Dr. Roger Turner, Environmental Studies

Environment, Culture and Values

Valley and Ridge helped Roger Turner develop two courses in Environment Studies, leading to a more immersive and locally grounded educational experience for students. As a faculty member new to the Environmental Studies department, and relatively new to Carlisle, Roger greatly valued the chance to visit some of the unusual ecological spaces in the Cumberland Valley. For a section of “Environment, Culture and Values” (ES 111), he will take students to Waggoner’s Gap to observe the fall raptor migration—and to see the citizen scientists who passionately record it. Prefaced by reading Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson and David Quammen, this trip will help students to examine cultural assumptions about predators. Inspired by the writings of David Orr, the class overall seeks to develop ecological literacy through a democratic and open-ended pedagogy, including student-led discussion sections. Students will be asked to write reflection papers that examine how their personal actions and beliefs are connected to environmental and social consequences.

In the spring, Roger will be teaching a senior seminar on “Infrastructure and Sustainability.” Students will learn about the technological systems that enable modern lifeways here in Carlisle. In the second half of the course, they will use the research and ecological thinking skills they have developed over four years to explore how infrastructures can be made sustainable: ecologically, politically, and economically. The introduction to the physical and cultural geography of the Carlisle area provided by the workshop played a key role in framing the subject matter for this course. The other Valley and Ridge participants offered excellent suggestions for what systems to examine and whom to contact. The workshop’s sessions on experiential learning has encouraged Roger to reach out to local infrastructure managers to help students frame research projects that may be of practical use to the community.