Research-Based Paper Assignment
One of the learning goals for this Enriched Core course is that you “demonstrate competence in information literacy by selecting, utilizing and documenting appropriate sources.” You will do this by writing a research-based paper investigating an organization or issue related to one or more of the texts we read.
Your goal is to:
1. develop a research question, proposal, and annotated bibliography (please see below for detailed instructions and examples of these elements)
2. conduct research to answer your question
3. present your answer in the form of a formal research-based paper Topic Choices:
This assignment gives you the opportunity to find out more about an organization or issue related to one or more of the books that we will read together this semester. You should start by selecting one of the following.
These topics and initial questions are meant as jumping-off points to help you develop your own specific focus. In formulating a research question, remember to phrase it in the form of “why” and/or “how” – in other words, your question is something that should not be able to be answered by a simple Google search or a yes/no; it should include some complexity. This research question will serve as the basis for a thesis statement: •
The Walden Woods Project: Founded in 1990 by recording artist Don Henley, the Project preserves the land, literature and legacy of Henry David Thoreau to foster an ethic of environmental stewardship and social responsibility, both cornerstones of Thoreau’s philosophy. The Project achieves this mission through the integration of conservation, education, research and advocacy. Spend some time researching this organization, along with related projects including some of their past, present, and future projects and initiatives (Thoreau Institute at Walden Woods; Walden Woods Project Farm, for example). Then, write a paper in which you share the information that you have found, making sure to also explain the direct connections you see between the Project’s work and Thoreau’s Walden. •
The Aldo Leopold Foundation: One way that the life and work of Aldo Leopold lives on today and remains relevant is through the Aldo Leopold Foundation. According to their webpage, “The Aldo Leopold Foundation was founded in 1982 with a mission to foster the land ethic through the legacy of Aldo Leopold, awakening an ecological conscience in people throughout the world.” Spend some time researching this organization, including some of their past, present, and future projects and initiatives. Then, write a paper in which you share the information that you have found, making sure to also explain the direct connections you see between the Foundation’s work and the landscapes, regions, and issues discussed in Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac.
• Rachel Carson’s Legacy: As we will discuss when we read Silent Spring, although she died prematurely Rachel Carson had a huge impact on the mid-20th -century environmental movement – an influence that extends to today. What groups today are working to keep Rachel Carson’s legacy alive and relevant? Spend some time researching the following organizations: the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society; the Rachel Carson Council; the Rachel Carson Institute at Chatham University; and the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge (you are welcome to include other organizations or groups that you discover during your research).
Then, write a paper in which you identify and explain how the work of these organizations (along with any others you might discover during your research) builds on the foundations laid by Carson in Silent Spring. • Great Salt Lake Water Level: When Terry Tempest Williams began writing Refuge XXXXXXXXXXin the 1980s, the Great Salt Lake was experiencing flooding due to historically high water levels, something that she writes about in detail in her book. Today, the Great Salt Lake water level is at a historic low, creating an environmental crisis.
Write a research-based paper in which you investigate the current water crisis at Great Salt Lake and compare it to the 1980s, making sure to connect back to Refuge. • Soul Fire Farm -- Ending Racism and Injustice in the Food System: Later this semester, we will read excerpts from Farming While Black, by Leah Penniman, a co-founder of Soul Fire Farm in Petersburg, NY. According to their mission statement, “Soul Fire Farm is an Afro-Indigenous centered community farm committed to uprooting racism and seeding sovereignty in the food system. We raise and distribute life-giving food as a means to end food apartheid. With deep reverence for the land and wisdom of our ancestors, we work to reclaim our collective right to belong to the earth and to have agency in the food system. We bring diverse communities together on this healing land to share skills on sustainable agriculture, natural building, spiritual activism, health, and environmental justice. We are training the next generation of activist-farmers and strengthening the movements for food sovereignty and community self-determination.” Spend some time researching Soul Fire Farm, paying particular attention to their programming and events, including the history of the farm and some of their past, present, and future projects and initiatives.
Then, write a paper in which you share the information that you have found, making sure to also explain the ways in which their work highlights the intersection of environmental, racial, food, and other social justice movements. You may wish to include other farms doing similar work that you encounter through your research. • Diversity and Inclusion (or Lack Thereof?) in the National Parks System: In Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors (2014), Carolyn Finney spends some time discussing the historic lack of diversity and inclusion in the National Parks Service (NPS). In order to address this issue, as she writes, “within the NPS a number of strategies and programs have been developed to address issues of diversity and inclusion in their visitorship, staff, and surrounding communities. These initiatives include youth and social science programs, the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom and a Workforce Diversity Management Program. Spend some time researching these initiatives, as well as any others you might discover through your research. Identify and explain these initiatives and then assess their overall impact and effectiveness (or lack thereof). How successful has the NPS been in addressing their historical lack of diversity and inclusion through these efforts and others?
Requirements: Length & Format: 6-8 full pages, double-spaced, Times New Roman 12-point font, 1-inch margins all around, heading and page numbers, works cited page (MLA Format) Sources: a minimum of 6 scholarly or reputable news sources