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GEOG 325: Conservation and Resource Management: Home


landscape of trees and mountains

Your Identity

One recurrent dilemma in resource management lies in the confusion over scale. 

  • At what scale should policy be made—local, state, national? 
  • What matters more, big decisions or the cumulative effect of small decisions made every day? 

Because problems of scale are the hardest to grapple with, you are going to carry this with you through the entire course.  Each person will adopt an identity from the list of choices (or come up with their own) and become this identity for the purposes of all class discussions, short answer questions on the exams, and the creation of a portfolio.  

The point here is to understand the multiple and conflicting viewpoints at different scales that all contribute to, or get frozen out of, the policy making process.  An added goal is to challenge your own ideas and perspectives.  This is your chance to slip into somebody else’s skin.

Your Portfolio

Always had dreams of being a detective?  Is there an actor in you, waiting to get out?  This is your chance to develop those skills.  You will need to keep a portfolio containing all information gathered about your identity.  The idea is to ‘become’ this identity and begin to see resource management problems through his/her/their perspective.  Thorough understanding of any perspective requires both information and time.  Thus, this will be an ongoing project that is graded each week throughout the term, and is handed in at the end for one third of your grade.  Your ongoing investigation will evolve as you unearth more and more information on your identity, and this will help strengthen your research gathering and data analysis skills.  It is vital to understand that you CANNOT simply come to class, read things, listen to a nice lecture and then go home.  To prepare for the outer world beyond Salisbury, one must not only be able to read and understand material, but make the leap towards deciding what questions need asking and what material should be acquired the pursuit of the answers to those questions. 

Creating a portfolio will help you learn how to do this.  Your portfolio will eventually include the following elements: biographic information, philosophical or economic perspective, resources used, managed, exploited, controlled, conserved, etc., a list of  the laws and policies that matter most to your identity, an assessment of whether those policies and laws help or hinder your identity.  This is not an easy task and will require outside work on your part.