The environmental science program is beginning to grow at the Alexandria campus. We started offering General Environmental Science I (ENV 121) in the spring 2012 semester. We now offer General Environmental Science II (ENV 122) as well. ENV 121 and 122 are each 4 credit courses that can be used to satisfy the "Physical or Life Science with Lab" requirements of all non-science majors (General Studies, Business, Liberal Arts, etc.). We hope to offer more environmental science courses in the future. Help us build the program, meet your degree requirements and learn about our environment! See more info on Dr. Christine Bozarth's blog.
- Oil Spills
- Water Quality
Students tour an apiary at George Mason University (http://bees.gmu.edu) to learn about honeybees and their importance to healthy ecosystems.
Honeybees do more for us than make honey. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, honeybees pollinate 80 percent of our flowering crops, which constitute one-third of everything we eat. In addition to benefiting agriculture, honeybees pollinate many wildflowers. Pollination allows the sperm of one plant to reach the eggs of another. Without pollination, many flowering plants simply could not reproduce!
Students simulate an oil spill to investigate its effect on wildlife and test cleanup methods.
Spilled oil has disastrous consequences for the environment and its inhabitants. In a global economy that is largely dependent on oil as its primary source of energy, we have witnessed many spills during extraction and transportation of this fuel. Being coated in oil compromises the ability of birds and aquatic mammals to insulate their bodies. Oil clogs fish gills and the gills of other aquatic organisms. Aquatic oil spills are cleaned using methods such as booms, skimmers, and chemical dispersants to various degrees of success.
Students tour a local wastewater treatment plant.
Municipal wastewater includes all of the water that goes down our sink, shower, and toilet drains. In Alexandria, and most urban and suburban areas, that wastewater makes its way through underground pipes to a wastewater treatment plant. Here, solids, nutrients, and pathogens are removed using a variety of methods to produce clean water that goes back in to our waterways. At AlexRenew, solids are sterilized and used as soil amendment on local farms and methane emissions are used to heat the facility. Student learn about the wastewater treatment process and the importance of cleaning our wastewater.
Students test local waterways for nutrients and bacteria.
Waterways can be polluted from a variety of sources. Fertilizers add excess nutrients, animal waste adds pathogens, and pesticides add toxins. It is important to regularly test water bodies for pH, dissolved oxygen, nitrates, phosphates, and E. coli. In an urban area, like Alexandria, we expect to see elevated levels of nutrients and bacteria.
Visit And Learn
What's Happening Locally?
- International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species Act
- Energy and Climate Change at the White House
- The Nature Conservancy
- Defenders of Wildlife
- World Wildlife Fund
- Ocean Conservancy
- Environmental Defense Fund
- Student Conservation Association
- Conservation International
Federal Agencies That Regulate And Protect the Environment