Environmental Geology (Winter 2019 Course)

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City Institute Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia

1905 Locust St

Philadelphia, PA 19103

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Environmental Geology: Humans and the Earth
Professor Jason Downs

Please note the change in course location: the course was originally scheduled for the Penn Museum but has been moved to the City Institute Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Dates: 8 Saturdays from January 26 – March 16, 2019
Time: Lectures meet from 10:30 AM to noon.
This course requires pre-registration. Sign up through Eventbrite or call 215-763-6529 x23.

Course Description

Environmental geology is the study of the interaction between humans and their geological environment (lithosphere [crust], hydrosphere [water], cryosphere [ice], biosphere [life] and atmosphere [gasses]). It is an applied science that addresses geological impacts on human health, economy, and culture. It also addresses human impacts on other organisms, natural resources, and climate. This course will focus on those topics in geology that are most relevant to the human experience. Environmental geology is a cautionary discipline, but the tone of the class conversations will be hopeful.

Full Course Syllabus

Header Image: Kīlauea Volcano, June 12, 2018 overflight of fissue 8 and lava channel. C/o USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

Course Schedule

1. Saturday, January 26, 2019 – Introduction to the science

2. Saturday, February 2, 2019 – Soils

3. Saturday, February 9, 2019 – Rivers and coasts

4. Saturday, February 16, 2019 – Mass wasting

5. Saturday, February 23, 2019 – Tectonics and Earthquakes

6. Saturday, March 2, 2019 – Volcanic activity

7. Saturday, March 9, 2019 - Pollution

8. Saturday, March 16, 2019 - Energy

Saturday, March 23, 2019 – make-up class (if needed)

About the Professor

Dr. Jason Downs is Assistant Professor of Biology at Delaware Valley University. He is also a Research Associate at the Academy of Natural Sciences in the Vertebrate Paleontology Group, where he has done active research since 2006. He was one of the team members who discovered the Tiktaalik roseae, a specimen that shed new light on the vertebrate transition to land. Dr. Downs has been teaching for the Wagner since 2012.


Are there minimum age requirements to enter the event?

The adult lecture courses are offered on an introductory college level. They are open to anyone seeking an introduction to various areas of the sciences as well as those familiar with the subjects who wish to broaden and update their knowledge. The courses also provide an excellent opportunity for motivated junior high and high school students to supplement their current science courses and to help prepare them for further study in these fields at a college level. The courses are appropriate as well for teachers seeking to expand their knowledge.

What are my transportation/parking options for getting to and from the event?

Information on driving or taking public transportation to the Penn Museum is available here. There are multiple bus, trolley, and regional rail line stops close to the Penn Museum, and the Museum has a parking garage.

How can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Click the "Contact the Organizer" link, email, or call (215) 763-6529 x24. (Extension 23 is the registration extension.)

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City Institute Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia

1905 Locust St

Philadelphia, PA 19103

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