Differences in ENR Capstone Course (4900) Offerings

The ENR 4900.01 and 4900.02 sections offered throughout the school year appeal to different interests. Please read the course descriptions below to note the differences. Then, be sure to schedule the section most appropriate for your interests.

Autumn Offerings:

Dr. Bill Peterman -- 4900.02


ENR 4900.02 is an integrative and culminating course where students will apply the skills and knowledge gained throughout their undergraduate training to develop and execute field research or monitoring projects in collaboration with stakeholders (e.g., Metro Parks, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service). Past projects have included quantifying bird abundance and diversity in relation to habitat restoration, assessment of forest composition and tree diversity, habitat suitability assessments for terrestrial and aquatic wildlife species, education and outreach at nature centers, and patterns of trail use at Metro Parks. Most of the field data collection will occur outside of class. Students will work in small groups throughout the course to collect and analyze data, present results, and write a management plan. It is expected that all students will have completed ENR 2000 and 3700; completion of ENR 5362 is highly desirable. If you have question, please contact Dr. Bill Peterman (Peterman.73@osu.edu).

Larry Peck -- 4900.01


Larry Peck's section of 4900.01 covers 6-8 chapters of the recommended text to serve as a foundation for the class and subsequent efforts. Eight to ten current real issues relative to Metro Parks or State Parks are identified, and representatives from the organizations are brought in as guest speakers.  These are current management issues that are relevant and are actively being discussed in "the real world" with real world implications. Usually they are controversial in nature with no clear answer.  Class divides up into groups of 3-4 students based on their preferred issue(s).  That issue becomes their capstone class project and students go through a process, including outlines, interviewing and meeting with stakeholders, preparing a final paper and/or class presentation on the issue and what Metro Parks/State Parks should do. The classes improves speaking skills by giving a presentation on an ecosystem that they select, and  negotiation skills by learning from the instructor's own experience and training.

Spring Offerings:

Dr. Suzanne Gray -- 4900.01

Tuesday/Thursday 11:10am-12:30pm

Dr. Gray’s section of the capstone course will focus on the integration of students’ knowledge of social-ecological systems, natural resources management and environmental science with an emphasis on water and aquatic issues from local to global scales. In this section, students will work in interdisciplinary teams throughout the semester on projects that tackle water-related issues as defined by the stakeholders. For example, OSU’s Olentangy River Wetlands Research Park has several projects that require management plans associated with wetland biodiversity and the integration of the primary mission of research with teaching and outreach. The course will also include a number of training sessions and talks designed to improve students' transferable skills and readiness for the job market.

Dr. Matt Davies -- 4900.01

Tuesday/Thursday 3:55-5:15pm

Dr. Davies' section of the capstone course will focus on the development of restoration management plans. Working with a variety of stakeholders and real restoration problems, students will form mini-restoration consultancies to develop an adaptive plan for the management of a degraded site. Over the course of the semester students will work through the planning process including initial scoping, identifying reference conditions, choosing restoration treatments, designing a monitoring program and budgeting for the plan. Students will prepare a written report for the stakeholders and pitch the results of their work. Students will finish the capstone with an in-depth understanding of the restoration planning process and a concrete example of how they can use and implement their skills. The course will also include a number of training sessions and talks designed to improve students' transferable skills and readiness for the job market.

Dr. Alia Dietsch - 4900.01 - NEW OFFERING!

Tues/Thurs 3:55-5:15 pm

This capstone will focus on planning and organizing a system of Bioblitzes for Columbus, Ohio. Typically, a bioblitz is a carefully orchestrated 24-hour event in which public members, including K-12 schools or other leadership and community development organizations, are invited to participate in prearranged groups led by scientific experts who can successfully guide data collection efforts (for more about Bioblitzes, see this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MP3p_BnHofk). Students will form small interdisciplinary groups, or ‘consultancies’, that develop a plan to catalyze various stakeholders to help catalogue biodiversity in selected sites (e.g., city and metroparks, greenways, waterways). Students will work through the planning process including initial scoping, identifying relevant stakeholders based on site selection, choosing a course of action, developing data collection forms or web apps, designing a program evaluation or resource monitoring strategy, and developing a budget. Students will prepare a written plan for the managing agency to pitch the results of their work. The course will also include a number of training sessions and talks designed to improve students' transferable skills and readiness for the job market. Students from all majors are welcome to participate, but are ultimately responsible for ensuring their contributions to the final project are relevant to their career aspirations. Please direct any questions to Dr. Alia Dietsch (Dietsch.29@osu.edu).

Summer Offering:

Dr. Gabe Karns -- 4900.02

First 4 week session of summer

Students will work within interdisciplinary teams to identify and analyze natural resource management challenges that arise in practice, and to develop a final technical report and presentation that highlights the focus of their team’s project. Students spend the bulk of the first week on the Columbus campus designing project ideas and goals, objectives, actions for their projects and protocols for data collection. The second week is held on the OSU-Mansfield campus where students collect data pertinent to their projects. The week in Mansfield is truly a capstone experience, emulating what it’s like to work on a field crew as a technician. The third week (excluding Memorial Day) is back on the Columbus campus, where students analyze their data and write projects reports that highlight what they have learned and provide tangible guidance to resolve the challenges identified in week one. Projects primarily focus on forestry, wildlife, and recreation management, but can also accommodate students interested in ecological restoration and sustainable ag and local food movements.