Environmental Studies: Interdisciplinary Foundations
The final project for this class is a team
project where you will select an environmental issue of your choice and explore
the issue in more detail. The group
project involves researching the issue and creating a poster to describe and
display the relevant information. (The last two lecture days of the class will be devoted to a poster symposium during which you will display your poster and learn from the posters of other students.) There
is also an individual writing assignment about the issue you have selected.
Team poster assignment
With your group (no more than 3 people), select an
environmental topic that is:
at global and local scales, or otherwise can be "zoomed in" on;
you are interested in;
about which there are sufficient resources for you to explore in detail; and
(4) not directly related to climate
change. (A topic with an indirect connection is fine.)
Your poster must explicitly address the scientific, social,
and ethical components of the issue, and the inter-relationships among
them. Scroll down or click this link for details, and also check out the poster grading rubric.
Individual memo assignment
Your individual writing assignment is to select an
environmental topic that is:
local issue related to your team poster assignment, the idea being that your
team poster can synthesize and draw on information from each of your individual
you are interested in;
- something about which there are sufficient resources for you to explore in
- not directly
related to climate change. (A topic with an indirect connection is fine.)
Your memo should be addressed to your fellow team-members, i.e., to people who are familiar with your topic area in general but not the specific issue that you are focusing on. (If you'd like to think of it this way, you can imagine your fellow team-members designing and/or presenting the poster in your absence, in which case the purpose of the memo is to enable them to understand your part of the project and intelligently discuss your topic in a reasonable amount of detail.) Scroll down or click this link for details.
Preliminary assignment #1: Poster and memo proposal
In order to make sure that you're on the right track, your
group must submit a Poster and Memo Proposal that:
- identifies your team members (no more than 3
- clearly identifies and describes your poster
topic and the topics for each of your individual papers; and
- (optionally) describes your approach and
identifies preliminary sources of information. (This optional item is just
thatoptionalbut if you do it then we will be better able to help you with
Preliminary assignment #2: Memo paragraph
In order to make sure you're on the right track, you must submit a memo paragraph that
- describes your memo topic and what you have learned so far---this can be a brief paragraph, but should reflect researched
information, not just what you hope to learn;
- poses two questions you intend to answer in
researching and writing your memo; and
- includes a short bibliography of at least four
sources you will use. The library's ENVIR 100 research page is a good place to start your literature search.
Here is the poster grading rubric. Your finished poster should:
- be designed in a program like Microsoft PowerPoint or
Adobe InDesign (come talk to us if you want to use an old-fashioned
posterboard or or some other format);
- have text that is clear and easy to read (24+ font size)
- have a compelling visual presentation that balances text with pictures,
graphs, charts, headings, etc.;
- provide a background survey of your topic;
- clearly address the scientific, social, and
ethical aspects of the issue;
- clearly incorporate the global and local
dimensions of your topic or otherwise "zoom in" appropriately, and have clearly labeled sections that align with
the assignment including Title, components for Scientific,
Social, and Ethical, and components for Local and Global or that otherwise "zoom in".
- provide citations that identify the sources of your information and your graphics. New for fall 2008: You must put your citations on the poster itself rather than (as in previous quarters) on a separate reference page. Your citations section can be anywhere on your poster and can be in 8- or 10-point font, i.e., they do not have to be immediately readable like the rest of your poster. Here are two guidelines for author-date format (#1, #2),
but you can use another citation method if you prefer, and in any case
you should focus on the goal which is to allow your readers to figure out where you got your information and (if desired) attempt to track it down; and
- list your names and section number on the poster.
Here are some samples of excellent work and other guidance. (Note that many of these samples do not have citations on the posters themselves since this is a new requirement for fall 2008.)
- Here is an excellent poster from fall 2007 (in .ppt and .pptx, the later viewable only if you have Office 2007). Note that this does not include the page of references.
- Here is a comparison between two PPT posters on sea otters that Yoram created in fall 2007: otter draft #1 and otter draft #2, both of which go with this accompanying sheet of references.
- Online guidance documents for creating posters is available here and here.
are strongly encouraged to use one of the posters above as a template
for starting your poster. If you do a poster on your own, make sure to
choose File-Page Setup and choose a 32x40 size for your poster.
Although you are expected to be prepared to
discuss your poster on the day you are scheduled to present it, your grade will
be based on the content of the poster itself. You do not need to have a prepared speech about your poster; just come to the poster symposium prepared to discuss your work and answer questions!
- You are responsible for having your poster finished by the due date.
can print drafts on 8.5x11 paper by choosing "Scale to Fit Paper" at
the bottom of the screen that comes up when you choose File-Print.
you are ready to print the final copy of your poster, your best bet is
to use the printer behind the desk on the 2nd floor of the Odegaard
library. Bring your poster on a flash drive to the folks at the desk
and they'll print a color 32x40 poster in about 20 minutes (if there's nobody waiting) for about
- Other printing options include the computer lab on the first floor of Mary Gates Hall and the computer lab in Gould Hall. (Note that Gould used to be cheaper than the others; it no longer is unless you're an architecture student :)
- You might
also be able to find other large-size "plotter" printers around campus,
or you can use the copy centers
on The Ave, which are almost certainly much more expensive.
Your finished memo should:
with three lines: a "From:" line that has your name and section; a "To:"
line that lists the group members to whom you are addressing the
memo; and a "Re:" line that clearly
identifies the issue you've selected;
the scientific, social, and ethical aspects of the issue;
your issue using examples and supporting evidence;
and synthesize your main points in a concluding section;
all sources (see above);
well-written, spell-checked, proof-read, and edited; and
1,000-1,500 words (4-5 pages double-spaced).
Research sources for the poster and report could include:
Samples of excellent work and other guidance
- Peer-reviewed journals (e.g. Science, Journal of Economic Principles)
- National or local news organizations (e.g. The Seattle Times)
- Government agency publications (federal, state, county,
- Interviews with local officials, citizens, or
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