Are we mowing lawns and fields too much? Is the tilling of gardens and croplands destroying soil health? Mowing, weeding, and woods cleaning are homeowner activities that may be beautiful and comforting, but are usually disruptive to ecological systems. What about clear-cuts and cornfields? Logging and farming are economically important, but if done wrong, can be damaging to soils, water quality, and native plant communities. We will discuss these topics, along with current issues such as carbon sequestration, biodiversity, and invasive species.
We will learn from local naturalists, farmers, and land managers in discussion sessions and in the field. There will be three focus areas - forests, fields, and wetlands - and we will study a key wildlife and plant indicator species in each ecosystem. For the second half of the course, we will head out into the field to explore local farms and wildlife management areas, and observe how natural communities are impacted by human activities.
The required reading for the course will be Grass, Soil, Hope: A Journey Through Carbon Country by Courtney White, with a foreword by Michael Pollan, an important new book on our challenges for now and the future.
JIM KENNEDY (graduate of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry) is a licensed Landscape Architect and Wetland Scientist based in Hanover, NH. He has practiced land planning, conservation, wildlife habitat management, and natural landscape design throughout New England. He currently serves on the NH Wetlands Council and the Hanover Conservation Commission. Jim has lead many OSHER@Dartmouth courses on wetlands, landscapes, botany, and grasses.
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Dartmouth requires an annual membership to participate in courses. Membership fees are $70 (expiring June 30, 2018) or $105 (expiring June 30, 2019).