FYO The Natural Environment of Athens and Georgia

My First Year Odyssey Seminar typically is taught in Spring Semester and meets two hours weekly for 8 weeks.

Class E-tools: eLC & YouTube channel www.youtube.com/user/naturalhistoryGA

Course Description:
This seminar will focus on the natural environment of Athens and Georgia and introduce students to trees and animal groups, including mammals, birds, fishes, amphibians, and reptiles. Information will be presented via lecture, videos, class exercises, and experiential learning. Video class assignments will involve identifying species and interpreting animal behavior within a scientific format, although no scientific experience is needed. We will discuss farm to table practices, how the natural environment influences music, and have one lunch. There also will be a chance to see and handle live organisms. The class will be taught in two-hour sessions. There will be no laptop or phone use in class. You may take notes by hand on the pdf’s provided prior to class.

Course Objectives:
The purpose of the course is to introduce you to the natural habitats of Georgia, the plants and animals that inhabit them, and the conceptual issues affecting their distribution and abundance. Students will gain familiarity with the geography, geology, plants and animals (focusing on vertebrates) of the three geographic regions of Georgia: Appalachians, Piedmont and Coastal Plain as well as our coastal environments. We will cover important biological, ecological and evolutionary topics relevant to natural history as well as learn about the habitats, food habits and behavior of species. There will be no laptop or phone use in class. You may take notes by hand on the pdf’s provided prior to class.

Text Book: none

Please check elearning Commons several times a week for announcements and changes in the Syllabus.

Grading Policy:
Attendance in this class is mandatory and if you come to class, participate in lecture/discussion, and you should do very well. Your grade will be based on attendance/class participation (80 points), up a class video assignments (120 points) and an individual project in which you create a karaoke video (100 points, see karaoke video rubric on eLC (video and music can be taken from the web, or you can provide your own), but you will be writing and singing the lyrics and putting the video together to show to the class during the final class session. You will not be graded on your ability to sing (see rubric), but part of the video grade will be based on peer ratings. The assignments should not take more than the 2-3 hours you are expected to work for every unit of class time. There will be no exams. Your attendance score is updated weekly and any potential errors must be resolved no later than one week after they occur. There may be a pop quiz/assignment or two.

Non-Curved Grading Scale (grades may be curved so this scale is approximate):
A = 93%+, A- =90-92%, B+ = 87-89%, B = 83-86%, B- = 80-82%, C+ = 77-79%, C = 73-76%, C- = 70-72%, D = 69-60%, F = below 60%.

UGA Academic Honesty Policy:
By taking this class you are committed to following the University’s academic honesty policy (see “A Culture of Honesty”; www.uga.edu/honesty). You are responsible for knowing these standards from the first lecture onwards. Violations of the honor code may result in severe penalties and ignorance is not an acceptable excuse. Filling out an attendance sheet for someone other than yourself constitutes academic dishonesty.

Syllabus Liability Waiver:
Revised syllabi will be posted as needed (see title date) — be sure you have the current copy. Deviations will occur at the discretion of the instructor and will be announced in class or on elearning Commons.


Introduction, what is a species, GA geo & ecozones
Characteristics and examples of tree & animal classes, fish behavior exercise work day
Animal behavior, Predation, feeding behavior, schooling,
Class Lunch Fish behavior exercise early turn-in due
Populations and communities, karaoke work session Final fish behavior exercise due
Botanical Garden and Tree walk, Karaoke video due early turn-in
Meet the snakes, lizards, turtles and amphibians,  Final Karaoke video due
Karaoke video viewing