Historical Dates:
1453, Fall of Constantinople.
1492, Franco-Spanish War in Italy, Columbus.
1517, Reformation
1565, Council of Trent: Counter- Reformation.
1607, Jamestown founded, Virginia
1630, Salem, Mass. founded.
1666, Fire of London & Plague Year.
1702, Queen Anne's War.
1757, Seven Years War: French & Indian War.
1763, Treaty of Paris, French lose Louisiana.
1776, Declaration of Independence from UK.
1781, End of the War for Independence.
1785, Land Ordinance.
1789, Constitution adopted: fifth amendment.
1800, Jefferson elected: "revolution"
1820, Missouri Compromise.
1836, Emerson's Nature
1846, Mexican War.
1850, Compromise.
1859, On the Origin of Species by Darwin
1859, John Brown's trial.
1861-65, Civil War.
1864, Marsh's Man & Nature
1872, Powell's Arid Regions
1885, Adirondack Park est. State of New York.
1892, Forest Reserve Act.
1893, Depression
1901, Newland's Act
1903, Roosevelt & Muir
1910, Governor's Conference on Conservation
1914-18, The Great War; World War One.
1916, National Park Service created.
1921, Prohibition.
1929, Great Crash.
1933, New Deal.
1939, Fission discovered.
1941-45, The Second World War.
1942, Fish and Wildlife Service reorganized.
1945, Atomic bomb dropped.
1948-52, Korean War.
1956, Echo Park Dam controversy.
1961, New Frontier.
1969, NEPA enacted.
1971, Alaskan Native Claims Settlement Act.


Studies in Ecological History

"The river valleys of the Atlantic Shore cut through the coastal plain . . . ."

Joseph Siry, Marshes of the Ocean ShoreA           

booksVoices from the past: contrasting secondary documents

Long Island, NY - homestead, 186I

Claude Monet "Seine Estuary" in 1865, France; Oil on Canvas, Norton Simon Gallery, Pasadena, Ca.


method | days: one & two | | summary | Crosby | Du Bois | Emerson | Sources



            Compare: descriptions of these estuaries & marshes.

            Contrast: native people and settlements.

            Analysis: deriving some vision of early America


North America USA
"Boudin's painting in 1886 of people digging up clams in France."

coastal statesAlsaska

Know the locations where and dates of events about which you are reading.



September 8

Siry pp. 3-33, Introduction & A Frontier of Estuaries

Where did the colonies thrive?


Where is the "Frontier of Estuaries?"

paper exercise

paper folding exercise

This paper photo (roll-over) represents the map or scheme of the US "land system." The crumpled-up paper represents elevations that serve to illustrate different adjacent watersheds."

The long lines on the paper are similar to longitude lines that run North to South.sectionssections

Latitude lines lay parallel to the Equator running East and West, similar to the double red line at the bottom of the above photograph.

survey lines


The crumpled-up paper represents elevations that serve to illustrate different adjacent watersheds. Roll over the map above and reveal the larger watershed areas of river systems in the U.S.





10            Comparing five points of view to your own: Tell us who you are and what struck you as important in Crosby, Du Bois & Emerson.

Contrast Emerson's description of farms with Du Bois and Siry:


Possible summary:

Yellow fever'Philadelphia

Two views of early Philadelphia, America's leading city from 1700-1790s
  • Geography is intimately related to history
  • How the resources are used influences attitudes
  • Land systems are inherently tied to air & water [LAW]
  • United States land policy is old and influential in the distribution of estates
  • land ownership was a principle means of upward mobility though speculation caused financial panics.



A. Estuaries are found the world over where rivers or marshes or wetlands merge into the ocean or inland seas.


They are landscapes that must be understood to restore.

They must be functionally restored to save our fisheries.

The productivity of estuaries
"We were withholding from our land of living,
And forthwith found salvation in surrender."

Robert Frost "The Gift Outright"
"Such as we were we gave ourselves outright
(The deed of gift was many deeds of war)
To the land vaguely realizing westward, . . ."



Any deed is a legal document that is signed and delivered to reveal the assured owner of property, real estate, or rights to property in condominium. The proof of ownership of an estate.


Acronym for L-land, A-air and W-water; the 3 components of ecologically informed understanding of land-use and land-use changes.


By land we mean literally land-use, land policy, landscape and figuratively we will use the concepts of "watershed," cultural landscapes, WEAL, and landscape artists to convey the diversity of our attitudes about nature in terms of forests, fields, wetlands, settlements, and Wallace Stegner's idea of a "Geography of Hope."


A warning

"But still unstoried, artless, unenhanced,
Such as she was, such as she would become

Robert Frost "The Gift Outright"



optimistic Teseract pessimistic


B. The course is designed so you can weigh the optimistic (Adams) with the realistic (Crosby & Du Bois) and the idealistic (Emerson) with the pessimistic (Frost), to better inform your own judgment of Siry's characterization of American's attitudes towards nature & land in particular.

Cover Book overview : Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,


booksBackground authors



     Du Bois













reading glassesKeep track of key people and their ideas.