September 2002
MAY 29, 2002

The Cornell Wilderness Term (CWT) is an off-campus program comprising courses in the sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities. Courses are taught during the first term of the academic year at the ACM Wilderness Field Station. The Field Station is on Low Lake in the Superior National Forest, just outside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and not far from Ely, Minnesota. CWT provides students with unique opportunities for field, laboratory and other creative work, and for reading, writing and reflecting in a wilderness setting. Co-curricular activities--such as camping, canoeing and evening seminars--enable cross-disciplinary sharing of ideas. CWT courses are advertised each year in the TERM TABLE. Participation in the program entails additional costs that are not covered by regular tuition or financial aid, and include transportation, room and board, and use of Wilderness Field Station facilities.

Courses Offered in September 2002
Note: All classes begin on campus. Students and faculty will travel together to the A.C.M. Wilderness Field Station at the end of the first week of Term I and return at the end of the third week. Click on details for further information about expenses, weather, and what to bring.

BIO 1-321
(Andy McCollum)

Why are plants and animals found where they are and why are they more abundant in some places than others? How do interactions with other species and the physical environment influence the distribution and abundance of organisms? These are the fundamental questions in the science of ecology. In this course we will explore the patterns of life on Earth, the hypotheses proposed to explain these patterns, the evidence and methods used to test these hypotheses, and the application of our ecological understanding to practical problems. The course will emphasize organisms in the vicinity of the Wilderness Field Station but will draw on the ecological studies from around the globe to illustrate ecological concepts. Course work will include lectures, discussion and modeling in the classroom as well as field and laboratory research projects on the local biota. Prerequisites: BIO 141 and 142. (Laboratory Science)

GEO 1-215
Structural Geology
(Rhawn Denniston)

Descriptive analysis of rock structures: faults, joints, folds, unconformities, and intrusive igneous contacts. Trigonometric solutions to three-dimensional problems. Use of the Brunton compass. Prerequisites: GEO 111 and 112. (Laboratory Science)

PHI 1-224
Environmental Ethics
(Jim White & Bob Black)

Moral dilemmas associated with human populations, industrial productivity, a deteriorating environment, and generally, our treatment of the natural world. Team-taught by a philosopher and a biologist, the course will critically analyze the conceptual framework within which questions about the environment are raised and debated, and provide biological information relevant to those questions. (Humanities)

POL 1-355
Seminar in American Politics: Wilderness Politics
(Craig Allin)

When Europeans first arrived in North America, they viewed it as a continental wilderness populated by wild men (Native Americans) and wild beasts. By the late 19th century the continent had been tamed, and Americans were increasingly interested in preserving vestiges of their wilderness past. The purest expression of that impulse has been the political movement to preserve and protect large tracts of undeveloped federal lands in a National Wilderness Preservation System. Today there are 644 designated wilderness areas totaling more than 105 million acres. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is one of the oldest, one of the most heavily used, and probably the most famous of them all. As such, it is the ideal venue for an exploration of the politics and policy of wilderness preservation in America. Our course will explore the wilderness concept, the history of wilderness preservation in the United States, the impact of wilderness designation on national parks, national forests, and other public lands, and the host of controversies that inevitably arise when government agencies are directed to "preserve natural conditions." What is wilderness? Is preserving wilderness possible? Does wilderness preservation waste resources? To what extent should land managers interfere with natural forces? Should forest fires be allowed to burn? Should predatory animals be reintroduced? What is the appropriate place of people in wilderness areas? To what degree should we try to make the wilderness safe for visitors? To what extent should visitors be regulated to protect wilderness? Should concessions be made to Native Americans whose ancestors once called these "wilderness areas" home? Science is indispensable to thinking seriously about many of these questions, but ultimately the choices to be made are political choices. We will try to understand who is making these choices and why. Prerequisite: POL 262.

The A.C.M. Wilderness
Field Station

The Boundary Waters
Canoe Area Wilderness

In 1999 National Geographic Traveler described the Boundary Waters as "paradise found" and one of the "50 greatest places of a lifetime. These are destinations we believe no curious traveler should miss."


Last Update: May 21, 2002
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