Special OpportunitiesBy integrating Concordia’s liberal arts curriculum, environmental studies is one of the most diverse and interesting programs on campus. There are many broadly appealing opportunities for hands-on experiences, field research and study abroad.
Several times a year, Concordia students host science academies at local elementary and junior high schools to introduce the many wonders of studying science. Students work with the River Keepers organization in Fargo-Moorhead to study issues related to water quality in the Red River basin. At Concordia Language Villages near Bemidji, Minn., students study energy conservation and north woods ecology at the one-of-a-kind Biohaus, designed by a leading-edge German environmental firm.
At Long Lake, located less that an hour’s drive from campus near Detroit Lakes, Minn., biology and environmental studies students are studying a variety of issues related to prairie, forest and lake shore habitat. A new classroom on site accommodates 25 students, and allows students to bring in samples from the land and water for closer examination. Students have begun mapping the property’s forbe, grass and tree species using GPS and GIS.
An Exploration Seminar offered through the political science department will bring students to Norway during spring break to study environmental issues in places like the Lofoten Islands, located above the Arctic Circle where ocean currents are changing the landscape. A May Seminar led by the biology department travels to the Galapagos Islands to study the world’s most unique plant and wildlife species. Other May Seminar Abroad biology groups travel to Tanzania and work on conservation and wildlife management alongside scientists with the African Wildlife Federation.
The program also offers a new course in Geographical Information Systems, including the basics of how a GIS works and the types of questions that can be analyzed by GIS. Environmental studies students will analyze data concerning land-use planning for many environmental and sociological issues. The applications of GIS are almost boundless, ranging from natural resource management, to engineering and construction, to public safety.