Iglich, Esther , Walker, Jennie .
Thoreauvian Science: beyond the disciplines.
LITERARY reflections on field observations recorded over a century ago still hold the power to spark the interest of todays jaded learners when presented in an active-learning setting. Thoreau was a man of letters and a keen observer of nature who offered his readers an understanding of plant succession, the intricacies of fruit, as well as insightful discussions of the functionality of wildness and sustainability. In the course, Thoreauvain Science, students followed his model through experiential field and lab studies, journal writings and alternative creative expressions. After reading the essay Wild Fruits, a discussion of fruit evolved into a gourmet, vegetarian feast as students more fully answered the question: What is a fruit? After visiting a large, self-sustaining dairy farm powered by methane gas, a journal assignment encouraged students to write of the problems associated with fossil fuel use, to consider possible renewable alternatives, and to relate their reflection to what Thoreau had to say about simplicity. Transversing swamps, shores and forest, piqued participants interest in observable factors that modify successional patterns, while student-crafted art and music pieces eloquently reflected their perceptions of nature's design and tempo as influenced by Thoreau. By intergrading methods from both the sciences and arts, and by challenging students both physically and intellectually through intensive nature treks, participants gained a heightened appreciation for plants and the habitat in which they live.
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1 - McDaniel College, Biology and Environmental Policy & Science, 2 College Hill, Westminster, Maryland, 21157, USA
across the disciplines
Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Location: 207-209/Kandall Hall
Date: Monday, July 31st, 2006
Time: 9:45 AM