, and show up each day, you’ll do well. And I can almost guarantee you’ll have a lot of fun in the process. If you ever have questions, please feel free to reach out to me: 802-391-0163.

TEXTS: 1) Wessels, T. 1999. Reading the Forested Landscape. Woodstock, VT: The Countryman Press. 2. Wohlleben, P. 2016. The Hidden Life of Trees. Berkeley: Greystone Books OR Mapes, L. 2017. Witness Tree. NY: Bloomsbury OR Nikiforuk, A. 2011. Empire of the Beetles. Vancouver:Greystone Books. 3. Maine Department of Conservation. 2008. Forest Trees of Maine. Other readings will also be assigned.

**A note about texts: I try not to assign books that cost more than $20. You'll probably be able to find Wessels and your choice book (Wohlleben, Mapes OR Nikiforuk--just pick one of these) quite cheaply and easily, both online and in person. You can use Trees of Maine for free online here, but a hard copy will probably be easier--you can also order one directly from the Maine Forest Service. You will end up with a total of 3 books. Please make sure you have it before class begins--we will be interacting with both of our books in real time during class. Because they're NOT textbooks, you can also check the first two out for FREE from Your town's public library may have them, too.


Here's what you can expect our days to consist of:

  • Small group activities, in both field and classroom
  • Student-led discussion
  • A few mini-lectures
  • Occasional in-class writing assignments reacting to readings
  • A small final quiz to help you organize everything we learned in your brain
  • A field final, which you'll practice for with others during our class and complete independently.

Evaluation Criteria:

Here's what our assignments will be:

Readings and homework questions; mycelium and a-ha moments
Student-led discussions
Source Dive presentation
Field final
Final quiz

Grading Criteria:

In your homework answers, make sure you demonstrate that you've done the reading. Refer to the relevant reading(s) in your answer. Use you answer as a way of working out and understanding the details in the relevant reading(s). If applicable, apply the general/universal ideas in the reading to a specific site/question.

Please don't submit work late. Each week will build upon what we've covered before, so if you're behind you won't get as much out of the field time and it will be doubly hard to catch up. Also, it will affect your grade. The key to success in this course is steady work each week.

I will be asking you to assess your work yourself using a rubric that Iwill share with you on the first day. Please know that this is NOT the same as "anything goes."

Here's what letter grades are generally taken to mean:

A Outstanding; exceptional, with "something special"

B Well done; correct and complete

C Average; mostly correct and complete, not dominated by errors or omissions

D Poor; barely acceptable, errors or omissions prominent throughout

F Failure; fundamental content incorrect or absent, errors or omissions dominant throughout


Summer 2020 textbook data will be available on April 6. On that date a link will be available below that will take you to eCampus, CCV's bookstore. The information provided there will be for this course only. Please see this page for more information regarding the purchase of textbooks.


The last day to use a Financial Aid advance to purchase textbooks is the 3rd Tuesday of the semester. See your financial aid counselor at your academic center if you have any questions.

Attendance Policy:

This is a field course, and you can't really make up field time. Also, if you are absent it affects more than just you. You miss out when you miss vital information that slows you down or trips you up later, of course, but also: The people who would have worked on a team with you miss out. The rest of the class misses out too, if we have to slow down later to give you an abbreviated version of something everyone else has already learned while you were gone. And it inconveniences me when I have to adjust my plans to react to your absence and spend my time giving you information that makes it possible for you to catch up. Therefore, please don't take this course unless you can make a commitment to attend all of the classes. Please arrive on time, and if you possibly can please notify me in advance if you will miss a class. If you arrive late to class you may find that we have already left. I will take note if you arrive late or leave early. While you won't "lose points," exactly, for missing a class, in general I have observed the following pattern:

Students who miss one entire class usually earn a grade no better than an A-;
Students who miss more than one class usually earn a grade no better than a B;
Students who miss more than two classes usually earn a grade no better than a C;
Students who miss more than three classes usually earn a failing grade.

Please note: Students who miss a class or two often find themselves mired in makeup work. To help you not fall behind, I have high expectations should you miss a class. I'll expect your homework at the beginning of that class as usual--you can drop it off in my CCV mailbox. I will expect you to have the next homework assignment completed on time as well. If you can't do this, I'll expect to hear from you, preferably the day you miss class, definitely before our next class. I will also expect you to come and talk to me about what you need to do to make up any field/class work and quizzes that you miss because of absences. Please note that it will probably be more work and take more time to make something up than the original class missed.

Accessibility Services for Students with Disabilities: CCV strives to mitigate barriers to course access for students with documented disabilities. To request accommodations, please

  1. Provide disability documentation to the Accessibility Coordinator at your academic center.
  2. Request an appointment to meet with accessibility coordinator to discuss your request and create an accommodation plan.
  3. Once created, students will share the accommodation plan with faculty. Please note, faculty cannot make disability accommodations outside of this process.

Academic Honesty: CCV has a commitment to honesty and excellence in academic work and expects the same from all students. Academic dishonesty, or cheating, can occur whenever you present -as your own work- something that you did not do. You can also be guilty of cheating if you help someone else cheat. Being unaware of what constitutes academic dishonesty (such as knowing what plagiarism is) does not absolve a student of the responsibility to be honest in his/her academic work. Academic dishonesty is taken very seriously and may lead to dismissal from the College.

Course description details subject to change. Please refer to this document frequently.

To check on space availability, choose Search for Classes.

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