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Essential Objectives

Web Schedule Fall 2019

Revision Date: 17-Aug-19

ENV-2050-VT01 - Natural History of Vermont

Synonym: 189260
Location: Brattleboro
Credits: 3 (45 hours)
Day/Times: Thursday, 12:30P - 03:15P & Saturday, 09:00A - 03:00P
Semester Dates: 09-19-2019 to 12-12-2019
Last day to drop without a grade: 10-05-2019 - Refund Policy
Last day to withdraw (W grade): 11-08-2019 - Refund Policy
Faculty: Michael Gaige | View Faculty Credentials
This course has started, please contact the offering academic center about registration

Comments: Class meets weekly on Thursdays 12:30-3:15PM, and additionally on two Saturdays, 9/28 and 10/26, from 9AM-3PM. No class 11/28.

This section meets the following General Education Requirement(s):
Global Perspective/Sustainability
Scientific Method
  1. Many degree programs have specific general education recommendations. In order to avoid taking unnecessary classes, please consult with additional resources like your program evaluation, your academic program page, and your academic advisor.
  2. Courses may only be used to meet one General Education Requirement.

Course Description:

Introduces the geology, weather, wildlife, and vegetation of Vermont as part of the larger northeast natural region. Compares and relates present day natural history to that of ancient times. Students uncover patterns in the natural environment that demonstrate both the uniqueness of Vermont and its place within the larger northeast region. Field trips required.

Essential Objectives:

1. Explain the basic ecological principles necessary to interpret past, present, and future trends within natural settings.
2. Describe the geological time scale as it applies to the major geologic events affecting Vermont.
3. Explain the nature and value of aquatic ecosystems such as wetlands, lakes, and streams, discuss human impacts upon them, and examine principles of their management.
4. Describe and discuss how geological, glacial, ecological, and human processes have shaped and continue to shape Vermont's landscape.
5. Analyze the causes and effects of Vermont's weather patterns and discuss the implications for Vermont’s ecosystems and wildlife due to possible changes to its climate.
6. Describe the major biomes and ecosystems present in Vermont taking into account the reasons for and boundaries of vegetation zones and the distribution of wildlife.
7. List the major zoological and botanical groups present in Vermont along with their distinguishing features.
8. Determine from maps the physiographic regions of Vermont and be able to compare and contrast their associated geology, fauna, and flora.
9. Connect the effects of climate, vegetation, wildlife and topography to each other.
10. Use common field techniques to assess ecological dynamics operating in a specific ecosystem.
11. Explain human impact on the land in pre- and post-colonial history and describe how ideas around land use and conservation have evolved.
12. Demonstrate proficiency in understanding, interpreting, evaluating, and applying quantitative data and information.

Additional Instructor Pre-Assignments/Notes/Comments:

Most of the classes for this course will be held in the field. Typically the class will meet at a trailhead or other similar location at the start time of class. It is the student's responsibility to arrange transportation and arrive on time and students are encouraged to carpool. Accommodations can be made for students who have other classes or responsibilities beginning or ending very close to the class start or end time. Students will need to arrive with proper clothing, footwear, etc. Field classes will go on if light rain is expected, but will shift to the classroom if weather is bad (heavy rain, thunderstorm, accumulating snow, etc.). I will let the class know the night before via email each week.


This course will consist of a combination of classroom lecture and activities and ample time in the field. Field trips are considered "lecture" in that students are expected to take notes, participate, and process their learning. Specific methods include:

  • Lectures
  • Small group and full group discussions
  • Intentional observation and description of Vermont’s landscape during field trips
  • small group exercises
  • Readings and written responses
  • Final synthesis questions
  • Research project of the student’s choice

Evaluation Criteria:

Preparation and participation in activities and discussions: 15%

Reflection on "What is Natural History?" 5%

Tree ID quiz: 10%

Nature of your place map: 5%

Three-minute Animal presentation: 5%

Field Journal: 15%

Field Trip summaries: 10%

Essay: Nature people and me: 5%

Final synthesis questions: 15%

Final project: 15%

*There will be limited opportunities for extra credit.

Grading Criteria:

"A" level work (A- to A+ / 90-100%) should be excellent to outstanding. It should demonstrate thoughtful, accurate, and thorough observations as well as speculations and original thinking. "A" level work should draw connections among various aspects of the course, as well as additional aspects considered by the student. Work should be articulate, organized, and on-time.

"B" level work (B- to B+ / 80-89%) should be good to very good. There should be some degree of original thinking and synthesis, with thoughtful observations and descriptions. The work should be clean, clear, and on-time.

"C" level work (C- to C+ / 70-79%) meets the expectations of the assignment. The work is complete, includes observations and descriptions, and the essentials of the assignment.

"D" level work (65-69%) is marginally passing. Work may contain gaps, lack depth and/or organization, and effort, however, still demonstrate some degree of comprehension in the material.

"F" level work is unsatisfactory for the assignment. The work contains numerous problems with completeness, organization, and detail. The work may be illegible, or generally display a lack of effort and/or follow through. The work may not reflect the assignment.


Fall 2019 textbook data will be available on May 13. 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.

ENV-2050-VT01 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.

Contact Faculty:

Email: Michael Gaige
Hiring Coordinator for this course: Katharine Cooper

Notes: Additional contact information and office hours will be posted in the syllabus provided on the first day of class.

Attendance Policy:

Regular attendance and participation in classes are essential components of a student's success in college and are completion requirements for courses at CCV. Please be aware that missing more than three (3) classes will result in a non-satisfactory grade. A pattern of late arrival or early departure will constitute absence at the instructor's discretion.

Please note: In order to receive accommodations for disabilities in this course, students must make an appointment to see the Americans with Disabilities Coordinator in their site and bring documentation with them.

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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