Fall 2016: Farm to Bard: Transforming Our Food System
Complex cultural, political, regulatory, and economic forces shape the chain of food production from farm to table to compost. This course explores the structure and functions of the contemporary food system, focusing on Bard’s foodshed. Students will work across disciplines to analyze quantitative and qualitative arguments addressing social, economic, environmental, or health questions. We will work with computer programs designed to navigate purchasing from farm to school. We will examine Bard’s dining service procurement strategies and engage with local food producers. We will conduct site visits to community partners such as Montgomery Place, Bard Dining Service, and local food purveyors including Hudson Valley Fresh, Bread Alone, Hudson Valley Harvest, and Saw Mill and other farms. Research teams will present and defend specific proposals to strengthen Bard Dining’s relationship with regional food producers and to bring more sustainable products into the institutional buying framework. Class size: 15
Spring 2016: Cities & Climate Change
Cities are our social, cultural, and economic centers, but in a climate-changed world, many cities are living on the edge. Climate change is affecting the frequency and severity of storms, floods, and other natural disasters, and also raising sea levels. These changes have significant impacts on the natural, built, and social environments of our large and small cities (from New York City to the Hudson Valley and beyond). This course will explore how urban areas can prevent (or adapt to) the worst impacts of Climate Change using: urban planning; environmental science, green infrastructure/ architecture; outreach, education, participation, and the political process.
Fall 2015: Sustainable Trail Design
Walking and biking are some of the most sustainable forms of transportation and great ways to interact with nature and neighbors. How can we design trails/paths/sidewalks that work for pedestrians, communities, and the environment? What does this look like “on the ground”? These are questions we will be answering in a real way in this EUS Practicum. Working with the Director of Bard’s Landscape and Arboretum program and Bard’s Sustainability Manager, as well as several campus and community partners, class members will develop, implement, and evaluate projects that enhance Bard’s landscape and other Hudson Valley locations. Examples may include Bard’s trail system, the Tivoli Bays trail system, trails in Red Hook, and rail trails in Kingston. The course will touch on and develop projects related to the diverse interests of EUS students (conservation, environmental education, historic preservation, landscape architecture, parks, public health, site design, stewardship, sustainability, urban planning, water quality, wellness, etc.) and will provide a stepping stone to EUS-related senior projects, internships, and careers.
Spring 2015: Environmental and Urban Disasters
Focusing on the American context, this course considers the evolution of human understandings of the causes and reasons for climate and weather-related catastrophes and for deadly epidemics, and how these conceptions have shaped human responses to these events. It will explore the complex ways in which scientific, technological, and engineering advances have both mediated and contributed to disasters. It will assess the effectiveness of disaster relief and disaster deterrence efforts. Finally, and centrally, it will give students an opportunity to do field work with local agencies and organizations involved in disaster education, prevention, preparation, and response.
Fall 2014: Environmental Education
Although the topic changes, the idea remains the same: to get out in the real world and practice what you have learned about in the academic setting. This iteration of the EUS Practicum is about Environmental Education. Who does it, where, when, why, and how do they do it, and what even is it after all? But mostly how does Environmental Education get done? Students will lead a citizen science environmental/science education day with local students, get trained/certified in a popular EE curriculum, and get practice with various styles of EE!
Spring 2014: Sustainable Development in Red Hook and Beyond
The Sustainable Development in Red Hook and Beyond Practicum will investigate why “development” is not necessarily an unfortunate reality. Properly regulated and controlled development patterns are essential for positive economic growth, increased revenues for the maintenance of vital services, reinforcement of community identity, preservation of productive farmland and open spaces, and the protection of cultural and natural resources. Locating potential development in “priority growth” areas allows for community benefits and demographic inclusion while protecting crucial and irreplaceable resources. Properly designated and designed priority growth areas, integrating walkable residential neighborhoods in or adjacent to commercial centers, must also be considered and planned to balance the use and protect the natural resources they may affect. Providing quality drinking water, removing generated wastes, revitalizing and expanding mixed-use residential/commercial districts, identifying and supporting local community groups are essential, and required, aspects of a well planned resilient community.Course website
Fall 2013: Opportunistic Architecture: The Social Art of Building
This was an applied course that involved students in multiple stages of environmentally sustainable and cost-effective design, using a real-world project scheduled for completion in 2014. The challenge was to develop effective classroom and creative co-working spaces on the Bard campus, based on a design strategy using repurposed shipping containers. The final result should be wired and adapted for innovative digital teaching methods and flexible enough to serve multiple functions. The class included readings, online research, and team projects that addressed specific elements of design. Students worked in collaborative teams to research funding mechanisms and business plans; best practice in pedagogical design; and creative design for low-cost, ecologically responsible, and highly practical furniture and fixtures. Students met with the architect in charge of the Bard project, consulted with experts in various related fields, and produced both individual papers and team-generated proposals.
Fall 2013: Urban Sanctuary: Parks, Gardens, and Nearby Nature
Urban places can often be full of danger, garbage, and stress. In order to function happily and efficiently, people need places of escape, and they often find refuge in what little green space is available—gardens, parks, “abandoned” lots, or even the individual trees on their streets. This course will explore the practical implications of environmental psychology, a field that studies people and their relationship to the world around them, with a focus on personal and societal well-being. What impact do “green” spaces have on crime, school test scores, happiness, physical well-being, and a number of other seemingly unrelated social issues? How much (or how little) “nature” do we need to have an impact? How can we shape our environment to suit our cognitive needs? Students will investigate community, hospital, and meditation gardens; street trees and parks; and lifestyle choices, all in order to develop projects that use environmental psychology to solve urban problems.
Spring 2013: Food Practicum
Over the last 30 years, food has become ever present in our daily consciousness. Spurred by celebrity chefs, the rise of food media, health issues, and an increasing awareness of the production system, food is taking on new meaning as we think about how we connect to what we eat. This leads us to consider questions about the cultural, economic, political, and ethical characteristics that underly this system. For instance, how is food a part of our identity? What methods are used to produce our food? How is it being distributed? Who has access? Our objective in this course is to experience and think about these concerns, resulting in the development of a heightened awareness.
Fall 2012: Fallkill Practicum
The complexity of the contemporary landscape imbues places with multiple meanings. A site can have great wealth whether cultural, historical, environmental or economic, or it can be a void that has long been forgotten. In this course we are going to both physically and mentally engage in a unique conversation about how the landscape becomes present. How do people see, think and know about a place? How does a site go from being nothing to something? What are the implications and impacts of this transformation?