Student Discoveries

The Environmental Studies Program at Lake Forest College believes that the four-walled classroom is just one kind of learning environment—and not necessarily the best one. Environmental Studies believes that the experience-based field studies courses at Lake Forest are a critical component to any student’s education. 

ES 282: Lake Forestry

imageThe subjects of Lake Forestry are the trees and forests of the Midwest. Students learn the ecology of individual trees and of the forest assemblages that they are part of. Also included in this course are forest history and the history of forestry, the relationship between forest ecosystems and urban and agricultural ecosystems, and current forest conservation and restoration efforts. All classes are held outside. More… 

ES 110: Introduction to Environmental Studies 

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Environmental Studies 110 is an introduction to the methods and materials of Environmental Studies, as well as to the problems and opportunities this interdisciplinary field addresses. Our readings will encompass the three divisions of the liberal arts curriculum—natural sciences, humanities, and social sciences. We will examine environmental issues through the lenses of ecology, law, economics, ethics, policy, aesthetics, chemistry, history, religion, and literature. We will explore the major environmental issues of agriculture, climate, water, species endangerment, war, energy, and others. We will grapple with the meaning of terms like nature, conservation, development, and wilderness. There will be a particular emphasis on North American trees and wildlife. Most of all, we will learn to ask questions and make connections. More… 

ES 203: Spring Flora of the Great Lakes

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This course introduces students to the identification, systematics, ecology, and natural history of the spring flora of the Western Great Lakes. This course includes extensive field work in the greater Chicago area, eastern Wisconsin, and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Students learn to identify between 150 and 200 species of wildflowers, grasses, trees, shrubs, and other plants, and learn the characteristics of 15 to 20 plant families. More… 

ES 483: Senior Seminar

imageThe Senior Seminar class, Environmental Connections between Chicago and New Orleans, spends Spring Break following the Mississippi River south from Illinois to New Orleans, Louisiana. Learn with us as we continue to share the many connections made throughout the the semester, the spring break trip and through our individual student research projects. More…

ES 220: Evolution, Ecology, and Environment 

imageThe diversity of life—the result of evolutionary and ecological processes—is a primary focus of environmental studies. In order to understand humans’ effects on other species, ecosystems, and evolutionary and ecological processes and interactions, a deep knowledge of those entities and processes is critical. This course takes an interdisciplinary, theoretical approach to the evolution and ecology of human–environmental dynamics, including species concepts and speciation, extinction, conservation of biodiversity, evolutionary ecology, the human dimensions of global change, demography, biogeography, human and non-human population ecology, and the status of evolutionary theory in the current political arena. More…

ES 204: Summer Flora of the Great Lakes 

Image taken by Victoria Jones '13

This course introduces students to the identification, systematics, ecology, and natural history of the spring flora of the Western Great Lakes. This course includes extensive field work in the greater Chicago area, eastern Wisconsin, and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Students learn to identify between 150 and 200 species of wildflowers, grasses, trees, shrubs, and other plants, and learn the characteristics of 15 to 20 plant families. More…  

ES 215: Environmental Psychology

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Environmental Psychology is the study of the environmental context of human well-being. This course is interdisciplinary, blending concepts and approaches not only from psychology and ecology, but also from public health, architecture and design. We consider both natural and built environments, and we explore them with a place-based method, grounding each class in the rich opportunities afforded by our local and regional environment. More…

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