Discipline Specific Small Group Summaries

1. Dr. Joe Poston, Biology/Ecology

“ANIMALS: NEAR AND FAR” -- What information do we need in order to make informed decisions about wildlife? This project will engage students in hands-on activities designed to gather data on wild vertebrates. We will deploy automated monitoring systems to measure activities of vertebrates in natural settings. We will consider how our data can become part of large-scale solutions to the problems facing wildlife.

2. Dr. Jamie Slate, Sustainable Business/Economics

“RESIDENTIAL INCENTIVES FOR ENERGY INSTALLATION” -- Following an overview of the economics of energy in general, we will focus on creating public awareness of incentives available for solar energy installation at the residential level. Participants will research the incentives available in their home states and develop a communication program to educate their local communities about these incentives. A sample activity would be creating Public Service Announcements.

3. Dr. Sue Calcagni, Environmental Science

“FISH, PHARMS, AND FLUSHING” -- Waste is a reality of our everyday lives, and what we do with our waste can have huge impacts on the integrity of our natural environment and its ability to sustain us.  Inarguably, access to clean water is critical.  Yet, in the last ten years, studies of our lakes and rivers have revealed the unexpected presence of a variety of pharmaceutical compounds.  Today, pharmaceutical pollution is a key concern among environmental toxicologists.  How did these pharmaceuticals get into the water?  Are the levels detected harmful to people or wildlife?  Is there anything we can do to keep pharmaceuticals out of our lakes and rivers?  Participants in this focus group will investigate all of these questions and develop educational materials to help their communities better understand how our choices about waste disposal impact our everyday lives in often surprising ways.

4. Dr. Rhonda Truit and Dr. Jim Stringfield, Education

“NATURE TRAILS FOR THE 21st CENTURY” -- Participants will learn how to create a nature trail using existing resources such as public greenways, parks, trails, schoolyards, and urban areas.  Common plants and animals, as well as examples of sustainable practices, will be highlighted.  Participants will learn how to create a brochure, develop a virtual tour and make a public presentation. These products can be shared in schools and within communities when students return to their hometowns.

5. Dr. Seth Holtzman, Philosophy and Religion

“GO AHEAD: CHANGE YOUR MIND” -- To change the world, we must also consider changing how we think about the world. The dominant philosophy in our modern Western worldview does not support the environmental movement and our ecological perspective.  We will boldly look into what sort of new world view is needed to help us—and what we can do to bring about this radical change in our way of thinking.

6. Dr. Bethany Sinnott, Persuasive Writing

YOU’RE (YOUR) RIGHT TO WRITE-- “The pen is mightier than the sword”—and the computer more powerful than a bulldozer about to destroy valuable habitat. We will seek to become careful observers of nature, responding in writing to experiences in the Catawba Ecological Preserve. Then we will develop persuasive skills as we react to various scenarios requiring such written responses as letters to the editor, speeches to grassroots environmental groups, and petitions to legislators.

7. Forrest Anderson, Creative Writing

A FIELD GUIDE TO THE POLITICS AND POETICS OF ENVIRONMENTAL WRITING-- Participants will become invested in the environmental imagination and place-based writing by generating creative nonfiction essays about their interactions with wild and rural landscapes. To avoid the clichés of so-called “nature writing,” participants will spend time reimagining such conventional categories as “nature,” “place,” and “region,” which are at the foreground of literary environmental thinking. In addition, participants will consider the origin and development of environmental writing traditions and discuss how these authors portray the wild.

8. David Pulliam, Theatre

“ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION THROUGH THEATRE” -- The goal of the Green Theatre is to transform individual actions and lifestyles into environmentally friendly actions and lifestyles. Participants will clarify environmental issues and values using physical expression, embodiment and other elements of theatre. Patricipants will be both actors and spectators (or “spect-actors”) in exercises exploring ideas about environmental stewardship. They will use both mind and body in creating and sharing perceptions of environmental issues.

9. Constance Lowery, Environmental Science/ Biology

“CLIMATE CHANGE AND OCEANS” -- An increase in levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may lead to the surface waters of the world’s oceans becoming more acidic. Participants will utilize laboratory techniques to measure the effects of Co2 on the chemistry of the seawater and determine how those changes might affect the organisms found in the ocean.

10. Gary Freeze, History

“AN AMERICAN HEIRTAGE OF SUSTAINABILITY” -- This seminar will explore the persistent theme of sustaining and enhancing our nation’s natural resources by examining the philosophies and influences of leading environmentalists of the past, including John Bartram, John Chapman, John Muir, Frederick law Olmstead, and Theodore Roosevelt.

11. Jim Beard, Chemistry/Research

GLOBAL WARMING: THE DEBATE -- The concept of global warming has been discussed on the national stage for several decades; however, most polling suggests that a large percentage of the American people either do not consider it an important issue or do not believe that the warming is happening .  Students in this session will pursue strategies for persuading the general populace not only that global warming is occurring but that it poses potentially serious consequences for the world. They will collect data on global warming and explore methods of communicating this information to the public.

12. Missy Barnes, Theatre

“ENVIRONMENTAL IMPROVISATION” -- Environmental issues will take center stage as students learn to use theatrical improvisational techniques to create performance scenes based on these issues.  Reading and discussion centered on environmental concerns will provide a rich source of inspiration for the scenes.

13. Linda Kesler, Theatre

“EXPLORING ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES THROUGH STORY CIRCLE PROCESS -- Using story circle process techniques originally developed and codified by community organizers, students will develop and present short original theatre pieces reflecting/illustrating their experiences in examining environmental issues.