HM NS SS 100 B - A Sense of Place: Spring 

Depending on the semester, students experience an intensive introduction to the ecology, society, and culture of their new environment in northern New England. This includes studying local botany, human history, land-use practices of the regional economy, and the local artisan community. Students begin outdoor challenge activities and small group work, learn about establishing norms of social conduct, build community, and initiate conversations about what it means to live sustainably. This course consists of group discussions, tours, orientations to various Sterling College programs, and outdoor activities. Topics and content vary by semester.

A Sense of Place: Spring

Spring 2013

Instructors:    Laura Lea Berry, Favor Ellis, Sydney Flowers, Liz Mills, Anne Obelnicki, Jennifer Payne, Leland Peterson, Patrick Sweatt, Petra Vogel, John Zaber

Email and Phone: | ext. 165    

Texts:  A Sense of Place Reader 

Format:  22.5 hours of contact time: includes lectures, discussions, orientation activities, and field based studies.


Course Objectives:

  1. To become familiar with the landscape, people, and natural world of northern Vermont.
  2. To meet people who work at Sterling College, the campus buildings, facilities, and grounds.
  3. To build bonds of respect, common purpose, and fellowship among students, faculty, and staff.
  4. To establish norms of social conduct and the beginnings of a strong community.
  5. To initiate dialogue about sustainable living.
  6. To understand educational goals of Sterling College, desired characteristics of a Sterling College graduate, and possible paths toward those ends.

Essential Questions:

  1. How does one cultivate a relationship with the natural world?
  2. What principles determine the way one lives with respect to nature?
  3. How does one put those principles into daily action in a particular place?
  4. What principles determine the way one lives with respect to other people?
  5. What does it mean to live in community?
  6. What does one bring to support Sterling’s community of learners and Environmental Stewards?


Final grades for this course will be determined as follows:

  1. Map & Compass – 10%
  2. Dialogue Sessions– 15%
  3. Field Botany – 10%
  4. Hardwick Visit – 15%
  5. Library/Leland Session – 10% 
  1. Bioregional Inquiry Project – 40%                                          

Note: All assignments must be completed on time and placed in John Zaber’s mailbox.  No assignments will be accepted after Monday, February 11th.

Required Equipment:

Warm Clothes and Footwear                                                                                       

Albany, VT Topo Map                                                                       

Orienteering-type Compass                                                                 

Writing Supplies


Students bring a variety of learning styles to class.  We do our best to support different learning modes by mixing lecture, discussion, hands-on work, and visual information.  Please feel free to let us know what mode works best for you—we will do our best to accommodate your learning style.   If you have a learning problem or documented disability, please check in with Leland Peterson, Learning Support Coordinator. Leland can help you determine what accommodations will be helpful for you in this course.