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Essential Objectives

Course Syllabus

Revision Date: 15-May-24

Fall 2024 | ENV-2175-VO01 - Natural and Cultural History of Vermont

Online Class

Online courses take place 100% online via Canvas, without required in-person or Zoom meetings.

Location: Online
Credits: 4
Day/Times: Meets online
Semester Dates: 09-03-2024 to 12-16-2024
Last day to drop without a grade: 09-16-2024 - Refund Policy
Last day to withdraw (W grade): 11-04-2024 - Refund Policy
Open Seats: 6 (as of 07-24-24 8:05 PM)
To check live space availability, Search for Courses.
Materials/Lab Fees: $125.00


Jaimi DeFeo
View Faculty Credentials

Hiring Coordinator for this course: Jen Guarino

General Education Requirements

This section meets the following CCV General Education Requirement(s) for the current catalog year:
VSCS Natural Science
  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 catalog year page, and your academic advisor.
  2. Courses may only be used to meet one General Education Requirement.

Course Description

This course explores the ways in which Vermont's natural environment and its peoples' cultural practices influence each other over time. A natural history overview includes the geology, weather, wildlife, and vegetation of Vermont. A cultural history overview explores human society from post-glacial to present-day time periods to understand how people interact with this changing landscape. Students uncover patterns in the natural and cultural environments that demonstrate both the uniqueness of Vermont and its place within the larger northeast region. Field trips and labs are 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. Describe and discuss how geological, ecological, and cultural factors shape Vermont's landscape over time.
4. Analyze the causes and effects of Vermont's weather patterns and discuss the implications for Vermont’s ecosystems and species due to climate change.
5. Describe the physiographic regions, biomes, and major ecosystems in Vermont, and explain the abiotic and biotic factors that make each distinct.
6. Connect the effects of climate, vegetation, wildlife, and topography to each other.
7. Explore the ways in which native peoples adapted to post-glacial climate change and consider the ways in which modern Vermonters can adapt to present-day climate change.
8. Describe how culture and the economy influence land and water uses and can be used to exploit groups of people to gain access to natural resources.
9. Analyze Vermont policies and laws that guide natural resource decisions within the state and explore the ways in which such decisions affect the northeast region and the broader world.
10. Explain how knowledge created in the natural sciences has contributed to the creation, maintenance and dismantling of social inequalities and discuss the impacts of diversity and inclusion on scientific research and practice.
Laboratory Objectives:
1. Use field techniques, tools, and resources to identify the major ecosystems in Vermont, describe their ecological functions, and assess their environmental services for humans.
2. Make observations of evidence of human activities on the landscape and conduct research to create hypotheses about past land and water uses.
3. Demonstrate proficiency in understanding, interpreting, applying, and evaluating the accuracy of data and information sources.

Required Technology

More information on general computer and internet recommendations is available on the CCV IT Support page. https://support.ccv.edu/general/computer-recommendations/

Please see CCV's Digital Equity Statement (pg. 45) to learn more about CCV's commitment to supporting all students access the technology they need to successfully finish their courses.

Required Textbooks and Resources

This course uses one or more textbooks/books/simulations.

Fall 2024 textbook details will be available on 2024-05-20. On that date a link will be available below that will take you to eCampus, CCV's bookstore. The information provided there will be specific to this class. Please see this page for more information regarding the purchase of textbooks/books.

ENV-2175-VO01 Link to Textbooks for this course in eCampus.

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


  • Weekly reading assignments
  • Discussion board topics
  • Field observation reports
  • Quizzes
  • Timelines/PowerPoint
  • Water quality assessment
  • Computer mapping project
  • Online research, videos, podcasts

Evaluation Criteria

Labs & Reports: 30%

Discussions: 20%

The Story of Vermont readings and assignments: 30%

Other Assignments: 20%

Grading Criteria

CCV Letter Grades as outlined in the Evaluation System Policy are assigned according to the following chart:

A Less than 9893
A-Less than 9390
B+Less than 9088
B Less than 8883
B-Less than 8380
C+Less than 8078
C Less than 7873
C-Less than 7370
D+Less than 7068
D Less than 6863
D-Less than 6360
FLess than 60 
NPLess than 600

Weekly Schedule

Week/ModuleTopic  Readings  Assignments


Introduction & Geology


Videos & Supplemental Readings


Rock Cycle/Plate Tectonics

Scientific Method

Lab Overview - Journal & Choose Field Observation Site/s

Discussion: Introductions



The Physical Setting & Vermont's Landscape


The Story of Vermont

Chapter 1: Pages 1-17

WWW: Part 2

Pages 30-41


Quiz & Chapter Questions

Lab: Soils at site

Discussion: Rock or Outcrop Analysis at site



Understanding Natural Communities


WWW: Part 1

Pages 10-27


Chapter Questions

Ecological Succession

Lab: Invasive Species Report

Discussion: Invasive species



The Story of Vermont (TSOV)


TSOV: Chapter 2


Chapter 2 Essay

Lab: Tree evaluation and Succession at site

Discussion: Tree & Leaf IDs



The Story of Vermont

Biophysical Regions of Vermont


WWW: Part 3

Pages 44 -81

Wildlife Action Plan


Animals - Bioregions

Wildlife Management Plan

Lab: Bird Journal

Discussion: Bird from Journal



Natural Communities of Vermont


WWW: Part 4


Ecosystem Essays on Research Sites - Upland Natural Communities

Lab: Wetland Communities Report

Discussion: Corridors and Fragmentation



The Story of Vermont


TSOV: Chapter 3


Chapter Questions

Lab: Habitats

Discussion: Cultural Topics



The History of Water in Vermont


Supplemental Reading



Water quality assignment using VT DEC site

Nutrient Cycles and Eutrophication

Lab: Watersheds

Discussion: A brief history of a body of water in VT



Vermont Pond and Stream Life


Supplemental reading


Pond and Stream Life

Lab: Macroinvertebrates

Discussion: Share a macroinvertebrate



The Story of Vermont


TSOV: Chapter 4


Chapter 4 Quiz

Lab: Citizen Science

Discussion: Research a Chapter 4 topic



Climate Change and Vermont


Supplemental Readings: Climate Change Impacts of Vermont & the Northeast

Climate Data

Adapting Forests to Climate Change



Climate Change Analysis

Lab: Site Climate Change Issues

Discussion: Climate Change Questions



The Story of Vermont


TSOV Chapter 5


Chapter 5 Theme Questions

Lab: Farmers Market & Vermont Food

Discussion: Late 1800s to Early 1900s from Chapter 5





Supplemental Readings

TSOV: Chapter 6


Quiz on Part 1, Chapter 6

Lab: BioFinder

Discussion: Conservation Topics



The Story of Vermont


TSOV Chapter 6


Quiz on Part 2, Chapter 6

Lab: Last visit to site - Final Overview in PowerPoint Format - Due at the end of Week 15

Discussion: Vermont Podcast



The Story of Vermont


Chapters 7 & 8


TSOV Chapter 7 Compare and Contrast Essay

Final Lab PPT Due

Discussion: TSOV Chapter 8 Talking Points


Attendance Policy

Regular attendance and participation in classes are essential for success in and are completion requirements for courses at CCV. A student's failure to meet attendance requirements as specified in course descriptions will normally result in a non-satisfactory grade.

  • In general, missing more than 20% of a course due to absences, lateness or early departures may jeopardize a student's ability to earn a satisfactory final grade.
  • Attending an on-ground or synchronous course means a student appeared in the live classroom for at least a meaningful portion of a given class meeting. Attending an online course means a student posted a discussion forum response, completed a quiz or attempted some other academically required activity. Simply viewing a course item or module does not count as attendance.
  • Meeting the minimum attendance requirement for a course does not mean a student has satisfied the academic requirements for participation, which require students to go above and beyond simply attending a portion of the class. Faculty members will individually determine what constitutes participation in each course they teach and explain in their course descriptions how participation factors into a student's final grade.

Participation Expectations

To earn full participation points for the week, students should understand the below outline in addition to weekly overviews and assignments.

  • Check into the Canvas Modules every Tuesday for the most up-to-date news and assignments as we move through the semester. Attendance is very important for the successful completion of this course and will be marked at the end of each week when assignments are due.
  • Students are expected to participate in all discussion forums, take any quizzes, and do all homework weekly in order for their attendance to be marked as “Present” and to get their weekly grades. Each week we will cover new material, therefore, it is important to stay on top of all assignments.
  • Read the assigned material and demonstrate an understanding of those resources in your assignments and posts.
  • Do not hesitate to ask for extra help if you need it or clarification if you don't understand something. It may help me to clarify things for others, too. I am always available for questions through email and we can set aside some time on Zoom, if necessary. The tutoring center is also available.
  • Check your email consistently, as I will send out "Announcements" about new modules as well as any updates or notices. Please take a moment to set your preferences for notices, and check your school email unless you forward it to your personal account.
  • All assignments must be uploaded or go through Canvas to be graded. Do not email me any assignments.
  • Formats allowed for uploads include PDFs and DOCX. Do not try to submit anything in the "Pages" format from a Mac. You will have to convert it to a PDF first. Let me know if you need help. JPGs are also allowed in case you need to write an assignment by hand and take a picture to submit it.
  • All posts and assignments should be in your own words. Copy and pasting from sources is not allowed and will be considered plagiarism, unless it is a quote and identified as such. Proper grammar and spelling is expected in all assignments.
  • For more information, please read the "Netiquette" document that will be posted the first week of class in the Modules section about online communication expectations for this class.
  • You can check your most recent grades in the "Grades" section of Canvas, which can be found to the left of the page under the course section. Your average is calculated with each new grade. Communication goes a long way and ultimately you are responsible for your final grade so take advantage of all available resources. Those who do best in the class are the ones who complete all the assignments on time each week. You will be responsible for passing in your work, asking for help or clarification, or making arrangements if there are issues beyond your control. Please reach out if this happens so we can work on a plan together.

Missing & Late Work Policy

Weekly discussion board topics cannot be made up since everyone will move on to the next topic each week and it will no longer be a "live" discussion. Interacting with classmates is an essential part of online discussions and cannot be made up after the fact. Focus on completing this first, when possible.

For each day an assignment is late (other than the discussions, which cannot be done late), 5% will be deducted per day for up to one week. The assignment will automatically close in Canvas after that and you will no longer be able to upload it. Please contact me if you need any help or to discuss special circumstances and I will do my best to work with you, but do not wait until the end of the semester. You will not be able to make up a whole semester's worth of work at the end.

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. https://ccv.edu/discover-resources/students-with-disabilities/
  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 Integrity

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.