Are you concerned about the sustainability of our civilization? We are. We envision a community of environmentally-literate and actively engaged citizens, scientists and other professionals. We cultivate a deep understanding and transformative awareness of the interconnections between humans and the rest of the environment. This awareness is essential to provide positive contributions to the world. We do this by creating a participatory learning community that generates critical thinking and problem solving through active collaboration with faculty and off-campus stakeholders.
The courses in our interdisciplinary program examine the interaction of people and our environment, incorporating natural, social and political systems. Students acquire the ability to evaluate, analyze and synthesize complex information relating to environmental issues and graduate with skills for careers as diverse as environmental consulting, policy making, field research and staff positions assisting organizations in meeting goals related to sustainability.
We employ small-group, hands-on projects to address "real-world" environmental problems such as air pollution caused by diesel exhaust, ecological restoration of rivers, and protection of natural resources in the local community. A strong community/service learning connection is built into our curriculum. For example, students from environmental studies recently helped the City of Keene develop a natural resources inventory for a local park and natural area and performed invasive species evaluations at Pisgah State Park in Chesterfield, N.H. Students have also assisted AVEO (Ashuelot Valley Environmental Observatory) in performing culvert inventories and vernal pool assessments. Students participate in grant-funded research with the Monadnock Biodiesel Collaborative that is studying the effects of diesel and biodiesel emissions on human lungs and evaluating the impact of different biodiesel blends and feedstocks on environmental and occupational exposures. Students also participate in grant-funded research that studies the relationship between river function and human land use.
Keene’s location in the Ashuelot River watershed and the Monadnock region provides an excellent location for field studies, with "urban" pollution problems and relatively undisturbed "pristine" forests in close proximity. Keene is a city of about 23,000, with a diverse commercial and industrial economic base and a history as a manufacturing and railroad center. The city (and the Keene State College campus) lies on an the bed of an ancient glacial lake, much of it in the floodplain of the Ashuelot River or its tributaries. There are many wetlands and productive aquifers. Nearby Mount Monadnock is one of the most climbed mountains in the world. The region continues to face many development pressures.
The Ashuelot River runs right through the KSC campus, which is at about at the half-way point along the river’s course. Along the river’s 63-mile length, its water quality varies significantly. The Keene State College campus also includes Brickyard Pond, the Arboretum and Gardens, and a Wildlife Management Area along the banks of the Ashuelot River near the College’s athletic field complex, established by the Keene State College Grounds Crew in cooperation with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
The College also owns a camp on Wilson Pond in nearby Swanzey and the 400-acre Louis Cabot Preserve on Lake Nubanusit in the towns of Nelson and Hancock. This latter property is cooperatively managed for the College by the Harris Center for Conservation Education in Hancock.
What do students do with a major in Environmental Studies? Find out what our former students are doing after graduation. More about Environmental Studies Alumni
Lately, there’s been pressure from environmental groups to remove some of the old mill dams that are common in many New England towns. Basically, the feeling is that the dams alter the river’s habitat and create barriers to several important species of fish (salmon, smelt, shad, striped bass, sturgeon, and…
If you see groups of people in Keene peering up at the sky around dusk over the next few months, don’t be alarmed. They are taking part in Project Nighthawk , a collaborative effort that includes Keene State students, faculty, staff, and alumni along with Antioch students and community members…
By Brett Amy Thelen, Science Director, Harris Center for Conservation Education , reprinted with permission of the Harris Center.
Last year, a group of students in the Environmental Studies Department at Keene State College focused their two-semester capstone research projects on Harris Center lands. The student researchers conducted bee surveys…
Normally one wouldn’t associate the study of geography with the study of respiratory illness, but in Keene there is a surprising link that is being uncovered by a partnership between the Environmental Studies and Geography departments and the city of Keene.
Community GIS (geographic information system) Coordinator and Keene State…
Keene State juniors, Rachel Klaski and Audrey Boraski, and research associate, Nathan Martin, are working with Environmental Studies professor Dr. Nora Traviss to answer an important question about the health impacts of biodiesel on humans. The toxicological effects of biodiesel particulate matter generated in a lab setting have been tested…