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Urban Environmental Studies

The ProjectsAre you living in a food desert?

Outreach and research are key components of the Urban Environmental Studies program. Many initiatives in Birmingham are underway to improve the livability of our city and reduce our environmental impact. These include the construction of LEED-certified buildings, numerous urban redevelopment projects, a growing urban farm initiative, and the establishment of one of the largest networks of urban parks in the United States.

Recent Projects

Birmingham-Southern students participate in a number of environmental projects around the Birmingham area and abroad. The variety of topics covered in the Urban Environmental Studies major allows for a wide array of projects in which students participate. Some of these projects have included:

  • Developing an ecotourism plan for Morgan County, TN
  • Surveying visitor attitudes and perceptions of Turkey Creek Nature Preserve
  • Creating an interactive map of gardens and farmers' markets in Birmingham
  • Launching a pilot program to replant hybrid American Chestnuts in Birmingham
  • Invasive species removal at Ruffner Mountain Nature Center
  • Development of the seed 2 plate curriculum with Jones Valley Urban Farm
  • Using camera traps to document wildlife in a local urban nature preserve
  • Studying endemic endangered fish whose range is confined to only five Birmingham-area springs
  • Documenting the ecology of a rare endemic herb in the mountains of Northeast Alabama
  • Studying amphibian and herbivore ecology with BSC faculty in Costa Rica
  • Comparing water quality and macroinvertebrate abundance between developed and undeveloped creeks
  • Studying seed germination of rare plants
  • Studying the environmental impacts of proposed interstate expansions
  • Creating an inventory of threatened natural areas near Birmingham with a local land trust
  • Encouraging retro-fitting of campus buildings for energy conservation At the falls

Recent January Term Courses

Every January, BSC students have the opportunity to expand their studies outside the classroom during Exploration Term. Several UES-related Exploration term courses have been offered recently, and include: 

  • Experiencing the City: An Exploration of Urban Land-Use Policies
  • Amazon to Andes: Experience the Peruvian Rainforest
  • Science, Public Policy, and the Environment: A Service-Learning Trip to the Everglades
  • Environmental Mathematics
  • Service-Learning Interim in Ecuador with the Foundation for Sustainable Development
  • Coral Reef Ecology and Dolphin Behavior
  • Costa Rica: Are Ecotourism and Sustainability Compatible?
  • Costa Rica: Sustainability, Spirituality, and Service
  • Exploring the Galapagos Islands: Wildlife, Ecology, and Conservation
  • Disasters and Mass Emergencies: The Politics of Vulnerability Response, Relief, and Reconstruction
  • Discovering the Pacific Northwest: A City/Nature Exploration