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Field Studies for Sustainable Futures

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JuLY 5–18, 2015

Smith College Precollege Programs

Thinking and Acting Beyond "Green"

You will be a part of a small community of students interested in moving beyond "green" toward understanding what will be necessary to achieve a truly sustainable future and ensure life on Earth. Much of our explorations will take place outside in the field as we consider sustainable practices that affect our bodies and landscapes. Learning and living together with a group of equally concerned and engaged people, you will explore how the spaces where we live, work and play can be designed to improve rather than denigrate the environment.

A dynamic faculty from Smith's departments of environmental science and policy, dance and landscape studies will contribute to this two-week interdisciplinary program. We will approach the issues of ecological design and sustainable food from multiple, and sometimes conflicting, points of view in order to expose and understand the complexities and potential impacts of tackling (or ignoring) the issues. To provide a structure for our work, we will divide the program into two weeks of investigation. And, rather than offering distinct classes in a traditional classroom setting, we are going beyond the walls and heading outside as a group, collaborating with and challenging one another as our understanding of sustainable practices grows.

We will visit buildings constructed to the highest environmental standards, and we will discuss the merits and limitations of those standards. We will investigate the food you eat, how it impacts the land, and how food is grown, produced, transported and sold by considering the sources of food in the Smith College Dining Services as well as at local farms and markets. We will prepare some of our own meals and learn to think about the art and science of cooking in new, more sustainable ways. We will also engage in dance practices as a way of understanding how our bodies and movement participate in both architectural and landscape ecologies.

Your two-week adventure into sustainable food and design will also include many opportunities to connect with the New England landscape, including hikes at local nature preserves, a zip line canopy tour and time to enjoy Smith's Botanic Garden, landscaped campus arboretum, the Mill River as it runs through campus and our own Paradise Pond.