My final environmental studies synthesis comes as I am writing this on the last day of classes for the fall semester of 2018. I am writing this synthesis as a reflection of my time in environmental studies 220 and relating it to the first synthesis post I wrote for the class, which can be read here (synthesis-1-10-7-18.html). Environmental studies 220 met every Monday and Wednesday from 3pm-4:30 pm with a three hour lab from 10am-1pm on Thursdays. Class time was primarily organized in a way that during most class periods we spent around half the time listening to a lecture and the other half working on whatever project we were doing during that time. Starting with our concentrations and moving into our situated research projects. I felt that this hands off approach was very beneficial for a couple of reasons. The first being, it allowed us to work and formulate our own ideas with the help of our peers without being steered towards what the professor wants us to do. The second being, this kind of approach demonstrates a great amount of respect for the students in the class. Letting us craft our own projects and ideas, while still being readily available for assistance and guidance, showed that we were trusted to work under our own motivation and get assignments done without enforcing harsh penalties for doing so. The majority of the class was made up of students who were 20+ years old and allowing us to work so independently showed that we were being acknowledged as adults.
The projects that we did in lab or in class time were structured in a way that we were being prepared for entering the workforce. With our labs involving ArcGis we were told that the software was used by many companies and already I have applied for an internship that utilizes ArcGis software. That being said this internship is run through the history department of Lewis and Clark College but if anything this just speaks to the importance of interdisciplinary studies especially within the context of environmental studies. The importance of interdisciplinary studies was another thing that was stressed to us. As a history major it was stressed onto me that with my concentration and situated research project that I need to incorporate my academic interest of history with my academic interest of environmental studies. For my peers, with most others being single or double majors, their minors or other majors also were integral parts in their work for environmental studies. This is important because in the workplace you’re never going to be only doing work in your area of study. Everything you do is interdisciplinary in some aspect which also preaches to the importance of a liberal arts education.
In summary, upon completing this course I plan to continue to explore my education in environmental studies, even as a minor, because the environment is of great importance to me. As an outdoor educator protecting the natural world is of crucial importance to me because I have had some of my most formative experiences in the wilderness. I now work to foster those same formative experiences for children who may not have otherwise ventured into the great unknown. This kind of job in and of itself speaks to the values of my environmental studies education by bridging across differences to empathize with people from different walks of life.