ENVS& 100:  Introduction to Environmental Science          Syllabus    Winter 2009


Instructor: Dr. Lisa Carlson  

Email: lcarlson@centralia.edu

Office: Kemp 124; 736-9391x324

Office hours: MTWTh 9-9:50, F 12-12:50


Lecture:  MTWThF 11-11:50    Room: Kemp 128

Text:  Sustaining the Earth by Miller, 8/e

Web site: www.centralia.edu/academics/envscience/courses/envs100/




Lecture Topic



Group presentation



5 Jan

Environment and sustainability


Rachel Carson




12 Jan

Science of nature



Reviving  the Sound


News Review Due


19 Jan







No Class Monday


26 Jan

Human populations


Population paradox


News Review Due

Exam 1 Friday


2 Feb




God Squad


Endangered Species Act



9 Feb



Empty Oceans


Genetic engineering

News Review Due


16 Feb





No Class Monday

Exam 2 Friday


23 Feb



Oil and Ice

Tuesday Biofuels

News Review Due



2 Mar

Climate and Air


Dimming the Sun


Nuclear Power


Carbon offsets



9 Mar


Environment and society



Blue Vinyl


News Review Due



16 Mar

Exam 3 Monday (last class day)




Community Service projects due Monday

Exam 3 Monday



Course Objectives:  Through this course you will learn about the interactions of humans and the earth’s ecosystems.   In the first few weeks we learn how the earth’s ecosystems function, then follow with how humans interact with the rest of the world.  The goal of the course is to increase awareness of our roles on earth, and to explore ways how we can be good stewards to the world we live in. 


Course requirements:


1.       Textbook Readings are on the lecture schedule.  You are responsible for all material in each chapter assigned unless otherwise directed.  Most important topics will be covered in lecture, but you will be required to cover some material through reading on your own.  Quizzes will include material from your readings not yet covered in lecture (see below). 


2.       Video Reviews.  You will view a video presentation in class on Wednesday of each week about an environmental issue.  A form will be provided for each video review. These reviews will be due the following day at the beginning of lecture.  If you miss a video in class, you may make it up by watching it at the College library.  Video titles are listed on the syllabus.   Late video reviews are accepted at full credit, but as video material is eligible for exam content, videos should be viewed before the next scheduled exam. 


3.       News Reviews.  To be an educated person is in part to be aware of current issues relevant to our region and to the world.  During your routine scan of current events, you will find news items relating to environmental issues, analyze them, and form your opinions on the issues.  You will turn in your news reviews by email, with a link to or copy of your article.  The format for your reviews is outlined on the next page and on the class web site.  You will do five of these news reviews, as indicated on your syllabus schedule.  Reviews turned in late will be accepted for half-credit. 


4.       Group presentation.  Lectures from your instructor will be supplemented by you.  Students will work in small groups to research a topic to share with the class.  You and others assigned to the same topic will together research and present one perspective of that topic as part of our regular lectures.  Another group will present the opposing view.  You will turn in a sequence of products with your group as part of this project, as outlined in the detailed instructions.  Any written group assignments turned in late will lose credit, 10% per day. 


5.       Weekly quizzes will be given on Mondays during the first 10 minutes of class, starting with the second Monday of the quarter.  These quizzes primarily cover the reading assignment for the coming week, with occasional questions from the previous week’s lectures or video.  I will drop your lowest quiz score; if you miss a quiz, that will be your low score dropped.  Late quizzes will not be available.


6.       Three in-class exams.  Exam dates are indicated on the course outline.  Exams will generally be mostly  objective questions (e.g. multiple choice, true/false and matching), with one or two essay questions.  Computerized forms will be used for part of each exam.  Forms will be provided in class, but students must provide their own #2 pencil with good eraser.  Be sure to thoroughly erase all mistakes and stray pencil marks during the exam.  No corrections will be made for you, nor will any be made after exams are graded and returned.  A review sheet will be available online.  See me as soon as possible regarding conflicts with exam dates.  If you should miss an exam due to illness, contact me by phone or email that day to arrange possible makeup.  Failure to contact me on exam day may result in reduced or zero credit for that exam, at my discretion.


7.       Class participation.  Participation is expected of each student.  This includes regular attendance, participation in class discussions in a constructive manner, timely arrival, and no disruptive behavior. You must be present in class, in person, to participate.  Expect to be called on at random during lectures as part of your participation in this class.   Participation may increase or decrease your final grade by up to 0.2 points. 


8.       Optional community service project.  A community service project related to environmental concerns can be done for extra credit.  Projects must be approved by me by week 7 of the quarter, and completed by the last class day.  See online handout for details.  For the maximum 4 percentage points, projects will involve at least four hours of community service under the supervision of a person involved with an agency or organization.  Some organized projects will be presented to choose from when available.  Individual projects must be instructor-approved.


Course Evaluation:

Percent of grade:




3 lecture exams



decimal grade


10 quizzes



4.0  (A)

95% or higher

5 news reviews



3.0  (B)


10 video reviews



2.0  (C)


group project



1.0  (D)


Percent total



0.7  (D-)


optional extra credit project



grade adjusted for participation ± 0.2


Attendance:  I take attendance during the first week of class; if you don't show up you will be dropped to give your place to someone on the waiting list.  While attendance is not required, skipping classes will lower your participation grade.  If you do miss a lecture, you don't need to inform me.  Plan to get notes or special instructions from one of your classmates.  Do not rely on lecture outlines posted on the web page.


Inclement Weather:  If the College is closed or delayed due to bad weather, notification will be placed on the college web site, voice mail message, and local radio stations.  I commute from Olympia (by carpool!), so if just this class is cancelled, I will leave a message on my office voice mail, hopefully by 8am.  Look for instructions on our class web page.


Behavior:  Please be courteous to your classmates as well as your instructor and avoid activities disruptive to the learning environment.  

·         No talking during lecture class!  Even if you whisper, even if you sit in the back, even during a video, talking bothers other people in class. 

·         Be punctual.  If you must arrive late or leave early, let me know in advance and sit near the door.  Do not leave and re-enter the classroom during lectures or videos.  Arriving on time for lab is most important! 

·         Turn your cell phone off!

·         Any student continually disruptive to the learning environment may be asked to leave.


Please Note:

§         Students with disabilities may contact the Director, Center for Disability Services to determine their eligibility for reasonable accommodation.  The director's office is located with the Counseling Center in the Student Services Building.

§         The Centralia College Student Attendance Policy permits the Instructor to withdraw a student who does not attend the first lecture or lab session.

§         Materials used in connection with the course may be subject to copyright protection under Title 17 of the United States Code.

§         Centralia College provides equal opportunity in education and does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, color, religion, national origin, age, marital status, sexual orientation, or disability.