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Wild City

Fellow:  Chris Nagy   Teacher:  Marissa Bellino

Course Purpose

Wild City is designed to teach students the science of ecology and the process of research using urban wildlife management in New York City as a model system.

Course Description

Wild City is a set of classroom and field lessons that give students an introduction to wildlife ecology and research. Students study the different kinds of wildlife that are found in cities and how they survive in an urban environment, while gaining a working knowledge of their local (urban) ecosystem and learning how to identify the numerous types of wildlife that live in New York City.  They also learn general ecological concepts in the framework of urban wildlife management and they study current wildlife populations and issues in the NYC area.

Wild City is organized into three classorrom units and 4 field trips that can be inserted anywhere in the course.  The units can be run independently or in sequence.  The course also explores the more philosophical and abstract concepts regarding nature and what place humans have within the larger biosphere.


Learning Goals:

1. Students will study the urban landscape as a part of “nature”.  They will explore its unique community of species and ecological processes and how it affects and is affected by the rest of the ecosystem.

2. Students will gain an (better) understanding of the scientific method as a process to answer questions, using wildlife ecology as a field of study.

3. Students will learn the different values that are inherent in the field of conservation biology, and some of the contradictions and debates surrounding these values. Students will also spend time on local and global environmental issues, and the role of people as manipulators of a system (particularly wildlife managers). They will also be able, by the end of the course, to articulate and defend their own positions about these debates.