FIU Course IDS4920

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Course Overview

This is an interdisciplinary course about this vital ecological system, taught during the 50th Anniversary celebration of the establishment of Everglades National Park. By interdisciplinary, it will cover every aspect of the Everglades: natural history, ecological damage, pre-history, history, popular culture, policy, politics and business. The course will be taught by participation of numerous outside experts, field experience and student involvement in projects.

The class will meet on Friday mornings 9-12:20 for lecture and discussion. There will be a coffee break mid-way through each class. The textbooks for the course, available in the bookstore, are listed in the Books section of this syllabus. Because of the unusual nature of this course, and the frequent appearance of outside lecturers, attendance is required; more than two absences will result in an automatic failure in the course.

Grading for the course will be based on (1) a mid-term objective exam on natural history and geography--30%; (2) a final essay exam--30 %; and (3) a student project--40 %. The project is an important part of the course, and can be on any topic, and in any format, related to the Everglades. It could be a study of history, using archival material or old newspapers; a survey of attitudes; poetry or a short story; a photographic essay or paintings; music; or even an illustrated journal based on your own extended stay in the Everglades. Any project will include a short essay and a presentation to the class during the last meeting. The second class meeting will be a field trip to Everglades National Park--a bicycle trip in Shark Valley. There will be an overnight stay in the Everglades towards the end of the semester.

Course participants will use, and contribute to, the Everglades Information Network. This website (http://everglades. provides a broad array of information about the Everglades. Its use will be demonstrated the first week of class. It includes an Everglades Digital Library, and provides links to other websites. Students who use archival material (as old newspaper articles) for their projects, will be required to digitize this information for inclusion in the Library. Another useful website is, developed by Cesar Becarra, who will speak to the class.

This course has a service requirement. It may be met by (1) 1/2 of a day of work in ecological restoration; (2) preparing and giving a talk on the Everglades to an elementary school audience; and (3) assisting in the Restoration Ecology meetings. Failure to complete this service requirement will result in in IN/F grade.

Course Participants

Cesar Becarra is a graduate of FIU and an expert on South Florida History.

Brad Bennett is an ethnobotanist and plant ecologist, and Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies at FIU.

Bill Burke is a photographer, native of South Florida, and Professor of Visual Arts at FIU.

Robert Carr is an archeologist, employed by Dade County, and an expert on the pre-history of South Florida.

Gail Clement is an Associate University Librarian at FIU and originator of the Everglades Information Network.

Jim Couper is a painter of Everglades landscapes and Professor of Visual Arts at FIU.

Maureen Donnelly is a herpetologist and Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences at FIU.

Dante Fascell is an attorney and former congressman who was involved in the establishment of Everglades National Park.

David Genereux is a hydrogeologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Geology at FIU.

Ron Jones is a microbial ecologist, Professor of Biology, and Director of the Southeastern Environmental Research Program at FIU.

David Lee is a tropical botanist and Professor in the Departments of Biological Sciences and Environmental Studies at FIU.

Jack Meeder is a geologist/ecologist and Scientist at the Southeastern Environmental Research Proram at FIU.

John Ogden is an ornithologist working for the South Florida Water Management District and the Everglades Restoration Taskforce.

David Rosenberg is a poet and writer, and Director of the Field Bridge Project.

Terrence "Rock" Salt heads the President's South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Taskforce, based at FIU.

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