ESPM 186: Restoration Ecology

An overview of restoration ecology which is defined as “the scientific study and practice of renewing and restoring degraded, damaged, or destroyed ecosystems and habitats in the environment by active human intervention and action”.

This class was a perfect introduction as well as a wonderful experience. Professor Suding who is also my mentor (I now work in her lab) is an Ecology rockstar, she really knows the subject and is passionate to teach it to others. She pushes you but in a very kind way.

The reading was not burdensome (one scientific paper per week), one lecture per week and Friday in the field at Richmond Field Station (RFS). The class was split into groups of 4-5 to formulate their own research project related to restoration at RFS--I was in the “soils” group, others included invasive plants, birds, and small mammals--based upon your interests. A literature review is completed by everyone individually on your topic and later compiled into a class restoration proposal that is actually shared with RFS management. The literature review was time consuming, I had never done one before but I can tell you that you will be way ahead of the game in terms of future research and even grad school from this experience. I gained a much greater ability to read, summarize and write scientific papers from this class.
The problem sets (3 in all) are somewhat difficult--give yourself a few days to complete them, not the night before and be resourceful when answering questions--use the internet and library and make sure to cite everything properly and you will get a good grade.

The final is open notes but still pretty hard. Show up and put your best effort in, don’t procrastinate and you’ll do great. I received an A- in this course. I highly recommend it!