The natural landscape around us helps to define our sense of place and identity, no matter where we are from. Whether we come from the forests of the Eastern US or the mountains of the West, volcanoes like Mt. Fuji, the vast grasslands of South Africa, and of course the ocean stretching to the horizon, all can evoke a sense of awe at the majesty of nature. In this class, we will explore the processes in our physical world that lift landscapes from the ocean and bring us the rocks and iconic features we see around us. We will also explore the forces of water, wind, ice, and human activity that wear landscapes down. Explorations of differences in soil, climate, and water from place to place will reveal the plants, animals, food production, and human civilization that are unique to a place. Our journey around the world will provide the perfect canvas for understanding these variations in different climates, landscapes, and cultural settings.
- Understand the Earth’s physical landforms and the processes that shape them
- Appreciate how climate, organisms, tectonics, human activity, and time shape landscapes
- Learn how soils, climate, and culture create the conditions for different forms of food production around the world
- Recognize the ways in which humans impact the environment and are influenced by it
- Become familiar with methods and tools scientist use
This class is also offered as ESS 210, through the CSU Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability.
Field WorkCountry: Hawaii, United States
Date: January 12, 2020
The Hawaiian Islands are among the most isolated in the world, surrounded by thousands of miles of ocean and formed from lavas originating as magma below the deep ocean crust. The geology, landscape, and organisms of Hawaii are a product of its special location and make for a unique study that distills many essential processes characteristic of our planet. We will look at Hawaii as a case that illustrates processes from geology to soil development to native wildlife to agriculture. We will participate in a service project to explore the recent movement to restore native agriculture to support the local population.
4. Understand the role of geological processes in forming remote islands
5. Explore the expression of island-forming processes in its landforms and soils
6. Identify characteristics of the soils and vegetation that are unique to this island location
7. Characterize the properties of Hawai’ian soils that make them good for agriculture
8. Identify how native traditions and agriculture are threatened by imported agricultural commodities and practices
9. Participate in a service activity to support the restoration of native agricultural practices to the island