Honors 3900 Syllabus

Naturalists in the 19th Century American West

This class will be conducted in the style of a seminar. We will engage in large-group discussion, do small-group work and occasionally we will provide short lectures. Students also will be asked to take turns at presenting and analyzing particular texts. There will be some field trips. Participation in these activities is expected, so, therefore, is regular attendance.

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will hone their skills in reading, writing, thinking, and presenting.
  • Students will become knowledgeable about the scholarship of the naturalists in the nineteenth century American West..


  • Moring, Early American Naturalists Exploring the American West
  • additional readings as assigned, including scholarly articles and films
    • American Journeys contains more than 18,000 pages of eyewitness accounts of North American exploration, from the sagas of Vikings in Canada in AD1000 to the diaries of mountain men in the Rockies 800 years later.

Activities in support of Learning:

2  analytical papers 15 points each:
  • scholarship in Science
  • scholarship in History

 Library Research Guide

 Observation journal 25 points each time collected

You should have a minimum of 25 species (fauna and flora) described in this journal by the end of semester.

in-class discussion, free-writes, informal presentations.

Participation is highly valued in this class. Students will assess their participation in a short paper  (25 points.)

Students are required to participate in at least 2 of the following activities (at least one of which must be focused on Lewis & Clark or John Wesley Powell):

All work should be documented in observation journals.

  •  field trips. Students will be required to submit a signed "Statement of Understanding" prior to the trips to one of the class instructors. See: Field Trips" in the PPM
September 2-5
Field Trip to Great Falls, Montana, @$75 per day CANCELLED
September 16
Botany Field trip to Uintas, $10 fee
October 8
Field trip to Ft. Bridger, $10 fee
October 21-23
Field Trip to Moab, @$75 per day
  • research/observation projects. Students should approach this project as a "trip" through the literature. Students should work 4-5 hours per day in researching texts -- as much time as they would be spending in observation each day of a field trip.
Lewis & Clark research Powell research
  • alternatives to 1-day filed trips:
Visit  Red Butte Gardenin SLC Visit theHutchings Museum in Lehi Attend lecture by Elliot West October 17. Use the criteria suggested by NUS;summarize; comment; react.  


Grades will be based on a percentage of the points possible. 95% = A.