If you're thinking about taking Environmental Science lecture and lab keep in mind that Peter Bower no longer teaches the first semester!! Terryanne teaches it and she is AMAZING. Very passionate and accomplished and easy to approach. The class is incredibly interesting, well-rounded, and grounded in current events. I worked at a park over the summer and I was able to apply so much of what I learned to the job - fish identification, river currents, and bird identification.
The worst class in the history of mankind. You will literally feel as though you have been transported back to your fourth grade science class, complete with fieldtrips and mindnumbingly boring tasks that go on for so long you will feel your brain melting. There are weekly tests with take-home portions because that is the only way the Professor can get people to come to his god-awful class. Horrible. Absolutely horrendous.
This is a great class, and I highly recommend it! He moves at a great pace and has a fabulous teaching style. The workload isn't terrible either- 8 open-book tests and a final, homework takes time, but is never terribly difficult if you put in the effort.
This class is undoubtedly the WORST CLASS I HAVE EVER TAKEN. I registered for it, even after having read the terrible culpa reviews already written, thinking "how bad can it be" especially considering the fact that it said that the work was just lots of busy work and that lectures could be skipped. the work is indeed just busy work but you end up feeling completely degraded and like an idiot when you are asked to color in a map as homework, more importantly this homework is extremely time consuming. The quizes are ridiculous and very furstrating. The lab part of the class isnt that bad, however be aware that you will have to get a bit dirtier than youd expect, digging up trees in riverside park, dissecting owl pellets to extract skeletons of little animals from the pellets to then stick them back together to recreate the animals skeleton. In summary, you will have to take a quiz every other week (although it is open book it is still hard to get full marks, especially if you dont attend lectures), do ridiculous homeworks that are time consuming and utterly pointless, and you will not learn a thing about environmental science. Not to mention the professor, who is possibly the most obnoxious professor i have encountered here so far. Full of himself, he spends his time discussing church, George Bush (who he proudly went to college with), and hands out millions of handouts (sometimes not even double sides?!?!) which all seems contradictory for an ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE teacher. DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS also, you will be stuck with it for 2 semesters if youre trying to fulfill the science requirement, and you cant pass/fail it for it to fulfill the requirement.
This class is quite frustrating. The work isn't difficult, but it's time-consuming; the problem is that it does not necessarily pay off on quizzes... you basically have to skim the packets he gives you, find the sentence he's looking for, and copy it down. This isn't hard, just irritating, esp when points are taken off for really minor things. Labs are irrelevant, I really don't know why we did half of the things we did. If you don't mind LOTS of busy work, it's an easy class
This is honestly the worst class i have ever taken. Bower is unorganized, rude, and quite fond of his not-at-all funny jokes. He demeans students when they ask questions and his lectures are a huge waste of time. The work includes reading a boring book about the hudson river and answering questions that you could have handled in fifth grade. the tests are then the exact same questions--and they're open-note tests. but beware--you will have to fight for every point because if your answer isn't worded exactly like the book, you'll lose points--bower wants you to plagarize. and don't get me started on the labs...or the hundreds of handouts you'll get throughout the semester. you'd think bower, as an environmentalist, would save paper. wrong. don't take this class!!!
Mancinelli is a character, no doubt about it. His heavy Italian accent takes some getting used to, but some of his exclamations (such as threatening to whip students with a "nine-tailed cat") are amusing. The real problem is he teaches from slides and only deviates to start ranting. I care deeply about environmental devastation and found some of the material very enlightening, but must admit his presentation leaves a lot to be desired.
If you passed 3rd grade, you will do just fine in this class. If you want a class that stimulates even one brain cell, then this is not the class for you. I'm almost positive that I could have covered the material for both semesters of environmental science in one week. He hands out a billion handouts, most of which he never talks about, and most of which are completely off-topic. If you feel that you absolutely must take this class, then get ready to hear many side-tracked and often innapropriate comments, including how he went to yale and was best buds with "dubya," who he claims was a "classy guy," about all the crazy antics thant went on while the mayor of teaneck, and various stories about his disfunctional family and his wife (be prepared for a little too much information on that one). This class is a joke and a waste of tuition money, and would be better if taught by rabid monkeys.
actually, i did do all the reading a day or two before the test, did the practice tests the day *of* the test, and i got myself an A. i'd have to say that's an easy A by any means. and yes, i do have a photographic memory. other than that, he's incredibly boring, and i fell asleep every class just about. i spent the entire time writing random thoughts in my notebook and watched the other people draw the little graphs and diagrams he put on the overhead. i did learn some stuff about the environment that was useful, and i got to look at a lot of pictures of cartoon animals. you gotta love that.
I took Env Sci + Lab to fulfill the lab requirement and was pleasantly surprised to find that i really enjoyed that class. Although we always bitched about having weekly tests during lecture and weekly quizzes during lab, Prof. Bower is really a fantastic lecturer despite his reputation! This class was the first time in college that i read a book cover to cover and found it truly interesting (and i'm one of those people who can't survive without sparknotes). This way was really the best way to fulfill the science requirement and i'm even considering majoring/minoring in env science. Bower is really interested in nuclear weapons/wastes and spends the last 2 weeks of the semester on it (it also makes up 1/2 of the final)
In my opinion, Professor Bower is patronizing, obnoxious, and unfocused. He didn't hand out a syllabus at the beginning of the course and seemed to talk about whatever he wanted. He handed out several pounds of handouts every class, most of which he never mentioned, much less taught the material. Assignments in lecture were ludicrous--two mandatory trips to the American Natural History Museum, where we spent 2-3 hours drawing pictures of red-backed voles and tracing maps of Alaska for no apparent reason. The end-of-term Hudson River lab report made kindergarten connect-the-dots look challenging. There is NO curriculum for this course. Labs included using colored pencils to color globes and food chains, dissecting owl pellets, and two trips to the river which consisted of walked to 125th Street and back. I would not recommend this class to anyone under any circumstances. I learned nothing, wasted six hours a week in lecture and lab, and have five inches worth of useless photocopies to show for it.
Hard to follow in lectures but the class still managed to generate an interest in environmental sustainability within me. I honestly have changed my daily habits now that I understand the effects one person can have on the fragile environment.
I have to say that I absolutely adored this class. It was wonderful. Of course, I didnt always feel this way. My mistake was actually attending the first four classes. First of all, his accent makes him impossible to understand (Im Italian and I caught maybe one word out of five). Second, his often insane rants about environmental issues really detracted from his teaching. From what I understood of them, he blames America for just about every environmental problem ON THE WHOLE PLANET! Yeah, the US isnt so great, but there were times we thought he might attack someone in the front row. Finally, he teaches from slides. That means nap time, especially when the class is taught in 501 Schermerhorn. But then I stopped going to class. I showed up for the midterm and the final, did all the readings the night before each, and got an A. It was beautiful. A word to the wise: if you are crazy, or if you have a loud roommate and need the extra sleep and decide to show up, turn off your cell phone. One day he will carry through with his threat to crush ringing phones under his feet.