SJA Field Semester

Environmental Studies Field Semester

SJA Field Semester is a new opportunity for motivated students to pursue field-based research in an outdoor setting. This program is ideal for juniors and seniors interested in concentrated study in environmental or field-based science with its focus on environmental literacy and natural resource management concepts.

Program Features

  • Majority of coursework is outdoors, hands-on, and field-based
  • Based at the Academy’s nearby SJA Field Campus, a 75-acre property with both agricultural and forested areas
  • Fulfills a core science requirement and additional elective credits
  • Offers dual enrollment college credits at Sterling College
  • Provides a solid foundation for pursuing further education and careers in natural resource management, ecosystem science, environmental engineering, and related disciplines


Location — Our Land Lab

The program is based at the Academy’s nearby SJA Field Campus in Danville, a 75-acre property with both agricultural and forested areas. Students will also travel regularly to additional sites around the Northeast Kingdom. This network of sites will provide research stations for collection of long-term ecological data by students and professionals. Outdoor work frames the program as a field-based, hands-on and immersive experience.

Agricultural and forested areas within the property network will be used as working landscapes for larger projects such as farming, forest management, maple sugaring, and recreational trail development. These projects will create opportunities, materials, and products for students and the wider community allowing them to learn the principles of sustainable development and how to manage the landscape accordingly.

Coursework

Students complete coursework in Ecology, Natural Resource Management, Environmental Literature and Composition, and Social Studies of Sustainability.

Ecology

3 Credits - Sterling College | Science
This course will provide an overview of core ecological concepts and their application in studying the natural world. Students will understand the cycles and interconnectedness of living things and their environments, and explore ways of studying these systems. Successful completion of this course will prepare students for further study in the environmental field.

Natural Resources Management

Science/Elective
Students will get hands on experience in projects surrounding agricultural development and forest management. Working with local farms and landowners, we will work on projects dealing with management of our natural resources to develop sustainable options for utilization in the agricultural and forestry sectors. Projects will include planting and harvesting on organic farms, greenhouse management, soil sampling and mapping, forest assessment and management, and timber utilization and sawmill techniques.

Environmental Literature and Composition

In this Interdisciplinary course, taught in conjunction with Social Studies in Sustainability, students develop reading, writing, and speaking skills in the context of environmental management. Required texts include works of fiction, nonfiction, and research. Composition skills include scientific writing, professional proposals, and public presentations.

Social Studies in Sustainability

In this Interdisciplinary course, taught in conjunction with Environmental Literature and Composition, students explore how people and societies both develop from and shape their landscape. Students explore and analyze the cultural and environmental history, philosophy and cultural geography that shapes a region while exploring and performing human practices necessary for a sustainable development. Required texts include works of fiction, nonfiction, and research. Composition skills include scientific writing, professional proposals, and public presentations.

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