bathymetry survey Mendenhall Lake
bathymetry survey Mendenhall Lake
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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Environmental Science Seminar, try 2

In my last message I indicated that this year's Environmental Science Seminar (ENVS S492) will be on Coastal Oceanography. That was slightly in error --- it will actually be on Ocean and Coastal Processes, and will therefore cover a somewhat broader range of topics. The seminar will explore linkages from the terrestrial ecosystem to the marine ecosystem, with an emphasis on Southeast Alaska.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

special topics courses and seminars for spring semester

Below are the descriptions of some special topics courses and seminar courses being offered during spring semester that may be of interest for ENVS and GEOG students. Check with your advisor if you are interested in taking any of these courses and are unsure if they will count toward your degree requirements.


ENVS S393: Glaciology (2 cr.)

Instructor: Jason Amundson

Meets: MF 1:10-2:10 pm

Introduction to glaciers and ice sheets and their impact on the environment. Covers glacier mass balance, ice flow, basal motion, glacier hydrology, glacier-ocean interactions, and ice core records. Examines the methods used to understand glacier behavior. Special attention will be given to the wide variety of glaciers found in Alaska. Prerequisites: ENVS/GEOG S102 or GEOL S104, MATH S152.


ENVS S492: Environmental Science Seminar: Coastal Oceanography (1 cr.)

Instructor: Jamie Womble

Meets: W 12:00-1:00 pm

This year the Environmental Science Seminar will be taught by Jamie Womble, a wildlife biologist at the National Park Service. Her research focuses on the influence of resource and oceanographic variability on the foraging ecology and biogeographic patterns of pinnipeds. For the seminar Jamie is arranging a series of lectures from scientists (primarily based in Juneau) that work on interdisciplinary aspects of coastal ocean processes.


GEOG S393: Theories of Spatiality: The Poetics and Politics of Space

Richard Simpson

Landscape is often understood as the background material upon which people do stuff: explore, act, build, colonize, mine, shop, teach.  Yet this role as a given precondition indicates how fundamental space is for social life.  This seminar will explore the proposition that landscape must be understood, not as passive setting, but as a social relationship itself: a relationship that must be produced and reproduced as well as transformed and reformulated.  Space, therefore, entails first and foremost a struggle over domination.  Our central concern will focus upon the inequalities produced across various spatial scales—narratives of urbanism, regionalism, nationalism, and transnationalism—as well as the central oppositions of scale, such as city vs country, center vs margin, local vs global that create the narratives within which we live our lives.  To do so, course material will engage a range of subjects including the spatial project of colonizing Alaska, protest structures of the Arab Spring, new drone geographies, sex in hotels, and the sociability of glaciers.  We will engage core theoretical questions to situate ourselves, however our ultimate goal will be to produce our own poetic inquiries that clarify the principal dynamics involved in the social production of space.


GEOG S490: Geography Seminar: Juneau Spatial History Project (2 cr.)

Instructor: Richard Simpson

Meets: F 3:30-5:20 pm

The crucial task of the geographer is to connect the people who live within a particular place to the social, economic, and personal narratives that have produced that environment.  The environmental narrative of Juneau is a dramatically global one: businessmen in New York and Canada hired engineers and workers from California to construct a mine, a railroad, and a crushing mill deep in the remote interiors of Alaska so that the nation’s cities could purchase a metal they hardly knew they needed just a half century before.  The people who built Treadwell in the late nineteenth-century—at the time the largest gold mine in the world—inserted themselves into a local ecosystem, built an entire community, transformed the local economy, and extracted the only resource that mattered to them on behalf of urban markets thousands of miles away.  The numbers of people, statistical data on mineral extraction, and spreadsheets of dollar amounts are readily available, however a spatialization of Juneau as an industrial capital at the turn of the century remains fragmented and unknown.  Our geography seminar will construct a chronotopic mapping project that traces the geographic evolution of this region’s sprawling network of mines during the peak period of industrialization, 1880-1944.  How can visualizations of this mining complex help us understand changes in environmental history and the subsequent social, political, and economic narratives of contemporary Juneau?


GEOL S393: Geological Resources and Environmental Impacts (3 cr.)

Instructor: Sonia Nagorski

Meets: MWF 10:20-11:20 am

An in-depth examination of the geologic occurrence and formation of mineral, energy, and groundwater resources, their extraction, and associated environmental impacts. Focus is on resources including metallic ore deposits, nonmetals, petroleum resources, coal, "alternative" energy resources, and aquifers. Topics include the tectonic framework and geologic evolution of the resources, their extraction/production, and resulting environmental impacts such as acid rock drainage, oil spills, nuclear accidents, aquifer salt water intrusion, pollution and earthquakes caused by fracking, and the resource needs of alternative (non-carbon based) energy resources. The interactions these processes have with climate change will also be explored throughout the course. Prerequisite: ENVS/GEOG S102 or GEOL S104 and MATH S105.


ODS S393: The Conservation of Sporting Literature: Service Learning and Steelhead Fly Fishing

Instructor: Kevin Maier

Meets: M 5:30-10:00 pm (3/21-4/30) and 8:00 am-11:00 pm (5/2-5/8)

Do you care about salmon and steelhead? Interested in learning more about the human dimensions to conservation of anadromous fish in Southeast Alaska and beyond? This experiential interdisciplinary class will explore various threats to Pacific salmon and steelhead, considering the culture of fly-fishing as one response to these threats. To engage the cultural and political problems inherent to fisheries management we will read widely in the literature of salmon management as well as in the more contemplative angler-written steelhead fly fishing literary tradition. In addition to the critical engagement with this literature, the course will present a unique opportunity to carry out a service-learning project in a rural secondary school while also learning the skills necessary to catch steelhead on flies. The course concludes with a week in the field teaching 7-12th graders while pursuing these storied gamefish on the world famous Situk River in the evenings. In addition to rigorous discussion, class time will be dedicated to developing this curriculum as well as the fly fishing basics. No prior experience with fly fishing necessary. Equipment will be provided.  Students will need to purchase their own flight to Yakutat and have a valid Alaska Fishing license.

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