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Teaching Philosophy

In my teaching, I encourage students to explore new concepts using their innate abilities while challenging them to develop new skills. My courses study ecological processes and problems from an interdisciplinary perspective. This approach is vital for addressing multifaceted resource problems, broadening students’ knowledge base and encouraging critical thinking skills.


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Teaching

Watershed Ecology and Management (FOR 442/642)

image Managing human uses of watersheds requires an understanding of the linked physical and biological processes that operate across landscapes, as well as the human impacts to those processes.  This course synthesizes major concepts in watershed and stream ecology, and effects of management and restoration associated with multiple resource uses (e.g., timber, agriculture, grazing, urbanization, dam construction). We explore influences of spatial and temporal scale, watershed and network position, disturbance regimes, and global change. Class formats include lectures, reading, class discussions, problems sets that analyze environmental data, class presentations, and independent projects.

Taught each Fall semester; 3 credits.

Download Syllabus (PDF)


Restoration Ecology (FOR 797)

image This graduate course takes an in-depth look at the application of ecological theory to restoration practice. Weekly topics focus on major areas of ecological research, including abiotic and biotic interactions, evolution and genetics, trophic webs, non-equilibrium dynamics (e.g., land degradation, disturbance, and climate change), and alternative ecosystem states. Readings combine chapters from Foundations of Restoration Ecology (2006, Island Press) with case studies from the restoration literature. Diverse readings and interactive class discussions have broad relevance to restoration practitioners, conservation biologists, environmental engineers, and landscape architects. Field trips visit a variety of local restoration sites.

Taught each Fall semester; 3 credits.

Download Syllabus (PDF)


Climate Change Effects on Natural Resources (FOR 797)

image This graduate seminar examines the evidence and impacts of global climate change, with a focus on natural resources in the Northeast region.  We explore the current evidence and future projections for changes in ocean circulation, storm severity, species migrations and extinctions, the global carbon budget and water resource availability, among other impacts.  Readings are drawn from primary scientific research, the popular science literature, and global and regional reports for policy makers.  Students co-lead the weekly discussion on a specific topic and prepare an annotated bibliography and White Paper synthesizing current research in the field, perceptions in the media, and recommendations for policy makers.

Last offered Fall 2007.

Download Syllabus (PDF)

Download Student Climate Change White Papers (PDF)


Water Resources Field Module (FOR 201, Summer Program at Wanakena, Adirondacks)

image Each summer I help teach the Forest and Natural Resources Summer Program at ESF’s Wanakena campus on Cranberry Lake in the Adirondacks. In this one-day unit, students cover general concepts in water resources and stream ecology. In the field, students learn to measure streamflow velocity, conduct an ecological stream assessment, and survey a small water supply system, from its forest spring source, through its supply reservoir and water treatment facility, to the tap.