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The Luce Semester
November 2005

The Environmental Studies Department at Dickinson offered a "watershed-based, integrated field semester" during fall 2005. This program, funded by the Henry Luce Foundation, provides a single interdisciplinary, integrated course for the equivalent of a student’s normal 4-course load. The watershed semester will be offered again in fall 2006 and 2007. It combines classroom activities, community-based fieldwork research, independent study, and extensive travel and immersion in two comparative watershed regions: the Chesapeake Bay and the lower Mississippi River Basin.

The class traveled to coastal Louisiana in November and recorded its experience with photos and blog entries. Some of the photos are featured here. See more and read about the trip by viewing the blog.

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Photos by Luce Semester students.
On the road

BBQ for dinner

Above: in Clarksdale, Mississippi the students enjoy ribs, pulled pork, and chicken wings, followed by blues played by Big Jack Johnson.

Left: in West Virginia, students learned about the environmental impact of the mountaintop removal method of coal mining.

New Orleans

Katrina victims
Bourbon Street

Above: there were some signs of life on Bourbon Street, but it was far less crowded than usual.

After learning about flood control and freshwater diversion from the Army Corps of Engineers, the group travelled to New Orleans. There they saw firsthand some of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina.


From New Orleans the group visited Bayou Sorrel in the Atchafalaya River Basin to learn about the diverse ecosystem. In the bayou they saw great blue herons and snowy egrets in flight and a cottonmouth snake swimming to shore. Old and young growth cypress trees lined the shores.

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