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Expedition Course to Southern Canada and the Great Lakes Forest

Expedition Course to Southern Canada and the Great Lakes Forest

A course for adventurous students who wish to understand Lanscape form and its changing ecology and peoples. Students must be willing to learn to canoe on lakes and rivers and take rafts down white water rapids.

Geog 215h-Env 217 Changing Landscapes of Southern Ontario  Canada

Duration 4 weeks.

Instructors: Professors Roger Hansell and Biswajit Ganguly, Lecturer James Kushny.

Aim: To teach the Landforms, surficial geology and ecosystems and examine the history of impacts of Man from ancient Iroquoian peoples to modern urbanization. To learn the principles of sustainability and experience the ways of life of the people, the wild animals and plants.

Lake Ontario is an ancient relict of the ice ages, a haven for fresh water from the melted ice sheets that once reached up more than two kilometers overhead. Now just beech ridges from tthe retreating lake and glacial features like moraines exist. Students will examine the escarpment which created Niagara Falls and see the hard dolomite rim which maintains them. They will learn of the southern Carolinian Fauna and Flora extending into Ontario and with climate warming see the southern animals like marsupial Opossums moving north. The areas that can support the prarie grasses and indian Corn are also extending north.

Driving North through Agricultural Ontario from the Deciduous forest up onto the Canadian Shield of ancient Precambrian rocksthe soils change from basic to acid and the plants and animals change. Students on this course will canoe in Algonquin Provincial Park with Beaver, Moose and Black Bears and examine Maple tree and Spruce communities of the Great Lakes Forest Ecosystem. Students will raft down the white water of the Ottawa river following one of the old fur-trader routes and will see a pioneer farm dedicated to sustainable Agriculture at the limit of good soil. At days end  will listen for Wolf packs howling to mark their hunting territories.

Evaluation is by two reports 35 percent each and verbal presentations15 percent each.

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