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Web Schedule Summer 2017

Revision Date: 19-May-17

ENV-2050-VU01Z - Natural History of Vermont

Synonym: 160235
Location: Winooski
Room: CCV Winooski 406
Credits: 3 (45 hours)
Accelerated Section: This course has special meeting dates and times. See comments below or consult VSC Web Services - Search for Sections in the VSC portal for specific dates and times. If you have any questions call the site office offering the course.
Semester Dates: 07-10-2017 to 07-14-2017
Last day to drop without a grade: 07-10-2017 - Refund Policy
Last day to withdraw (W grade): 07-12-2017 - Refund Policy
Faculty: Andrew O'Connor | View Faculty Credentials

This course has started, please contact the offering academic center about registration

Comments: 2 weeks of mandatory pre-course assignments. Mandatory attendance. Field trips required. Final due 7/14.

Browse the Moodle Site for this class.

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. Understand the impact of human activity on the landscape and our responsibility to conserve our natural heritage.
12. Demonstrate proficiency in understanding, interpreting, evaluating, and applying quantitative data and information.

Additional Instructor Pre-Assignments/Notes/Comments:

This is a field based class. We will spend a brief period indoors at the start of each class, and then head out into the field to one of our sites. Site visits include trips to Rock Point, Centennial Woods, Lime Kiln Quarry, East Woods, and the Dorset Park Natural Area.


The course is a mix of traditional classroom lecture, laboratory activities, and field trips.

  • Lectures
  • Field trips (will include a mix of lecture, exploration, observation, analysis by students, and completion of worksheets)
  • Field trips require hiking off trail, exploring uneven terrain
  • Small-group and whole-class discussion
  • Student in-class presentations
  • Small group activities

Evaluation Criteria:

See course website for assignments:

Grading Criteria:

 A+ through A-: For any work to receive an "A," it must clearly be exceptional or outstanding work. It must demonstrate keen insight and original thinking. It must not only demonstrate full understanding of the topic or issues addressed, but it must also provide a critical analysis of these. In addition, an "A" grade reflects a student's ability to clearly and thoughtfully articulate his or her learning.

B+ through B-: For any work to receive a "B," it must be good to excellent work. It must demonstrate strong originality, comprehension, critical thinking, and attention to detail. In addition, a "B" grade reflects a student's ability to clearly articulate his or her learning.

C+ through C-: For any work to receive a "C," it must meet the expectations of the assignment. It must demonstrate solid comprehension, critical thinking, and attention to detail. In addition, a "C" grade reflects a student's ability to adequately articulate his or her learning.

D+ through D-: For any work to receive a "D," it must marginally meet the expectations of the assignment. It demonstrates minimal comprehension, critical thinking, and attention to detail. In addition, a "D" grade may reflect a student's difficulty in articulating his or her learning.

F: Work that receives an "F" grade does not meet the expectations or objectives of the assignment. It demonstrates consistent problems with comprehension, organization, critical thinking, and supporting details. In addition, an "F" grade reflects a student's inability to articulate his or her learning. Students are strongly urged to discuss this grade with their instructor and advisor.

P: Equivalent to D (+/-) or better and therefore course will not count as credit for specific program requirements or competence area requirements.

NP: indicates failure to meet course objectives and/or failure to meet grading criteria for successful completion as described in the instructor's course description.


Summer 2017 textbook data will be available on April 1. 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.

Reading Forested Landscape PA, ISBN: 9780881504200, CTRYMAN   

Wetland, Woodland, Wildland : A Guide to the Natural Communities of Vermont, ISBN: 9781584650775, Univ Pr of New England  

Attendance Policy:

Since much of the learning for this course will take place through active participation in discussions, field trips, and hands-on projects during class, students are expected to attend all classes. Many of the activities and labs are difficult to re-create and you may not be able to make them up if you miss them. Because the first day of class is spent reviewing the framework for the rest of the course, reviewing assignments, and getting assigned tree/animal species, as well as getting to know your fellow students, attendance is mandatory on the first day.

If you know you will not be able to attend a class, you are responsible for notifying the instructor (call the CCV front desk (802)786-6996 or the instructor at phone (802) 557-7127) and, making up work missed. More than 1 absence or excessive lateness/leaving early will result in a failing grade, regardless of work performance.

Contact Faculty:

Email: Andrew O'Connor
Hiring Coordinator for this course: Jarod Waite


Each week come prepared to spend three hours in the field. You will need the following each week: shoes you can go off trail with, a notebook (preferably without lines) and something to write with. Dress weather appropriate (it can get chilly!). A light long sleeve and pants will be great to ward off mosquitoes.
Precourse readings + assignments
As this is an intensive course, there will be readings and assignments to do before the course begins. You are expected to read the following before class begins: Wetland Woodland Wildland (pp. 1-28, 36-43, 58-81) Reading the Forested Landscape (Introduction, Ch 1-7)
See course website for specific field trips:
Postclass assignments
There will be a follow up field assignment for the course

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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