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SUBJECT: Grenfell: Environmental studies at Grenfell College the adventure of a lifetime
DATE: March 19, 2010

          Seeing whales from a kayak, hiking the Humber Valley amid the splendour of autumn, backcountry skiing on the Tablelands and exploring Corner Brook’s cave system are just a few of the adventures offered through Grenfell’s environmental studies degree program.

          Within the environmental studies program, students at Memorial University’s Corner Brook campus choose a concentration in either outdoor pursuits or environmental perspectives.

          The outdoor pursuits concentration includes three outdoor skill-based courses. Offered each fall, EVST 2210 teaches students safety skills in sea kayaking and canoeing, trip planning, weather observation and prediction, navigation and camping. Each winter students take to the slopes of Marble Mountain on telemark skis and strap on a pair of cross-country skis during EVST 2220. This course teaches the techniques of classic, skate and telemark skiing; avalanche safety and awareness in western Newfoundland; and various topics including hypothermia and winter survival.

          Two extensive paddling trips during the last two weeks of August each summer make up the third course. The first week students complete a four-day kayak trip; previous locations have included Newfoundland’s south coast near Burgeo, Bonne Bay, Bay of Exploits and the Bay of Islands. The second week is a canoe trip on one of Newfoundland’s great rivers, the Humber River. Leadership, strong navigation skills, trip planning and presentations on local outdoor topics shape the evaluation criteria for this student experience. The outdoor pursuits concentration also presents opportunities for various national certifications including Paddle Canada Level I Sea Kayak Skills, Canadian Association of Nordic Ski Instructors (CANSI) Level I Cross-country and Telemark, Avalanche Skills Training (AST I) and GreenCheck GPS Certificate.

          The environmental perspectives concentration focuses on Environmental problems such as global climate change, acid rain, decreasing biodiversity, deforestation and overpopulation, and how they are increasingly affecting the well-being of humanity and threatening the viability of many of the earth's ecosystems. Environmental perspectives helps students develop a deeper and more comprehensive theoretical understanding of such environmental issues.

          The breadth of courses offered under the environmental perspectives concentration provides students with an appreciation of the social, cultural, economic and ecological dimensions of environmental challenges and solutions. Environmental studies, political science and anthropology courses offered in environmental perspectives will provide students with a theoretical and practical understanding of environmental problems and solutions. In addition, practical skills are taught such as mapping, remote sensing, and geographical information systems. In all classes students are encouraged to actively participate in class discussions and debates and to think critically about the diversity of environmental issues and associated perspectives discussed.

          A complement to the environmental studies program is the Grenfell Outdoors Club, which offers hiking, paddling, caving, snowshoeing, snowboarding, camping, backcountry skiing and kayak pool sessions to all faculty, staff and students. With the goal of providing the Grenfell community with memorable outdoor experiences of western Newfoundland, the Grenfell Outdoors Club runs events year round. Gros Morne National Park is only an hour-and-a-half drive from campus, giving international, national and local students the chance to get up close and personal with moose, whales and other wildlife, and to simply enjoy the stunning beauty of the area.

          If you would like more information on the environmental studies degree program or the Grenfell Outdoors Club, visit www.swgc.mun.ca/envstudy or www.swgc.mun.ca/outdoor.   

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