ODST 201 - Natural History of the Adirondacks

The Adirondack mountains, among the oldest in the world, are home to complex and beautiful ecosystems teaming with biodiversity. When and how did these mountains form? Who lives there? What are the basic ecological relationships that keep this region's ecosystems functioning? What environmental factors shape these ecosystems and how are they changing as a result of human activities in the region and across the globe? In this course we will begin to answer these and other questions, with a focus on learning about the different communities of organisms in the Adirondacks as well as how they are shaped by geology, weather, seasons, and human impacts. Through field trips, detailed observations, readings, and discussions, we will piece together an understanding of the ecological forces that have shaped this landscape's past and which will determine its future. Student will be expected to master the biodiversity of the region, to understand the function of its ecosystems, to make careful field observations, and to help others learn about and appreciate the Adirondacks. This course counts for Natural Science w/lab distribution requirement.  (One unit credit)