Environmental Studies at Centre College

    Environmental Studies may be broadly defined as an exploration of the myriad ways by which the human species influences, and is influenced by, its non-human surroundings.   These interactions have inspired great works of art and fundamentally shaped the development of human cultures.  Deeper understanding of our human self and its modes of expression can be gained by appreciating our innate connectedness to our natural environment.

Unfortunately, human-environment interactions also have seriously disrupted the natural processes sustaining life in all its forms.  Only by examining our dependence on our environment, and the causes and consequences of our impacts on that environment, will we be able to fashion ways of living equitably and sustainably with other species.   An important practical goal of environmental studies, therefore, is to provide effective cultural solutions to our environmental problems.  Arriving at these solutions requires an understanding of the scientific, societal and ethical dimensions of the problems.  Consequently, ideas and information from a wide array of fields such as public policy, economics, anthropology, history, philosophy, psychology, religion, ecology, biology and chemistry are important components of the Environmental Studies minor.

Though Centre students and faculty have a long history of interest and action in environmental questions, the academic minor in Environmental Studies was established relatively recently.  The courses and programs in this area will continue to develop in the future in response to experiences of our students.

Why Pursue an Environmental Studies Minor?

The most direct reason for pursuing a minor in environmental studies is that the questions addressed in this field are critically important.  Questions such as: “How might a community respond to the demographic and environmental impact of a new manufacturing company?” or “What happens to ecosystems and economic systems when introduced species become invasive?”

A second reason is that the courses and experiences that become part of your environmental studies minor are intrinsically interesting.   Topics such as: “How does an ecosystem respond to changes in climate factors?” or “How have cultural attitudes toward nature influenced the literature of the society?”

And finally, a minor in environmental studies can help one prepare for graduate study and careers in a wide range of important fields. The minor is particularly appropriate for students planning on attending graduate school in environmental studies as well as those who wish to incorporate an environmental dimension into a professional career such as law, public health, or business.   It can be combined with any of Centre’s major programs.

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Barbara Kingsolver, author and environmentalist, delivered Centre's 2005 Commencement address,
"Picking up the bread".

Click image for full text


The Structure of the Minor

The minor in environmental studies requires seven courses and is arranged in three levels.  This structure is designed to provide a solid background in the fundamental principles of environmental studies, to allow the student some flexibility in tailoring the program to fit their particular interests, and finally to provide opportunity for the student to synthesize these concepts in a context related to the student’s major program.  Most often, the capstone independent study will be coordinated between the Environmental Studies program and the student’s major program. Link to the Centre Online Catalog

Fundamental Background      ENS 210  Introduction to Environmental Studies 
ECO 355 Environmental Economics1 OR HIS 361  American Environmental History
     BIO 370  Principles of Ecology
Prerequisites: Bio 110 and Bio 210
a total of three courses,
at least one from each area
Social/Political Analysis

     ANT 321  Anthropology of Development
     ANT 350  Ecological Anthropology
Prerequisites: ANT 110 and ANT 120.
     ECO 355  Environmental Economics
1 (if not taken to fulfill the fundamental background req.)
     ECO 350  Tourism & Sustainable Development
     ECO 459 Regulating the Environment

S 220 Introduction to Environmental Ethics    
     ENS 252 / ECO 345 Sustainability
ENS 253 Nature and the Art of Walking
     ENG 386 Environmental Imagination in U.S. Literature
     HIS 361 American Environmental History
(if not taken to fulfill the fundamental background req.)
     REL 453  World Hunger & Ecology 
REL         Civil Society and Sustainable Development

Scientific/Technological Analysis

     ANT 360 GIS & Environment 

     BIO 245  Freshwater Biology
  Prerequisite: BIO 110 is recommended
     BIO 251  Natural History of the Bahamas
     BIO 375  Conservation Biology
Prerequisite: BIO 110, or NSC 120 with permission of the instructor
     CHE 454 Green Chemistry
     ENS 251 Human ecology in the Yucatan
     NSC 140 Environmental Geology
     PYB 330  Animal Behavior 
Prerequisite: BIO 110 and PSY 110, or
                                                              NSC 110, 120. BIO 225, PYB 210, & PSY 220 are recommended.

1Prerequisite: ECO 110. 

Senior Capstone Project Either an Internship or Independent Study with an environmental emphasis. 

This project should draw upon and complement the student's major field.  Subject to approval by the ENS program committee.



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David Anderson Anne Lubbers (Chair), Dan Manheim, Preston Miles, Endre Nyerges, Liz Perkins,
Conrad Shiba, Brett Werner


Angel, Mayra Janet

Buell, Cody Marshall

Croley, Christopher Shane

Egan, Connor Bailey

Gruber, Neil Michael

Hicks, Sky Ian

Holder, Daniel Ross

Jenkins, William Garret

Jernigan, Molly Rebecca

Johnson, Kelsey Eiler

Myers-White, Lee Aryn

Patrick, Andrew Parker

Pierce, Alison Lynn

Rhodes, Caitlin Elizabeth

Sears, Whitney Taylor

Thomas, James Patrick

Vincent, Jarrod Chase

Current Self-Designed ENS Majors:  David Abell, Bethany Pratt, Irene Palmer

Example of Successful Proposal

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Senior Capstone Projects

Meghan Langley, Assessing the Impact of Land Use Practices on Water Quality in the Kentucky River Drainage Basin,

Becky Barrick, Nest Box Study of House Sparrow: Reproductive and Foraging Behavior, docPowerPoint
Scott Duzan, Links Between Golf and the Environment, pdf, PowerPoint
Erin Henegar, Environmental Education: A Look at its Purpose, Methods, and Effectiveness, pdf, PowerPoint
Courtney Holt, Conservation Efforts and Economic Feasibility of Preserving Clematis socialis, PowerPoint
Forest Miller, Effects of Exposed Coal on Water Quality Parameters,

Josh Abbott, The Role of Scientists In Environmental Policy Process, pdf file, PowerPoint
Allison Carlyle, Reducing Waste: A Scientific and Economic Analysis of Recycling PowerPoint

Kim Hall, Understanding our Environmental Crisis: The Ideology of Destruction
Adam Owens, Stream Ecology and Conservation Unit Plan


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ENS Alumni (most recent update, summer 2008)

Meghan Langley - U.S. Fish & Wildlife, Panama City FL Ecological Office, private lands restoration

Becky Barrick - Completed an M.S. in Environmental Science, at University of Indiana and is now the Environmental Coordinator for the KY Dept. of Transportation, Lexington District.
Scott Duzan - Fisheries Technician, Hawaii
Erin Henegar - Candidate for M.S., Environmental Education, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
Courtney Holt - Graduate School, Auburn University
Forest Miller - Environmental Chemist, McCoy & McCoy Engineering Consultants, Madisonville, KY

Josh Abbott - Graduate School in Chemistry, University of Tennessee
Allison Carlyle - (update needed)


Career Paths

Centre College aims to prepare students for lives of learning, leadership and service.  This is particularly true for students engaged in the interdisciplinary minor in Environmental Studies.  Students following this program will find careers in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors in local and state agencies, federal government, corporations, consulting firms, international and intergovernmental organizations, and non-governmental and community-based organizations

Please follow these links for:
Environmental Career Information
        Graduate Programs in the Environmental Sciences

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Related Opportunities

Students may also be interested in becoming involved with the campus organization ECCO (Environmentally Conscious Centre Organization).  This group is engaged in a range of educational and service activities both on our campus and in the local community.  

Summer collaborative research opportunities:
Miami University, Dept of Ecology and Environmental Science.
Northern Arizona Univerisity.

Centre College is a member of the Associated Colleges of the South (ACS) and participates in that organization's Environmental Initiative.  This program provides internship and study opportunities in a variety of situations.

Centre has also joined the President's Climate Commitment.

Other Links:
The Kentucky Resources Council
Kentuckians for the Commonwealth


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