Skip to Gallatin Navigation Skip to Gallatin Main Content

Bridging Culture and Nature: An Introduction to Conservation Science

Semester and Year FA 2017
Course Number IDSEM-UG1740
Section 001
Instructor Jim Tolisano
Days M
Time 6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Units 4
Level U
Requirement   SCI


Section 2 for Environmental Studies majors only.


This course is designed for those who wish to deepen our relationship to nature and then learn how to apply this understanding to the challenging work of conservation biology. The art and science of conservation biology brings together leading thinking from biology, economics, anthropology, psychology, literature, art, and communications to conserve the diversity of life found on our planet. The fieldwork of the physical and biological sciences provides the foundation from which our work as conservation biologists proceeds. However, the applied work of the social sciences, education, business, humanities and arts then serve as the tools we need to manage ourselves and create a relationship with nature that is mutually supportive. In this class we will discover how biologists, business leaders, financial institutions, entrepreneurs, social scientists, and artists all play an integral role in creating and delivering practical conservation solutions. We will begin with an exploration of our own relationship to the natural world. We then examine what biological diversity is, the principal threats to biological systems, and specific actions that are being taken to reverse these threats and protect life on earth. We also explore the premise that “managing” the ecology of the planet really requires us to manage ourselves, and the human cultures we have created. Students will be required to research and share their lessons learned around a selected conservation biology topic, and complete a practical project that demonstrates how each of us can make a difference in strengthening our relationship to nature. At the course conclusion students from all disciplines should see a role for themselves in the conservation work that is an essential focus for this century. Course research will include Sodhi and Erlich’s  Conservation Biology for All , Gary Snyder’s,  The Practice of the Wild , and selected readings from a wide variety of peer reviewed science journals and popular publications.


All Syllabi

Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)