A unique look:



January 14
What is learning in the digital age?

January 21
Motivating students to describe their environs.

January 28
Experiencing the wild frontier

February 2
Open book exam: Uses of technology & ecology

February 4
Frontiers of land acquisition

February 9
The Naturalists redefine land.

February 11
Game of the Estates

February 16
Federal Bureaus & regulation of landscapes.

February 18
Oceanography & early discoveries

February 23
Case Study of conflicts over land & resources

February 25
Preservation and defending wildlife

March 9 Test

March 11
Farmers aspirations and  Shrinking opportunities

March 16
Game of the Estates

March 18
What was the dustbowl?

March 23
Writing exercise

March 25
Conservation Emerges

March 30
Population growth & decline of arable land

April 6 Test

April 8
The Suburban-Industrial Complex

April 13
The Open-Space Movement

April 15

April 20
How must land be developed?

April 22
How ought land be protected?

April 27
Last class day

April 30

I. How technology and ecology alter attitudes about natural conditions in divergent ways.


Class Method

This is free writing –

To write for five minutes without stopping:


Where was the frontier of estuaries, what were its extents and what are some landscape features associated with these regions?

Charleston, South Carolina coastal region

In 1680, the Carolina colony established a nascent town on Oyster Point of a peninsula between the Ashley and Cooper Rivers, called Charles Town, 122 years before this water color was created by Charles Fraser.


Comparative Dates to know:

red dates denote wartime.

Thought questions:

1) What were some resources used by the colonists associated with river mouths?

2) Was there a dispute over the origins of disease in low lying areas and can you describe at least two sides of that debate and what they proposed to do about alleviating the problems?

3) What were the purposes of the Land Ordinance of 1785 and did the law achieve its goals in light of what it did accomplish?

4) Who were three or four of the naturalists and what did they describe, discover or advocate?

5) Can you describe the differences between preservation and conservation with at least four or five examples of how they differ?

6) Make an analogy or use an analogy from Emerson or Thoreau about what they believed were the prevailing attitudes about land and land-use before the Civil War.


  1. available on Blackboard™.
  2. Post a response to on class Wiki

Exam study guide


people | thought questions | art | terms | dates | contrasting themes | web sites | course index | readings | final

Merchant | Worster | Cronin | Reisner | Jackson | Siry | Leopold | |Diamond | Williams | Austin | Mumford | Marx

booksHow did the Native American perspectives towards plants, animals, and their landscape differ from the attitudes of the Europeans? (identify those habits, or concepts reflecting these divergent viewpoints)

What is the importance of the Colonial period (1600-1780) to your mind, based on the readings?

What precise reforms took place with respect to land policy, settlement and agricultural development due to the changes brought about by the revolutionary (1776-1814) withdrawal from the British Empire?

How did landscape painters depict variety of America's landscapes?

Which old forms of institutions for land use and commerce emerged into often conflicting ideologies in the Early National period (1800-1860) ?

North America

Saving land because of the scenic quality of landscape features was a formative influence on preserving the environment's historic and its beautiful places and thus coastal wetlands were thought to be of less importance.

"People of significance"

Franklin Emerson Powell Douglass Ellen Richards
John Muir Mary Austin W. E. B. Du Bois Eleanor


The weekly topics

Concepts to look for:

Estuary, ecology of
ecological systems
public domain
Spanish borderlands
California gold rush 1848-49
Forest’s relation to water, fisheries and erosion.
Castor Canadensis Beavers and the fur trade

Labor Theory of Value
Manifest destiny
commercial, internal improvements
Land Ordinance of 1785
Commerce clause
Homestead Act

Donald Worster's ideas
commodity value
balance of nature
high frontier
Arid regions
Forests and water supplies as watersheds & primary resources

  John Wesley Powell
            Adam Seybert
            Samuel L Mitchell
            Frederick Law olmstead Sr.John White
            Benjamin Franklin
            Thomas Jefferson
            George Catlin
            John James Audubon
            Ralph Waldo Emerson
William Cullen Bryant
            Henry David Thoreau
            George Perkins Marsh
            Frederick Law Olmsted
            Spencer F. Baird
            Caroline & Alexander Agassiz
            John Muir
            Lewis Mumford

While some people are not in the book, they are nonetheless important to know about:

datesRacial prejudice

Frederick Douglass "Without a struggle, there can be no progress." Rising Up from Slavery
            Harriet Beecher Stowe, manumission
is the ability to legally free slaves you own, see Robert Carter III.

Robert Carter III

            W. E. B. Dubois, The Souls of Black Folk
            Mary Austin, Land of Little Rain

            Jonathan Winthrop
            Eleanor Roosevelt & Greenbelt, Maryland as new ideas for town planning.


Source bookJoseph Siry, Marshes of the Ocean Shore, 1984, (College Station, Texas: Texas A & M University Press, 1984). Argues that water and its engineering defined national attitudes about conservation and ecology.
Mary Austin, The Land of Little Rain, 1903 (New York: Dover Press, 1996). Describes the way the Owen's Valley looked before Los Angeles acquired all of the water rights to divert the stream-flow south for its own needs.
Lewis Mumford, The Brown Decades: A Study of the Arts in America, 1865-1895. Defines the national landscape.


February 2
Siry; Open-book test
How do rivers and riparian environments influence people?
Exam on Siry, Marshes of the Ocean Shore.
Who are five people who suggested the importance of marsh lands? Describe their ideas.