February 5, 2009 7:53 PM

Spring 2009 finally finalized!

So after 3 weeks of battling through long waitlists, conflicting schedules, and trying to save time for eating, sleeping and showering, I think I've finally got my spring 2009 schedule figured out!

Mondays:
10am-11am ESPM 111 Ecosystem Ecology (Discussion)
11am-12pm ESPM 111 Ecosystem Ecology (Lecture)
1-3pm ESPM 178B (Environmental Ed Practicum) field placement at King Middle School

Tuesdays:
9am-11am ED 189 Democracy and Education
11am-12:30pm SOC 150A Self and Society (audit)
*potential independent research time*

Wednesdays:
11am-12pm ESPM 111 Lecture
1pm-3pm volunteer at Jepson Herbarium
5pm-8pm ESPM 178B Lecture

Thursdays:
9am-11am ED 189
11am-12:30pm SOC 150A (audit)
*potential independent research time*

Fridays:
11am-12pm ESPM 111 Lecture
12:30-3:30 Restoration Internship at RFS

What it all means...

ESPM 111 (Ecosystem Ecology) fulfills one of my AOI's and is an amazing class bottomline! The very first lecture alone was already making me tingle with excitement. And every lecture and discussion since then has made me even more curious about how the world works on an ecosystem scale. I'm more of a "big picture" kind of gal. I find the minute things annoying so this is the perfect class for me. So far we've learned about various types of ecosystems, how weather and climate interact to create ecosystems, the evolution of ecosystems and the concepts of ecosystem ecology and it's measurement on a multitude of scales. And to top it all off, I love the professors: Dennis Baldocchi and Whendee Silver. Baldocchi is a biometeorologist and Silver is a biogeochemist. Both are equally passionate about the subject and teaching. They both have a profound interest in supporting the growth of Berkeley's learning community and that can be significantly refreshing if you've had a couple bad teachers. In the end, the course requires 1 midterm, 1 final, and 5 problem sets. I highly recommend this class if you want to know how the world works from the big picture view.

ESPM 178B also satisfies one of my AOI's. This class is also a lot of fun! We learn how to teach others, how to learn from them and ourselves, how to teach them how to learn, how to deal with different minds and modes of thinking, and how to create a community of knowledgeable citizens through education. Each class session is a fun series of discussions, activities and food! Class participation is highly significant. There are no tests, no books although plenty of reading in the beginning but all good stuff. We are required to complete 36 hours of observation and participation in a local high school or middle school through the Cal Teach program. If you intend on becoming an educator, the Cal Teach program is vital because you get in class experience observing teachers in action, actually working with younger students yourself, and really seeing what it's like. There are several other courses that are part of the Cal Teach program but, again, if you plan on becoming an educator, look this up! Also, Mark Spencer is an excellent educator. He definitely knows what he's talking both on the science background and the teaching background.

ED 189 is a very intellectually stimulating class. The class structure is primarily discussion. We discuss current issues in the world in regards to education, democracy, and how the two are intertwined. Again, no tests, just 2 thought essays, 1 major project, a weekend long retreat to Mendocino, and a final class evaluation. John Hurst teaches the course and he is one of the top educators at Berkeley. He's been here for over 50 years, loves teaching, loves stimulating thought about critical issues and gives everyone the freedom to think and act out of their accord. Another highly recommended class if you want to talk about big issues that most are afraid to talk about.

SOC 150A...another that I LOVE! I couldn't get it in because the waitlist was unbelievable but it is well worth it. The curricula is focused on why people behave the way they do in relation to their societies. It's particularly helpful for me because I want to stimulate sustainable behavior change and knowing how people work will inform me how I should teach as an educator or even just as an informed citizen. So, that's why I'm auditing the course instead of just dropping it for another class or free time. Rob Willer is another amazing educator. He's young, has passionate for the subject and is always willing to help in the understanding of his material or anything he knows well enough. He's even helping me on my independent research which is focused on behavior change. :)

In the VLSB, there exists the University & Jepson Herbarium. This is basically a plant bank, a library of all sorts of plants, especially California natives. However, there are only the dead but preserved specimens. If you're looking for the live ones you can try the Berkeley Botanical Gardens. I chose to volunteer here because I wanted to learn about California native plants and the Botanical garden said they were full of volunteers. But so far I'm enjoying my experience. I spend generally 2 hours a week although there is no requirement for volunteers. So far, I'm just mounting plants on the appropriate display mats but I will be learning more as the semester continues. I intend on turning this into a work study but only once I can make sure that I can commit at least 6 hours to it.

The internship at the richmond field station consists of restoration work. The property, once owned by severely polluting companies, was purchased by the University of California and taken on as a restoration project, The property has been restored to suitable standards for habitat existence, particularly that of endangered species such as the California Clapper Rail. Restoration is ongoing and consists of plant propagation, cleanups, and removal of invasives. You can earn units depending on how many hours you work there (3 hours = 1 unit). If you want to know more, contact Stacy Haines at stacy.haines@ttemi.com.

And last but not least, I'm doing independent research (ESPM 199) and getting 2 units for it (6 hours/week). I'm studying the limitation of education on environmental behavior change in students at the Ohlone Community College Newark Center. My data will primarily come from surveys done in the beginning and at the end of each semester along with more in depth interviews at the end with the students of a human ecology class. I intend on turning this into my senior thesis and will have each semester be a repeated trial. Honestly, I've never done this before and it's still pretty scary but with the guidance of my faculty advisor John Hurst and sociology professor Rob Willer, I'm much more optimistic for the findings. Essentially, by learning the limitations, we can improve educational programs to effectively push the education through understanding into behavior.

And that is my schedule for this semester.... :)


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