Students engage in RI coastal ecology and conservation

Brown undergraduates learn about the coastal ecology and human history of the bay from John Torgan, Coastal and Marine Program Director for the RI chapter of The Nature Conservancy
Brown undergraduates learn about the Bay’s natural and human history from John Torgan, director of Ocean and Coastal Conservation for the RI chapter of The Nature Conservancy.

In Fall 2013, 14 Brown University undergraduates are investigating the diversity of ways that humans are connected to and part of ecosystems in coastal Rhode Island. Through the seminar-style course Coastal Ecology and Conservation (ENVS 0455/BIOL 0455) taught by Prof. Heather Leslie and graduate teaching assistant Kara Pellowe, students are learning core ecological principles and how they are translated in the context of conservation in the Ocean State.

This course is writing intensive, as students gain experience writing in a variety of forms relevant for environmental science, including personal essays, research proposals, blog posts, and field reports. Students also experience engaged scholarship, as they have opportunities to interact with conservation professionals from both the non profit and government sectors and to shape their independent research projects in ways that are salient to real-world environmental problem-solving.

For example, in collaboration with staff from The Nature Conservancy, students have had the opportunity to contribute to coastal habitat restoration on Block Island and explore the diversity of marine life in upper Narragansett Bay.

Check back for news of the class’s guide to the urban coastlines of the Bay later this year!