ES 203 Environment, Culture, and the Human Experience


Spring '07 (M. Klingle and E. Johnson) As part of this broad survey of North American environmental history, students research the history of the Androscoggin River, focusing on the themes of the water pollution, land use patterns, water power, and fish and wildlife resources. Each group identified a specific topic within these broader themes and specific area along the river. Students identified and compiled primary and secondary sources and analyzed these resources. Each team prepared a research paper and poster displaying their work. This project is designed to be a multi-year project. One of the outcome will be to contribute resources that students have gathered towards a web based curriculum guide for area middle-school teachers and students. Community Partners: Androscoggin River Alliance

ES 203 is the core Environmental Humanities course for the Environmental Studies Program. As part of service learrning projects, students explore course themes such as environmental history, sustainability, environmental justice and the working landscape.


Historical sources of pollution: The Androscoggin River has had a long history of industrial development along its banks which as contributed both to the economies of the communities along its banks as well as to the poor water quality resulting from discharge from these industries. Students identified and analyzed historical documents in order to better understand the sources of pollution from the colonial period to the 1980s.

Water power along the Androscoggin: Building dams or digging canals along the river to generate power or improve transportation has long been controversial, as far back to the mid-1800s. Students researched the types of industries located along the river in order to access this power as well as the location and uses of dams along the river.

Fish and wildlife resources: Students researched the environmental history of fish and aquatic wildlife populations, looking specifically at how humans relied upon the environment for subsistence or commercial gain, and the social and political responses to diminishing animal and fish populations.

Agriculture, logging, and land use: The river and its shores supported extractive industries, notably lumbering and farming. These changes to the land had ecological and social consequences for the river. Students documented what agricultural and forestry resources existed along the river, how land use patterns changed over time, and the implications have been for water quality in the past and present.

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